M.Sc. Program


The MSC.MCB program is offered in five fields: 1) biochemistry; 2) cell biology; 3) microbiology; 4) molecular biology and genetics; and 5) plant biology.  See 2022-23 program brochure.

A collaborative specialization is an intra-university graduate field of study that provides an additional multidisciplinary experience for students enrolled in and completing the degree requirements for MCB graduate program.  Opportunities for collaborative specializations are available in the areas of Neuroscience, Toxicology, and One Health. 

The objective of the program is to provide graduate students with a high level of relevant knowledge and expertise in contemporary molecular and cellular biology, including experimental techniques, library research, writing and communication skills. Graduates will have the knowledge and skills needed to carry out high quality scientific research and will be prepared for employment in positions with some responsibility in the research and teaching enterprises of academic institutions (as instructors and technical staff), in science-related positions in the broad biotechnology sector (e.g. food and beverage industries, pharmaceuticals, biomedical, and agriculture-related industries), or in government sector institutes and laboratories. They will be well prepared to continue their graduate education at the PhD level. Alternatively, they may opt to complete a professional degree (such as law, medicine, or business) or a teaching certificate.

Admission Requirements

To be considered, applicants must have completed a four-year honours undergraduate science degree (or its equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Normally, the applicant must have achieved a “B” (75%) average or higher during the last two years of full-time study. In exceptional circumstances, students with a “B-minus” average (70%) will be considered provided there is strong supporting evidence of research aptitude and potential.

We strongly recommend that potential graduate students contact faculty members who share their research interests BEFORE completing and submitting an official application form. A list of graduate faculty in the department is available here. To assist our faculty in making a selection from the pool of interested students, we suggest you include in your correspondence the following:

  • courses completed (plus the mark received)
  • relevant research and/or work experience you have, and with whom
  • whether you have a scholarship
  • two or three academic or research references
  • the reason for contacting our particular faculty

All components of the application, including transcript(s), graduate certificate(s), grading scale(s), language test results, assessment forms, a statement of interest, and the name of the faculty advisor must be uploaded no later than two months after an application is submitted through the OUAC portal. Applications that are incomplete after this time period will be closed. 

Admission may be granted for entry in September, January or May. Completed applications should be uploaded at least one full semester (four months) before the expected date of admission (at least eight months for international students).

Meet our faculty and students, and view our facilities:  Contact individual faculty members by email and/or telephone to arrange a visit.  Be prepared to discuss your specific interest in their research program.  Submit your application, then contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator (Dr. Jaideep Mathur, jmathur@uoguelph.ca) to be considered for an expenses-paid visit to our Department.    

Application Process

Graduate student applications are handled by the Office of the Associate Dean, Research (ADR).  Prospective students may contact the CBS Graduate Admissions Assistant by emailing cbsgrad@uoguelph.ca.

Before submitting an application, applicants are strongly encouraged to review the information listed on the ADR website.  Complete application instructions can also be found on the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Degree Requirements

Students in the MSc program must complete a minimum of 2 courses (1.5 credits) at the graduate level. The course MCB*6500 MSc Research Topics in Molecular & Cellular Biology (1.0) is mandatory. This two-semester course should be completed in the first year of study and normally in the first two semesters. Senior undergraduate courses may be taken on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee but these will not count towards the 1.5 credit requirement. An average of “B-minus” (70%) must be achieved in the prescribed courses.

The MSc thesis research must involve original inquiry into a well-defined question in the molecular biosciences. It is expected that the research will not have been previously reported in the literature and, wherever possible, the research should yield publishable data.

All students beyond year 1 in the program are required to participate annually in the CBS Graduate Student Symposium by presenting a poster or giving a short talk describing their research progress.