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MSc & PhD in Animal Biosciences (Thesis/Research)

Discover new knowledge and advance animal science.

The MSc and PhD in Animal Biosciences are offered through our Department of Animal Biosciences, a research-intensive department focused on Animal Breeding and Genetics, Animal Nutrition and Metabolism, Animal Physiology, and Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Graduate students can also conduct research as part of three collaborative programs with other departments: Bioinformatics, Neuroscience, and Toxicology.  

Regardless of your specialization, you will learn through “hands on” experiential research opportunities with your faculty advisor and focus on your species of interest: dairy and beef cattle, laying hens, dogs and cats, zoo animals, horses, or laboratory animals, such as mice and rats.

 Publish research

Students in the MSc and PhD Animal Bioscience programs publish on average one paper per year and present at conferences at least once annually.

 World-class faculty

Tap into the knowledge and expertise of the 25+ faculty in the Department of Animal Biosciences and their associated colleagues in government and industry.

 Expand your network

Join a thriving community of over 130 graduate students from 20+ countries who share similar interests and career goals.


 90% employment rate

Within 6 months of graduating, over 90% of animal bioscience graduate students go on to future training or careers related to their graduate research.

 Access unique facilities

Learn in high-quality research and lab facilities focused on genomics, nutrient analyses, physiology, welfare, meats and microbiology.

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More information on courses and admission requirements can be found here.

Elijah in blue dress shirt and grey sweater, dark background
There is a lot of demand in people with advanced degrees in poultry nutrition. The industry is growing, as you know most people are consuming poultry and poultry will be the most consumed meat in the future. So we really need the scientists to be able to drive that growth in poultry.

Dr. Elijah Kiarie, Faculty
Professor, Department of Animal Biosciences
Hear more from Dr. Kiarie

Angela smiles in dark room / background
The most exciting aspect in my work is to integrate all these new genomic technologies that we have available in order to identify the killer later genes or their functional mutations associated to our economical important traits such as feed efficiency or meat and carcass traits or fertility and reproduction in beef cattle.

Dr. Angela Canovas, Faculty
Professor, Department of Animal Biosciences
Hear more from Dr. Canovas

How to Apply

As part of the application requirements, you are required to secure a faculty advisor to supervise your program. Our faculty profiles on the Department of Animal Biosciences website describe research programs in more detail. Contact the faculty member you are interested in working with to discuss potential research opportunities. We recommend connecting via email. 

  • An honours baccalaureate, with a minimum average grade of `B' during the last 2 years of full-time equivalent study. For Canadian degrees, we interpret this as the last 20 semester courses, however we do not split a semester and we will not consider any fewer than 16 courses. 

  • In general, a minimum average grade of `B' for a completed MSc program plus strong letters of reference are required. Students wishing to be considered for transfer to a PhD program prior to completion of the MSc program must request the transfer before the end of the fourth semester and have an excellent academic record as well as a strong aptitude for research. 

  • Direct admission to the PhD program may be permitted for applicants who hold a bachelor's degree and have an excellent academic history and strong indications of research potential. 

There are no deadlines as applications are accepted on an ongoing basis.

We recommend that you apply online at least 3 months before the start of semester if you're a Canadian student. If you're an international student, you'll need to allow time for visa approval as well, please apply at least 6 months before the start of semester.

More details on the U of G graduate program application process here.

Additional Options

You may also be interested in MSc in Animal Biosciences (Course-based).


For questions on applying and admissions, contact: 

Jake Harwood
Department of Animal Biosciences 
519-824-4120, Ext. 56215

For questions on graduate program options, contact:

Leigh West
Ontario Agricultural College (OAC)
519-824-4120 Ext. 52101

Amber smiles in black lace t-shirt in front of a yellow wheat field
Graduate school has been such a wonderful experience. I have so much more freedom and am able to cater my studies to learn more about the subjects that I am interested in. Classes are much more specific to your program and consist of mostly assignments, presentations and literature reviews. 

Amber Zupan, Graduate Student
MSc in Animal Biosciences
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Claire takes a selfie photo with white chicken on her shoulder.
I think a master’s is a great way to grow and learn so much more than what is being taught in undergrad. While you will acquire theoretical knowledge on your research topic, you will also acquire a lot of practical skills. Regarding doing a PhD, my opinion is slightly different – I think that only people that have a real interest in research should go for it.

Claire Mindus, Graduate Student
PhD in Animal Biosciences
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I have the opportunity to work directly with industry professionals and leaders in genomic research. This access to outstanding resources has allowed me to acquire skills in new technologies and methodologies that are being implemented in the field of Animal Breeding and Genetics. In this highly competitive global marketplace, I know a Ph.D. from the University of Guelph will give me a competitive advantage.

Kristen Alves
PhD in Animal Biosciences