2006-2007 University of Guelph Graduate Calendar

VIII. Graduate Programs


MSc Program

The Zoology Graduate Program offers MSc degrees in each of the three major areas of emphasis: ecology and behaviour, evolutionary biology and physiology. The three areas of interest focus on (but are not restricted to), experimental approaches in field and laboratory settings and a strong linkage between theoretical and applied investigations. The department encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary research and, where appropriate, utilize faculty expertise from across campus on their advisory committees.

Admission Requirements

To be considered, applicants must meet the requirements of a four-year honours science degree with a minimum 'B' (73%) average during the final two years (4 semesters) of undergraduate study. Applicants must obtain the support of a faculty member willing to serve as their thesis advisor.

Under exceptional circumstances, an applicant with a 'B-' (70-72%) average during the last 2 years (four semesters) of study may be considered for admission. Such applicants must have outstanding letters of recommendation that provide strong evidence of potential research capability and a strong endorsement from a potential thesis advisor.

Admission may be granted in September, January or May. Completed applications should arrive in the department at least one full semester (four months) before the expected date of admission. Applications from international students, especially those applying for financial support, should arrive at least eight months prior to the expected date of admission.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete and defend an acceptable thesis. In addition, they must successfully complete courses totalling not fewer than 1.5 credits. These credits must include the two mandatory courses IBIO*6630 Scientific Communication I (0.75 credit), and IBIO*6640 Scientific Communication II (0.25 credit).

An acceptable MSc thesis comprises a scientifically defensible account of the student's research on a particular, well-defined research problem or hypothesis. (Such research should begin with the practical expectation that it could be completed and the thesis defended in not more than six semesters.) Paramount to the notion of acceptability of the thesis is its quality with respect to the underlying rationale (problem identification), the approach used to address the problem, and the evaluation of the results. Final acceptance of the MSc thesis need not imply that the work is sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in scholarly media, though the majority of MSc research in the department is published.

The department endorses the idea that graduate students in the Zoology program should benefit from exposure to recent developments both within and between the major areas of emphasis. To that end, students may enrol in any of the regularly offered courses entitled "Advances in ...", which are team-taught by several faculty members. A selection of subjects is given in each of the course descriptions below. Details of course content, format and evaluation will be available in the office of the chair of the department one semester prior to the semester in which the course is offered

In addition, the department offers two "Topics in..." courses to provide students with the opportunity to study with individual faculty on specific topics in the faculty member's area of expertise. These courses may be taken by groups as either reading/seminar courses, or on an individual research-project basis. Students should approach individual faculty members to request supervision on individual research project courses; faculty members may be petitioned by students to offer, or may advertise, "Topics in..." courses at least one semester prior to the semester in which the course is to be offered.