IX. Graduate Programs

Environmental Biology

MSc Program

The MSc program has five areas of specialization: entomology, environmental microbiology and biotechnology, environmental toxicology, plant and forest systems and plant pathology.

  • Entomology emphasizes systematics, ecology, physiology, behaviour and insect pest management strategies as they relate to toxicology, insecticide resistance management, agro-ecosystem impact on non-target beneficial insects, climate change, and biological, genetic and cultural control tactics.

  • Environmental microbiology and biotechnology emphasizes the physiology, ecology and biochemistry of microorganisms with potential for environmental or biotechnological applications. It also includes studies on microbial pathogen detection, biofuels and bioproducts, and environmental applications of microbial forensics, recombinant antibodies, and in planta expression of antibodies.

  • Environmental toxicology examines how terrestrial and aquatic organisms interact with toxic compounds in the environment, describes the methods and tools needed to assess environmental impacts, and emphasizes practical management solutions to address environmental problems.

  • Plant and forest systems examines the ecological interactions in complex ecosystems ranging from forest and aquatic systems to controlled environments such as greenhouses, growth chambers and life support systems for humans in space. Emphasis is placed on carbon dynamics, nutrient cycling, ecological modeling, environmental sensor technology, atmosphere management and environmental remediation.

  • Plant pathology emphasizes the ecology and genetics of plant pathogens, plant disease resistance and epidemiology, the genomics and molecular biology of plant-pathogen interactions, and the development of new plant disease management strategies, such as the use of chemical, cultural and biological control agents.

Admission Requirements

The School’s admission standard for the MSc program is higher than the minimum standard set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Admission to the MSc program requires a four-year, honours science degree with a minimum ‘B’ (75%) average during the final two years (4 semesters) of full time undergraduate study. The University minimum is ‘B-‘ (70%). Students who meet the minimum university requirement (70%) but not the departmental requirement (75%) may be considered for admission with provisional status. Students on provisional status must obtain a B average in at least two graduate courses during their first two semesters of study to continue in the program.

Degree Requirements

A candidate for the MSc degree is expected to have a general knowledge of fundamental aspects of biology and detailed knowledge of the specialty area. The specialty area will normally be one of the areas in which the School of Environmental Sciences is prepared to offer a graduate degree. In addition, students are encouraged to obtain a knowledge of both theoretical and applied aspects of their specialty area.

Before the end of the student's first semester, the advisory committee will meet informally with the student to discuss the student's background, interests and knowledge in the proposed research area. The advisory committee will then establish a program of prescribed courses (at least 1.5 credits of graduate level courses) and, if required, additional courses. All MSc candidates must complete a thesis. A statement of the objectives of the thesis research program should be prepared as early as possible.

A normal MSc program requires six semesters. Programs involving field work may require seven or eight semesters. The number of courses per semester should not normally exceed four. Among these would be courses that are core requirements of the undergraduate specialty and represent the candidate's deficiencies.

Graduate students must take the Seminar, ENVB*6710 course, unless exempted from taking this course by the advisory committee. Exemptions are subject to approval by the Graduate Education Committee.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1