IX. Graduate Programs

Molecular and Cellular Biology

PhD Program

The MCB PhD program is offered in five fields: 1) biochemistry; 2) cell biology; 3) microbiology; 4) molecular biology and genetics; and 5) plant biology. The objective of the program is to develop independent and creative scientists specializing in molecular and cellular biology. Graduates will be prepared for positions as scholars in academic institutions, as leaders in the research and development sector of the biomedical and other industries or government agencies, and in social institutions.

Admission Requirements

There are three pathways for admission to the PhD program:

  1. Students who have achieved an “A-minus” (80%) average or higher during the last two years of full-time study while completing a four-year honours BSc program (or its equivalent) and who provide evidence of research aptitude and potential based on laboratory research experience may apply to enter the PhD program directly, or

  2. An MSc student may apply to transfer to the PhD program before completing the MSc degree. To be eligible for transfer, the student must have completed a high quality undergraduate degree with a grade average of B+ or higher. Before applying for transfer to the PhD program students must complete courses MCB*6100 (Research Topics in Molecular and Cellular Biology) and MCB*6200 (Scientific Communication in Molecular and Cellular Biology) plus an additional course with at least 0.5 graduate course credit, attaining an overall A minus average (at least 80%). Applications for transfer must be approved by the end of the fourth semester in the MSc program.

  3. Applicants may have completed a recognized Masters degree in a relevant discipline with a minimum academic standing of “A-minus” (80%).

Each applicant must obtain the support of a faculty member willing to serve as his/her thesis advisor.

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.

Applications for the program will be considered at any time and admission may be granted for entry in January, May or September.

Admission Process

Graduate student applications to programs in the College of Biological Science are handled by the Office of the Associate Dean, Research (ADR). Before submitting an application, applicants are strongly encouraged to view the "Before you Apply" and "Admission Process" webpages on the ADR Future Student's site.

Completed application instructions may also be found on the Office of Graduate Studies webpage or in the Graduate Calendar.

Degree Requirements

Students in the PhD program must complete MCB*7500 PhD Research Topics in Molecular & Cellular Biology. This two-semester should becompleted in the first year of study and normally withion the first two semesters. Students without an MSc degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology or the equivalent are required to take one additional graduate course. Other courses may be taken on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee. An average of “B-minus” (70%) must be achieved in the prescribed courses. To be a candidate for the PhD degree, each student must pass a PhD Qualifying Exam. The Qualifying Examination is completed before the end of the fifth semester (for students with an MSc) or the end of the seventh semester (for students without an MSc).

The PhD thesis research must involve original enquiry into a well-defined question in the molecular biosciences. It is expected to result in the publication of one or more papers in high-quality peer-reviewed journals. The research must represent a significant contribution to the relevant research field.

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.

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