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Doctoral program

Our doctoral program aims to produce scientists who will be capable of solving biochemical and health-related problems and go on to hold leadership positions in both the public and private sectors.

Requirements for admission

Students who hold an M.Sc. degree from another recognized university (or from another McGill Department) may be considered for admission at the Ph.D. level. These candidates register at the Ph.D. 2 level.

Completing the Ph.D. program


Candidates entering at Ph.D. 1 must follow a program of at least three years residency at the University; this is the minimum requirement, and there is no guarantee that the degree can be completed in this time. Candidates entering at Ph.D. 2 must follow a program of at least two years of residency at the University. In the doctoral program, students must be registered on a full-time basis for one more year after completion of the residency (i.e., Ph.D. 4 year) before continuing as additional session students until completion of the program.

All doctoral students are required to:

  • Successfully complete and pass BIOC 696 (Seminars in Biochemistry) as well as complete and pass 6 credits of complementary courses at the 500-600 level, and any additional coursework that may have been stipulated by the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) at the time of acceptance. (65% (B-) is the minimum passing grade at the graduate level).
  • Successfully complete the “Research Seminar 1” (BIOC 701), to be given in the third semester of graduate studies.
  • Successfully complete and pass an oral “Ph.D. Thesis Proposal” (BIOC 702), to be presented to the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) in the 5th or 6th semester from the commencement of graduate studies, after which the candidate is given approval to continue in the Ph.D. program.
  • Successfully complete and pass, with the written approval of the Research Advisory Committee (RAC), the “Research Seminar 2” (BIOC 703) normally held as part of the Monday seminar series, approximately 6 months prior to submission of the Ph.D. Thesis.
  • Submit a thesis and defend it orally.

Doctoral-level courses


Students must complete 6 credits at the 500-600 level. Students entering without credit for courses equivalent to BIOC 450 (Protein Structure and Function) or BIOC 454 (Nucleic Acids) as part of their previous program(s) will be required to complete the course(s) for which prior credit is lacking in addition to the 6 credit course requirement.

Registration for compulsory comprehensives (BIOC 701, 702, 703)

All students entering or registered in the Ph.D. program must register for the comprehensive courses (see table below). Registration for these courses is not initiated until instructed by the Student Affairs Officer (Christine Laberge).

Questions concerning registration for comprehensives should be directed to the Student Affairs Officer. Please refer to the guidelines for Research Seminar 1, Ph.D. Thesis Proposal, and Research Seminar 2.


Required Courses (3 credits)

BIOC 696D1 Seminars in Biochemistry 1.5
BIOC 696D2 Seminars in Biochemistry 1.5
BIOC 701 Research Seminar 1 0
BIOC 702 Ph.D. Thesis Proposal 0
BIOC 703 Research Seminar 2 0

Students must complete BIOC 701 in the third term after admission to the program, BIOC 702 in the 5th or 6th term, and BIOC 703 approximately 6 months prior to submissin of the Ph.D. thesis.

Complementary Courses (6 credits)

At least one course from the courses listed below plus additional credits to a minimum of 6 total complementary course credits of 500-level or higher courses in the biomedical and allied sciences, chosen in consultation with the research director.

BIOC 670 Biochemistry of Lipoproteins 3

BIOC 600 Adv Strat in Genetics&Genomics

OVERVIEW: Advanced technologies and methods in genomics research, presented by experts actively pursuing the experimental approaches discussed. Topics covered include various next-generation sequencing and microarray strategies and techniques, bioinformatic aspects and their use for cancer genetics, functional genomics using RNAi and chromatin IP (ChIP), proteomics, phosphoproteomics and metabolomics, genome structure and 3D organization, advanced mouse model methods, microRNA target prediction, validation and more.

BIOC 603 Genomics and Gene Expression 3
BIOC 604 Macromolecular Structure 3
BIOC 605 Protein Biology & Proteomics 3
EXMD 615 Essentials of Glycobiology 3
EXMD 635D1 Experimental/Clinical Oncology 3
EXMD 635D2 Experimental/Clinical Oncology 3

The Graduate Advisory Committee may stipulate additional course work depending on the background of the candidate. BIOC 450 (Protein Structure and Function) and BIOC 454 (Nucleic Acids) are additional requirements for those who have not previously completed equivalent courses in their prior training.