Why should I?
- McGill Department of Biochemistry offers research training over a wide range of topics in the field, and an opportunity to do research at a level comparable or superior to the best institutions in Canada, and competitive world-wide
- Graduate work in our department emphasizes lab research, rather than coursework or additional examinations, and is streamlined compared to some other universities
- Graduate degrees open up high-paying career possibilities in industry and academia
How do graduate degrees work?
- Our graduate students are paid researchers – real scientists
- Students with a BSc. join the program as MSc. students, and take two or more courses
- After about two years, if the research is going well, students can continue in the same lab as PhD. students without having to finish the MSc. degree first
- Completing an MSc. provides an early chance to switch labs or universities
- An MSc. degree should take around 2 years, a PhD. around 5 years
- An MSc. student should demonstrate technical proficiency; a PhD. student should demonstrate mastery of the research
- Tip: join as an MSc. student, but envision yourself as a PhD.
How do I apply?
- Instructions for submitting application packages are on the department web site Graduate admissions
- Finding a good supervisor is key: do some background research on professors who interest you
- Contact professors by e-mail, with copies of CVs and unofficial transcripts attached
What do I look for in a professor?
What kind of research does s/he do? Does the topic excite me?
- Do a PubMed (not Google!) search of prospective supervisors, and of the research subject too
- Read a few papers from prospective labs – not necessarily in great detail, but to get a feeling for the techniques and experimental models
What kind of group do I want to work in?
- Large vs. small groups; established vs. expanding; teamwork vs. independence
- Contact the professor by e-mail and ask for an interview in-person or by phone.
- If possible, talk informally to people actually working in prospective labs – what is the atmosphere like? Who is around to train people? Labs are as different as the people in them
What can I do to prepare myself?
- Work in labs as a summer student, or for research project courses (BIOC462 and BIOC491 at McGill, or the equivalent in your BSc program)
- Look for part-time work in labs during the school year
- Ace your exams...
Who else can I talk to?
- Try the BGSS (Biochem Grad Students Society) for a student viewpoint, contact us: mcgill.bgss [at] gmail.com
- Contact the Student Affairs Officer, christine.laberge [at] mcgill.ca (Christine Laberge) and make an appointment