Admission Requirements & Deadlines

As of October 2012, McGill’s formerly paper-based graduate application process has been replaced with a more convenient electronic version. For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents in the new version, please see:

Admission process

Admission is based on the candidate’s academic record, letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae, and personal statement. Once a student has submitted all the required documents, the applicant’s file will be reviewed by the Graduate Admission Committee. Files that do not meet the minimum requirement will not be considered. Applicants must also be accepted by a research supervisor who is a faculty member or associate member of the Department of Biochemistry. Recommendation for admission will be made once the applicant has secured a supervisor and adequate financial support. Financial support should be in the form of a stipend from the supervisor's research grant or a fellowship held by the student.

Admission requirements

Applicants to the M.Sc. program must hold a B.Sc. degree or its equivalent in Biochemistry or in related disciplines from a recognized institution. A minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.2/4.0 (B+) on the McGill University scale is required.

Applicants who have completed their M.Sc. degree may be admitted into the Ph.D. program. The M.Sc. degree should be in Biochemistry or in related disciplines from a recognized institution, or from another McGill Department. A minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.2/4.0 (B+) on the McGill University scale is required. Accepted candidates enter the program at Ph.D. year 2.

Students already in the M.Sc. program may transfer to the Ph.D. program if all the necessary criteria are met (see Master’s program description), and enter the program at Ph.D. year 2. Exceptional applicants with a B.Sc. degree may be considered for admission into the Ph.D. program without completion of a M.Sc. degree, on a case-by-case basis; accepted candidates enter the program at Ph.D. year 1.

A background in biochemistry, or related disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physiology, microbiology, is preferred. In examining a candidate's transcripts, the admissions committee looks for:

  • a general background in organic and physical chemistry;
  • two terms of cellular and molecular biology;
  • two terms of metabolic and macromolecular biochemistry;
  • at least one advanced level course in protein structure and function, and in nucleic acid function and biochemistry;
  • adequate laboratory experience, preferably in independent research

It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain a research supervisor. Applicants are strongly encouraged to email before submitting an application to see if there is a potential for a supervisor (please include your transcript and CV). Applicants are also advised to look into the research interests of potential supervisors and to contact them. (Connecting with a Supervisor)

Special Requirements for International Applicants


All international applicants whose mother tongue is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized Canadian institution (anglophone or francophone) must submit results from the Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS).


Paper-based test (PBT): a minimum score of 600
Internet-based Test (IBT): a minimum overall score of 86 with each component score not less than 20

IELTS: A minimum overal band score of 6.5

GRE scoresThe GRE is not required, but recommended for international students. The Biochemistry subject test is now part of the Biology test, the  most important sub-score is Cellular and Molecular Biology, followed by Evolution. Organismal Biology and Ecology is less important. Please note: once you apply it might indicate GRE on checklist but it is not required so if you don't submit GRE, your file will still be reviewed for admissions.

Important Note: Effective for applicants to Winter 2015,  McGill University only accepts IELTS scores submitted electronically by an IELTS test center. No paper test report forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Applicants must directly ask the test center where the test is taken to send the test scores to McGill electronically using the IELTS system.  IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to McGill. 

Deadlines to apply to program (Please note the following deadlines for applications to the Graduate Program in Biochemistry)

Fall Winter
International Applicants: April 20 International Applicants: September 1
Canadian/PR Applicants: June 15 Canadian/PR Applicants: November 1

Deadlines for supervisor acceptance

International Applicants: May 15 International Applicants: September 30
Canadian/PR Applicants: July 15 Canadian/PR Applicants: November 30

NEXT STEP: Complete the On-Line Application

All applications for admission to the Graduate Program in Biochemistry for the degrees of M.Sc. or Ph.D. must be made electronically.

UPLOAD YOUR SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS INTO MINVERVA (this must be done before your application can be processed)

Documents Required

  • Uploaded unofficial transcript(s) of complete university level academic records to date (this also applies to McGill University transcripts). It is desirable to upload a list of the titles of the courses taken, if transcripts give code numbers only. If it is not clear on the transcript, applicants may be asked to submit proof of having obtained the degree on the transcript

Note: All transcripts received via the upload process are considered unofficial. If you are offered admission, you will be required to send the official transcript(s) to the following location. Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. Please do not send these official records until they are requested.

  • Two letters of recommendation: McGill will request the letters of recommendation on your behalf from referees you identify on the application form.
  • Curriculum Vitae and Personal Statement (text can be the same as Applicant Statement on the online application).
  • Arrange for test scores (i.e. TOEFL, GMAT, GRE), if applicable, to be sent directly from the testing agency. You must indicate the McGill University.

Please contact christine.laberge [at] (Christine Laberge) for any questions you might have about your application.

Application fees and other charges are listed on the student accounts website.




Back to top