Microbiology and Immunology

  • Please note that the application period for Winter 2023 has closed
  • Fall 2023 application deadline for international students is January 15, 2023 (or earlier, if specified by the department below)
  • Fall 2023 application deadline for Canadian students varies by department (see below)

Microbiology and Immunology


  • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Duff Medical Building, Room 511
  • 3775 University Street
  • Montreal QC H3A 2B4
  • Canada
  • Telephone: 514-398-3061
  • Fax: 514-398-7052
  • Email: grad.microimm [at] mcgill.ca
  • Website: mcgill.ca/microimm

About Microbiology and Immunology

The Department offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of M.Sc. and Ph.D.. Each program is tailored to fit the needs and backgrounds of individual students. The graduate program is designed to offer students state-of-the-art training, concentrating on four key areas of research:

  • cellular and molecular immunology;
  • microbial physiology and genetics;
  • molecular biology of viruses;
  • medical microbiology.

Basic research discoveries in microbiology may lead to improved drug design and vaccine development to treat and prevent diseases. The Department has many notable facilities and resources, including a cell sorter, ultra centrifuges, confocal microscope, real-time PCR facilities, cryostat for immunocytochemistry, and facilities for radio-isotope studies and infectious diseases. We foster close ties with McGill’s teaching hospitals and research centres to promote multidisciplinary research.

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Microbiology and Immunology (Thesis) (45 credits)

The primary goal of this program is to provide students with unique opportunities to learn experimental designs and fundamental research techniques, and objectively synthesize information from scientific literature. These tools enable the students to focus on major research topics offered by the Department: molecular microbiology, mycology, microbial physiology, virology, genetics, immunology, drug design, and aspects of host–parasite relationships. Each M.Sc. student chooses their preferred major research area and research supervisor. Following an interview, the student is presented with a research topic and offered a studentship (amounts vary). Each student must register for our graduate courses (two seminars, two reading and conference courses). If pertinent to the student’s research program, the research adviser may advise the student to take additional courses.

Most of our students, after one year, are proficient researchers, and some first authors of a research publication. M.Sc. students may fast-track to the Ph.D. program after three terms of residency. The remaining students advance their microbiology background by opting to enter into medicine, epidemiology, biotechnology, or pharmaceutical disciplines.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Microbiology and Immunology

The primary goal of the Ph.D. program is to create a self-propelled researcher, proficient in experimental designs and advanced methodologies applicable to the varied and rapidly changing disciplines in microbiology and immunology. Close research supervision and bi-weekly laboratory sessions impart the requisite research discipline and objective assessment of acquired or published research data.

A Ph.D. student, if promoted from our M.Sc. program, without submitting the thesis, is required to register for one additional graduate seminar and one additional reading and conference course, but the bulk of their time is devoted to research. Other requirements include a yearly presentation of the accumulated research data to the Ph.D. supervisory committee, successfully clearing the Ph.D. comprehensive examination, two years after registration into the Ph.D. program, and finally submission of a thesis. The research theme must be original, and the acquired data and hypothesis must be defended orally by the student. Each student receives a stipend for the entire duration and a minimum six-semester residency is required for the completion of the program.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2023-2024 (last updated Mar. 29, 2023).

Microbiology and Immunology Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Admission Requirements


Candidates are required to hold a B.Sc. degree in microbiology and immunology, biology, biochemistry, or another related discipline; those with the M.D., D.D.S., or D.V.M. degrees are also eligible to apply. The minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) for acceptance into the program is 3.2 out of 4.0.

Applicants to graduate studies 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 documented proof of competency in oral and written English. Before acceptance, appropriate exam results must be submitted directly from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) Office. An institutional version of the TOEFL is not acceptable. Applications will not be considered if a TOEFL or IELTS test result is not available.

  • TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT): a minimum overall score of 86 (no less than 20 in each of the four components)
  • IELTS: a minimum overall band score of 6.5

The TOEFL Institution Code for McGill University is 0935.


Students who have satisfactorily completed an M.Sc. degree in microbiology and immunology, a biological science, or biochemistry, or highly qualified students enrolled in the departmental M.Sc. program, may be accepted into the Ph.D. program provided they meet its standards.

Application Procedures

McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply.

See University Regulations & Resources > Graduate > Graduate Admissions and Application Procedures > Application Procedures for detailed application procedures.

All applicants must approach academic staff members directly during or before the application process since no applicants are accepted without a supervisor.

Additional Requirements

The items and clarifications below are additional requirements set by this department:

Application Dates and Deadlines

Application opening dates are set by Enrolment Services in consultation with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS), while application deadlines are set by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and may be revised at any time. Applicants must verify all deadlines and documentation requirements well in advance on the appropriate McGill departmental website; please consult the list at mcgill.ca/gps/contact/graduate-program.

Information on application deadlines is available at mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/how-apply/application-steps/application-deadlines.

Online applications and all required documents must be submitted prior to the application deadline.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2023-2024 (last updated Mar. 29, 2023).
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