MSc/PhD in Human Genetics (Thesis Programs)

Getting Started

Follow the steps below to begin your application to the Department of Human Genetics.

  • Review admission requirements below to determine if you are eligible to apply
  • Submit online application (non-refundable)
  • Upload all supporting documents using the McGill Online Admissions System
  • Receive offer of admission on online admissions system.
  • Accept offer of admission on online admissions system.

To make sure you are fully aware of the procedure and required documents for applying to a MSc or PhD thesis program, consult Applying to McGill.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MSc or PhD Thesis Programs in Human Genetics, applicants must hold at least a Bachelor's degree in a biological sciences program from a recognized university with a minimum of:

  • 6 credits in cellular and molecular biology or biochemistry;
  • 3 credits in math or statistics and;
  • 3 credits in genetics.

Applicants must also have a minimum cGPA of 3.20 out of a possible 4.0. This means that grades will be converted from the scale used at the sending institution to that used by the Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies Office of McGill.

Applicants must include a CV and a Personal Statement in their online application.

Applications without secured supervisor and funding will be deemed incomplete. 

All graduates from non-Canadian universities are strongly advised to take the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam and, in addition, may find it useful to take the specialized GRE in Biology, although the Department of Human Genetics does not require GRE Scores.


Supervision & Funding

PLEASE NOTE: Until you have confirmed supervision and funding of your PhD or MSc Thesis Program, your application is considered incomplete.

In order to receive an Offer of Admission into the Department of Human Genetics as a graduate student, you must secure a supervisor who is willing to accept you into their lab. It is not the responsibility of the Graduate Program Coordinator or the Student Affairs Coordinator to arrange supervision, nor does the Department take responsibility for securing funding for any graduate applicant.

Please consult our Faculty listings (below) to help inform your supervisor selection. If you have not been in contact with a professor already regarding your research interests, then you should consider contacting as many professors as possible in order to increase your chances of receiving a positive response. Some professors are already engaged in other projects or with other students, and still others require prospective students (especially international applicants) to have already secured funding before you contact them, so be prepared and have as much information as possible about your funding options ready before you send your inquiries. Your cGPA is also an especially important factor in determining your appeal to a professor; a minimum cGPA of 3.5 in your last two years of study is required to be eligible for a tuition waiver!

If you are currently an undergraduate student starting the last year of your Bachelor's program, you are encouraged apply at your home university for studentship support to one of the agencies which grant studentships prior to acceptance into a graduate program. Applying for admission to a graduate program having already obtained such an award will greatly increase your chances of securing a supervisor.

Canadian students may apply for CIHR and NSERC studentships, Quebec students may apply for FQRNT/FRSQ studentships, and Canadian students from outside Quebec may apply to their provincial scholarship program.

The Graduate Training Committee requires that all students accepted into the thesis graduate program be financially supported. Current minimum levels of support plus the full amount of tuition. These amounts are guaranteed for up to 2 years for M.Sc. students, 4 years for Ph.D. students who enter as Ph.D. (2) and 5 years for those who enter as Ph.D. (1).

Your stipend must come from one of the following three sources:

  1. studentships (available from both internal and external agencies on a competitive basis),
  2. research grants awarded to supervisors and
  3. financial support from foreign governments, providing it is documented, is acceptable. Personal or family financing of graduate careers is ordinarily not permitted. Other funding options (scholarships, grants, etc.) are up to the student to pursue. For more complete information on student funding, please visit our webpage at:


We require an electronic copy of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended to be uploaded to your online application. The transcript must clearly show your name and the institution attended. Scans or screenshots are acceptable, provided the file size does not exceed 3MB.

Applicants who have graduated from universities outside of North America may upload scans of transcripts (with official translations) that clearly display the signature or seal attesting to the authenticity of the transcript from an official of the institution or the Ministry of Education.

If your final grades are not yet available (i.e. you will graduate in the coming months), you may still upload your unofficial electronic transcript with the grades for courses completed to date and any courses you are in the process of completing. 

Please note: applicants are only asked to submit hard copies of transcripts if accepted into their Program. Upon acceptance, they will be contacted with information on how and where to submit them.

Language Skills

Since English is the primary language of instruction and communication at McGill, you must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English, regardless of your citizenship status or country of origin. Both TOEFL and IELTS tests are accepted.

Minimum scores of 600 on the TOEFL paper-based test, 250 on the computer based test or 100 on the Internet based test are required. Each component or subsection score requires a minimum score of 20.

On the IELTS the minimum standard for consideration is 7.

McGill University has this language requirement to ensure that all students will have the opportunity for success in their chosen program. You will find information on when proof of proficiency is required, not required and where exemptions may occur at the following website:

TOEFL scores must be sent electronically by the testing agency to McGill University using our institution code of 0935. Scanned copies of results or hard copies sent in the mail will not be entered as received in your application. IELTS scores also must be submitted electronically by the test center to McGill University

Please consider also that approximately half of the patients seen in the McGill-affiliated hospitals are French-speaking. Though it is not a strict requirement for admission, the committee strongly recommends that candidates make an effort to improve their skills in French.

Letters of Reference

Applicants are required to list TWO instructors or supervisors familiar with their work and preferably with their personal attributes. McGill will then contact these referees with information on completing a referee questionnaire or instructions on how to upload a letter of reference. 

 The following criteria must be followed in order for the electronic reference letter to be considered acceptable:

  • The letter should be signed by the referee (electronic signatures are acceptable), scanned if necessary and converted to a PDF before uploading.
  • The letters must be specific as to which program the student has applied and include information that would aid an admissions committee in making an informed decision.
  • The letter must be dated and must not be more than 12 months old; this time period conforms to best practices for other documents submitted in support of an application to GPS.
  • The referee must indicate his/her position and full contact information at the institution. (This information allows for 3rd party verification of the referee when necessary.)

Application Deadlines

Current and future application deadlines are available here: 


 For detailed information visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Website for MSc or PhD Tuition Fees & Charges.


For any questions regarding the application procedure for the PhD or MSc in Human Genetics Program, please contact the Department of Human Genetics Student Affairs Coordinator using one of the following contact options.

E-mail: grad.hg [at]
Telephone: 514-398-6890

For questions regarding course selection, funding, supervision and tuition, please contact the Department of Human Genetics Graduate Program Coordinator using one of the following contact options.

E-mail: dept.humangenetics [at]
Telephone: 514-398-4198

Back to top