Biology

Biology

Location

Location

  • Department of Biology
  • Stewart Biological Sciences Building
  • 1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue
  • Montreal QC H3A 1B1
  • Telephone: 514-398-5478
  • Fax: 514-398-5069
  • Email: ancil.gittens [at] mcgill.ca
  • Website: mcgill.ca/biology

About Biology

About Biology

The M.Sc. and Ph.D. graduate training programs in the Department of Biology are focused on excellence in research across all scales of the biological world, from molecules to cells, from cells to organisms, and from organisms to ecosystems. Our research is highly interdisciplinary, and so are our trainees and faculty members. Besides doing cutting-edge research, our graduate trainees acquire professional skills, including writing and communication, which are essential for careers inside and outside of academia. McGill Biology graduate students enjoy a rigorous training program with the goal of becoming successful research scientists. A graduate degree in Biology prepares students for a wide range of careers. Alumni have gone on to pursue careers in academia and beyond, including researchers in industry, wildlife biologists, forensic technologists, and science policy advisors, to name a few.

Graduate students choose a project in one of the department’s three main research focus areas:

In addition to the regular M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs, the Biology Department offers specialized program options in Environment and Neotropical Environment (NEO) (see below).

Both the M.Sc. and Ph.D. are research-intensive degrees, and the emphasis in both programs is on developing the intellectual and technical skills necessary for independent research. The main component of both degrees is a thesis presenting the results of this work in the form of a student’s original contribution to scientific knowledge. Formal coursework includes a two-course sequence on research and professional skills, and one to two topical courses, usually in the form of literature-based seminars. To complement their classroom and research training, students regularly attend seminar series and journal clubs, and present their own work annually in a formal seminar.

The Department of Biology is embedded in an outstanding and collaborative research environment with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure in the Stewart Biology Building and Bellini Life Science Complex, as well as excellent field facilities in Canada and abroad. Affiliated centres and field stations include:

The Department of Biology offers financial support to both Canadian and international students. Funding packages include a stipend to offset living expenses and a tuition and fees subsidy. For more information on graduate student funding in Biology, please visit Biology > Graduate Studies > Current Graduate Students > Graduate Funding.

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis) (45 credits)

The Master of Science in Biology is a research-focused program that encompasses a diverse range of topics in biology, from molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems, including development, behaviour and evolution. Research themes include: (1) molecular, cellular and developmental biology, (2) conservation, ecology and evolution, and (3) neurobiology and behaviour. This program allows students considerable flexibility in their choice of research and coursework and encourages cross-disciplinary thinking.

Incoming graduate students will have a strong background in the biological sciences, often with specific strengths in their proposed area of study. To encourage interdisciplinary work, the program may also accept students with a high scholastic standing in fields other than biology (medicine, engineering, chemistry, physics, etc.). Alumni have gone on to pursue a wide range of careers in academia and beyond, including as researchers in industry, wildlife biologists, forensic technologists, or science policy advisors, to name a few.

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis): Environment (45 credits)

The M.Sc. in Biology; Environment option is a research program offered in collaboration with the Bieler School of Environment (BSE). As a complement to the unit’s expertise, the program considers how various dimensions (scientific, social, legal, ethical) interact to define environment and sustainability issues. Students learn to explain and defend their research and thinking in a broader context and understand how knowledge is transferred into action with regard to the environment and sustainability.

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis): Neotropical Environment (45 credits)

The McGill-Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Neotropical Environment Option is aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues relevant to the Neotropics and Latin American countries. NEO favors interdisciplinary approaches to research and learning through the participation of researchers from McGill and from STRI. Students will complete their research in Latin America and NEO's core and complementary courses will be taught in Panama. NEO's educational approach seeks to facilitate a broader understanding of tropical environmental issues and the development of skills relevant to working in the tropics.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology

The Doctor of Philosophy in Biology is a research-focused program that encompasses a diverse range of topics in biology, from molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems, including development, behaviour and evolution. Research themes include: (1) molecular, cellular and developmental biology, (2) conservation, ecology and evolution, and (3) neurobiology and behaviour. This program allows students considerable flexibility in their choice of research and coursework and encourages cross-disciplinary thinking.

Incoming graduate students will have a strong background in the biological sciences, often with specific strengths in their proposed area of study. To encourage interdisciplinary work, the program may also accept students with a high scholastic standing in fields other than biology (medicine, engineering, chemistry, physics, etc.). Alumni have gone on to pursue a wide range of careers in academia and beyond, including as researchers in industry, wildlife biologists, forensic technologists, or science policy advisers, to name a few.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology: Environment

The Ph.D. in Biology - Environment option is coordinated by the Bieler School of Environment (BSE) in partnership with the Biology Department, among several other departments. As a complement to the unit's expertise, the program considers how various dimensions (scientific, social, legal, ethical, etc.) interact to define environment and sustainability issues. Students learn to explain and defend their research and thinking in a broader context and understand how knowledge is transferred into action with regard to the environment and sustainability.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology: Neotropical Environment

The McGill-STRI Neotropical Environment Option (NEO) is a research-based program in which students work under the supervision of researchers from McGill and/or the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues relevant to the Neotropics and Latin American countries, the NEO favors interdisciplinary approaches to research and learning through the participation of researchers from McGill and from STRI. Students will complete their research in Latin America, and the NEO's core and complementary courses will be taught in Panama.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2022-2023 (last updated Mar. 3, 2022) (disclaimer)

Biology Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Biology Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

Admission is based on evaluation by the Graduate Training Committee and acceptance by a faculty member within the department who agrees to supervise and fund the applicant. Before applying to Graduate Studies in Biology, students should contact faculty members with whom they wish to study to see if they are accepting new students (see Faculty Member Profiles).

Prospective Biology graduate students will have a strong background in the biological sciences, often with specific strengths in their proposed area of study. To encourage interdisciplinary work, the program may also accept students with a high scholastic standing in fields other than biology (medicine, engineering, chemistry, physics, etc.).

The minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) is 3.0/4.0, or a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.2/4.0 in the last two years of full-time studies. B.Sc. students who wish to apply directly to Ph.D1 must have a minimum CGPA of 3.5/4.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of 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). A score of 86 on the TOEFL Internet-based test (iBT) with each component score not less than 20, or 6.5 on IELTS is the minimum standard for admission.

Application Procedures

Application Procedures

McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply. All applicants should consult Biology > Graduate Studies > How to Apply page of the Biology Department's website before completing the application form for departmental information on the application process, required documents, summaries of faculty research areas, and contact information.

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

Application Dates and Deadlines

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 Biology Department 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.

  Application Opening Dates Application Deadlines
  All Applicants Non-Canadian citizens (incl. Special, Visiting & Exchange) Canadian citizens/Perm. residents of Canada (incl. Special, Visiting & Exchange) Current McGill Students (any citizenship)
Fall Term: Sept. 15 Jan. 15 Mar. 15 Mar. 15
Winter Term: Feb. 15 Aug. 15 Oct. 15 Oct. 15
Summer Term: N/A N/A N/A N/A

Admission to graduate studies is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit. All inquiries pertaining to admission procedures should be directed to the Graduate Admissions Coordinator, ancil.gittens [at] mcgill.ca (Ancil Gittens).

Note: Applications for Summer term admission will not be considered.
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2022-2023 (last updated Mar. 3, 2022) (disclaimer)

Biology Faculty

Biology Faculty

Chair
Gregor Fussmann
Graduate Program Director
Frédéric Guichard
Tamara Western: Acting GPD
Fiona Soper: Acting Vice-GPD
Emeritus Professors
Gregory G. Brown; A. Howard Bussey; Robert L. Carroll, in memoriam; Ronald Chase; Rajinder S. Dhindsa; Jacob Kalff; Donald L. Kramer; Martin J. Lechowicz; Louis Lefebvre; Barid B. Mukherjee; Gerald S. Pollack; Ronald Poole; Derek Roff; Rolf Sattler.
Professors
Ehab Abouheif; Graham A.C. Bell; Lauren Chapman; Melania Cristescu; Gregor Fussmann; Andrew Gonzalez; Irene Gregory-Eaves; Frédéric Guichard; Siegfried Hekimi; Andrew Hendry, joint appt. with Redpath Museum; Paul F. Lasko; Laura Nilson; Catherine Potvin; Neil M. Price; Richard Roy; Daniel J. Schoen.
Associate Professors
Gary Brouhard; Thomas E. Bureau; David Dankort; Joseph A. Dent; Paul Harrison; Michael Hendricks; Brian Leung; Nam-Sung Moon; Simon Reader; Rodrigo Reyes-Lamothe, on sabbatical); Jon Sakata; Frieder Schoeck; Jacalyn Vogel; Alanna Watt; Tamara Western; Sarah Woolley; Monique Zetka; Hugo Zheng.
Assistant Professors
Abigail Gerhold; Mélanie Guigueno; Anna Hargreaves; Arnold Hayer; Tomoko Ohyama; Lars Iversen; Laura Pollock; Fiona Soper; Jennifer Sunday; Stephanie C. Weber.
Associate Members
BioEngineering: Adam Hendricks
Centre for Research in Neuroscience: Donald Van Meyel
Glen site: Hugh J. Clarke, Daniel Dufort, David Rosenblatt, Teruko Taketo
MNI: Kenneth Hastings
Physics: Paul Francois
Redpath Museum: Rowan Barrett, David Green, Hans Larsson, Virginie Millien, Anthony Ricciardi
Adjunct Professors
BELLUS Health Inc.: Francesco Bellini
Canadian Mountain Network Norma Kassi
IRCM: David Hipfner
STRI: Hector Guzman, William Owen McMillan, Rachel Page, Mark Torchin
Univ. of British Columbia: Jonathan Davies
Univ. of the West Indies: Henri Valles
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2022-2023 (last updated Mar. 3, 2022) (disclaimer)

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis) (45 credits)

The Master of Science in Biology is a research-focused program that encompasses a diverse range of topics in biology, from molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems, including development, behaviour and evolution. Research themes include: (1) molecular, cellular and developmental biology, (2) conservation, ecology and evolution, and (3) neurobiology and...

For more information, see Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis) (45 credits).

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis): Environment (45 credits)

The M.Sc. in Biology; Environment option is a research program offered in collaboration with the Bieler School of Environment. As a complement to the unit’s expertise, the program considers how various dimensions (scientific, social, legal, ethical) interact to define environment and sustainability issues.

For more information, see Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis): Environment (45 credits).

Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis): Neotropical Environment (45 credits)

The McGill-STRI Neotropical Environment Option (NEO) is a research-based option for Masters students in the departments of Anthropology, Biology, Bioresource Engineering , Geography, Natural Resource Sciences, Plant Science, and Political Science at McGill University. NEO is aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues...

For more information, see Master of Science (M.Sc.) Biology (Thesis): Neotropical Environment (45 credits).

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology

The Doctor of Philosophy in Biology is a research-focused program that encompasses a diverse range of topics in biology, from molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems, including development, behaviour and evolution. Research themes include: (1) molecular, cellular and developmental biology, (2) conservation, ecology and evolution, and (3) neurobiology and...

For more information, see Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology: Environment

The Ph.D. in Biology- Environment Option is a research program offered with the Bieler School of Environment and other academic units at McGill. As a complement to the unit's expertise, the program considers how various dimensions (scientific, social, legal, ethical) interact to define environment and sustainability issues.

For more information, see Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology: Environment.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology: Neotropical Environment

Participation in the MSE-Panama Symposium presentation in Montreal is also required.

For more information, see Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Biology: Neotropical Environment.

Faculty of Science—2022-2023 (last updated Mar. 3, 2022) (disclaimer)
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