Dec 08, 2022  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2022-2023 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2022-2023

Biology, M.Sc.


The requirements for the M.Sc. degree appear under the Regulations for the Master’s degree near the beginning of this Calendar. A candidate for the M.Sc. degree in Biology is normally required to spend at least one calendar year in full-time graduate study at McMaster University. Completion of the M.Sc. degree, however, typically requires two years of full-time study.

The M.Sc. candidate is required to complete satisfactorily two half courses in Biology or related fields, both of which must be at the 700 level. Students are encouraged to take BIO 712 “Communication and Scholarship Skills in Biology” during their study. The Department may require the student to take additional graduate or undergraduate courses to resolve program deficiencies. Students must plan their course requirements in consultation with their supervisory committee. A minimum passing grade is B- in each course.The candidate is required to present a thesis that demonstrates the ability to do original research. The candidate must be able to defend his/her thesis in the final oral examination.

The biology graduate program requires that all September entry MSc students must submit a summary of their proposed research and the names of their supervisory committee members by the end of December of the same year.

All M.Sc. students are required to have annual supervisory committee meetings. For new students who start their program in January and May, their first supervisory committee meeting must be held by the end of October of the same year. For new students who start their program in September, their first supervisory committee meeting should be held within 12 months (by the end of August in the following year). However, earlier and more frequent meetings are recommended when the supervisor and/or the student deem such meeting(s) are necessary. Each graduate student must attend at least 12 seminars per year (per 12 months) and the Seminar Attendance form must be submitted at the annual supervisory committee meeting. Please refer to the appropriate section of the program guide available from the Department of Biology for more details.

Ph.D Program Transfer

Students in the M.Sc. program can be considered for transfer to a Ph.D. program, normally after one year. The process of transfer to a Ph.D. program will begin soon after the first supervisory committee meeting, and the examination must be completed within 12-20 months after the start of the M.Sc. program. Prior to transfer, the candidate must have completed a minimum of one graduate half course (at the 700-level) and obtained the average grade of B+ or better. Transfer from the M.Sc. to the Ph.D. program will be initiated by a mutual agreement between the student and supervisor. Refer to the appropriate section of the program guide available from the Department of Biology for more details. Enrolment in the Ph.D. program is dependent upon the successful completion of the transfer examination.


Candidates for the M.Sc. degree who wish to complete the requirements in time for a particular convocation, should submit their theses to the Department a full two weeks ahead of the date given elsewhere in the calendar, in order to give their examiners adequate time to review their theses.)