Admission into the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences M.Sc. program requires a minimum of a B.Sc. with B+ average (8.5/12) in Biochemistry. Students with a Chemistry, Molecular Biology, Medicine, Microbiology or Physics degree are also eligible for admission. While most students are admitted to our programs as M.Sc. students, undergraduates having exceptional grades (consistent A to A+ average in all four years of study) and research experience may be considered for direct admission to our PhD program. Students may request consideration for admission by this route by emailing the Associate Chair, Graduate Education, (Dr. Brian Coombes) or Graduate Secretary (Lisa Kush). Decisions are made by the Graduate Recruitment Committee in direct consultation with the student.
Students applying to our program who already hold a M.Sc. degree from another institution can be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program subject to approval from our admissions panel. Such students are required to take a qualifying exam, similar in structure and content to a transfer exam within their first nine months of graduate school. In some cases, the admissions panel will recommend students holding a M.Sc. be admitted to the program as a Master's student. All students who enter into the M.Sc. program have an opportunity to transfer directly into the Ph.D. program once here and established in the lab.
The Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Graduate program will assemble all documentation.
- Initial assessments of completed applications are conducted in March. All students will be informed of our decision no later than April 30th. The Department Admissions Committee will review applications weighing many factors including the applicant's scholastic record, letters of recommendation, letter of intent, prior performance in laboratory research, and often personal interviews.
- Acceptance into our Graduate Program is contingent upon identifying and being accepted by a suitable supervisor in our program. Therefore we strongly encourage students to contact faculty members and to visit our department to discuss possible research projects.
- The department will send all favourable applications to the School of Graduate Studies for final approval.
- An official letter of admission will be sent from the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants may be accepted conditionally before completing their present degree.
- Successful applicants are required to accept or decline their offer of admission within the specified time by completing an on-line response form.
The most important step on the road to graduate studies is choosing a supervisor. While we assume that many applicants will already have an idea of what they want to study and/or which faculty member they want to work with, we know that many applicants have not made this decision at the time of application. We therefore have a system of laboratory rotations for new students. In their first semester as graduate students, rotating students work in three different labs in the department for one month each and choose their home lab at the end of this time. Students should indicate on their application form whether they wish to take advantage of this system or whether they have already settled on a supervisor. Note that in order to opt out of the rotations program, the student's prospective supervisor has to have agreed to take them up front. Students choosing the rotations system choose three rotation labs once they've been accepted to the program. We encourage any interested candidates to contact prospective faculty members to inquire about possible openings at any time, before or after submitting their application.
The following items are required before your online application will be considered complete.
- ONE official transcript of academic work completed to date, sent directly from the issuing institution. If the final transcript does not show that a completed degree has been conferred, an official copy of your diploma is also required.
- TWO completed electronic references from academic referees, completed using the E-Reference system initiated by the Onince Application Form. Please note we do not accept references from employers.
- If English is not your native language, an official copy of your TOEFL score, or other evidence of competency in English is required. A minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 92 (580 on the paper-based TOEFL test or 237 on the computer based TOEFL test) or IELTS “Academic Version” with overall score of 6.5 (5.5 minimum score in each section). Our institution code is 0936 and department code is 34.
- Statement of Interest – Please include a one-page summary describing your research experience (including co-op work, honours project, summer work, etc), why you wish to pursue graduate studies in our program and the areas of research that interest you.
All documents should be sent directly to:
Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences
1280 Main Street West
Health Sciences Centre, Room 4N59
L8S 4K1 Canada
Graduate Tuition Fees
Applications must be accompanied by the required $100 application fee. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid in Canadian dollars by means of a credit card payment or a cheque (or world money order) drawn on a Canadian bank made payable to McMaster University. Cheques (or world money order) drawn on Canadian banks should also include a $15 processing fee for a total of $115. If you pay the application fee by cheque or world money order, please send the cheque (or world money order) to the following address:
School of Graduate Studies
Gilmour Hall, Room 212
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario Canada L8S 4L8
Your application will not be considered for admission until your cheque (or world money order) has been received.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose McMaster University?
McMaster University (founded in 1887), known for its high standard of excellence and a creative, innovative approach to learning and research, is located in the city of Hamilton in the beautiful province of Ontario, Canada. The campus is situated in the west end of the city on approximately 300 acres of natural parkland. The campus atmosphere is friendly, casual and cosmopolitan, with many support facilities and groups assisting students with their day-to-day needs and concerns. The University is home to students from over 70 different countries.
Why choose Biochemistry?
Our research laboratories are served by state of the art facilities. These include the Biophotonics Laboratory for microscopy and molecular imaging as well as the McMaster High Throughput Screening Laboratory for small molecule screening and the new Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology. We are also well-served with facilities for mass spectrometry, electron microscopy, molecular biology, physical biochemistry and structural biology. Thus we are well-positioned to study life and disease using high-throughput biology and modern drug discovery methods that are truly at the forefront of modern biomedical research in the world.
Click here to see our Research Areas
What kind of jobs do students get after graduating?
Graduates in Biochemistry at McMaster are especially well prepared for careers in academia, government and industry. Our Ph.D. students typically pursue post-doctoral studies in academics or industry within Canada or worldwide. Many of our past graduates are now faculty members at universities in Canada and the U.S. The following is a list of where a Biochemistry degree can lead you:
- Research and Product Development
- Public Health/Infection Control
- Forensic Biological Sciences (Crime-related)
- Scientific Journalism
What are the minimum requirements for admission to the Biochemistry Graduate Program?
The minimum requirements for admission to our graduate program is an Honours Bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum B+ average (8.5 on the McMaster University scale or 77% -79%). In most years, we restrict admission to students with higher averages than this. Students with a degree in Chemistry, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Medicine, Microbiology, Computer Science or Physics are eligible for admission. We also look closely at the research experience of students usually in the form of a senior undergraduate research thesis or summer employment in a research laboratory. Degrees and grades from foreign universities are evaluated for their equivalency to McMaster´s. Students applying to our program who already hold a M.Sc. degree from another institution can be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program subject to approval from our admissions panel.
How do I apply to your program at McMaster University?
Prior to submitting an application, students considering graduate school should review the research interests of the faculty in which they are particularly interested. You must apply for admission online and pay the $100 application fee. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid in Canadian dollars by credit card, cheque, or world money order drawn on a Canadian bank and payable to McMaster University.
Click here for more instructions.
Do you have an application deadline?
We strongly encourage students submit applications by the deadlines listed below for admission to the program. International deadlines are set earlier in order to obtain study permits.
Do I have to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Test?
All students who do NOT speak English as their native language (language first learned and spoken at home) must take the TOEFL Test. An official copy of your TOEFL score, or other evidence of competency in English is required. A minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 92 (580 on the paper-based TOEFL test or 237 on the computer-based TOEFL test) is required, or IELTS "Academic Version" with overall score of 6.5(5.5 minimum score in each section). Our institution code is 0936 and our department code is 34.
Can I send photocopies of my transcripts and TOEFL for initial consideration of admission?
All original documents must be received before your application will be considered for admission.
Can I check the status of my application?
Where do I send my application materials?
Applications will not be considered until ALL application materials, including the application fee, have been received. Please send all application material directly to the following mailing address:
Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
Health Sciences Centre, Room 4N59
1280 Main Street West
L8S 4K1, Canada
When will I be notified if I am offered admission?
The Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Admissions Committee will meet to review all completed applications. The department will then recommend their favourable decisions to the School of Graduate Studies Office. Successful applicants will receive an official letter of offer from the School of Graduate Studies during the month of April.
Do I need to commit to a specific faculty member or lab in advance in order to receive financial aid?
Acceptance into our Graduate Program is conditional upon reaching a mutually agreeable student supervisor agreement. We strongly encourage students to contact faculty members and to visit our department to discuss possible research projects.
Can I call individual faculty on the phone and discuss mutual interests?
We welcome your call or email and strongly encourage you to visit our campus. You should speak with one or more of our faculty about their research and your specific research interest.
How difficult is it to get accepted into the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program?
The requirements listed for the department are minimum. Typically 1 out of 10 applications we receive are ranked high enough for admission. However we do not accept students according to application numbers, academic excellence is the primary criterion for admission. A good undergraduate transcript is important, but will be carefully weighed with research experience, letters of reference, scholarship support, and publications (if any). Every application is reviewed by members of our Graduate Admissions Committee and every application is discussed fully at admissions committee meetings.
What are the typical times of completion of a degree in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences?
According to recent figures submitted to the 2002 Ontario Council on Graduate Studies review, McMaster´s Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program has among the shortest times to completion at both the M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels of comparable departments in Canada. Reducing these numbers further is a stated departmental goal. Typical completion times are 2 years for M.Sc. studies and 5 years for Ph.D. studies.
Is there a rotation system?
Yes. Students ranked highly enough are eligible for 3 one-month rotations in different laboratories during their first semester in the program and, while this is optional, we strongly encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity.
What kind of financial support can I expect as a graduate student?
All M.Sc. and Ph.D. students who are accepted into our program are awarded a graduate stipend. The stipend is designed to cover the costs of tuition and living expenses. M.Sc. students normally receive support for up to two years from the time of initial registration in the program, and Ph.D. students up to four years. There is no guarantee of financial support after these respective periods.
Current graduate stipends:
- $20,300 per year for M.Sc. and $23,500 per year for Ph.D.
- International students receive an additional $6,500 visa student bursary to offset the cost of tuition which is significantly higher than for domestic students.
Qualified full-time graduate students may be offered a teaching assistantship at the time of their admission to their first year of study (if available). The maximum duration of guaranteed teaching assistantships is two years for M.Sc. students and four years for Ph.D. students.
What are the approximate expenses for one year of graduate school?
Academic Expenses (2012):
Canadian Tuition Fees: $7,008.00
Visa Tuition Fees: $15,813.00
Miscellaneous/Incidental fees (2012): $820.00
University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP): $684.00
UHIP is a compulsory plan for all students at McMaster University holding a valid student authorization issued by Citzenship and Immigration Canada and registered in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program.
Estimated Living Expenses*
Accommodation: $380 to $760 per month
Meals: $275 to $375 per month
* All figures are in Canadian dollars. All fees subject to change.
Where can I get more information on Graduate Studies at McMaster?
If you require further information about the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, please contact:
Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences
McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West
L8S 4K1, CANADA
Tel: (905) 525-9140, ext. 22064
Fax: (905) 522-9033