At the master’s level, students work closely with a supervisor and their research is supported by that supervisor. Thus, no student is accepted into the program unless a faculty member agrees to supervise that student.
Satisfactory progress in research constitutes credit for the mandatory BIOL 6021 3.0 (first year) and BIOL 6022 3.0 (second year) courses, which are the annual MSc Research Progress Evaluation exercises. All entering students develop a research proposal with their supervisor in the first term of their degree studies. Progress in research is monitored by the Supervisory Committee (usually the supervisor plus one other faculty) through meetings with the student. The MSc Research Progress Evaluation, usually in the second and fifth terms of study, requires that students submit a written report of their research findings, present and review their research and course work progress with their supervisory committee, and satisfy the requirement of regular attendance at the graduate student seminar series and one presentation during the degree program. In the event of failure to achieve satisfactory progress, the student will normally be required to withdraw from the program.
In addition, each MSc student must take a minimum of 6 credits from Biology Graduate Courses, including one of BIOL5038 1.5 (Current Topics in Molecular and Cellular Biology), BIOL 5086 1.5 (Critical Skills in Ecology and Evolution), or BIOL 5100 1.5 (Critical Skills in Animal Physiology). MSc students in the Neuroscience Graduate Diploma program may take BIOL 5146 3.0 (Fundamentals in Neuroscience I) in lieu of BIOL 5038, BIOL 5086 or BIOL 5100.
In some cases, students may be required by their supervisory committee to take up to two full undergraduate courses (or equivalent) in biological science if this deemed is necessary to strengthen the student’s background.
Research Thesis and Oral Examination
Candidates must conduct a laboratory or field research project and report the results in appropriate thesis form. The research and thesis should demonstrate the candidate’s independence, originality, and understanding of the area of investigation and should be of a high enough calibre to be publishable in peer-reviewed scientific journals. After the formal submission of the thesis, which requires supervisory committee approval, an oral examination is held centering on the research thesis and related topics. The research thesis must be approved by a majority of the examining committee prior to final submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Normal Time Limits
Full-time candidates should normally complete all requirements for the MSc degree in biology within two years of full time study. Subsequent years will be permitted only as a part-time student, in which case students are not guaranteed financial support.