Choose from a diverse set of courses to support all biochemistry specializations.

Please see the Biochemistry Graduate Student Handbook for more information.

The graduate courses offered by the Department cover a broad range of biochemistry. In addition, courses in other departments/programs, notably Biology, Chemistry, Medical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Chemical Biology may be allowed for graduate credit. Students must consult with their supervisor when selecting courses. The courses are subsequently approved by our Graduate Admissions Committee.

Permission to Register in a Course

Enrolment in all courses is subject to permission from the respective departments. Lisa Kush ( is the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Department contact. Students are to contact outside departments directly to obtain permission to enrol in non-Biochemistry courses. Class sizes are usually small for graduate courses (some programs allow no more than 10 students to enrol) so it is important that students indicate their interests early.

*Note: 700 Level chemistry courses equal to one-quarter credit.

The following 700-level courses (half course credit) are available to graduate students only:

BIOCHEM 720 - Scientific Communication

Instructor:    Matthew Miller
Term 1 & 2:   Sept 2021 – April 2022
Limited to students enrolled in their 2nd year of our Master’s program.

Email: Nadia Butt at for permission

This course will introduce students to various methods of scientific communication and provide them with the tools to become better communicators in speaking, writing, and publishing Topics include effective public speaking strategies, development of effective visual material for presentations and scientific manuscripts, and writing strategies for scientific manuscripts. As part of this course, students will apply the skills learned by presenting a research seminar to the department as part of an ongoing colloquium series, and by writing a scholarly review article on their research topics.

BIOCHEM 733 - Biomedical Commercialization and Entrepreneurship

Instructor:   Leigh Wilson
Term 2 (Winter):   January 2022 – April 2022
Limited enrollment: 20 students

Email: Nadia Butt at for permission

Biomedical Commercialization and Entrepreneurship has been developed with the following goals in mind- to educate learners on the process of research commercialization, and  to enlighten students on the intricacies of the life science industry, prepare them for possible non-academic careers, and foster interest in life sciences entrepreneurship.  Key themes of the course include understanding intellectual property and market assessment, and application of this knowledge to evaluate commercial potential of research projects (from the learner’s own laboratory, where possible).

BIOCHEM 732 - Writing for Science

Instructor:  Lesley MacNeil and Bernardo Trigatti
Term 2 (Winter):    January 2022 – April 2022
Limited enrollment: 15 students (course is full)

Email: Nadia Butt at for permission

Scientific writing spans journalism, manuscripts, patents, posters, grant proposals, commentaries – the list goes on. This course will expose students to a variety of scientific writing, exploring their purpose(s) and how they are evaluated by their intended audiences. A large practical component will have students writing and/or evaluating writing every week. The emphasis will be on guiding students to become better, more effective communicators.

Course Requirements

  • M.Sc. Two one-semester 700-level graduate courses.
  • Ph.D. There is no formal course requirement for doctoral students. Those students who wish to do so may participate in any relevant course offerings in BBS or other departments.

Students must complete courses with at least B- standing. At least one full, 700-level graduate course (or two half courses) must be completed, which must include at least one half, 700-level graduate course in Biochemistry. Supervisory committees may require a student to take courses in addition to those prescribed by departmental regulations. Students may take 600-level courses however these do not count towards degree requirements. Under normal circumstances a student who fails to obtain B- in a prescribed course is asked to withdraw from the program. Those allowed to remain in the program must either repeat or replace the failed course. A failing grade in a prescribed course remains on the transcript.

All graduate students are required to pass the following courses to be “clear to graduate” or to continue into subsequent academic session and we urge all students to register for and take this course at their earliest opportunity.

SGS 101# - Academic Integrity/Research Ethics

ALL new students must complete the “Academic Integrity and Research Ethics Course” administered by the School of Graduate Studies within the first MONTH after their admission into graduate studies at McMaster University. The purpose of this course is to ensure that the standards and expectations of academic integrity and research ethics are communicated early and are understood by incoming students. A graduate student may not obtain a graduate degree at McMaster without having passed this course. In the event that a student fails this course, they must retake it at the earliest opportunity.

To access the course material after you enroll, please complete the following steps:

  • Log in to “Avenue to Learn” at: Your student MacID and password are required.
  • Under “My Courses”, you will have an entry for “SGS 101”. Click on the link.
  • Click the “Content icon” at the top of the page.
  • Content must be viewed before the final quiz is released.
  • To access the quiz, click on the “Assessments icon” at the top of the page. The drop down box will then show quizzes; click on the link.
  • Students must successfully pass the quiz with a mark of 7 out of 10 or greater.
  • The student is informed of their mark on the quiz immediately after submitted electronically.

SGS 201# - Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

SGS 201 – Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
The Ontario government has enacted a Customer Service regulation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, which came into effect with the start of 2010. Senate passed the requirement for all graduate students to complete this training.   The AODA Office maintains the course content and a record of all McMaster students who have taken the course. Completed results will appear on student records.   The course content is offered through: (click AODA CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING). Once you have completed SGS201, AODA will send you a confirmation email.   Please forward your email to and keep a copy for your record.

Log in to:


  • Click on: Student Center tab (at the top)
  • Search tab
  • Course career: select “Graduate” from the drop down menu
  • Term: select appropriate term “2016 Fall”
  • Course Subject: enter “SGS”
  • Course number: 201
  • Click: SEARCH
  • Take note of the course number (ie 15828)
  • Click on: Enroll tab (at the top)
  • Enter course Section “2016 Fall”
  • Continue
  • Save
  • Select a course (drop down menu at the top) – AODA online training
  • Students must answer all 6 questions correctly.

The department holds a one-day departmental workshop on research ethics, data presentation and scientific integrity. This is held in December and is mandatory for all first year graduate students.

The following 600-level courses (half course credit) offered for graduate credit consists of the corresponding 400-level undergraduate course plus additional work, usually in the form of a written assignment.

Gene Regulation and Stem Cells and Development 6E03

Instructors: Mick Bhatia (Term 1)

Recombinant DNA techniques: theory and application to the study of gene function and evolution and to disease diagnostics and gene therapy. Current concepts of gene regulation at different levels.

Molecular Membrane Biology 6N03

Instructors: R. Bishop (Term 2)

Properties and structures of membranes, molecular components of biological membranes and their interactions, strategies for signal transduction cascades, hormones, receptors.

Biochemical Pharmacology 6Q03

Instructor:  Radhey Gupta (Term 1)

Introduction to the basic concepts of pharmacology.  Mechanisms of action of antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anticancer drugs, toxins and how cellular resistance to such agents develop.  Applications of drug-resistant mutants for genetic, biochemical, pharmacological and cell biological studies.

Introduction to Molecular Biophysics 6S03

Instructor:  Term 1

This course is administered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. A presentation of recent contributions made to the fields of molecular and cell biology by the use of physical approaches. Topics include physical properties of biomolecules, protein folding, molecular motors, cell motion and cell adhesion. Emphasis on the critical evaluation of current research literature.

Nutrition and Metabolism 4M03

Instructor:  Jon Schertzer and Greg Steinberg (Term 2)

Study of nutritional biochemistry and the regulation of metabolism; the role of specific nutrients in functional processes of the body in health and disease.