All of your questions answered

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.

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What are the 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, Biology, Microbiology, Computer Science or Physics are eligible for admission. If your degree is in another discipline within the biological or applied sciences please contact the program administrators to determine eligibility. 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 difficult is it to get accepted into the Biochemistry Graduate Program?

The requirements listed for the department are the minimum. Typically 1 out of 10 applications we receive are ranked high enough for admission. Note however that 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 read by all members of the graduate admissions committee and every application is discussed fully at admissions committee meetings.

What is the application deadline for admission to the Biochemistry Graduate Program?

Our first ranking meeting for May and September Admission will be held late in March, therefore we highly recommend students submit their application before our early deadline date — February 1, 2019.  Our department also accepts graduate students in January and May.   
For all application deadlines, please CLICK HERE

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 will need to submit the application online and pay the $110 application fee. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid in Canadian dollars by credit card.

* Please refer to Graduate Program Application & Admission for more information about our application process and required documents.

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?

You must provide all post-secondary academic work completed to date.  Please attach a scanned PDF version of your ORIGINAL transcript at the time you apply. This will help us evaluate your application while we wait to receive your original documents (sent directly from the issuing institution).   If the transcript does not show that a completed degree has been conferred, any offer that is issued will be considered conditional upon the applicant demonstrating achievement of the appropriate academic standing (B+ or better) and providing proof of same. Electronic transcripts are acceptable for assessment purposes.

Official transcripts are to be sent from the issuing institution to Lisa Kush, Graduate Officer, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Office, Health Sciences Centre, room 4H22, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1.  If the final transcript does not show that all degree requirements have been met or the degree is conferred, an official copy of your diploma is also required. original documents must be received before your application will be  considered for admission.

Where do I send my application materials?

Applications will not be considered until ALL documents (including transcript(s), reference letters, CV and statement of interest), including the application fee, have been received. Please send all application material directly to the following mailing address:

Lisa Kush
McMaster University
Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
Health Sciences Centre, Room 4H22
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario
L8S 4K1, Canada

How will I know when my application is complete?

Once your application has been submitted, you will receive an email confirming your application has been successfully submitted within the next few days.  The email will contain important information about how to access Mosaic to follow the status of your application and your checklist of required documents.

When will I know if I have been accepted?

The Biochemistry Graduate Program Admissions Committee will meet late in March to review all completed applications.  Successful applicants will receive notification by email from the Biochemistry department around mid-April.   Please note, all offers of admission are conditional upon confirming acceptance with a Biochemistry faculty member.     Official letters of admission will be sent from the School of Graduate Studies.  Please contact our office for more details.

What are the approximate expenses for one year of graduate school?

Academic Expenses (2021/22):

  1. In order to register, a student must pay tuition fees which are assessed on a term by term basis.   Supplementary fees are charged in the first term in addition to tuition.  Learn more about these fees on the Registrar’s Office homepage (under Faculty of Health Sciences). Tuition Fees
  2. International Student Health Insurance (UHIP) – This is mandatory.  UHIP
  3. Looking for off-campus living.   Please refer to the Off-Campus Housing for Graduate Students Housing

What kind of financial support can I expect as a graduate student?

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

  • Domestic students will receive $24,081 per year for M.Sc. and $26,208 per year for Ph.D.
  • International students will receive $30,801 per year for M.Sc. and $26,208 per year for Ph.D.

Teaching Assistantships:

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.

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.

What are the typical times of completion of a degree in Biochemistry Graduate Program?

According to figures submitted to the 2020 Ontario Council on Graduate Studies review, McMaster´s Biochemistry 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 4-5 years for Ph.D. studies.

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:

  • Academic
  • Research and Product Development
  • Technician
  • Consulting
  • Public Health/Infection Control
  • Sales/Marketing
  • Forensic Biological Sciences (Crime-related)
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Genetics
  • Scientific Journalism
  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Teacher
  • Physiotherapist
  • Supervision/Administration/Management

How do I find suitable housing?

Off-Campus Resource Centre
Telephone: (905) 525-9140, Ext. 24086
E-mail: macoffcampus@mcmaster.ca

The Off-Campus Housing Office is located at the University Student Centre (MUSC) Basement – B112 lower level of the centre. They will be pleased to help you locate accommodation when you arrive in Hamilton. Note: Most apartments in Canada are unfurnished and it is not normally economically feasible to rent furnished apartments. Prices do not often include heating, light and telephone. Please allow extra for these expenses.