Financial aid to support all of your educational dreams


The Department provides financial support for candidates accepted into the graduate program in the form of a teaching assistantship and departmental research scholarship. 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. All full-time graduate students are automatically considered for financial support.

Current minimum levels of support are:

Canadian International
MSc  $26,489.10  $30,837.00
PhD  $28,828.80  $29,085.19

Many of our students secure scholarships from Provincial or Federal granting agencies including in particular the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, National Science and Engineering Research Council and Ontario Graduate Scholarships.

The Program typically offers half-TAs (equivalent to 130 hours of employment plus 3 hours per term Health & Safety training, totalling 133 hours at $5,978.35 for 2021/22) based on the annual TA allocation received from the Dean of Health Sciences. Teaching assistantship positions within our undergraduate program are assigned according to the academic background of the student by Course Instructors and the Biochemistry Graduate Program Associate Chair of Undergraduate Education. If you have been offered a Teaching Assistantship, you will become an employee of McMaster University in addition to being a graduate student. The terms and conditions of your employment are governed by the collective agreement between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 3906 Unit 1 and the University.

We are committed to recruiting the most qualified students to our graduate programs.  We reward students for excellent performance once they are in the program. The following awards are conferred on an annual basis.

Karl Freeman Prize for Graduate Seminars

The Karl Freeman Prize is awarded annually to graduate students in the department who are deemed to have presented the most outstanding graduate seminars.  The School of Graduate Studies awards the prizes on the recommendation of the Department.  Prizes are given for first and second place seminar ranking in the M.Sc. and Ph.D. program.   This prize was established in 2001 by Karl Freeman, Chair of the Department of Biochemistry from 1973 to 1979 and acting chair for six months during 1982.

Impact Awards (Recognition for Student Publications)

This award will be presented to Biochemistry graduate students for highly meritorious contributions to scientific literature.  A prize for the most impressive first-authored publication(s) by our graduate students will be given based on the recommendation of the Departmental Graduate Admissions Committee.  The department anticipates bestowing up to three awards annually.  Prizes are valued at $500.

Biochemistry Graduate Student Travel Awards

The Department will grant up to 40 competitive $500 travel awards each year to assist students planning to attend scientific meetings.  To qualify, students must be enrolled on a full-time basis in either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program and must present data either as a poster or as a speaker at the meeting they plan to attend.  Students who have received a travel award in the past will only be eligible for another one if funding permits.

Thomas Neilson Award

This award was established in memory of Dr. Thomas Neilson by his family, friends and colleagues as a token of their appreciation and respect.  The Neilson Scholarship will be awarded by the School of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the Departmental Graduate Admissions Committee, based upon performance in the program with particular emphasis upon the overall academic standing, supporting letters, contributions to teaching, the seminar presentation, the transfer report, research contributions and publications.  The award will not necessarily be given every year, and may be awarded twice in a given year. The value of the award is $1,000.

Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - Doctoral Program Scholarship

The Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) provide financial support to high-calibre scholars who are engaged in masters or doctoral programs in the natural sciences or engineering.  To be eligible for support from NSERC, you must and/or will be undertaking a program of study or research in one of the fields that NSERC supports. The proposed research must clearly be intended to advance knowledge in one of the natural sciences or in engineering.  In addition, for awards held at universities, the research must be supervised by a faculty member whose own research is in a field that NSERC supports.  In cases where the proposed research is deemed to fall within the mandate of CIHR, NSERC will not accept the application.  If you hold or have held a CGS from another federal granting agency (CIHR or SSHRC), you are not eligible to apply to NSERC for support at the same level.  Students may submit only one application per academic year to either NSERC or CIHR.

Scholarship Values:

  • CGS D – $35,000 a year (for two or three years)
  • PGS D –  $21,000 a year (for two or three years)

More Information:

  • Applications are prepared and submitted by students in the NSERC online portal before the internal deadline set by McMaster (Sunday, October 3, 2021). Students will not
    be able to submit their applications to the NSERC on-line system until all their required tasks are completed, including referee letters of support. 
  • DEPARTMENT TRANSCRIPT DEADLINE:  Up-to-date official transcripts (both undergraduate and graduate) must be uploaded by the Biochemistry Graduate Assistant.
    Please ensure you include one copy of the University legend for each set of transcripts.  Email ONE pdf file (black in white) to Lisa Kush no later than  Friday, September 24, 2021  
  • BIOCHEMISTRY SLO DESIGNATE:   Lisa Kush, Graduate Officer, Biochemistry (HSC-4H22), Email:
  • For eligibility requirements and application instructions, please refer to the following website:   NSERC Application Instructions
  • Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Program (CGS D) 
  • School of Graduate Studies 2021 Instructions – Fall 2021 NSERC Doctoral Competition Instructions

Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

The Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program encourages excellence in graduate studies at the masters and doctoral levels. An Ontario Graduate Scholarship is awarded for one academic year, which may consist of two or three consecutive terms. The value of the OGS is $5,000.00 per term. Thus, you may receive $10,000.00 for two consecutive terms or $15,000.00 for three consecutive terms. One-term awards are not granted. At McMaster, winners of Ontario Graduate Scholarships may hold a full Teaching Assistantship.    CGS M applicants are also eligible for additional McMaster awards including OGS and other internal awards.   No additional application is necessary.

More Information:  

Canada Graduate Scholarships (Master’s) — CIHR AND NSERC

The CGS M Program provides financial support to high-calibre scholars who are engaged in eligible master’s or, in some cases, doctoral programs in Canada. This support allows these scholars to fully concentrate on their studies in their chosen fields.

The CGS M Program supports up to 2,500 students annually in all disciplines and is administered jointly by Canada’s three federal granting agencies: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC. The selection process and post-award administration are carried out at the institutional level, under the guidance of the three agencies. Students submit their application to the institution at which they intend to hold their award using the RESEARCH PORTAL.   No additional changes can be made after submission.   The portal will instruct applicants to select up to THREE universities where they wish to hold the award.

Applicants can be considered for a CGS M at McMaster University if they select McMaster as one of their institutions on their CGS M application and are:   currently enrolled in, have applied for, or will apply for full-time admission at McMaster in an eligible graduate program.

IMPORTANT:  Up-to-date OFFICIAL transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies must be included in your application. Retain the paper copy of any uploaded transcripts, as you may be asked to provide it for verification purposes. Up-to-date transcripts are defined as transcripts dated or issued in the fall 2021 session (if currently registered) or after the last term completed (if not currently registered). It is important to order your transcript(s) as soon as possible. A McMaster paper copy can take 7-10 business days (please allow time for delivery). Students can request an official paper copy or e-transcript through mosaic. For more details, please refer to the Registrar’s Office to learn how to request your transcript.   Electronic transcripts are protected, therefore you will have to scan before uploading to your application.

More Information:

CIHR (Doctoral Research Awards)


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Research Awards consist of two programs administered through a single application: The Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Awards (CGS-D) program provides special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree in a health-related field in Canada. The maximum amount for a single award is $30,000 per annum (Trainee Stipend) plus $5,000 per annum (research allowance)  for up to three years.  The Doctoral Foreign Study Award (DFSA) provides special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a doctoral degree in a health-related field abroad.

McMaster internal ResearchNet deadline:  Sunday, October 3, 2021   Applications are prepared and submitted by students in ResearchNet by the internal deadline set by McMaster.   Students will not be able to submit their application to ResearchNet until all the required tasks are completed, including the letters from your sponsors. 

Final Submission Date:  McMaster will review the Graduate Studies Approval Form, submit the selected applications to CIHR on behalf of the applicants and inform the applicants of the internal results no later than Monday, November 22, 2021.

More Information:


The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Competitions are highly competitive and the awards are considered very prestigious.  Award winners are selected according to criteria with a higher level of achievement than a typical doctoral scholarship.   A two-stage internal review process is in place at McMaster to help identify the strongest applications and to select the most competitive candidates in each mandate area of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

IMPORTANT:  The VANIER competition is separate from the regular doctoral (CIHR/NSERC) competition, therefore students MUST submit an application to BOTH competitions to be considered for both awards.

To be nominated by the department, please submit the following documents to Lisa Kush ( before our deadline  Friday, August 6 (no extensions):

Research proposal (maximum 2 pages including graphs and images)
– Personal leadership statement (2 pages)
– “Official” academic transcripts (undergraduate and graduate) 
– Canadian Common Curriculum Vitae (CCV)
– Special circumstances (optional)


  • Stage 1(Sept. 7, 2021) Letter of Intent packages due to SGS
  • Stage 2(Oct. 7, 2021) Endorsed candidate applications due to SGS
  • October 20, 2021 – McMaster Internal ResearchNet Deadline (for Stage 2 endorsed candidates)
  • November 2, 2021 – Vanier Deadline (Graduate Studies will submit selected nominations)

More Information:
Biochemistry Contact:  Lisa Kush –

There are a number of external awards available from provincial and national funding agencies.  All graduate students are encouraged to compete for awards provided he/she meets the eligibility requirements.