The Biomolecular Sciences Ph.D. programme studies two broad areas of science which include cell regulation and the structure and function of biomolecules. These areas of study include the structure, function and properties of molecules relevant to biological processes in prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells including the use of such molecules in medicine, biotechnology and other applied biosciences. The programme provides academic and research training to prepare exceptional students for careers in academic research, teaching, biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry and biomedicine. This involves the training of students in the most current methodologies and promoting the development of new knowledge and skills.
Students are expected to complete the Ph.D. program within four years following entry into the program. The maximum time limit for completing the degree requirements is six years. Students are expected to study full-time, except under extraordinary circumstances where a person may receive special permission upon petition to the Director of Graduate Studies and Research.
Students are required to take two three credit courses for the Ph.D. degree, in addition to mandatory seminar-based and thesis courses. An overall average of at least 70% must be obtained by the students. The courses will be selected from the program in Biomolecular Sciences and from courses offered in the following departments: Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biology and Physics.
Candidates holding a B.Sc. degree must complete:
Course requirements of an M.Sc. program
Candidate holding a M.Sc. degree must complete:
BMSC-6106 OR BMSC-6207 (3 credits)
Candidates must pass a comprehensive examination within the first two years of entrance to the Ph.D. program. Enrolment for this examination is limited to two consecutive academic terms and requires successful completion of |BMSC-6106EL| and/or |BMSC-6207EL|. Failure to complete this examination within the required time limits precludes continuation in the doctoral program, unless there are valid reasons as determined by the program’s Administrative council. The comprehensive examination does not count as a credit course.
A Comprehensive Examination Committee will be in charge of evaluating the student. This committee will be composed of at least four members of the Biomolecular Sciences Program faculty as chosen by the Program coordinator (in consultation with the student).
The comprehensive examination will be administered in two parts:
Part I: Written examination. The Comprehensive Examination Committee will create four questions, based on the content of the courses BMSC 6106 and BMSC 6207. The student will prepare answers to two of the questions.
Part II: Preparation of a grant application, in the NSERC format, on a topic not directly related to the student’s thesis. The student will choose the topic in consultation with the supervisory committee. The Comprehensive Examination Committee will determine when the proposal is ready for the oral defence. The student will be expected to make an oral presentation of the project and answer questions from the Comprehensive Examination Committee. A written evaluation of the student’s performance in the oral portion of the examination will be prepared for circulation to the student, the student’s supervisor and the Director of the Program in Biomolecular Sciences. The committee will assign a grade of pass or fail for each section. In the case of a failure, the student will be given the opportunity to repeat that portion of the comprehensive examination. A second failure will be grounds for dismissal from the Ph.D. program.
For the Ph.D. degree, either a “standard thesis” or a “thesis by publication” format will be acceptable. The research thesis does not count as a credit course. Students will be required to present a public seminar and subsequently, to undergo an oral defence of their thesis. The thesis defence committee is composed of a chair (non-voting), two members of the program, an examiner external to the program and an examiner external to the university. The thesis supervisor is not a member of the committee but is present at the defence, which takes place in camera. The defence committee meets in the absence of the student to discuss his or her performance and to decide if the thesis is acceptable for the degree or if corrections are required before granting final approval.
Faculty members in the Biomolecular Sciences programme pursue a wide range of research interests and are funded by the major granting agencies which include: CIHR, NSERC, NCIC, CFI, OIT, ORF, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), and the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) programme.