General Information

Prospective Students

All information for students interested in the Biochemistry Graduate Program can be found on the admission website for the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Program Details

Program Objectives

To provide graduate training in Biochemistry and related disciplines towards an MSc. or  PhD. Degree.

Program Overview

At the beginning of the program, the student in consultation with the supervisor will prepare a research proposal that will be submitted to the Graduate Program Committee to assess its suitability. Duration: In general, it is expected that a M.Sc. should be completed in 2.5 to 3 years. Extension beyond 5 yrs requires the permission of CGPS. For completion of a Ph.D. the time frame is longer, between 4.5 to 6 years. Extension beyond 6 yrs requires the permission of CGPS. Students can request a leave of absence due to health or personal reasons.

For both M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs the major requirement for continuation in the program is progress in all components. This includes progress in course work, research, written and oral presentation skills, and thesis writing. If, at any time, the supervisor, committee chair or any other member of the student’s advisory committee has reason to believe that progress is not satisfactory then a committee meeting should be called immediately to discuss and address the issue(s).

 

Course work: For the M.Sc. program the student must take 9 credit units of graduate level (800) courses  with a 70% cumulative grade point average, with no individual mark being below 60%. The committee may recommend additional courses at any level in order to bolster a student’s knowledge in perceived areas of weakness.

Research progress: Progress in research will be assessed by the committee annually (usually in May) on the basis of a short but formal presentation and by submission of a progress report to the chair of the advisory committee at least two weeks before the scheduled committee meeting. The students should address the questions raised in previous meeting(s) in their progress report.

In addition there will be a second meeting in November at which the student will again present a short talk and an addendum to the progress report which only describes progress in the last 6 months.

Presentation skills: Oral communication skills will be assessed on the basis of the talks to the committee as well as the formal presentations in journal club (or equivalent). Written communication skills will be assessed on the quality of the initial proposal and the subsequent progress reports. The committee should expect to see a significant improvement in both oral and written abilities as the student progresses through the program. (Note: Many language courses are available on campus particularly for foreign students and the advisory committee should recommend these when deficiencies are noted or difficulties are encountered)

Thesis writing: In general, it should require between 3 to 4 months to write the thesis. Progress should be monitored initially by the supervisor with guidance from the committee if there are delays. Students should understand that the thesis must be approved, first by the supervisor, second by the advisory committee chair and finally by the committee before being sent to the external examiner.

Course work: For the Ph.D. no further course work is required unless recommended by the student’s committee to bolster a student’s knowledge in perceived areas of weakness. (Note: It may be beneficial for foreign students to take some 800 level courses to increase their chances of winning scholarships).

Research progress: Progress in research will be assessed by the committee annually (usually in May) on the basis of a short but formal presentation and by submission of a progress report to the chair of the advisory committee at least two weeks before the scheduled committee meeting. The students should address the questions raised in previous meeting(s) in their progress report.

In addition there will be a second meeting in November at which the student will again present a short talk and an addendum to the progress report which only describes progress in the last 6 months.

Presentation skills: Oral communication skills will be assessed on the basis of the talks to the committee as well as the formal presentations in journal club (or equivalent). Written communication skills will be assessed on the quality of the initial proposal and the subsequent progress reports. The committee should expect to see a significant improvement in both oral and written abilities as the student progresses through the program. (Note: Many language courses are available on campus particularly for foreign students and the advisory committee should recommend these when deficiencies are noted or difficulties are encountered)

Thesis writing: In general, it should require between 3 to 4 months to write the thesis. Progress should be monitored initially by the supervisor with guidance from the committee if there are delays. Students should understand that the thesis must be approved, first by the supervisor, second by the advisory committee chair and finally by the committee before being sent to the external examiner.

Some students may seek permission from their supervisor and advisory committee to transfer from a M.Sc. program to a Ph.D. program before completing the requirements of the M.Sc. program, and without preparing and defending a M.Sc. thesis. This option is generally reserved for students who are doing very well in the M.Sc. program, and who show great promise for success at the Ph.D. level. M.Sc. students who have completed at least 9 credits of graduate coursework, with a grade point average of 80 or higher, may seek permission to transfer to the Ph.D. program as early as one year after entering the program but must do so before the end of their second year. M.Sc. students who have been in the program more than two years will not be permitted to transfer to the Ph.D. program. M.Sc. students must also pass a qualifying exam (see below). If the student fails the qualifying examination on the first try, a second examination can be undertaken within three months. However, a second failure automatically disqualifies a student from transferring directly to a Ph.D. program. Final approval to transfer from the M.Sc. program to the Ph.D. program is given by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and is not guaranteed even if the student passes the Qualifying Examination.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. program must take the qualifying exam within one year of beginning their program. Passing the exam is required to continue in the program.

Contact

Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology
Biochemistry Graduate Program
107 Wiggins Road
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E5

Graduate Chair
Dr. Jeremy Lee
Email: Jeremy.lee@usask.ca
3D30.4 Health Sciences

Graduate Administrator
Barb Stuckless
email: bmi.grad@usask.ca
2D01 Health Sciences