Queen's University

School of

Graduate Studies

School of

Graduate Studies

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“When I started my MSc. at Queen’s, all of a sudden I had this new network of friends who were interested in the same biological questions that I was- it was a ton of fun. Looking back now as I near the end of my PhD, I feel incredibly lucky about the opportunities I have had- courses I have taken and taught, the chance to work alongside other world class researchers at the biology stations (QUBS), and the always entertaining weekly seminar series. I also feel quite fortunate to have had the support and resources to develop my own research project with field work from across the continent- the only downside was missing out on what happened back home during the field season!”

Rosyln Dakin, PhD candidate

Program Contact

Joanne Surette
Graduate Assistant
Department of Biology
Queen's University
Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6

Phone: 613.533.6138
E-mail: surettej@queensu.ca
Website: www.queensu.ca/biology


Program Overview

The Biology Department at Queen’s is one of the largest departments on campus with approximately 100 graduate students supervised by 32 faculty with research opportunities in a range of disciplines including Animal Physiology, Cell & Molecular Biology, Ecology, Evolution & Behaviour, and Plant Sciences. Our faculty are world leaders in several research fields, including many Canada and Queen’s Research Chairs and winners of national and international awards for research and teaching excellence. In 2004, Dr. John Smol was named Canada’s top scientist as the recipient of the Herzberg Gold Medal.


Our students have the opportunity to work in leading edge laboratory facilities, including the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL) and the Queen’s University Biology Station (QUBS). .As well, opportunities to collaborate with other departments, including Geology, Psychology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry and Mathematics & Statistics. One-third of our students do field work or go overseas at some point in their studies.

Career paths – employment opportunities

Graduates from our program find work in government (Agriculture Canada, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of the Environment, etc.), academia (teaching, researchers) and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries (research, lab techs, etc.).

Degrees Offered/Method of Completion

Degrees Offered

M.Sc.: 2 years

Ph.D.: 4 years

We offer the option to transfer from  M.Sc. to Ph.D. for students who show  exceptional promise in their research.

Method of Completion

M.Sc.: 4 single-term courses with minimum standing of 70% in each, research thesis and defence.

Ph.D.: research thesis and defence (some courses may be required)

Fields of study and Supervisors

We recommend that you contact a professor whom you think might be suitable to supervise the research that interests you. Although it is not strictly necessary, successful applicants tend to contact potential supervisors in advance. To initiate the application process, we suggest you send an e-mail, outlining your interests, skill, and relevant background. The best time to start corresponding with potential supervisors is in November or December of the year before you would like to begin graduate work.

  • Animal Physiology: with an emphasis on an integrative approach to physiological questions, incorporating molecular, cellular and whole animal analyses where appropriate.

Supervisors: Craig Hawryshyn, Peter Hodson, Christopher Moyes,R. Meldrum Robertson, Bruce Tufts, Yuxiang Wang

  • Cell & Molecular Biology: with a focus on eukaryotic organisms and an interest in developmental and biochemical problems

Supervisors: William G. Bendena, Peter T. Boag, Ian Chin-Sang, Victoria Friesen, Craig W. Hawryshyn, Kenton Ko, Christopher, D. Moyes, William Seroude, Wayne A. Snedden, Virginia K. Walker, Paul G. Young

  • Ecology, Evolution & Behaviour: encompassing a broad range of research interests spanning molecular ecology, population genetics and phylogenetics, behaviour and the evolution of animal and plant reproductive systems.

Supervisors: Lonnie Aarssen, Shelley E. Arnott, Peter T. Boag, Linda Campbell, Christopher G. Eckert, Victoria L. Friesen, Paul Grogan, Craig W. Hawryshyn, Stephen C. Lougheed, Paul Martin, Robert Montgomerie, Christopher D. Moyes, William Nelson, Laurene M. Ratcliffe.

  • Plant Sciences: employing leading edge approaches to answer some of the most pressing questions in plant biology

Supervisors: Lonnie Aarssen, Christopher G. Eckert, Kenton Ko, Daniel Lefebvre, William C Plaxton, Sharon Regan, Wayne Snedden

Funding, Academic Prerequisites & Deadline

Funding Information

Master’s: Minimum $22,650

Ph.D.: Minimum $22,650

Students may also apply for internal awards and external funding including OGS, NSERC, CIHR scholarships, and the Graduate Deans’ Doctoral Field Travel Award. Entering graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a one time $5,000 /$7,500 top-up award by Queen’s.

Academic Prerequisites

M.Sc. : Upper second class standing (B+ - 75% - 3.3/4.3 GPA) in an Honour’s Bachelor Arts & Sciences program. Some students may need to take additional courses.

Ph.D.: M.Sc. in Biology or direct entry from B.Sc for exceptional candidates.

Test Requirements

If required, international students TOEFL score of 550 (paper based) or TOEFL iBT minimum scores of: writing (24/30); speaking (22/30); reading (22/30); listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120. Applicants must have the minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score.

Key Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadline: March 1 for Canadian Students February 15th for International Students

Notification of Acceptance: As early as the middle of March 

Learning Outcomes & Program Milestones

Degree Level Expectations - MSc (89 KB)

Degree Level Expectations - PhD (93 KB)

Milestones -  (2.37MB)

Samantha Klaus
Languages or frog calls!