Queen's University
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Graduate Studies

School of

Graduate Studies

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Biology collage



“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 station (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: http://biology.queensu.ca


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. Visit our departmental website and faculty pages to learn more about the programs and achievements of our research teams.

We offer a broad and challenging program in one of the top Biology departments in the country. We have an impressive range of sophisticated infrastructure for cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, ecology, and evolutionary research including: a confocal microscopy suite, DNA sequencing services, aquatic research facilities, and a state-of-the art phytotron. Our field station, comprising more than 3200 hectares of woodland, fields and lakes is a short drive away and has excellent research facilities and living quarters


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 research in labs at other universities in Canada or abroad.

Graduate students typically participate in annual regional, national and international conferences. Many labs also engage in field work at sites from as close as our own Biological Research Station (QUBS) to the high arctic, Australia and the Latin American tropics.

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, research) 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

Students who show exceptional promise in their research have the option to transfer to the PhD program after one year.

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: Fran Bonier, 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: Tomas Babek, William G. Bendena, Peter T. Boag, Ian Chin-Sang, Victoria Friesen, Craig W. Hawryshyn, Kenton Ko, Christopher, D. Moyes, Laurent 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, Tomas Babek, Fran Bonier, Peter T. Boag, Adam ChippindaleRob Colautti, Brian Cumming, 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, John Smol.

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

Supervisors: Lonnie Aarssen, Rob Colautti, 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 (guaranteed 2 yrs)

Ph.D.: Minimum $22,650 (guaranteed 4 yrs)

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 (Masters), $7,500 (PhD - will be increased to $10,000 for the 2016/17 academic year) 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: On an ongoing basis as completed applications are processed 

Learning Outcomes & Program Milestones

Degree Level Expectations - MSc (89 KB)

Degree Level Expectations - PhD (93 KB)

Milestones -  (2.37MB)