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Graduate Program in Biology

MSc > Course Requirements

Since the emphasis of the Program is on research, graduate course requirements are minimal and rigorous, and the number of graduate courses offered is limited.

Graduate Course Requirements:

Mandatory 3 Credit Pass/Fail Research Evaluation Course Requirements to be taken in addition to Graduate Course Requirements below.

  • Yr 1: BIOL 6021, CR=3
  • Yr 2: BIOL 6022, CR=3
  • Yr 3: N/A
  • Yr 4: N/A


Graduate Course Credit Requirements (minimum):

6 credits over 2 yrs plus progress evaluation courses

Breakdown of Graduate Course Credit Requirements:

6 credits from core courses for students entering program effective September 2010. 3 credits from core courses PLUS minimum 3 credits from core/other courses for students who started program prior to September 2010.

Other courses can be from another graduate program at York University or another Ontario University (see Ontario Visiting Graduate Student information).

Evaluation of Courses & Grades Reporting Times:
Written examinations are generally not used in graduate courses in Biology.  Grades are assigned based on in-class participation and evaluation of oral and written work. At the completion of courses, students should check with the course director for notification of their grades.  Graduate courses are normally completed and grades submitted to the Program Assistant by about January 15 (for a fall course), May 15th (for a winter course) and September 15th (for a summer course, if applicable).  

The Graduate Assistant does not disclose the final grades to the student.

Most of the information below can be found on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website: under Policies & Procedures - FGS academic regulations-Graduate Courses and grading.

 Grading System:

    Unofficial % level to assist in marking
A+ Exceptional 90 - 100
A Excellent 85 - 89
A- High 80 - 84
B+ Highly Satisfactory 75 - 79
B Satisfactory 70 - 74
C Conditional 60 - 69
F  Failure 0 - 59
I Incomplete N/A

Incomplete Grades:
When a student's coursework is not completed and evaluated by the appropriate grade reporting dates, the award of "I" may be approved by the program director. A grade of "I" must be removed within two months of the reporting date for a half-course or within four months of the reporting date for a full-course. Extension of this time is possible only upon successful petition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Petitions Committee. If the grade of "I" is not removed by the end of the specified period, it will become a grade of "F".

Withdrawal from Courses in Good Standing:
The symbol of "W" (withdrew in good standing) will be recorded in place of a grade to indicate that a student was authorized to withdraw in good standing from a course, before or after the posted drop deadline.

Combinations of ‘C’ Grades Which Require Withdrawal Unless Continued Registration is Recommended and Approved:
A student who received in total any of the following combinations of grades for graduate courses may not continue to be registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and in a graduate program unless this continuation is recommended by the graduate program director concerned and approved by the Dean:

(a)   two C grades for 6.00 credit courses;
(b)   one C grade for a 6.00 credit course and one C grade for a 3.0 credit (or equivalent) course;
(c)   a total of three C grades for 3.0 credit (or equivalent) courses.

In no cases will grades be averaged.

Combination of ‘F’ and ‘C’ Grades Which Require Withdrawal:
A student will be required to withdraw from a graduate program and registration in the Faculty of Graduate Studies will be terminated if the student receives in total for graduate courses, during enrolment at York University:

(a)   one F grade for a 6.00 credit course or two F grades for 3.0 credit (or equivalent) courses; or
(b)   one F grade for a 3.0 credit (or equivalent) course and one C grade for a 6.00 credit or 3.0 credit (or equivalent) course.

In no case will grades be averaged.

Note: The academic standing regulations with respect to grades in courses described above do not apply to grades awarded for courses which students elect to and are authorized to enrol in upon registration, but which are additional to those specified by a faculty adviser and program director as constituting the minimum required program of studies.

Withdrawal from the Biology Graduate Program:
If satisfactory progress on the Progress Evaluation Exercise is not achieved, the student is dismissed from the program (see Section on Progress Reports Exercise).

Graduate Courses in Another Program at York:

In order to fulfill the Biology graduate course requirements students may take a 3 credit graduate course in another graduate program at York.  Request to Take Courses in Another Graduate Program At York for Credit Form has to be processed by the two graduate programs involved, i.e. the graduate program where the student is registered and the program in which the student wishes to take the course for credit.

Transfer Credit (Advanced Standing):

Following initial registration in a graduate program and prior to completion of the first term of study, graduate students may request transfer credit (advanced standing) for graduate-level courses completed at York University or another institution that have not been used to fulfill the requirements of another degree program or graduate diploma. Credit for such work will be determined by the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies, on the recommendation of the program concerned. Transfer credit accepted towards fulfillment of the degree program to which the student has been admitted may count for up to 50% of the coursework requirements for the York graduate diploma or degree program.

Undergraduate Courses:

Graduate students may take undergraduate courses as a requirement of the graduate program if recommended by the student's supervisory committee, or for general interest. 

Undergraduate Courses as a Requirement of the Graduate Program:
If the student has been advised to take an undergraduate course in their graduate program, or if the course is required for background knowledge in a subject area, students should process the Faculty of Graduate Studies Undergraduate Course Request Form . Students do not have to pay extra course fees.  The grade obtained for the undergraduate course(s) will be shown on the Graduate Transcript and will count in the graduate grade average but will not count towards fulfilment of the graduate course requirements.

Undergraduate Courses for General Interest:
If a student is interested in taking undergraduate course(s) for general interest then  the student should apply to York University as a Visiting Student at the undergraduate level and pay the appropriate undergraduate course fee.  The grade will not appear on the graduate transcript and the grade will not count towards graduate level.

Please consult related Undergraduate Program prior to applying as a Special Student.