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How to Apply

Applying to the graduate program in Biology is easier than you might think. Your first step is to contact professors you’d like to work with and explain why you are interested in their research program and what skills and passion you can bring to their lab. Once you’ve found a potential supervisor go online and complete the application to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. You will need contact information for three references, your transcripts, your statement of interest and your curriculum vitae.

For both the MSc and PhD, students work closely with a supervisor and their research is supported by that supervisor. Thus, no student is accepted into the program unless a faculty member first agrees to supervise that student. Applicants can apply without having secured a supervisor in advance.

Potential applicants can directly contact a potential supervisor to see if opportunities exist in his/her research group. A detailed and informed enquiry is more likely to elicit a response than a form letter or generic enquiry. You should include your academic and research record, contact information for references and an explanation of why your research interests are a good match with the potential Supervisor. If a potential Supervisor reaches an informal agreement to accept you, you must still complete a formal application to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

All graduate students must meet the minimum admissions requirements as set by the program but beyond that each faculty member can set their own standards for evaluating students wishing to join their labs. This may include evaluating academic accomplishments, research experience, demonstration of leadership and community involvement. Faculty may request that prospective students provide samples of scientific writing, undertake a brief assignment/review on a research topic, and/or undergo an interview. Securing a position in a research lab can be a very competitive process and students are encouraged to contact supervisors very early and apply by February if possible.

You may apply to the Biology graduate program without having secured a supervisor. In this case, your application will be drawn to the attention of all potential supervisors in the Program and any faculty member interested will contact the applicant and discuss details further.

Master of Science (MSc) in Biology

Graduates with a four-year bachelor’s degree in biological science, or its equivalent, with at least a B+ average in the last two years of study, may be admitted as candidates for the Master of Science degree.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biology

Graduates from a recognized university with a master’s degree or equivalent in biological science, with at least a B+ average or with a medical degree, may be admitted as candidates (PhD I) in a program of study and research leading to the PhD degree.

MSc students between 12 and 16 months after first registering may request to be advanced in status to candidates (PhD I) for the PhD degree without completing the requirements for the MSc degree, but only if approved by their Supervisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director. Candidates wishing to make this change must pass a qualifying examination which takes the form of the PhD preliminary examination. For students converting from a master’s to a PhD program, the qualifying examination must be held within 20 months of first registering in the master’s program. If successful, transfer students must then apply to the PhD program for September entry.

International Students

Our program welcomes applications from international students, however due to funding constraints we can accept only several MSc and PhD international students per year. These positions are offered competitively based on merit, and you must have secured a supervisor before you can be considered for an offer.

  • Users can access the online application by clicking Apply Now.
  • The application takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
  • The program usually admits students only once per year beginning September 1st.
  • Application status can be checked at any time in MyFile.

No student is made an offer of admission unless a faculty member first agrees to supervise that student. However, applicants may apply without having secured a supervisor in advance.

  • We accept applications from January-May each year, but students are advised to apply as early as possible to best secure a supervisor and be eligible for entrance scholarships.
  • Offers for major entrance scholarships are made in mid-February.
  • International students should apply by 1 February as our very limited number of international positions are filled quickly. Later applications will be accepted but you should first contact to see if there are still positions open.
  • Our program has a quota on the number of domestic and international MSc and PhD students that can be admitted. Apply early before these positions are filled.
  • Supplementary Information Form
  • Referee List must include three (3) names and contact information to be added at the bottom of the Supplemental Information Form form. Your referees will then be emailed a link to upload their reference letter to support your Graduate Admission application.
  • Statement of Interest: a letter (500 words) addressed to the Program Admissions Committee, outlining your background in Biology and your reasons for wanting to pursue an advanced research degree.
  • Curriculum Vitae outlining your work experience, academic background, publications, awards, etc.
  • Transcripts from each post-secondary institution
  • Application fee (to accompany online Application for Graduate Admission)
    is $130 Cdn, payable by Visa, Visa Debit or MasterCard. The application fee is non-refundable
  • If you do not wish to submit your credit card online, or if you do not have a Visa or MasterCard, please contact York’s Office of Admissions at 416–736–5000
  • Your application will be processed upon receipt of your fee payment

Entrance scholarships may be offered to high calibre applicants on the recommendation of the Biology graduate program. No separate application for the scholarship is necessary.