Office of the Registrar
School of Graduate Studies (2013/2014)
30.4 Biology
  • Associate Professor and Head of the Department
  • P. Marino

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy is offered in Biology to full-time and part-time students. Students interested in animal behaviour should also consult the section in the Calendar describing the Doctoral programs Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology. Students interested in Marine Biology should consult the section of the Calendar specific to the Doctoral program in that area of study.

30.4.1 Program of Study - Biology
  1. A student will be required to take Biology 7000 (Graduate Core Seminar).

  2. Admission to a Ph.D. program in Biology shall not normally take place until after the completion of the course requirements and the submission of the thesis for the M.Sc. Degree. However, on the recommendation of the Department, this requirement may be waived by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

  3. The program of a candidate shall be the responsibility of a Supervisory Committee composed of the Supervisor and at least two other appropriate members recommended to the Dean by the Head (or delegate) of the Department with the concurrence of the Supervisor.

  4. The Supervisory Committee shall interview the student normally within a month of first registration, to discuss the student's program and to explore any areas of weakness in the candidate's biological knowledge, especially where these relate to the intended areas of research. The Supervisory Committee will recommend a student's subdiscipline within Biology to the Department in writing after this meeting.

  5. It is the function of a Supervisory Committee to have regular meetings, at least annually, with its graduate student. A meeting report, signed by all members of the Supervisory Committee and student, must be given to the Department. A copy will be sent to the graduate student and to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

  6. The candidate will present a tentative outline of the proposed research to the Supervisory Committee, with a copy to the Department by the end of the second semester, and preferably prior to commencement of the research.

  7. The student will present a research seminar to the Department, normally by the end of the second semester following admission, to describe the research topic being investigated and the methodologies to be employed. This seminar provides an opportunity for the student to receive constructive input from the broad biological community.

  8. When the Supervisory Committee deems it necessary, a working knowledge of a language other than English may be required.

  9. Comprehensive Examination

    1. Timing of Examination

      1. Timing of the comprehensive examination shall follow General Regulation, 1. under Comprehensive Examination, Ph.D Comprehensive Examination governing the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. A candidate registered in a full-time Ph.D. program in the Faculty of Science, Department of Biology shall normally take the comprehensive examination during the first year of the program, and no later than one year after completion of the prescribed courses.

      2. The procedure shall be initiated by the candidate's Supervisor who will notify the Department of Biology, in writing, of the candidate's readiness. Failure to meet the above requirement can result in the candidate being required to withdraw from the program.

    2. Examination Committee

      The Examination Committee shall be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the Department of Biology according to Regulation Comprehensive Examinations, Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination, 2. of the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. No more than two members of the Examination Committee may be members of the candidate's Supervisory Committee. The committee shall meet and recommend to the Department in writing an examination seminar topic within the student's previously determined subdiscipline.

    3. Examination Procedure

      The Department shall provide the student the examination date and the seminar topic in writing not more than six nor less than four weeks prior to the examination. The student shall provide each member of the Examination Committee a written paper on the seminar topic one week prior to the examination. The Examination Committee shall evaluate the candidate's presentation and response to questions put to him/her during the Oral Examination both on the seminar and within the student's subdiscipline of Biology.

    4. Subsequent Action

      The Examination Committee will meet in camera to arrive at its conclusions. The Chair shall report the results of the Examination to the Head and the Dean of Graduate Studies for transmission to the candidate. The report will include one of the following decisions: a) the student passed with distinction, passed or failed. b) if failed and it is the first examination whether the student may be re-examined.

    5. Re-examination

      Comprehensive Re-examination if permitted will occur not sooner than one month and not more than six months after the first. The candidate and his or her Supervisory Committee shall be informed of the deficiencies found. The format for the second examination will be determined by the Examination Committee with the approval of the Biology Graduate Studies Committee. The candidate will be informed of the topic and format four to six weeks prior to the examination. The examination will follow the procedure outlined in 8.c and d. above. A failure will require the student to withdraw from the program.

  10. Theses shall conform to Theses and Reports of the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies and the Departmental Guidelines.

30.4.2 Courses

A selection of the following graduate courses will be offered to meet the requirements of candidates, as far as the resources of the Department will allow:

  • 6000 Research Topics in Microbiology
  • 6351 Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology (Cross-listed as Psychology 6351) credit cannot be obtained if already received for Biology 4701
  • 6590 Molecular Biology I (Cross-listed as Medicine 6590 and credit-restricted with Biochemistry 6590) Prerequisites: Biology 4241 (or equivalent)
  • 6591 Molecular Biology II (Cross-listed as Medicine 6591 and credit-restricted with the former Biochemistry 6591) Prerequisites: Biology 4241 (or equivalent)
  • 6592 Bacterial Genetics (Credit-restricted with the former Biochemistry 6592) Prerequisite: Biology 4241 (or equivalent)
  • 6593 Selected Readings in Molecular Biology (Credit-restricted with the former Biochemistry 6593) Prerequisites or Co-requisites: one of Biology, Biochemistry or Medicine 6590, and one of Biology 6591, Medicine 6591, or the former Biochemistry 6591 (or equivalent)
  • 6710 Marine Benthic Biology
  • 7000 Graduate Core Seminar (Cross-listed as Ocean Science 7000)
  • 7101 Topics in Marine Biology
  • 7201 Topics in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Physiology
  • 7220 Quantitative Methods in Biology (credit cannot be obtained if already received for Biology 4605)
  • 7300 Ornithology (credit cannot be obtained if already received for Biology 4620)
  • 7301 Topics in Ecology and Conservation Biology
  • 7530 The Molecular Biology of Development
  • 7535 Research Methods in Marine Science
  • 7920-7960 Special Topics in Biology (excluding Biology 7931)
  • 7931 Research Methods in Genetic Biotechnology (Note: Biology 7931 may be delivered in an accelerated format outside of the regular semester timeframe)