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Graduate program

Biology programs

We offer our graduate program in biology at both the masters and doctoral levels. Research areas include:

  • Ecology and conservation of marine birds
  • Roles of dispersal and behaviour in regulating marine bird populations
  • Ecophysiology and biochemistry of seaweeds
  • Aquaculture (integrated multi-trophic aquaculture)
  • Suspension feeding in marine invertebrates
  • Recruitment and early post-settlement processes in marine invertebrates
  • Evolutionary ecology of coastal marine invertebrates
  • Fisheries ecology (invertebrate)
  • Fisheries conservation genomics

  • Effects of multiple stressors on aquatic systems
  • Effects of habitat loss and degradation on populations, communities and ecosystems
  • Environmental physiology of fishes
  • Chemical contamination of aquatic food webs; aquatic toxicology
  • Impacts of anthropogenic effects (low oxygen, effluents, elevated temperatures) on fish metabolism and swimming abilities.
  • Effects of forest management on biodiversity (plants, amphibians)

  • Marine and terrestrial chemical ecology; the development of natural product based anti-foulants
  • Endophytic fungi and their bioactive/antimicrobial properties
  • Secondary metabolites and novel drug leads

  • Aquatic molecular ecology
  • Ecological genomics
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) and metagenomics
  • Fisheries Conservation genomics

How to apply

1. Identify a potential supervisor

Meet our current faculty and discover who has primary research interests similar to yours.

2. Write a basic outline of your project

This outline will serve as the basis of discussion with your potential supervisor. Read the guidelines for graduate students to understand what we expect from Graduate Students.

3. Contact your potential supervisor

Once you have a general idea for a project, contact your potential supervisor to discuss your ideas. You will address important questions such as:

  • Is my potential supervisor interested in the project? Does my project match their current research activities?
  • Do they have the resources to accommodate me in their research space and in their budget?
  • Can they accommodate me within their existing teaching and supervision schedules?

Submit your application online and remember to identify your potential supervisor. The School of Graduate Studies has information on general regulations, tuition and more.

Before your first term

Your letter of acceptance contains your personal identification number to register online. Contact Susan Wilson for assistance.

Meet your supervisor

The Department of Biology offers a reciprocal agreement with important topics to be discussed with your supervisor in the first month. Read the guidelines and tips to ensure you know what we expect from you.

Within your first month

Set up your supervisory committee: The supervisory committee consists of a minimum of three individuals, including a supervisor and is established by the supervisor in consultation with the graduate student and the proposed committee members.

Meet with your committee: Complete the program of study form which outlines the courses you will take. Submit this form with the reciprocal agreement to the Biology GAU secretary, Victoria Kindred.

Don’t forget to plan ahead if you want to complete your MSc in less than two years.

In your first year

M.Sc. students: Begin your proposal presentation

Ph.D. students: Begin your proposal defence. This defence is a combination of the proposal and qualifying comprehensive examinations held at other institutions.

Orientation: Every September, the GAU gives an orientation which includes:

  • an informal overview of the program
  • a chance to meet others in the GAU
  • a questions session

After your first year

The School of Graduate Studies requires you to submit a progress report at least once every year.

You must meet with your committee at least twice annually. At the conclusion of every meeting, your committee will complete a progress form, which must be signed and returned to the Biology GAU secretary.

Training, certifications and diplomas

It’s your responsibility to obtain any certifications required to conduct your research and to discuss this with your supervisor as soon as possible.

See the School of Graduate Studies for the guidelines to prepare and submit your thesis before you begin writing your thesis.

Submit your thesis

Work with your supervisor until your thesis draft is ready for review by your supervisory committee. You need to send this form, copies for the supervisory committee and a copy for the DoGS. 

Your supervisory committee will review and suggest or require changes. This may take more than one iteration.

The Director of Graduate Studies will verify potential examiners’ availabilities to serve on the examining committee.

You will provide the required number of hard copies which will then be distributed by the Director of Graduate Studies.

The committee will return a decision on the thesis’ defence within three weeks. The DoGS will schedule a thesis defence date, not less than a week later, in consultation with you and your committee.

Once you successfully defend your thesis, you will sign the sheaf of forms provided by the graduate secretary with your supervisor

You must submit a vita along with your thesis, with the following layout:

  • your full name
  • the universities you attended, with dates and the degrees you obtained
  • publications
  • conference presentations

Submission of completed thesis copies

You must submit the signed completion forms and two paper copies of your thesis to the School of Graduate Studies.

Contact a thesis publishing company to have personal copies bound.