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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2019-2020 Program Descriptions Medicine Programs Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology MDBC
Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology MDBC
Contact Information

Location: Health Sciences Centre, Room G329
Program number: 403.220.8306
Fax: 403.210.8109
Email address: bmbgrad@ucalgary.ca
Web page URL: cumming.ucalgary.ca/gse/BMB

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MSc), thesis-based

Specialization:

  • Bioinformatics
2. Admission Requirements

All master’s thesis and doctoral students are considered full-time. In exceptional circumstances part-time status may be considered and must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.

In addition to Faculties of Graduate Studies and Medicine requirements, the program requires:

a) Qualifications

Master of Science:

  • Four-year BSc degree or equivalent;
  • A minimum admission grade point average of 3.30 (on the University of Calgary four-point system; equivalent to a "B+") based on the last two years of the undergraduate degree consisting of a minimum of 60 units.
  • A minimum 3.30 grade point average is also required in courses relevant to the proposed field of study.

Doctor of Philosophy:

  • MSc degree, or relevant Master’s degree, recognized by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, or transfer from MSc program, or, in exceptional cases, four year BSc degree or equivalent.
  • A minimum admission grade point average of 3.30 (on the University of Calgary four-point system; equivalent to a "B+") based on the last two years of the undergraduate degree consisting of a minimum of 60 units and any master’s course work if applicable.
  • A minimum 3.30 grade point average is also required in courses relevant to the proposed field of study.

b) English Language Proficiency

See Medicine Programs.

c) Immunizations

See Medicine Programs.

d) Additional Requirements:

  • Master’s applicants are required to arrange for the submission of two reference letters and doctoral applicants are required to arrange for the submission of three reference letters. References must follow the guidelines posted on the program’s website for prospective students. 
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • Students must have confirmed a faculty member willing to supervise their studies. 
  • Endorsement by the Graduate Program Director that the applicant is acceptable and that adequate supervision in the proposed program is available.

Meeting the minimum admission criteria above does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Applications will be ranked according to academic excellence, prior research experience and commitment to the study of biochemistry and molecular biology.

4. Advanced Credit

Applicants must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission. Any credit to be given for courses completed will be included in the letter of offer for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

5. Program Requirements

Master of Science

The minimum academic course requirement is normally 6 units, which is met by: 

  • the satisfactory completion of MDGE 721 (1 unit) and two additional 1-unit MDGE 700-level courses, excluding MDGE 755; and
  • the satisfactory completion of additional 3 units in graduate-level courses in an area that is pertinent to the student's thesis project and approved by the supervisor and supervisory committee.
  • Bioinformatics specialization students are required to take the Fundamentals of Bioinformatics course Medical Science 679).

Doctor of Philosophy

The minimum academic course requirement is normally 9 units, which is met by:

  • the satisfactory completion of MDGE 721 (1 unit) and two additional 1-unit MDGE 700-level courses, excluding MDGE 755; and
  • the satisfactory completion of additional 6 units in graduate-level courses in an area that is pertinent to the student's thesis project and approved by the supervisor and supervisory committee.
  • Only one MDSC 755 or MDGE 755 course can be taken for credit.
  • Bioinformatics specialization students are required to take the Fundamentals of Bioinformatics course (Medical Science 679).

Exceptions require the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

6. Additional Requirements

Each student is required to participate regularly in journal club and work-in-progress seminar programs administered by the Institute or Research Group to which the student and supervisor belong, and the student will present at least one journal club seminar and one work-in-progress presentation per year.

Research Integrity Day

See Medicine Programs.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Under exceptional circumstances, credit may be given for courses taken below the 600 level. At least one half of a graduate student's course work must be at the 600 level or higher. Students may receive credit for completing a course numbered 500-599 providing that the course is recommended by the supervisory committee and approval is received by the Graduate Program Director.

8. Time Limit

For a thesis-based MSc program, maximum completion time is four years. Expected completion time is two years. 

For a doctoral program, maximum completion time is six years. Expected completion time is four years.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Students typically apply for admission into the program after identification of a supervisor. As an alternative, the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program has an optional rotation program that may last up to six months. This allows the graduate student and the potential supervisor time to learn more about each other’s research interests and available research projects. The student will spend two months in each laboratory of up to three faculty members. After the rotation program, the student will select a permanent supervisor. Alternatively, a student may begin the program with a permanent supervisor, if such arrangements have been made prior to arrival.

Supervisory committees, required for both master's and doctoral students, are established based upon the needs of the student and the expertise of the committee members, following discussions between the students and the supervisor and approved by the Graduate Program Director. A supervisory committee, consisting of supervisor and co-supervisor (if applicable), plus two additional members, must be in place no later than 3 months after the appointment of the permanent supervisor.

10. Research Proposal Requirements

All MSc and PhD students must defend a written research proposal to their supervisory committee. For MSc students, this document must be submitted within 12 months after initial registration in the program. For additional information about the PhD research proposal, refer to: wcm.ucalgary.ca/gse/files/gse/csm-candidacy-examination-process-effective-september-1-2015.pdf.

11. Required Examinations

Candidacy

Candidacy must be completed within 28 months (for MSc to PhD transfers) or 24 months (direct entry PhD) from the program start date. Admission to candidacy is an acknowledgement that a student is fully prepared to devote their full attention to the thesis research.

To enter into candidacy, students must: (1) successfully complete all required courses, (2) attend Research Integrity Day (3) have their thesis proposal approved at a proposal evaluation meeting, and (4) successfully complete a Field of Study oral examination.

Students who do not pass their candidacy requirements by the twenty-eighth month of their program may be required to withdraw from the program.

Specific details of the examination format and other candidacy requirements can be found at: wcm.ucalgary.ca/gse/files/gse/csm-candidacy-examination-process-effective-september-1-2015.pdf.

Thesis Examination

All students in thesis-based programs (MSc and PhD) must successfully pass the Final Thesis Oral Examination. The examination will consist of a public seminar followed by an open oral examination. In addition to FGS regulations for Thesis Examinations, the program has the following requirements:

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

12. Financial Assistance

All students who are accepted into the Program and are full-time will receive a minimum stipend ($21,000 per annum for MSc students and $23,000 per annum for PhD students) generally funded by their supervisor’s operating grants, internal awards, and/or external awards. Self-funding is not an option, except for MD holders also enrolled in a clinical training program.

Students are expected to apply to external agencies for financial support from scholarships or studentship awards and for University of Calgary Scholarships (see Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar). Possible sources of financial support are listed on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website: grad.ucalgary.ca/awards.

Some awards provide stipends in excess of the program minimum. More information on awards can be obtained from the office of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program.

13. Other Information

Descriptions of courses with biochemistry and molecular biology content at the University of Calgary are included under Biochemistry (BCEM), Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology (CMMB) and Medical Science (MDSC) listings.

Potential additional graduate-level courses for BMB students:

Biochemistry 731
Medical Science 604
Medical Science 605 (Computer Science 605)
Medical Science 609
Medical Science 613.05
Medical Science 619.01
Medical Science 621.01
Medical Science 631
Medical Science 639.02
Medical Science 640
Medical Science 641.01
Medical Science 641.04
Medical Science 671
Medical Science 675
Medical Science 679
Medical Science 751.09
Medical Graduate Education 722
Medical Graduate Education 723
Medical Graduate Education 724
Medical Graduate Education 725
Medical Graduate Education 726