Master in Science in Biology in Canada: A Detailed Course-Guide
Masters in Biology (MSc/MS in Biology) is usually a 2-year course that may stretch up to 2.5-3 years depending on the thesis, research work, and specializations. The program has an average cost of study per year ranging from 20,000 CAD to 40,000 CAD. Masters in Biology is a blend of modern research methodology, disciplinary knowledge, critical thinking, and analytical skills to become effective and engaged contributors in the field of biology.
- Nine of the Canadian Universities offering MS Biology or related subjects are ranked within the top 250 universities for studying masters in biology by QS Ranking 2020.
- According to the PayScale report, the average salary for postgraduates in biology is around 58,000 CAD per year.
- Top companies in Canada recruiting students of Master in Biology include Halogen Software, StemCell Technologies Inc., Nature Conservancy of Canada and many more.
- The average package offered by some of these companies is given the image below:
Figure: Average salary package for the top recruiters for Biology postgraduates
Why Study Masters of Biology in Canada?
- A rise of around 8700 jobs is expected in the time duration of 2016-2026.
- New job seekers arising from schools, immigrations, and mobility in the same duration will be around 8600.
- The annual growth in the sector is expected to rise by 1.2% within British Columbia, this will give rise to around 1300 job openings in British Columbia.
- Biologists and related scientists make 20.67 CAD/hour to 56 CAD/hour.
Top Universities Offering Masters in Biology in Canada
More than 50 universities in Canada are offering masters in biology along with some program specifications in the field. The table below list the top universities in terms of course ranking by QS ranking:
|World Ranking||Course Ranking in the World||University or College||Total Program Fee (CAD)|
|51||26||University of British Columbia||17553|
|140||151 - 200||McMaster University||34,188|
|-||201 - 250||Dalhousie University||37754|
|173||301-360||University of Waterloo||42252|
|281||-||University of Ottawa||53724|
|364||-||University of Victoria||21,840|
|MSc/MS Biological Science|
|113||101 - 150||University of Alberta||37754|
|233||201 - 250||University of Calgary||25,390|
Master of Biology in Canada: Curriculum
Masters in Biology is a program that uses the blend of the theoretical, practical, and research approach to teaching students fundamentals as well the modern aspect of biological sciences. Students have to opt for specializations and submit a research-based thesis report to successfully complete the program. These specializations include animal physiology, ecology, and environmental biology, microbiology, molecular biology, plant biology, biochemistry, amongst others.
In your first year of study, some universities require you to take graduate communication skill class and graduate modules, class. This is expected to equip the student with a solid foundation for a full program study and rightly integrate them into the research community. Other institutions, however, may require graduate students to take teaching assistance to improve communication skills. The program consists of four basic milestones which are:
- Establishing a faculty supervising committee
- Preparing, presenting and defending a thesis research proposal
- Completing coursework with a cumulative average of 75% or higher
- Researching, writing and defending a thesis.
Some of the electives taught in Master in Biology in Canada are chemical and environmental toxicology, bioinformatics, environmental sustainability, plant, animal, and human biology, molecular biology, forensic sciences, computational biology and many more. Cell and molecular biology, ecology, behavior and systematics, physiology and biochemistry are some of the main areas of research in this program.
Masters (MS) of Biology in Canada: Eligibility
To apply for a Masters in Biology in Canada, students should have completed a bachelor’s or a diploma course with a GPA greater than or equal to as mentioned by the particular university.
Where to Apply: Students need to visit the online application portal of the desired university, pay the fees, and submit the requisite information to complete the application process:
- Candidates seeking admission must have completed his/her first degree in a related field.
- Applicants are also expected to have obtained at least a B+ (some institutions accept a B) or it's equivalent in the final year of the bachelor's program and a mid-B overall average in the previous year of study.
Other university-specific admission requirements are as follows:
|University/College||Specific Eligibility Criteria||IELTS Score||TOEFL Score|
|University of British Columbia||A minimum of three academic references who can provide reports on candidates’ academic ability and qualification||106 (with no section lower than 24)||7.0|
|McGill University||Acceptance by a research director, 3.0 CGPA||6.5||86|
|McMaster University||B.Sc. Honors* with a minimum B+ average||86 (With no section less than 20)||6.5 (at least 6.0 in each band)|
|Dalhousie University||Grade of A-, GRE score preferred||7.0||100|
|University of Waterloo||75%, GRE Scores, Honors Bachelor's degree||7.0||90|
|University of Ottawa||70% in Bachelors, UG with specialization or major in Biology||6.5||80|
|University of Alberta||GRE is preferred but not required, 67.50% in UG||100 (With no section less than 22)||7 (with at least 6 in each band)|
|University of Calgary||GPA of 3.0 (B average)||7.5||105|
Masters (MS) of Biology in Canada: Documents Required
Interested international applicants for Masters of Science (MSc) in biology in Canada are required to provide the following documents along with their application.
- Transcript: Your previous study records including certificates, mark sheets, and scorecards are required at the time making applications for studying abroad.
- Undergraduate Certificate: UG degree certificate including other professional degrees that prove the applicant’s commitment towards academic and scholastic endeavors are required.
- Letter of Recommendation: LORs play an important role in admission decisions. 2-3 LORs are required for admissions in MS Biology in Canada. Ensure that academic and professional recommendations are provided.
- Resume /CV: Curriculum Vitae or Resume showing grades, extra-curricular activities, areas of interest, the position of responsibility, work experience, etc must be included in the application package.
- Other documents: SOP/SOI/letter of motivation may be asked by the universities.
- Applicants must include their reasons for opting for the program in that university along with their thesis proposal in their SOPs or other supporting letters.
- Proof of Language Proficiency: International students whose first language is not English are required to submit test scores from approved test agencies like TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or any other English language test accepted by the school.
Once submitted the complete application package is reviewed on a holistic basis. For different universities, it takes different time duration for admission decisions to arrive.
Applicants evaluation for consideration of admission in University of British Columbiatakes several weeks. To check the admission decisions and to provide any new information or updated documentation, applicants should log in to the "My Application" section of the admission portal.
University of Alberta and McGill University have similar admission decision format. After submission of documents, the application for admission into McGill University is reviewed within the academic unit while the university of Alberta admissions eligibility is reviewed by the department. If successful, applicants will be contacted within a few weeks.
Note: Applicants are expected to log in to the application portal regularly to check for any pending/recent information.
Masters (MS) of Biology in Canada: Cost of study
International applicants who intend to study in Canada must have sufficient funds. The whole expenditure on studies can be grouped into 3 parts: pre-arrival costs, tuition fees, and cost of living.
Pre-arrival cost: The table below shows the pre-arrival cost for international students.
|Type of Expenses||Amount (CAD)|
|Program Application Fee||80-150|
|Canadian Visa Application Fee||305|
|IELTS fee||240 - 247|
|TOEFL fee||208 – 325|
|Airfare||584 - 1,820|
|GRE Fee||266 - 299|
Master (MS) of Biology in Canada: Tuition Fees
It forms the major part of the expense, you may spend approximately 21,840 USD to 54,458 CAD for the entire course in Canada. The annual tuition fees for popular universities are compared below:
Note: All fees for the year are subject to adjustment, including tuition and student fees. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students.
New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date.
Cost of Living in Canada
International student’s cost of living is calculated to be approximately 14,000 CAD to 19,601 CAD per year, depending upon the province. It can be broken down as follows:
|Expense Type||Approximate Cost in CAD (per year)|
|Educational Supplies||1,960 - 2,631|
|Food and Beverages||3,267 - 4,574|
|Utilities, Internet and Mobile Phone||6,534 - 9,800|
|Clothing and Recreation||1,045 - 1,306|
Masters in Biology in Canada with Scholarships
International students are usually awarded scholarships to study a graduate course in Canada. These scholarships may be program-based or institution-based. The table below shows some scholarships for international students pursuing an MS biology in Canada.
|Scholarship||Amount Offered (CAD)||University|
|Linda Michaluk Scholarship||2,500||University of British Columbia|
|Department Support||15,900 per year + tuition||McGill University|
|Provost Entrance Scholarship||7,500||McMaster University|
|Brian M.Joseph Graduate Scholarship||9000||University of Waterloo|
|Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship||50,000 per year for three years||University of Alberta|
|Provost Admission Scholarship||7,500||University of Ottawa|
|Department Stipend||12,000-13,000/month||Dalhousie University|
|Graeme Bell and Norma Kay Sullivan-Bell Graduate Scholarship in Biology||13,500||University of Calgary|
International graduate applicants can also apply for international scholarships, continental scholarships or scholarships peculiar to their home countries as far as the scholarship covers the universities in Canada offering the course.
Masters of Biology in Canada: Job Prospects
In 2017, the Canadian Institute of Health Information stated that the Canadian Government was spending approximately 11.5% of the GDP on healthcare. This is a whopping 242 billion dollars and is bound to increase which means that it will create far more jobs for biologists and researchers throughout the country. The wage distribution in various regions in Canada is depicted below:
Some of the opportunities available for a graduate of biology are listed below with the median salary offered.
|Job Prospect||Annual Median Salary (CAD)|
|Molecular and Cellular Biologist||205,000|
Masters in Biology is a lucrative program with a demand for graduates, researchers, specialists, and practitioners. This two-year program will open not only open gates to various job profiles but also allows its graduates to pursue Ph.D. as per the specialization they wish to choose.