Program Information

This section summarizes departmental policies. Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations that apply to all programs are found in the Graduate Studies calendar.


Graduate study in this department is on a full-time basis. Responsibility for the graduate program lies with the departmental Graduate Advisory Committee, chaired by the graduate coordinator. All members of the department are committed to ensuring that graduate study here is a rewarding and useful experience in preparation for a biochemistry-related career.

Academic Program

New graduate students should contact the graduate coordinator as soon as possible after arriving in Halifax and must register by the prescribed date of their first term of graduate study.

A. Advanced Knowledge

Courses at the 5000 level (or equivalent examinations) provide a portion of the credits required for the MSc and PhD degree. Courses for each student are determined on an individual basis by the Graduate Advisory Committee in consultation with the supervisor and student.

B. Other Requirements

  1. Seminar Course (BIOC 5914-5915). This course may be waived for a student entering our PhD program with an MSc degree that contained a significant seminar component.
  2. Demonstrating. MSc students spend at least one term, and PhD students two terms, as a laboratory demonstrator as part of their training, and are appropriately remunerated.
  3. Departmental seminars. All graduate students are expected to attend Departmental seminars. In addition to this, in their second year of study, each student presents a departmental seminar describing and evaluating their own research. PhD students present Departmental seminars describing and evaluating their doctoral research every two years thereafter.
  4. The PhD program includes the preparation of a grant proposal, normally in the second term of the third year, on a topic related to, but distinct from, a student's own research. The proposal is pass-fail evaluated by a departmental committee, using written reviews and oral examination.

C. Thesis Supervision

Research for the thesis is conducted under the guidance of a research supervisor, in whose laboratory the student works. A Thesis Supervisory Committee for each student provides additional expertise and advice to facilitate the research and the preparation of the thesis.

D. PhD Comprehensive Examination

For PhD students and those wishing to transfer from the MSc program to the PhD program, an oral PhD Comprehensive Examination is used to demonstrate that the student has a thorough understanding of the literature related to the research area, the objectives, the proposed methodology and the theoretical and practical aspects of the areas of biochemistry underlying the thesis research. This evaluation takes place after the student has been in the program for one year.

E. Thesis Preparation and Defence

An acceptable thesis describes an original contribution to knowledge made by a student while registered at Dalhousie University. The work should be of sufficient value to merit publication in a reputable scientific journal with a system of external peer-review, although there is no requirement for publication or even manuscript submission prior to the thesis defence. The thesis is examined in a public oral defence.

Graduate Inquiries

Roisin McDevitt, Graduate Administrator
Dr. Jamie Kramer, Graduate Coordinator
Dr. Petra Kienesberger, Associate Graduate Coordinator