Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Ambitious students looking to broaden their horizons through a wide range of cutting-edge research should consider the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PhD Thesis) degree. The research-based program ranges from biochemistry and molecular research to cellular and developmental biology, as well as genetics, immunology and bioinformatics. It also includes applications to cancer and clinical research. Following a previous degree, the program may take up to six years of full-time study. Students will enjoy practicing science in a setting that combines the amenities of a large city with the outdoor leisure activities of the nearby Rocky Mountains.

Completing this program

  • Courses: Topics may include analysis of eukaryotic genomes, control of gene expression, cytogenetics, metabolic genetics and more.
  • Research Ethics: Students are required to attend Research Integrity Day sessions in the first year of their program.
  • Sex & Gender Module: Students are required to complete one of the CIHR sex and gender online training modules found at in the first year of their program.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Seminars: Student participate in a journal club and work-in-progress seminars for their research group, and will present one seminar per year.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.




Academic research; post-secondary and secondary teaching; industry research and consulting; business consulting, analytics, management, sales, research and marketing; scientific writing; IP and patent law; medicine (lab tech; physician; clinical scientist); veterinary medicine.

A PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology is usually considered a final degree; some graduates go on to post-doctoral research.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Three core courses and one to two electives

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full-time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required, and must agree to oversee the student's research before admission will be granted

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

Virtual Tour

Explore the University of Calgary’s (UCalgary) Foothills Campus from anywhere. Experience all that the Cumming School of Medicine has to offer for interested prospective graduate students. Explore this state of the art campus from wherever you are. Discover the buildings, student services and available programs all from your preferred device.


Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.

  1. Dr. Pierre Billon

    Pierre Billon

    Seeking Students
    Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  2. Janice Braun

    Janice Braun

    Accepting Inquiries
    Molecular Chaperones and Neurodegeneration
  3. George Chaconas

    George Chaconas

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Lyme Disease
  4. Sarah Childs

    Sarah Childs

    Seeking Students
    Genetics of blood vessel development; precision medicine; developmental biology, Vascular patterning, Vascular stabilization, The zebrafish model
  5. Jason headshot

    A.P. Jason de Koning

    Seeking Students
    Computational biology, bioinformatics, and genomics, Systematic variant interpretation in human genetic disease, Bayesian statistics, large-scale inference, and machine learning, Human and computational population genetics, Molecular evolution
  6. Ina Dobrinski

    Ina Dobrinski

    Biology of male germ line stem cells
  7. Antoine Dufour

    Antoine Dufour

    Proteomics, proteases, systems biology, inflammation, immunity
  8. Sabine Gilch

    Sabine Gilch

    Seeking Students
    Prion diseases, cell biology of prion infection, chronic wasting disease, prion strains
  9. Steven Greenway

    Steven Greenway

    Cell-free DNA, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Microbiome
  10. Dr. Carol Huang

    Carol Huang

    Diabetes, Pancreatic beta cell growth and development

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

An MSc degree or equivalent. from a recognized institution.

Work samples



  • A current C.V.

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on May 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Mar. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Dec. 1 application deadline

For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: June 1 application deadline
  • International students: Apr. 1 application deadline

For admission on January 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Oct. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Aug. 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Health Sciences Centre
HSC G345C, 3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website


Cumming School of Medicine

Health Sciences Centre
Foothills Campus, University of Calgary
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4

Visit the Cumming School of Medicine website


Learn more about UCalgary by taking a virtual tour

Highlights of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program

These stories from those involved in the program show what it's like to be involved yourself.

Carla Davidso

Carla Davidson, Owner - Endeavour Scientific Management and Consulting

"I learned a combination of critical thinking, clear communication and broad experience. My graduate degree gave me the willingness to start my own business."

Kevin Thorneloe

Kevin Thorneloe, Director - Biopharm Translational Medicine

"The critical thinking skills I acquired during my PhD has been the foundation of my career in the pharmaceutical industry."

Nima Najand

Nima Najand, Technology Analyst - Innovate Calgary

"UCalgary has been instrumental in providing me with skills to succeed in careers outside academia."