Biological Sciences

Master of Science (MSc)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Find new ways to pursue your passion for life in the University of Calgary's Biological Sciences department. Master's students have the opportunity to broaden their understanding of the discipline, while following their own curiosity to define and investigate a specific research focus for their thesis work. Guidance is provided by faculty members pursuing a wildly diverse range of research in contemporary issues in botany, zoology, ecology and more. Students will be exposed to foundational theory and cutting-edge methods as they explore a broad range of concepts and issues ranging from the molecular level to the biosphere.

Completing this program

  • Research Seminar: Related to supervisor interest, and may include biochemistry, cell biology, ecology and evolutionary biology or microbiology.
  • Research Proposal: Students present a written research proposal within six months of initial registration in the program.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Additional Courses: Topics may cover biology of laboratory animals, theory and lab methods, statistical methods, recent advances and Darwin.
  • Other Disciplines: Depending on research interests, some students may take graduate courses offered by other departments.


  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Molecular Microbiology
  • Physiology
  • Structural Biology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Energy and Environmental Systems


Lab technician, biologist, teacher, scientist (agricultural/forestry breeding, process development, environmental) biotechnologist, manager (lab, project, clinic, territory, resource), technical writer, instructor, bioscience/biotech business, writer, lab quality control (government/industrial).

A master’s degree in biological sciences will give you the pre-requisite for a PhD.

Thesis-based program

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


Two courses along with seminar courses

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Two years full time; four 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.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Arshad Ayyaz

    Arshad Ayyaz

    Accepting Inquiries
    Single Cell Genomics, Tissue Regeneration, Cancer, Molecular Biology
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    Robert Barclay

    Behavioural and physiological ecology, conservation biology
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    John EA Bertram

    Accepting Inquiries
    Dynamics of locomotion
  4. Tamara Bodnar

    Tamara Bodnar

    Seeking Students
    Microbiome , Inflammation and neurodegeneration, Prenatal alcohol exposure/Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Germ-free models, Indigenous community partnerships (health focus)
  5. Gordon Chua

    Gordon Chua

    Accepting Inquiries
    Eukaryotic Gene Expression and Regulation
  6. Antoine Dufour

    Antoine Dufour

    Proteomics, proteases, systems biology, inflammation, immunity
  7. Peter Dunfield

    Peter Dunfield

    Accepting Inquiries
    Microbial Ecology / Environmental Microbiology, Biotechnology
  8. Peter Facchini

    Peter Facchini

    Accepting Inquiries
    Plant Metabolic Biochemistry
  9. Constance Finney

    Constance Finney

    Accepting Inquiries
    Infectious Disease Immunology
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    Jeremy Fox

    Accepting Inquiries

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.2 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

A four year baccalaureate degree, or equivalent from a recognized institution.

Work samples



  • A concise statement outlining the applicant's research interests and reasons for wishing to attend the University of Calgary

Reference letters

Three academic reference letters along with the required reference form.

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 September 1

  • Canadian and permanent resident (students with Canadian or U.S. transcripts)- apply by June 1 
  • International (students with international transcripts)- apply by May 1 

For admission on January 1

  • Canadian and permanent resident (students with Canadian or U.S. transcripts)- apply by Oct. 1 
  • International (students with international transcripts)- apply by Sept. 1

For admission on May 1

  • Canadian and permanent resident (students with Canadian or U.S. transcripts)- apply by March 1 
  • International (students with international transcripts)- apply by Jan. 1

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

Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences Building 186
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Science

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Science website