This webpage describes our Master of Science (M.Sc.) Program.
Students may do the Ph.D. thesis at St. Francis Xavier University in the laboratory of any interested Biology professor. Such students will formally be registered in the Ph.D. program of another university, and will eventually obtain the Ph.D. degree from that university. Contact a StFX Biology professor directly for more information.
Application to our M.Sc. program
- Incoming M.Sc. students should have a B.Sc. degree with superior achievement. The minimum standard is 70 % average or better, equivalent to grade B (or better) or 3.3 (or better) on the Merit Point system (out of 4).
- Undergraduate transcripts and two letters of recommendation are required.
- All students accepted in the program must have a supervisor, who must be a regular faculty member or an adjunct professor (see "People"). Applicants should state the name of the proposed supervisor in the application after such an individual has agreed to supervise the applicant's thesis.
- Final acceptance of the application is the decision of StFX's Graduate Studies Committee.
- To apply, please visit StFX's Graduate Studies webpage.
M.Sc. students are required to pay a tuition fee only in the first year of the program. However, a tuition waver is available in exchange for the student working as a Teaching Assistant in undergraduate courses for one year. An application for a tuition waver may be submitted to the Dean of Science after an individual has been formally accepted into the M.Sc. program.
Supervisors are required to provide a minimum stipend of $ 5,333 per year to an M.Sc. student, although higher amounts (up to $ 16,000) may be available through research grants.
Funds to help M.Sc. students to attend scientific conferences are available from the Department of Biology and the Faculty of Science when the student makes a presentation at the conference.
Description of the M.Sc. program
- Students accepted in the M.Sc. program usually will spend at least 12 months in residency (research or courses done on a full-time basis).
- The student's Supervisory Committee will consist of the supervisor and two other members, one of whom must be a StFX faculty member. This committee will be struck within one month after the student has enrolled in the program. The purpose of the committee is to ensure that courses appropriate to the program will be taken and that the student's Research Proposal is academically solid. The Supervisory Committee also must meet annually to monitor the progress of the student through completion of the thesis.
- The Research Proposal must be submitted by the student to the Supervisory Committee within 8 months after starting the program. The proposal (max. 20 pages) should include an abstract, an introduction, the research hypothesis/es, the methods to test the hypothesis/es, and relevant references. The proposal should be orally presented (~ 20 min) and defended before the Supervisory Committee.
- The student must earn a total of 36 graduate credits during the program.
- The passing grade in each course is 60 %, but an average of 70 % is required for graduation.
- Full-time students should aim to complete the M.Sc. program within 2 years.
- The thesis format will conform to standards set by the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI). A copy of these standards is kept in the Biology Office.
- One unbound paper copy of the thesis must be submitted to StFX's Library and another one to the Department of Biology. StFX's Library may ask for yet another copy for submission to Theses Canada, but submission of such a copy is optional. Theses Canada scans a submitted thesis and makes it freely available through the internet, so it is recommended that submissions to Theses Canada (if desired) be made only after publishing the thesis results as journal articles.
Completion of M.Sc. requirements
- The Examination Committee should include the three members of the Supervisory Committee, the Chair of the Biology Department, a member of StFX's Graduate Studies Committee, and an external examiner selected by the Supervisory Committee. The external examiner cannot be a StFX employee, must have professional knowledge on the general topic of the thesis, and should receive a thesis copy for examination (via mail or email) no less than one month before the date proposed for the thesis defense.
- The final examination consists of an oral defense, which includes a public presentation of the thesis (30-40 min) and a public or in-camera (as decided by the Examination Committee) question period. The external examiner may be present at the exam, participate through an online mechanism, or submit a written evaluation of the thesis (including questions for the student) to be read to the student during the question period. The Chair of the Biology Department chairs the final examination.
A list of the graduate courses (with credits in parenthesis) offered in the Department of Biology is given below. Additional courses may be offered based on student needs.
- Biol 501 (3) Advanced Biomechanics
- Biol 502 (3) Advanced Topics in Membrane Biology
- Biol 504 (3) Topics in Vertebrate Physiology
- Biol 511 (3) Advanced Marine Ecology
- Biol 515 (3) Topics in Microbiology
- Biol 517 (3) Topics in Molecular Biology
- Biol 522 (3) Bioinformatics
- Biol 525 (3) Advanced Cell Biology
- Biol 533 (3) Advanced Topics in Biometrics
- Biol 551 (3) Advanced Population Ecology
- Biol 571 (3) Advanced Topics in Ecology
- Biol 580 (3) Seminars in Phycology
- Biol 581 (3) Selected Topics
- Biol 585 (3) Topics in Avian Biology
- Biol 586 (3) Advanced Topics in Animal Behaviour
- Biol 587 (3) Advanced Topics in Neuroethology
- Biol 590 (3) Topics in Botany
- Biol 595 (3) Topics in Cell Biology
- Biol 598 (6) Research
- Biol 599 (18) Thesis