Jul 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Calendar 
2023-2024 Graduate Calendar [ARCHIVED CALENDAR]

Applied Bioscience, PhD

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General information

The primary objective of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Applied Bioscience is to train students to become high-quality researchers at the interface between chemistry and biology. The Faculty of Science, with no traditional departments, provides students a dynamic environment in which to explore interdisciplinary research within collaborative networks. The program brings together students and faculty from a variety of scientific backgrounds to enrich the student learning experience. The graduate program equips students with a wide array of practical and conceptual scientific skills to prepare them for leadership roles in the life sciences through independent research and rigorous course work. In keeping with the university’s strategic plan, research within the Applied Bioscience program is aimed at creating innovations that will improve the lives of Canadians.

Graduates from this program are expected to have a breadth of knowledge in the life sciences, a depth of knowledge in their chosen field, and the scientific and technical skills that are essential for a career in research and industry. It is also expected that graduates will continue to make significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge in their field and become lifelong scholars with an appreciation of the impact of science on society.

The program capitalizes on the faculty’s current research expertise which is reflected in four fields:

  • Biomolecular Science
  • Ecosystem Health
  • Forensic Bioscience
  • Human Health Biology

These fields are interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary in nature and require students to rely on research methods in both chemistry and biology to answer specific research questions.

Biomolecular science focuses on the use of molecular and cellular tools to investigate mechanisms of cell function; new approaches for combating infectious organisms and disease; biomaterials and bio-based products; drug discovery, drug formulation and site-specific drug delivery; the mechanisms of action of pharmaceuticals at the cellular and molecular level; and the molecular and cellular aspects of the immune system in response to pathogenic and non-pathogenic micro-organisms. Research in this field occurs at the interface of biology and chemistry.

The field of ecosystem health focuses on determining the implications of external toxicants on the health of ecosystems, discovering indicators for environmental problems and developing methods to lessen human exposure to toxicants. In addition, researchers in the program investigate related areas such as environmental microbiology, the pathophysiology of environmental disorders and the micro and macro environmental factors causing cancer. Finally, research in the field focuses on specific environmental problems and the development of solutions that benefit Canadians.

Forensic bioscience is a distinct field that combines special content areas of biological and chemical sciences with training in legal and forensic investigations. National security, bioterrorism and global pandemics are just three examples of areas in which skilled forensic bioscience workers will be in high demand in the future. For many scientists, the field of forensic bioscience crystallizes an area of research at the interface between biology, chemistry, forensic science and legal science.

Human health biology is a field that addresses the basic understanding of human health with a particular emphasis on common human diseases, human movement science, applied physiology and respiratory illnesses. Efforts in this field concentrate on laboratory-based research that will translate into disease prevention and management, health promotion and novel therapeutic interventions. The four main areas of investigation are cancer, neuro-musculoskeletal function, exercise physiology and respiratory health. This field is further characterized by interdisciplinary research at the interface of several complementary core disciplines.

Admission requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements for graduate studies , PhD in Applied Bioscience applicants must have completed an MSc-level degree in biology, chemistry or related area at a Canadian university or its equivalent.

Prior to being accepted into the program, PhD applicants must be accepted by a professor who specializes in their desired area of research and who is willing to act as a supervisor.

Under exceptional circumstances, MSc students in Applied Bioscience may transfer directly to the PhD program after completing one academic year in the MSc program if the following conditions are met:

  • Completion of a full master’s program of course work (three courses worth a total of nine credits), with at least an A-minus average.
  • Strong evidence of research ability.
  • Approval of the direct transfer by the research supervisor(s) and the supervisory committee. The transfer must also be approved by the graduate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

See the university’s policy on transferring from a thesis-based master’s to a PhD program  for additional information.

A current list of graduate faculty is available on the Faculty of Science’s website.

Part-time studies

The PhD program is intended to be a full-time program. Therefore, there is currently no part-time enrolment.

Degree requirements

Students must complete APBS 6010G - Research in Applied Bioscience , APBS 7080G - PhD Graduate Seminar in Applied Bioscience , one elective course specific to their field and APBS 7070G - PhD Dissertation . The research dissertation must constitute a new contribution to the field of study. In addition to the three courses and dissertation, students must successfully complete APBS 7040G - PhD Thesis Proposal and Candidacy Exam , and APBS 7050G - Doctoral Exit Seminar . APBS 7040G  is to be completed within 18 months of entry into the PhD program and consists of a written research proposal and an oral exam. Students are expected to attend and participate in the Applied Bioscience Seminar by registering in the APBS 7000G - PhD Applied Bioscience Seminar Series  continuance course in each semester. Finally, students must make satisfactory progress in their research (evaluated yearly) and enrol each year in APBS 7060G - PhD Research .

Students who transfer directly from the MSc in Applied Bioscience into the PhD program must complete APBS 7040G - PhD Thesis Proposal and Candidacy Exam , APBS 7050G - Doctoral Exit Seminar , APBS 7060G - PhD Research  and APBS 7070G - PhD Dissertation .

Course listing

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