Chemistry or Chemical Biology?
Which graduate program to attend is a personal choice influenced by many different factors. Beyond the specific project to be undertaken and the relationship with your supervisor, there’s compatibility with the research group and department. The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology provides wide-reaching opportunities for research in virtually all branches of chemistry, and a highly supportive and collegial research atmosphere. Students are given the opportunity to learn, first hand, how to use advanced characterization equipment within our facilities, providing invaluable training for future careers.
Depending on your field of study, you may be in the position of choosing whether to apply for Chemistry or Chemical Biology for you MSc or PhD degree. We encourate you to consult with the professor you are planning to work with before you finalize this important decision.
While the administrative home of both the Chemistry and Chemical Biology graduate programs is within the same department (i.e, the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology), they are separate programs with separate degree requirements.
Please note that you and your supervisor have a degree of choice in many aspects of both programs (for example, your supervisor may recommend particular courses, including ones offered outside the department, or your supervisor can choose to pay you as an RA in lieu of a TA assignment if their research funding permits - this is what we typically call a 'TA buy out'). You should work with your supervisor to plan a path through the program that works for both of you.
The main differences between the programs are as follows:
- Course requirements
- Chem students typically TA more than ChemBio Students (the default annual assignments are 260 hours and 130 hours, respectively)
- Direct-entry PhD students in ChemBio must take a qualifying exam, while Chem students do not
The table below outlines the similarities and differences between the two programs.
|Total Number of Course Units Required||MSc (=transfer PhD): 7.5 units
Direct-Entry PhD: 4.5 units
|MSc (=transfer PhD): 6.0 units
Direct-Entry PhD: 3.0 units
|Required Courses, MSc/Transfer PhD||MSc (=transfer PhD 1)
||MSc (=transfer PhD)
|Required Courses, Direct-Entry PhD||Direct-Entry PhD
|Colloquium||All students deliver one 20-minute colloquium presentation during their graduate career
For Chem students, this is a non-credit requirement
|All students deliver one 20-minute colloquium presentation during their graduate career
ChemBio students do the colloquium for course credit as part of CHEMBIO 701 or 702
|Committee Meetings||Annually or more often as recommended by your supervisory committee||Annually or more often as recommended by your supervisory committee|
|Transfer Exam to PhD||No later than 22 months after starting the MSc||No later than 22 months after starting the MSc|
|MSc Thesis Defence||Within 24 months of starting the MSc
||Within 24 months of starting the MSc
|Qualifying Exams||N/A||For Direct-Entry PhD students 9-12 months after starting the PhD|
|PhD Comprehensive Exams||Usually 18-20 months after starting the PhD
||Usually 18-20 months after starting the PhD
|Department Seminar||50-minute presentation to the department prior to the dissertation defence||50-minute presentation to the department prior to the dissertation defence|
|PhD Thesis Defence||Within 48 months of starting the PhD
||Within 48 months of starting the PhD
|Minimum Guaranteed Funding 2||MSc: ~$25, 000
|MSc: ~$25, 000
|Amount of Funding from TA Work||Up to 260 hours/~$12,000||Up to 130 hours/~$6,000|
|Amount of Funding from RA Work||As determined with your supervisor||As determined with your supervisor|
|TA Assignments||In Chemistry & Chemical Biology||In Chemistry & Chemical Biology or in other departments affiliated with the Chemical Biology graduate program (e.g. Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences)|
1Inorganic Chem students who transfer to the PhD program are currently required to do an additional 2 courses/3 units after transfer for a total of 10.5 units; this requirement is being phased out
2International MSc students, who pay higher tuition fees than domestic students, receive a tuition bursary on top of the standard research stipend and TAships