School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies


This program is now part of the new interdisciplinary program of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences



"The experiences that I have had so far in the department of biochemistry at Queen’s have been nothing but phenomenal. The positive learning environment as well as academic support provided by the faculty is second to none. Even though the academic aspect of the program is top notch, one major criteria of learning that is not written in the books or course guides is the level of international exposure that may be available through each supervisor. As most professors have world-wide recognition in their fields of study, many opportunities are available to attend international conferences. I truly believe that the biochemistry program is outstanding and I would recommend it to all aspiring future biochemists” 

Paul Kim, Ph.D. candidate

Program Contact

Diane Sommerfeld
Department of Biomedical & Molecular Sciences
Biochemistry Graduate Program
Botterell Hall
18 Stuart Street. Kingston, ON, Canada K7L3N6

Phone: 613.533.6000 ext. 74836


Program Overview

The Master’s and Doctoral programs in Biochemistry provide you with the best conditions to develop into an independent, productive, research scientist. Multi-disciplinary research, a close supervisor-student relationship, excellent teaching assistant opportunities, and leading-edge facilities all combine to create a dynamic learning environment where you can explore the complex world of biochemistry by specializing in one of our three fields of study:

  • Protein Function and Enzymology
  • Gene Regulation and Cancer Biology
  • Signal Transduction and Metabolic Regulation


Our students have the opportunity to work in a cross-discilinary environment. We have cross-appointed members in Biology, Pathology and Medicine. Students often travel to use research facilities throughout Canada, the U.S. and overseas.

Career paths – employment opportunities

• Teacher – College or University Level• Scientist in Research Institutions or Industry, (i.e. Cytochroma, Toronto, Loeb Institute, Ottawa) • Research Science – Pharmaceuticals, Cancer, Heart and Stroke (i.e. Health Canada, Ottawa, Caprion Pharmaceuticals, Montreal, Robarts Research Institute, Western Ontario) • Medicine (Syn-Pharmaceuticals, Toronto)• Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Biology (National Research Council Institute of Biological Sciences, Ottawa, iotechnology Research Institute, Montreal)


Degrees Offered/Method of Completion

Degrees Offered

M.Sc.: 2 years (Full Time)

Ph.D.: 4-5 years

Mini -Masters: You can apply to transfer within 1.5 years in our M.Sc. program to the Ph.D program, if you complete 2 courses with a minimum average of 80%.

Direct-entry Ph.D.: Students with an Honours degree in Biochemistry with a first-class or 80% overall undergraduate average may qualify with approval.

Method of Completion

M.Sc.: course work, research, seminar & research proposal review, written thesis with oral defense

Mini-Masters: course work, written and oral comprehensive exam

Ph.D.: course work, research, comprehensive exam, seminar, written thesis with oral defense

Fields of study and Supervisors

Upon acceptance, you must pursue and be recruited by a research supervisor who agrees to guarantee a stipend. You may contact a prospective supervisor either before or after acceptance, pending final approval from our Graduate Program Committee.

Research can be broadly placed into three areas, with some overlap between them:

Protein Structure and Function/Proteomics

  • John Allingham – Structure & Function of Proteins
  • Graham. P. Cote – Protein Kinases & Myosin Regulation
  • Colin. D. Funk – Cardiovascular Inflamation
  • Peter. L. Davies – Antifreeze and Calpain Proteins
  • Zongchao Jia – Protein Crystallography
  • Alan. S. Mak – Regulation of Smooth Muscle Contractility
  • Steven P. Smith – NMR Spectroscopy of Proteins

Cancer Biology

  • Andrew Craig – Signal Transduction in Hematopoietic Cells
  • Scott. K. Davey – DNA Repair
  • Peter. A. Greer – Proto-oncogene in Cancer
  • Christopher. R. Mueller – Transcription Factors in Cancer
  • P. Martin Petkovich – Retinoic Acid Signaling

Signal Transduction and Metabolism

  • Inka Brockhausen – Glycoproteins
  • William. C. Plaxton – Plant Biochemistry
  • Bruce. C. Hill – Membrane Bioenergetics
  • Glenville Jones – Vitamin D Metabolism & Cytochrome P-450s
Funding, Academic Prerequisites & Deadline

Funding Information

All Queen’s Biochemistry graduate students are guaranteed a minimum stipend that is adjusted annually for inflation and is among the highest in the university. The 2012-13 minimum graduate student stipend is $22,700.00.

We encourage all students to gain additional funding by applying for teaching assistantships and external awards from NSERC, OGS, CIHR, Heart & Stroke Foundation and other organizations. Queen’s automatically issues a $5,000 (Masters)  or $7,500 (PhD) top-up award to federal government tri-council award winners.

Academic Prerequisites

M.Sc.: B.Sc., Honours degree in Biochemistry or Life Sciences

Other undergraduate concentration applicants can apply, but may be required to take additional courses to enhance their Biochemistry background

Minimum overall cumulative average of 75% (for all 4 years or all courses taken.)

Ph.D.: M.Sc. or exceptional B.Sc. Honours with supervisory support

First-class or minimum 80% cumulative overall average in Biochemistry courses may apply for direct entry into the Ph.D. program.

Test Requirements

International Applicants are required to provide TOEFL English testing results. TOEFL Minimum = 96 out of 120 Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) or 600 Paper Based

Key Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadline: February 1.

Notification of Acceptance: 4 weeks after we receive your full application.

Learning Outcomes

Degree Level Expectations - MSc (113 KB)

Degree Level Expectations - PhD (117 KB)

Christopher Garnham
Possibilities for Antifreeze proteins