Biological and Chemical Sciences (PhD)

Our PhD program in Biological and Chemical Sciences is research-focused, and operates through an apprenticeship model where you will work closely with a faculty supervisor.

Your research will fall within one or more of our three areas of research strength: environment and health, biotic interactions, and structure and reactivity.

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Program Highlights

  • Program operates through an apprenticeship model where you will work closely with a faculty supervisor.
  • Three core research strengths: environment and health, biotic interactions, and structure and reactivity.
  • Winners of major external awards (OGS and Tri-Council) may be eligible for top-up funding which includes the Dean’s Graduate Scholarship (total value exceeds $10,000).
  • Eligible domestic students admitted to study on a full-time basis may be eligible for funding comprised of teaching assistantships, internal/external scholarships, and/or faculty-funded studentships or research assistantships.

Program Details

Program Structure

This full-time program can be completed in four years. You’ll be required to present and defend a research proposal in conjunction with a qualifying exam, and write and defend a dissertation.

Our program will turn you into an independent researcher capable of succeeding in careers in research, teaching, industry or government.

The research component of the program is complemented by coursework, which is designed to emphasize the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to biological and chemical research.

Research Focus

Our program has three core research strengths:

  • Environment and health: Research directed at issues affecting the environment that may ultimately impact global health on a broader scale.
  • Biotic interactions: Research on the biotic interactions that occur at all levels of biological organization and how such interactions influence biochemical and cellular processes, as well as the fitness and survival of individuals, populations and ecosystems.
  • Structure and reactivity: Research on structural properties of small molecules, polymers, biomolecules, as well as supramolecular assemblies such as protein complexes, nanoparticles and liquid crystals, and the relation between these structures and their physical, chemical, or biological activities.
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"Immerse yourself in all Laurier has to offer while completing your graduate education. Enjoy the journey – remember to have fun too!"

Paula C. Fletcher, associate dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Admissions

Take the first step in your graduate education and apply to one of our graduate programs. Follow our three-step admission process — we’ll walk you through how to apply and prepare for your first day as a graduate student.

  • Start: Fall (September), Winter (January) or Spring (May)
  • Format: Full-time
  • Application opens:
    • January intake: Sept. 1 (international applicants) or Nov. 16 (domestic applicants)
    • May intake: Dec. 16 (international applicants) or March 16 (domestic applicants)
    • September intake: May 1 (international applicants) or Aug. 16 (domestic applicants)
  • Application deadline:
    • January intake: Aug. 31 (international applicants) or Nov. 15 (domestic applicants)
    • May intake: Dec. 15 (international applicants) or March 15 (domestic applicants)
    • September intake: April 30 (international applicants) or Aug. 15 (domestic applicants)

Your Next Steps

Questions? Contact Lillian DeBruin, graduate program coordinator, at ldebruin@wlu.ca or 519.884.1710 x3599. For general inquiries, email bcs@wlu.ca or call 519.884.1970 x2905.

Waterloo Campus

This program is available on Laurier's Waterloo campus.

Laurier's Waterloo campus is home to more than 19,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Tucked into several city blocks, this campus is walking distance to your classrooms, food, and various campus amenities.

Laurier is a leading force in research among Canadian universities, and many of our research centres and institutes are housed in Waterloo.

Learn more about Laurier's campuses.

Tuition and Funding

Regardless of the type of graduate degree program you intend to pursue, financial planning is important. At Laurier, we want to provide you with as much information as possible about a variety of scholarship and funding opportunities and equip you with the skills to manage your finances effectively in the years to come.

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"With contributions from several university-based partners, ASPIRE provides graduate students and postdoctoral researchers with informative, hands-on professional skills training essential for degree and post-degree success."

Brent Wolfe, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Careers

Potential future careers for our graduates include:

  • researcher/instructor in academia
  • university faculty member
  • research scientist in industry or government

Your Path to Post-Degree Success

ASPIRE is Laurier's professional skills development training program for graduate students. The program helps you craft an individualized, extracurricular learning plan tailored to your professional journey and entry to the workplace.

Faculty

Learn about the interests and ongoing research of our faculty members. If their research interests you, email the professor directly to set up a meeting. Include information about yourself, your skills, your experience, and why you’re interested in their research.

Hind Al-Abadleh 
Professor

  • Environmental physical chemistry

Jennifer Baltzer
Associate Professor
Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change

  • Forest ecology

Anthony J. Clarke
Dean, Faculty of Science
Professor

  • Enzymology, glycobiology

Mihai Costea
Associate Professor
Curator of the Laurier Herbarium

  • Conservation biology in plant diversity

Joseph Culp
Environment and Climate Change Canada Research Scientist in Residence

  • Stream ecology

Christian Danve M. Castroverde
Assistant Professor

  • Molecular biology, plant biology

Louise Dawe
Associate Professor
Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Supramolecular chemistry, chemistry education

Lillian DeBruin
Associate Professor
Graduate Coordinator, Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Membrane biochemistry, biochemistry education

Stephanie DeWitte-Orr
Associate Professor
Associate Dean: Research and Graduate Studies, Faculty of Science

  • Cell biology, immunology, and virology

Dmitri Goussev (Gusev) 
Professor

  • Organometallic chemistry

Derek Gray
Associate Professor

  • Environmental and aquatic biology

Ian Hamilton
Professor
Chair, Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Computional chemistry

Geoff Horsman 
Associate Professor

  • Enzymology, natural product biochemistry

Masoud Jelokhani-Niaraki 
Professor

  • Biophysical chemistry, membrane protein biochemistry

Vladimir Kitaev 
Professor

  • Nanoparticle chemistry

Tristan A.F. Long
Associate Professor

  • Behavioural ecology, evolutionary genetics

Deborah MacLatchy
President and Vice-Chancellor
Professor

  • Exotoxicology, fish physiology

Stephen MacNeil
Associate Professor 
Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Chemistry Education

Ken Maly
Associate Professor

  • Organic chemistry

Allison McDonald
Professor
Graduate Coordinator, Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Comparative physiology, plant biochemistry

Jim McGeer
Professor

  • Aquatic physiology and toxicology

Gabriel Moreno-Hagelsieb
Professor

  • Genomics, metagenomics

Scott M. Ramsay
Associate Professor
Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Biology

  • Behavioural ecology

Robin Slawson
Professor

  • Environmental microbiology

Matthew Smith
Professor
Chair, Department of Biology

  • Molecular biology, protein biochemistry

Scott Smith
Professor

  • Aquatic environmental chemistry

Kevin Stevens
Associate Professor

  • Wetland ecology, aquatic botany

Frances Stewart
Assistant Professor
Canada Research Chair in Northern Wildlife Biology

  • Wildlife biology

Michael Suits
Associate Professor

  • Structural biology

Heidi Swanson
Associate Professor
Jarislowsky Chair in Sustainable Water Futures

  • Aquatic ecology

Dirk Wallschläger
Professor
Laurier Distinguished Research Chair in Aquatic Sciences

  • Environmental chemistry and toxicology

Joel Weadge
Associate Professor

  • Glycobiology, protein biochemistry

Michael P. Wilkie
Professor
Graduate Coordinator, Biology

  • Environmental physiology, aquatic toxicology

Jonathan Mark Wilson
Associate Professor
Co-Director, Laurier Institute for Water Science

  • Fish physiology