Frequently Asked Questions


Application and Supporting Documents

I am an international graduate already in Canada. Which application deadline applies to me?

All international applicants should apply by the international application deadline even if they are currently in Canada.

I have official copies of my transcripts. Do I need to order new ones to be forwarded directly to IMS?

If your transcripts are from a Canadian institution and are still in the sealed/signed envelope, they will be accepted by IMS as part of your application. Transcripts from overseas (outside Canada) must be sent directly to IMS from the institution.

My transcript is not in English. Is a translated copy required?

Yes – an English copy of your transcript must be provided with the original copy in its native language.

How soon after submitting an application will I be notified of the results?

The earliest offers of admission are available in mid-March for September registration and mid-October for January registration. Earlier applications would receive a result sooner.

What sort of information should be included in my Letter of Intent?

Your Letter of Intent is an opportunity to highlight your goals and aspirations, prior research experience and current research interests as well as indicate any supervisors you have reached out to. In addition you may include any other information pertinent to your application, such as extenuating circumstances for poor grades or gaps in your academic record.

Should my referees send their reference directly to the IMS? Can I collect them and drop them off?

Referees will be instructed on how to submit their references directly to IMS online.

Who can I use as a reference?

References must be faculty members at a university/college and must know you well enough to be familiar with your strengths and weaknesses. It is in your best interests to use at least one referee that knows you well enough to attest to your research ability.


Does the IMS find students a supervisor?

No, students are responsible for finding their own supervisor.

Do I need to have a supervisor before applying?

All applicants applying to the PhD program must upload a letter from the potential supervisor indicating acceptance of supervision and funding commitment. Domestic MSc applicants are not required to have supervisors in place at the time of application, however we strongly suggest that they contact prospective supervisors early in the application process. International applicants must have confirmation of a supervisor (as well as a guaranteed source of funding) in writing before applying.

Does having a supervisor before applying guarantee acceptance into the IMS?

No, having a supervisor does not guarantee acceptance, but it may help with the Admission Committee's evaluation of your application package.

I am having difficulty finding a supervisor. What should I do?

Be persistent. Visit our Faculty Directory for a listing of all IMS faculty and try searching by research area. Consult the list of faculty actively recruiting for January 2023.


What is 'full funding'?

The university mandates that all doctoral-stream graduate students receive full funding. Please review the Fees & Funding for more information.

I have found a supervisor, but they do not have funding. Can I work with this supervisor?

Supervisors must adhere to the Funding Policy which states that they must be able to guarantee your funding. You cannot work with a supervisor who is not able to provide the minimum stipend.

How will I receive my funding?

It depends on the source of funding. Awards and research stipends (payments from your supervisor’s operating grants) are paid through different processes. You should discuss stipend payment with your supervisor.

Am I eligible for an IMS Entrance Award?

There is a limited number of Entrance Awards.  Applicants who maintained an annual GPA of  A- throughout their degree program(s) might be eligible to receive this award.

Can my supervisor use the IMS Entrance Award toward my minimum stipend amount?

No, the Entrance Award cannot be used towards a student stipend.

Do I wait until I'm accepted to the program before seeking funding?

It is good to begin applying for awards prior to your acceptance into the program if possible.

General Information

What courses are prerequisites for entrance into the IMS?

There are no specific course prerequisites for entrance to the IMS. A strong background in biological sciences is acceptable. Applicants with majors in other disciplines are also encouraged to apply if they are interested in research in the biological sciences.

My marks are low but I have research experience. Is research experience a criterion for acceptance?

Although research experience is not mandatory, it will be taken into account, especially if marks are low and the applicant is more than 5 years out of an undergraduate program.

I am first author on a peer-reviewed publication. Are publications a criterion for acceptance?

No, publications are not a criterion for acceptance, but published work may help with the Admission Committee's evaluation of your application package.

I have a medical degree from an overseas university. Am I eligible for the PhD program?

Applicants holding medical degrees (MD or MBBS) from an overseas institution may or may not be eligible for our PhD program. The Admissions Committee will decide which program you are best suited for, after review of your application