Information for New Students

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Welcome to the Biology Graduate Program. Below is some preliminary information to help plan for your arrival.

Important Dates

The Biology graduate programs consist of three terms with start dates as noted below:

Fall – September 1, Winter – January 1, and Summer – May 1

To determine the beginning of undergraduate classes (as it may pertain to your Teaching Assistantship duties), please refer to the Office of the Registrar’s Academic Calendar


Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees are payable for all three terms. Information on tuition fees, due dates, and payment options are available at Fees and Refunds . Tuition and fees information will be updated on the above-listed website several weeks before the beginning of the term and will also appear in the Student Centre shortly after (mid-August, December or April).

Western Graduate Research Funds (WGRS), if applicable/eligible, are applied directly to your tuition account just before the beginning of the term. The WGRS funds offset your tuition balance to be paid. These funds will initially appear as anticipated aid. You need only pay the balance of the tuition and fees less the WGRS appearing as financial aid.

You should plan to arrive with sufficient funds to cover any outstanding tuition and fees, as well as your living expenses for at least the first month as the Graduate Teaching Assistantship or Graduate Research Assistantship funds will not be received until the end of the first month in the program, at the earliest. To help you determine the amount of funding you require, please use the Graduate student Affordabilty Calculator provided by Western Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.

International students will need to present their study permit in person to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) located in the International and Graduate Affairs Building Room 1N07 in order to be term-activated. Tuition owing will be processed after you are term-activated and you are required to arrange for payment of your tuition balance within five business days. Tuition fees not paid by the due date may incur late fees. Please let us know once you have provided your study permit to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  We will then be able to assign your WGRS funds to offset your tuition.


Employment and Housing

In order to be employed in Canada, you MUST have and maintain an eligible Social Insurance Number (SIN).  For information on how to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and the London Service Canada Centre, please view Social Insurance Number and London Service Canada Centre.

If you have not already done so, you will be required to set up a local bank account.  The following link will provide you with the details to update the Human Resources system with your banking information for direct deposit information.

Critical Info for New Employees

You must obtain your photo student ID card (if you do not already have one) from the Registrar's Office (Western Student Services Building room 1120).  The Registrar's Office will be able to answer any health insurance inquiries that you may have.

Housing information can be found at Housing at Western University

Please ensure that you activate and use your UWO grad student email account as it will be added to our departmental email lists and all future correspondence will be sent to you via that address. Please do not forward your UWO email to an outside service provider as this causes many problems with email.  If you are having problems activating this account, please contact Information Technology Services (see Western Technology Helpdesk).

Teaching Assistantship

Your name will be provided to our Teaching Assistantship Coordinator, who will ensure that you are contacted for future Teaching Assistantship duties, however, you may want to contact them to get the process started. Their email address is


More Info

We offer graduate courses during the September and January terms. These courses are generally posted on our departmental website Graduate Students - Courses a couple of weeks before the beginning of the term.

To inquire about graduate office space if you have a lab in the Biological and Geological Sciences Building or Western Science, fill in the Graduate Office Request (fillable PDF) form and send it to

Please review important health and safety information on the Biology Health and Safety Webpage. Discuss the necessary safety training with your supervisor and then sign-up for the appropriate training as soon as possible.  If you have problems signing up for any of the required training, please contact Gurpreet Dhami at She can also be reached at ext. 86406

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the grad student handbook, in particular, part I, located on the Student Handbook page.  It contains important information on our graduate program, progression requirements, etc. Part 2 is a pdf document containing useful non-academic information for new graduate students. Most of our forms can also be found on our graduate website here.

Additional links:

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