Western University BiologyWestern Science

Information for New Students

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

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 on the following website: http://www.westerncalendar.uwo.ca/

Tuition and fees are payable for all three terms. Information on tuition fees, due dates and payment options are available at http://www.registrar.uwo.ca/student_finances/fees_refunds/index.html. 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.

International students will need to present their study permit in person to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) located in room 4180 of the Support Services Building 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. After you report to SGPS, please provide the Biology Graduate Coordinator with a copy of your study permit. We will then be able to assign your WGRS funds to offset your tuition.

For international students, we will prepare a letter for you to apply for your Social Insurance Number within the first couple of weeks of your arrival.  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 the following links:


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.


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 http://www.uwo.ca/hfs/housing/

Bus passes will be available for pick up through the Society of Graduate Students in the University Community Centre, room 260, before the beginning of term. You will be notified of the dates and times by email. 

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 http://www.uwo.ca/its/helpdesk/index.html).

Your name will be provided to Tricia Gray, our Teaching Assistantship Coordinator, who will ensure that you are contacted for future Teaching Assistantship duties, however, you may want to contact her to get the process started.  Her email address is tgray5@uwo.ca.  

We offer graduate courses during the September and January terms. These courses are generally posted on our departmental website http://www.uwo.ca/biology/graduate/current/graduate_courses.html 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, contact Vicky Lightfoot at vlightft@uwo.ca.  She can also be reached at ext. 84547.

Please review important health and safety information on the Biology Health and Safety Webpage. Discuss 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 Vicky Lightfoot at vlightft@uwo.ca

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the grad student handbook, in particular part I, located on the following web page  http://www.uwo.ca/biology/graduate/current/index.html.  It contains important information on our graduate program, progression requirements, etc.  Most of our forms can also be found on our graduate website.

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