“Traditionally Canada and Ontario have been strong on supporting research and training scientists. Good Canadian ideas and research then moved offshore for product development and manufacturing. This reality hit Governments hard in 2020 when it was realized that Canada did not have the capability to manufacture products to address the COVID pandemic. Today, the table is set for growth of capabilities in advanced product development, scale-up and manufacturing so that Canada has the capability to meet its own needs for biopharmaceutical products…and to supply the world. As a biopharmaceutical company executive, I have long wished for access to new employees that are trained in product development, manufacturing methodologies and applicable regulation. Such training would make new staff members productive in a fraction of the time it takes for a traditionally trained scientist. The McMaster Biomanufacturing Stream program is poised to fill that gap.”
The 1st of its kind in Canada
The Biomanufacturing graduate program offered at McMaster University is the first academic program of its kind in Canada in an effort to develop a biomanufacturing ecosystem.
The program trains science and technology graduates for high demand leadership roles in this vitally important and rapidly expanding field.
The innovative graduate program combines a foundation in biomanufacturing, bioprocessing, and biopharmaceutical theory with experiential learning in many areas, including cGMP manufacturing, regulatory affairs and biocatalysis.
Manufacturing is fundamental in making the lives of Canadians better and is critical in increasing the overall value of a society.
Biomanufacturing is the common operation that connects the many different market sectors of the global biotechnology industry together. This diverse field encompasses the massive production scales of the liquid biofuels industry at one end, to the highly regulated cell therapy and biopharmaceutical industry at the other.
Biotechnology companies throughout Ontario use living cells to produce enzymes, medicines, and amino acids for diagnostic purposes. This improves lives, creates jobs, and increases the economy. The process of using living cells to create products is called biomanufacturing or bioprocessing.
Prior degree: Engineering or Technology Degree, B average in last two years of study (20 technical courses), equivalent to a McMaster 8.0 GPA out of 12
The Master of Engineering in Manufacturing Engineering is aimed at highly motivated students seeking advanced training in the broad area of Manufacturing. Application for admission to the program may be made through the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology. The program accepts full-time and part-time students – see the Program Structure section for details.
In addition to the general requirements for entry into a graduate program in Engineering, students must hold a degree in Engineering or Technology with at least a B average (equivalent to a McMaster 8.0/12 GPA) in the penultimate and final years.
Candidates may be enrolled on a full- or part-time basis. Full-time students will complete the degree in twelve consecutive months of study. Students are admitted for September. Part-time students will normally be expected to complete the program in 28 months.
McMaster students may receive advanced standing for up to two courses (note that a maximum of two 600-level courses can count towards a SEPT graduate program) with the approval of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.
September 2023 Admission Deadlines
Online portal opens November 1st, 2022
Domestic applicants: June 30th, 2023
International applicants: April 30th, 2023
January 2024 Admission Deadlines
Online portal now open
Domestic applicants: September 30th, 2023
International applicants: July 15th, 2023
International applicants are encouraged to apply early as the visa application process may take 3 months.
Please be aware of the different application deadlines for domestic and international students. International applications are typically due earlier to account for visa processing times. Unsure if you are considered an international or domestic applicant? International applicants require a student visa to study in Canada. If you require further clarification, please send an email to the School of Graduate Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1: Click on the link above to open your application with McMaster University. Alternatively, please visit the Graduate Studies site.
Step 2: Answer all application-related questions.
Step 3: Register for your online interview (Kira) and ensure that you complete the $60 payment. Note that the $60 is in addition to your $110 application fee. They are separate charges.
- The registration and payment link are embedded in your application questions.
Step 4: Gather, and upload all required documents.
- Your current resume or CV, including academic and professional experience
- Your clearly written Statement of Interest (This is a letter explaining your interest in the program, at a maximum of 2 pages).
- Recent IELTS or TOEFL scores (within the last 2 years) required for international students. Minimum IELTS score 6.5 overall (minimum requirement 5.5 in reading and writing and 6 in listening and speaking). Minimum TOEFL score is 88. Note that if your medium of instruction was English and this is documented on your transcripts, you do not need to submit an ELP test.
- Transcripts from all post secondary institutions you have attended.
- Please note that all documents must be uploaded before application submission. CV, SOI, IELTS/TOEFL and Transcripts are uploaded in the same section of the application.
Step 5: Add Academic Referee contact information.
- Contact information for 2 Academic References must be entered in online application. Referees will be contacted via our electronic referencing system
- Academic references are to come from instructors most familiar with your academic work.
- In cases where an applicant has been away from academic study for 5 or more years, we will consider one professional reference.
- Please note that we do not accept reference letters uploaded by the applicant.
Step 6: Pay $110 application fee, and submit application.
- Only submit your application once all the above documents have been uploaded, you have entered contact information for both academic references, and you have paid your Kira fee.
- *Applications will not be reviewed unless all items noted above are submitted at the time of application*.
Step 7: Complete your Kira interview.
- Applicants will be sent a link to complete their Kira interview within one week of application submission and Kira fee payment.
- Applicants will not receive a link unless they have fully submitted their application, and have submitted the $60 Kira fee payment.
Step 8: You will be contacted if there are any issues with your application. Please do not email about the status of your application. Applicants will be contacted once a decision regarding the application has been made.
- Please note that if you are accepted to one of our programs, you will be required to pay a non-refundable $500 deposit. This deposit is non-refundable if you withdraw your acceptance.
- Applications will not be reviewed until all required documents are uploaded, the referees have responded, and the Kira online interview has been completed. All applications must be completed in full in advance of the application deadlines in order to be considered.
- Official transcripts are not required unless an applicant is granted an offer of admission. Documentation sent via post will not be considered for your application.
- Applications will not be considered until we receive copies of transcripts noting grades up to at least Term 7 of your undergraduate studies.
Full-time Tuition & Fees (2021-2022)
30 credit units are required to complete this degree and tuition is paid per credit unit. Please view the per-unit fees for the current academic year on the Office of the Registrar website.
Expected Full-time Tuition & Fees (2022-2023)
30 credit units are required to complete this degree and tuition is paid per credit unit. Domestic: $281.58 per credit unit International: $1397.55 per credit unit
Students enrolled in multiple academic years ( e.g. January admission) pay the fees corresponding for the academic year the term is within. The University reserves the right to correct typographical errors or to adjust the Tuition and Fees schedule at any time it deems necessary.
- Application Fee: $110.00
- Online Interview Fee (Kira Talent): $60.00
- Non-refundable deposit upon acceptance: $500.00
IELTS/TOEFL: International students are required to present a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall (minimum requirements 5.5 in reading and writing and 6 in listening and speaking). Minimum TOEFL score is 88.
“Biomanufacturing is at the forefront of modern technology and is revolutionizing everything from cancer treatment to renewable fuels. The Masters of Engineering in Biomanufacturing program is a given for me and future candidates as it’s the first program in Canada that will prepare myself and others to lead this revolutionizing sector through learning from industry experts and hands on research opportunities. Biomanufacturing is undeniably doing ground breaking work in facing several global challenges such as global warming, sustainability and climate change. As the future of technology and innovation progresses, Biomanufacturing will undoubtedly play a vital role in the enhancement of several processes and applications.”
A growing industry
During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario was in a perilous position, which forced them to depend on external sources to supply critical goods, mainly the mRNA vaccines produced by American companies Moderna and Pfizer. The lack of innovation in the Ontario health care sector was also seen.
Although Ontario, along with the rest of Canada, was ill-prepared for dealing with the pandemic, the lack of infrastructure and innovation was not always the case. Canada has an impressive history which can be seen from the hundred year-old discovery of insulin to the scientists who were essential in the development of polio and ebola vaccines. In order to have the ability to manufacture our own vaccines and develop innovative solutions, the biomanufacturing sector needs to be built correctly. A biomanufacturing ecosystem in Ontario requires engagement from academic, investor and industry networks to survive and grow
A big part of this program is developing industry partners and making sure students have that co-op industry experience so that when you graduate, you’re not just graduating with courses or the knowledge of a thesis, but you are graduating with that hands-on experience which is really important. The difference between the thesis-based and course-based masters program is mainly the scope. For the thesis-based program, you would spend two years focusing on a very narrow topic, such as the expression of one specific protein in one specific type of E. coli. In this course-based program, you will be introduced to many different aspects throughout the process of biomanufacturing, which will be combined with real world training through co-op opportunities.
A lot of undergraduate students wonder what they should do with their career moving forward, should they continue their education by enrolling in a masters program or should they find a job to make money and gain experience before ultimately having to drop their job and go back to full-time school. The whole idea of the Biomanufacturing Graduate Program is to be delivered on a flexible schedule, helping to cope with the uncertainties of the job market in the future. With this flexible program, industry professionals are still able to keep their job on a part-time basis and take the required courses to complete the program. Our academic advisors are here to help you navigate though the different options available to create a customized plan which is the best plan for you.
The hands-on component is super important as it provides students with the necessary skills and experience to complete tasks they will encounter within the industry. Another benefit of the hands-on courses is the ability to understand the trouble-shooting process. The more experience you have with lab equipment, for example a bioreactor, the more you know the ins and outs of the equipment, the more you know how best to troubleshoot. This enables you to work through an unexpected/undesired result obtained during process development using a methodical approach to dissect the problem, which can only be done if you understand what you are doing.
Our industrial partners are very good. The whole structure of our curriculum was developed so that the components and products such as bioreactor culture for IPSE or viral production are deeply rooted into the hands-on and theory courses. I think a lot of the training is already done from the courses, not only in the background but the understanding of the product including how to develop the entire process of a product that is demanded by the client. Each different aspect is introduced by our industrial partner, and the examples taught in the courses will be directly reflected in your future industry experiences.
The whole idea for this program is to open the doors to biologists and engineers as well. No matter if you major in mechanical engineering, material engineering or life sciences, we open the door for you because the curriculum was designed for multidisciplinary students. One of the features of our classroom is there are a lot of students working with each other, collaborating on projects and case studies. That is advantageous because you have the ability to work with others that have different backgrounds.
Yes. An MEng in Chemical Engineering can certainly apply to this program. This is actually a very good fit for your background. Biomanufacturing requires a lot of basic concepts from chemical and biochemical engineering.