DNA molecule

Medical Biophysics

MSc & PhD

The Department of Medical Biophysics offers interdisciplinary research-focused graduate studies at both the Masters (MSc) and Doctoral (PhD) level. Focusing on basic and translational research, we offer students a diverse and highly integrated modular curriculum which reflects the increasing specialization in biomedical science. Our rotation system is a key feature of our training that allows newly admitted students to experience 3 different labs before deciding on a "best fit" thesis lab. This allows students to explore the breadth and depth of the research conducted and find the ideal learning environment to succeed.

Cancer research remains our principal focus, followed by cardiovascular disease and neuroscience. We bring together researchers from diverse scientific areas, who work on multidisciplinary projects. In our labs, you will find faculty and students with backgrounds in molecular and cell biology, physiology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science and beyond. The department stresses an interdisciplinary approach to medical research, which is the hallmark of Medical Biophysics.

Our Programs

In addition to completing a thesis, students take 2.5 FCE*:

  • MBP 1015Y (Biomedical Seminar, 1.0 FCE),
  • MBP 1200H (Scientific Exposition and Ethics, 0.25 FCE)
  • MBP 1201H (Biostatistics, 0.25 FCE)
  • Biology-related course (0.25 FCE) and 
  • Elective courses (0.75 FCE). 

Students successfully finish this program in 2 years.

In addition to conducting independent and original research that will form their
thesis, students complete 3.5 FCE:

  • MBP 1015Y (Biomedical Seminar, 1.0 FCE);
  • MBP 1200H (Scientific Exposition and Ethics, 0.25 FCE);**
  • MBP 1201H (Biostatistics, 0.25 FCE)
  • Biology-related course (0.25 FCE) and
  • Elective courses (1.75 FCEs).

Typically, students successfully complete this program in 6 years.

Alumni Profile

Hui Guo

Hui Guo, PhD

My name is Hui Guo and I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany. During my PhD, I developed an interest in research and decided to pursue a career as an independent researcher. In the PhD program, I received extensive training in designing, conducting and communicating my research. These skills allowed me to pursue further training as a postdoctoral fellow in my current institution and will remain useful in my career down the road.

For new graduate students, the most important thing in graduate school is to find a lab with a supportive supervisor and lab mates. Suggestions from your supervisor and peers are essential to help you stay on the right track and avoid pitfalls. Additionally, as once suggested to me by my PhD supervisor: focus on doing good science and the rest will follow. Whatever your eventual goal might be, a solid MSc or PhD can be a plus. Try to be patient and enjoy the process!

Potential Career Paths

In 2016, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) tracked the career outcomes of 10,000 PhD students who graduated from the University of Toronto between 2000 to 2015. The data below is from 331 medical biophysics PhD graduates.


Some examples of positions our medical biophysics graduates held included:

  • Post-doctoral Fellow
  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Medical Resident
  • Scientist


Some examples of employers for whom our medical biophysics graduates worked included:

  • The University of Toronto
  • University Health Network
  • Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • The Hospital for Sick Children

Main Employment Sectors of Medical Biophysics PhD Graduates

Chart data

Post-Secondary Education Private Sector Public Sector Charitable Sector Individual Sector
154 101 60 10 5

The chart below shows a breakdown of the various sectors in which our medical biophysics PhD graduates worked at the time the survey occurred.

By the Numbers

Number of current MSc & PhD students.
Number of graduate faculty.
Number of research sites.

Department of Medical Biophysics

Learn more about our programs in medical biophysics.

*Full course equivalent. A typical 0.5 FCE is over one term (13 weeks), meeting 1-2 times per week. A typical 1.0 FCE is over two terms (26 weeks), meeting 1-2 times per week.