Undergraduate Thesis (Pharmac 4F09)

Pharmacology 4F09 Honours Thesis Proposal gpcrLevel IV Honours Biology & Pharmacology co-op students are required to complete an undergraduate thesis (Pharmacology 4F09) to fulfill the requirements for their degree.

The objective is for the student to get experience in conducting original research; to do in depth and full time for 4 months, preparation, literature research, conducting original experiments, writing all this in a formal thesis format. In other words, it is the ideal preparation for work in an academic setting or starting a Master’s degree. It fosters critical thinking, working to a certain extent independently and perseverance. It is one of the components of our program that makes employers or professors want to hire our students!

The thesis differs from an essay or a project in the depth of scholarship required and a greater degree of involvement in the gathering and analysis of data.

Work on the thesis must be undertaken for no less than a four-month period during the official thesis term May through August of Level 4. The thesis document has to be submitted to the supervisor in early December. The completed thesis document must be submitted to the program each January (see below). Students may work under the direct supervision of a McMaster faculty member or perfom thesis work at sites outside the university. In either case, thesis projects may be combined with a work term to span an eight or twelve month period of time. Supervision of thesis projects by McMaster faculty or other employers is facilitated by the Honours Biology & Pharmacology Program.

The program Director may adjust supervisor marking if inequalities in judgement criteria are noted, in consultation with the supervisor.

The thesis term does not get paid. In any negotiations with potential supervisors, it is obligatory that the students make it clear that a thesis project is not a paid position in principle. In some settings (industry, government) the supervisor is mandated to only have paid employees, in those cases, payment is acceptable. In some settings, working in other parts of the country, the supervisor is free to pay for expenses such as travel or accommodation, if such is negotiated..

The Pharmacology 4F09 Honours Thesis Proposal document must be completed and returned to the Program Director for approval.
1. If the supervisor is experienced in supervising undergraduate research projects in an academic environment, you have to let the Program Director know as soon as you have secured a thesis project. Please email Darlene (
dmccann@mcmaster.ca) with a provisional title and name and email address of the supervisor. Submission of the project proposal should be done no later than at the end of the first week of starting the project.
2. If the supervisor has no experience with supervising undergraduate projects, but the project will be a classical lab based study, the proposal should be sent to the Program Director as soon as possible after you have secured a position but no later than April 1, 2018. Please email proposal to Darlene McCann (
dmccann@mcmaster.ca ) as soon as possible.
3. If the supervisor is in a non-academic environment you have to contact the Program Director to discuss the thesis proposal. It has to be fully understood that the thesis project is an academic exercise with original research that has to be defended in public. If any proprietary issues are involved, this should be clarified and approved by the Program Director as soon as possible.

The thesis defenses will take place on a weekend in early March 2018. The Program Director will consult with the students as to which weekend is best. It is mandatory for all students to attend all student defenses over the entire weekend.

There are several components to the evaluation of the thesis:


Component % Evaluator
Performance during the thesis work 30 Supervisor
Written thesis 20 Supervisor
Written thesis 25 Program
Thesis defence 25 Program


 Dates for Summer 2017 Thesis Project

  • December 11, 2017- Hand in thesis to Supervisor
  • January 15, 2018 - Hand in thesis to BioPharm Program (email: dmccann@mcmaster.ca )
  • March 3-4, 2018 - Thesis Defense Weekend - all are obligated to attend both days


Dates for Summer 2018 Thesis Project

  • April 1, 2018 - Latest date for permission when thesis is not done in an academic lab with experience
  • May 10, 2018 - Final date for submission of thesis project proposal
  • December 10, 2018 - Hand in thesis to Supervisor
  • January 14, 2019 - Hand in thesis to BioPharm Program (email: dmccann@mcmaster.ca )
  • March 2019 - Thesis Defence





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