Sep 19, 2021  
School of Graduates Studies Calendar, 2020-2021 
School of Graduates Studies Calendar, 2020-2021 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Biology, Ph.D

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Ph.D. candidates in Biology are bound by School of Graduate Studies regulations. There is no course requirement for students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.Sc. degree there is no minimum course requirement but all students must complete a thesis embodying independent original research. Students with a B.Sc. degree directly entering our Ph.D. program are required to complete a minimum of two 700-level half courses in Biology or related fields, plus a thesis. Students are encouraged to take BIO 712 “Communication and Scholarship Skills in Biology” during their study. The supervisory committee may require a Ph.D. student to take graduate or undergraduate courses to resolve program deficiencies. Students must plan their course requirements in consultation with their supervisory committee. In addition to courses, the supervisory committee will identify study topics for the student to broaden their breadth of scientific knowledge, extending beyond the topic of their Ph.D. research.


All Ph.D. students are required to have annual supervisory committee meetings. For new students who start their program in January and May, their first supervisory committee meeting must be held by the end of October of the same calendar year. For new students who start their program in September, their first supervisory committee meeting should be held within 12 months (by the end of August in the following year). However, earlier and more frequent meetings are recommended when the supervisor and/or the student deem such meeting(s) are necessary.

A Ph.D. candidate must pass a comprehensive examination in order to continue in the program. The comprehensive exam normally takes place between 12 and 16 months (with an upper limit of 24 months in exceptional cases) after the initial date of registration in the Ph.D. program.The comprehensive examination topics, procedure, examiners and time frame are typically determined at the first supervisory committee meeting. The Comprehensive Examination Study Topics form must be completed at the FIRST supervisory committee meeting. Please refer to the appropriate sections of the program guide available from the Department of Biology for more details.

Candidates for Ph.D. degrees are expected to participate regularly in departmental programs and activities (e.g. seminars). Each graduate student must attend at least 12 seminars per year (12 months) and the Seminar Attendance Recording Form must be submitted at the annual supervisory committee meeting. Refer to the appropriate section of the program guide available from the Department for more details. Graduate students entering the final year of the Ph.D. degree are required to present the results of their research project to the department during a public supervisory committee meeting. At this meeting students will present a comprehensive overview of the field of investigation in the form of a written report submitted to the supervisory committee and an oral presentation describing the rationale, experimental approaches, and outcomes of their research project. A question period follows the presentation.

In the final Ph.D. Thesis Defence Examination, the candidate will be expected to defend his/her thesis which embodies the results of original research. The general requirements concerning the thesis appear earlier in this Calendar.

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