VIII. Graduate Programs
Students may undertake a PhD degree in aspects of Reproductive Biology, Developmental Cell and Tissue Morphology or Biomedical Toxicology/Pharmacology. Wherever appropriate, students are encouraged to incorporate the methodologies of more than one of these fields into their research project. The PhD program is research oriented and provides instructional opportunities and experiences that are intended to develop the student's ability to formulate hypotheses and design and execute experiments or to conduct observational studies
Students entering the PhD program must show evidence of the potential for independent, productive and original research. Admission to the PhD program generally requires completion of a research-based MSc program, a minimum 'B+' average in the prescribed courses taken during the master's degree program, and strong recommendations from referees who have a sound knowledge of the student's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, a short statement of the applicant's research interests and career goals is required.
In exceptional cases, where a candidate has demonstrated excellence in academic work and extraordinary ability to plan and initiate original research, transfer to the PhD program without completion of the MSc program may be recommended. This transfer must take place before the end of the fourth semester in accordance with university regulations. In all cases, students who do not hold an approved research-based MSc degree must register as MSc students regardless of their ultimate goals. Students may be admitted into the fall, winter or spring semester.
In those cases where the student is continuing her or his MSc research program into the PhD program, the student must clearly explain how the PhD research program represents a significant advance over that of the MSc.
The PhD program offers opportunities for students to become investigators in veterinary and human-health-related sciences. Students will be expected to demonstrate the originality and skill needed to contribute to the knowledge base in a manner that transcends the mere acquisition of data. The element of critical thinking is expected and it is fostered through appraisal of the literature of the student's research field, presentation of three departmental seminars during the program, and interaction with graduate faculty and visiting senior scientists. All students are required to present three departmental seminars during their program.
Preparation and defence of an acceptable thesis based on research data and hypotheses generated during the duration of the study are the main criteria used to assess the satisfactory completion of the PhD program. However, the student's advisory committee may require the student to successfully complete specified graduate courses before she or he undertakes the qualifying examination. The qualifying examination, which includes written and oral components, must be completed before the end of the third semester of the PhD program, or before the end of the fifth semester for those students who transfer directly from the MSc program. Successful completion of the qualifying examination is a prerequisite for continuation in the PhD program. The advisory committee is required to evaluate the student's research productivity periodically and to report on the student's progress to the department graduate program committee each semester in which the student is registered. The PhD program culminates in the preparation, presentation and defence of the thesis, which contains a substantial component of original research.