VIII. Graduate Programs
The Zoology Graduate Program offers PhD degrees for studies in each of the three major areas of emphasis: ecology and behaviour, evolutionary biology, and physiology. The 3 areas of interest focus on (but are not restricted to), experimental approaches in field and laboratory settings and a strong linkage between theoretical and applied investigations. The department encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary research and, where appropriate, utilize faculty expertise from across campus on their advisory committees.
The admission and degree requirements of the PhD program are essentially those of the university. Most applicants will have a recognized master's degree in a related field obtained with minimum academic standing of 'A-' (80%) in their postgraduate studies, and the endorsement of a potential thesis advisor. Under exceptional circumstances admission directly to a PhD program with an appropriate honours degree alone, or transfer from MSc to PhD program without completing the MSc thesis requirements, is also possible. Applications should be received at least one full semester (four months) prior to the expected date of admission. Applications from international students, especially those applying for financial support, should arrive at least eight months prior to the expected date of admission.
The Zoology program expects that the major part of the student's time will be devoted to research in fulfilment of the thesis requirement. For that reason, the department does not require that PhD students take any courses. Even so, students entering directly into the PhD program are strongly encouraged to take IBIO*6630 Scientific Communication I (0.75 credit) in their first Fall semester. Furthermore, advisory committees may, from time to time, require that a student take some prescribed or additional courses. Regardless, PhD students are expected to contribute and participate actively in the full academic life of the department, including regular attendance at departmental and inter-departmental seminars, and to provide leadership and counselling to undergraduate and MSc students.
PhD students will become candidates for the PhD degree upon successful completion of an oral or written qualifying examination, which must be conducted not later than the fifth semester of the PhD program. However students are strongly encouraged to take the exam by the end of their third semester. The exam evaluates students' knowledge in the general area of the intended research. Candidates will spend not fewer than five semesters (seven without an MSc) in the program, and are expected to complete their studies within 11 semesters.
Submission and defence of an acceptable thesis complete the requirements for a PhD. An acceptable thesis comprises a report of the candidate's research on a particular and well-defined research problem or hypothesis. It should represent a significant contribution to knowledge in that field. Emphasis is placed on the quality of the work as judged by the expression of mature scholarship, critical judgment, and satisfactory literary style in the thesis. Thesis approval implies that it is judged sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in reputable, refereed journals in its field.