IX. Graduate Programs

Biomedical Sciences

PhD Program

Students may undertake a PhD degree in aspects of 1) reproductive biology and development; 2) cellular and molecular basis of health and disease; 3) cancer biology; 4) cardiovascular physiology; 5) stem cell biology and regenerative medicine; 6) biomedical toxicology and pharmacology; and 7) neuroscience. 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 based 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.

Admission Requirements

Students entering the PhD program must show evidence of potential for independent, productive and original research. Admission to the PhD program generally requires completion of an MSc program with a research component, 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 Summer 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.

Program Requirements

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. All students are required to present departmental seminars (one per annum). Students must also successfully complete a qualifying examination. Details of the qualifying examination which includes written and oral components can be found on the Department’s website 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. 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. In addition the student must meet the Department’s minimum scientific communication requirements. The minimum scientific communication requirements are two manuscripts which must at least have been submitted to a scientific journal prior to the student graduating with their PhD degree. One of these manuscripts must be based on the student’s PhD research project and the student must be the first or senior author on this manuscript. The second manuscript may be either an original research manuscript or a review manuscript. The student is not required to be the first author on this manuscript but the manuscript must be generated during the student’s tenure as a PhD candidate (i.e. the manuscript cannot be based on work performed while an undergraduate student or work presented in an MSc thesis). Students transferring from the MSc program to the PhD program can use any publications generated while enrolled in the graduate program of the Department of Biomedical Sciences. If these requirements have not been achieved, written justification must be provided to the Department of Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Committee outlining the reasons why these requirements have not been achieved. The Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Committee will provide a written response outlining the decision of the Graduate Program Committee to either grant or reject the request that the defence proceed even though the minimum scientific communication requirements have not been completed.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1