Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

  View our video on the PhD program             

In the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program you will become a highly competent, independent, creative, and critical scientist. Research in the PhD program is expected to be original and novel, contribute significantly to the relevant research field, and be published in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.  Graduate degrees at the PhD level are granted in one of three fields:  Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Ecosystem Science and Biodiversity, Plant & Environmental Health.  Doctoral students of the SES graduate program will provide leadership as scholars in academic institutions, as managers and officers in the industrial research and development sector, in the research and policy branches within the government sector and in other social institutions. 

Minimum funding for the PhD is $20,500/year over a 3-year eligibility period. The Office of Graduate Studies provides information on tuition and living costs.   

Link to the Graduate Calendar: PhD program

Below are some common Questions and Answers:

What kind of funding is available?

All PhD full-time domestic students will receive funding while registered in their first 9 eligible semesters, providing satisfactory progress each semester. Doctoral NSERC holders will receive the an additional $10,000 per year beyond the funding provided by NSERC, $5,000 from the University and $5,000 from the Advisor while holding an NSERC.  Funding beyond these semesters is not guaranteed and at the discretion of the research advisor. We do not promise funding for part-time graduate students. The following chart shows the Guaranteed Minimum Yearly Stipends in SES.  Students may receive additional funding in the form of additional teaching assistantship or research assistantship.

  1. Domestic Full time
    1. PhD (within 9 semesters): $20,500 + a half Teaching Assistantship per year
    2. PhD with NSERC: >$31,000 + a half Teaching Assistantship per year
    3. (a half Teaching Assistantship was worth ~$2850 in 2016)
  2. International Full time
    1. PhD (within 9 semesters): $20,500

* Special circumstances may apply with holders of other scholarships and work circumstances.

Are there scholarships?

Students may receive external scholarships (e.g NSERC, OGS) and/or internal scholarships.  For more information, please consult the graduate studies Scholarships and Awards website.  You may also use the Graduate Award Search Tool.

How do I apply?

Admission requirements

Apply to the SES PhD Program

What is the collaborative specialization in International Development Studies (IDS)?

Students can choose to combine their PhD program with an IDS designation (PHD.ENVS+IDEV). The collaborative IDS PhD program provides an opportunity for advance students to engage with interdisciplinary development theories and to conduct research on international development. This combination provides the necessary disciplinary qualifications for the academic job market as well as the interdisciplinary breadth required for development policy and practice.
In addition to the Environmental Science PhD requirements, students take an interdisciplinary course on theories and debates (IDEV*6800 - Theories and Debates in Development), and a course dealing with development research methods and practice (IDEV*6850 - Development Research and Practice). Completion of the IDS program adds the designation "International Development Studies" to the PhD degree. Visit the IDS website ( for more information or e-mail

Link to graduate calendar: PhD Collaborative specialization in International Development Studies

What is the collaborative specialization in Toxicology?

The School of Environmental Sciences participates in the PhD collaborative Specialization in toxicology.  Participating departments include the Departments of Animal Biosciences, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Integrative Biology, Mathematics and Statistics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Pathobiology, Plant Agriculture and the School of Environmental Sciences.  Students complete the requirements of the SES MSc program (1.5 credits), including two courses in toxicology (Advanced Principles of Toxicology and Advanced Topics in Toxicology).

Link to graduate calendar: PhD collaborative specialization in Toxicology

Where are recent SES PhD graduates working now?

coming soon....

Where do I get more information?

Graduate Program Assistant, School of Environmental Sciences Alexander Hall 260; tel. +1 519 824 4120 ext. 53937 email: