Graduate: PhD Research Project & Thesis

Progress in PhD Program

The School of Graduate Studies sets clear guidelines for montoring the progress of PhD students

In Pharmacology, all students participate in a research program and present their investigations in a thesis. In particular, a Ph.D. thesis contains publishable results of original research. 

The progress of all Ph.D. candidates is monitored by an approved PhD Supervisory Committee.pdf (10.36 KB) selected by the thesis supervisor and student within six months of the student's enrolment in the Ph.D. program. Committee composition may include the thesis supervisor and two, or occasionally three, additional members. One member of the Committee may be invited from outside the Department or exceptionally, even from outside the University. Any subsequent changes to the committee composition must approved by the Graduate Coordinator. 

The Committee evaluates the progress of the candidate and reports annually on the directions and prospects of the program. This written annual PhD Supervisory Committee Report.pdf (39.37 KB) is a condition for re-registration in September for the next academic year and receipt is strictly monitored by the Graduate Coordinator. 

One-Year Progress Report:  In particular, within one year after entry into the Ph.D. program, and normally in conjunction with the first meeting of the Committee, the student must present a written report on his/her Ph.D. project to the Committee including a critical review of the pertinent literature and a clear outline of the proposed investigation, its objective(s) and research plan. The Committee shall thoroughly assess the report, the progress, and the standing of the student and may suggest the modification or even suspension of his/her program. It is recommended that students structure this initial report similar to a CIHR-style operating grant application .... normally about 10 pages of single-spaced text plus references and tables/figs. Students should contact the Department if they need further instructions concerning this requirement.  A copy of the student's written report, along with the completed PhD Supervisory Committee Report.pdf (39.37 KB), must be submitted to the Graduate Office.

Progress Reports in Subsequent Years:  At each subsequent meeting of the Committee, the student should prepare a concise written progress report that summarizes the developments since the previous meeting and the remaining items to be accomplished for program completion.  A copy of the written report should be submitted to the Graduate Office.  The final meeting of the Committee must involve a decision regarding the most appropriate organization of the student's thesis, and the report of the Committee must include an explicit written recommendation that a sufficient body of experimental work has been completed and that preparation of the thesis may proceed.

Three years after registration in the Ph.D. program, and every subsequent year, the Graduate Education Committee will review the progress of the candidate and the projections for the completion of the program. Two consecutive reports from the Supervisory Committee indicating unsatisfactory student progress may result in a recommendation to terminate the registration and eligibility of the student.

The Supervisor, members of the Supervisory Committee, or the student may report grievances directly to the Chair and/or Coordinator.

Completion and Defense of the Ph.D. Thesis

Prior to, or during the last six months preceding submission of the thesis, the results of the Ph.D. research are presented at a Ph.D. Exit Seminar (PhD Seminars.pdf (85.46 KB)).  At the final PhD Supervory committee meeting, or shortly afterward, the Supervisory Committee nominates a Graduate Faculty member to serve as Thesis Reader. The Thesis Reader would beindicated on the final Supervisory Committee Report which will be submitted to the Graduate Office in the usual manner to be signed off by the Graduate Coordinator. [We would normally expect this individual to be one of the Supervisory Committee members and to be familiar with the candidate's thesis research.] 

The Thesis Reader, along with the Supervisor/Co-Supervisor evaluates the thesis to ensure that it is in a suitable state for distribution to the Senate Oral Examination Committee members.  

The student then submits a printed copy of the thesis and the 'PhD Thesis Approval for Distribution.pdf (62.8 KB)' form signed by the Supervisor(s) and Thesis Reader confirming that they have read and approved the thesis. Upon obtaining permission from the Graduate Coordinator, the student can proceed to arrange the Senate Oral Examination.

The thesis can only be distributed to the External Appraiser and other Senate Oral Examination Committee members when permission has been obtained from the Graduate Office.

Note that the entire thesis material - i.e. text and all tables and figures - whether unpublished or already published, is subject to appraisal and recommendation for revision. 

For further information concerning the PhD Oral Defenses, consult the Program Completion section of the website.

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