Graduate: Transferring from the MSc to the PhD Program

MSc to PhD Transfer

Outstanding M.Sc. students may apply for transfer to the PhD program in Pharmacology after one year. Transfer after the end of April of the second year is not permitted by SGS. Transfer applications must be received by the Graduate Office no later than the beginning of April of the second year to allow time for consideration by the Graduate Education Committee.


  • B+ or higher in all graduate courses taken
  •  the current MSc research project must be expandable in scope to meet PhD thesis research requirements and must have resulted in sufficient progress to support the likelihood of a successful outcome at the PhD level
  • the full support of the current MSc Supervisor (and Co-Supervisor where applicable)
  • the proposed PhD supervisor MUST be the same as the current MSc supervisor

How to Apply:

1. Notify the Graduate Office you wish to be considered for PhD transfer.

2. Submit to the Graduate Office:

i) PhD Proposal. The proposal should be 5-10 pages of single-spaced text, excluding references and figures. It should include the following components: review of background literature; a statement of hypotheses and/or goals; a progress report on work accomplished to date; a research plan for experiments to be completed in the PhD program; a statement of the overall significance of the research project.
ii) A one-page summary of the Research Proposal
iii) C.V. (be sure to include any Publications and Presentations)

3. Have a minimum of THREE letters of reference sent on your behalf to the Graduate Office:

One from the proposed PhD supervisor (current MSc supervisor) and two letters from Graduate Faculty members (Assessors) who are well acquainted with your work, are subject matter experts on the research field of the proposed project and might possibly serve on the student’s PhD supervisory committee. In cases where the student has a Co-supervisor, an additional letter from the Co-supervisor is also required.

Assessors should indicate:

  • the proposed project is suitable for a PhD project (comment on scientific quality of the proposal and potential impact of anticipated results)
  • the student has the qualities and potential for the PhD program

The letter from the proposed PhD supervisor should comment on the above and also indicate adequate financial and infrastructure resources are in place to support both the student and the project.

Upon receipt of the above, the GEC will recommend whether the student should be allowed to proceed with the transfer.

The student and supervisor will be notified of the Graduate Education Committee’s recommendation at a later date.

PhD Transfer Checklist

The following are some statements to guide your thinking about the feasibility of your proposed Ph.D. research:

  • The scope of my current M.Sc. project is expandable to a PhD project.
  • My project has generated sufficient preliminary data to support the feasibility of the research goals.
  • The progress of my project is being monitored at reasonable time intervals.
    • Clinical Projects: I have made sufficient progress in patient recruitment to demonstrate feasibility of my proposed study
    •  There are no experimental/methodological issues that could hamper the progress of the project being addressed.
  •  My study scope and timeline for achieving my research objectives aligns with the program completion time guidelines.
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