Transfer from MSc to PhD

Transfer from the MSc to the PhD constitutes a new admission to the Department. Students must be ensured "Full Funding" by the prospective supervisor in order to enter the PhD Program of the Department. Therefore a new GEMS Student/Supervisor Agreement must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval. Direct transfer is encouraged for students who have made substantial progress in their research and have demonstrated the desire and potential to meet the requirements of a rigorous research training program. Such students should have fulfilled all course requirements for the MSc with at least an A- average and have a substantial amount of data that could be submitted for publication or included in a MSc thesis. There should be a clearly identified program for future research that continues, or is consistent with, work already underway. Too large a project for the MSc is not a reason for transfer to the PhD.

Timing of the Transfer

The Request for Transfer must be received in the Physiology Office at an appropriate time to allow completion of the transfer within 18 months of starting the program. The transfer documentation is substantial and requires that examination committee members be given at least 2 weeks in which to read the material before the examination. The Student's Supervisory Committee must agree to recommend the student to have a transfer exam. This decision must be made at a formal Supervisory Committee Meeting. The supervisor and the student may suggest members for an Examination Committee. This expanded Committee consists of the Supervisory Committee and two field experts (preferably one from within and one from outside the Department, although this can be discussed further if necessary), i.e. at least five members.  The final composition of this committee, the Transfer Request form and all required documents must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator before the examination can proceed. At the Transfer Examination the committee will complete the Transfer Exam Report and submit to the Physiology Graduate Office.

The Transfer Meeting

At least 2 hours should be scheduled for this meeting. At least two weeks before the meeting, the student delivers the following to all Committee Members:

  1. A document describing work accomplished to date. The student should write a 1-2 page summary in which his/her progress is highlighted. This summary should also reflect the student's ability to communicate effectively in writing.
  2. A written outline of the proposed PhD project (3-5 pages plus figures or tables, as appropriate), prepared with input and assistance from the supervisor, but written by the student. This outline should include a statement of the hypothesis to be tested, the experimental approach, as well as expected results. Potential pitfalls and suitable alternative strategies should also be discussed. The candidate should be aware that this initial, relatively short, proposal does not replace the CIHR-style Research Grant Proposal.

The meeting proceeds as follows:

  1. The student is first asked to leave the room while the Committee discusses course work, marks and scholarships achieved. The supervisor should outline the student's progress to the Committee.
  2. The student then gives a brief (20 min.) presentation on research accomplished towards the MSc degree, followed by round-the-table questions and discussions.
  3. The student will then make a similar presentation (also 20 min.) about the proposed PhD project and will undergo questioning and discussion. (Components 2 and 3 above are of equal importance).
  4. The student is then asked to leave the room while the Committee arrives at a decision as to whether the student should be recommended for transfer to the PhD program. The Committee completes the Transfer Exam Report and appends comments if necessary, describing the outcome of the examination and clearly stating the reasons for either promotion to the doctoral program or for writing up the work accomplished as an MSc thesis. This report will be the principal part of the case made to Graduate Studies Committee to recommend transfer to the doctoral program. If no clear consensus exists among the examiners, the student should be advised to write up the work accomplished to date, as a MSc thesis.

For candidates who transfer from the MSc program to the PhD program, course work taken while enrolled in the MSc program may be credited towards the minimum course requirements for the PhD program.

Candidates for whom transfer has been approved are asked to read the PhD Research Grant Proposal Format (CIHR style) for information and deadlines.