PhD Biomedical Sciences

About the Program

Students may take a PhD program in Biomedical Sciences with an emphasis on aspects of Reproductive Biology; Developmental, Cell and Tissue Morphology and Biomedical Toxicology/Pharmacology and Neuroscience. Wherever appropriate, students are encouraged to integrate the methodologies of more than one of these fields in their research project. The PhD program is research-oriented and provides instructional opportunities and experiences that are intended to develop the student's ability to formulate hypotheses and to design and execute experiments, or to conduct observational studies. View the application process & admission requirements for the PhD program.

Application Process

Faculty Advisors:

A Faculty Advisor is mandatory before you can be admitted into any of our programs.  You should begin contacting Faculty doing research in your particular area of interest to determine if they are taking on new students, prior to applying.  You should begin contacting Faculty early to avoid disappointment.  A list of Biomedical Sciences faculty can be found here: Biomedical Sciences Faculty

Please note: If you are interested in applying to the MBS Program, you can have a Faculty Advisor from the Pathobiology or Population Medicine Departments. If your Advisor is from a Department outside of the Ontario Veterinary College, you will be asked to have a Co-Advisor from within the Department of Biomedical Sciences


Domestic Students Application Deadlines:

Fall: June 1              Winter: September 1                Summer: February  1

International Student Application Deadlines: 

Fall: March 1            Winter: July 1                           Summer: November 1

Degree Requirements (PhD)

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 this page. 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.

Qualifying Examination (PhD)

1. Purpose To establish standard procedures to conduct the qualifying examination for PhD candidates in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.


2. Procedure



2.1.1. Qualifying Examination Purpose, Format, Duration and Rigor
The purpose of the PhD qualifying examination is to demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills in sub-disciplines consistent with the student’s area of enrolment and the Department of Biomedical Sciences areas of expertise.

The qualifying exam process will completed no later than the 3rd semester after commencement of full-time study for candidates who are registered in the PhD program. For candidates in part-time study, these durations increase by 50%.

The qualifying Examination Committee will consist primarily of 2 faculty from the candidate’s supervisory committee (excluding the supervisor/co-supervisor), 2 members of graduate faculty (one of whom must be from outside of the department) chosen by the
supervisory committee based on their expertise in the proposed research topic. The exam committee will be constituted at least 2 months before the examination date. The Examination Committee Chair will normally be a member of the Graduate Program
Committee or senior member of the departmental faculty with experience in graduate supervision and examination.

The chair serves to administer the examination according to the approved format of the program. The chair does not serves as an additional examiner. In unforeseen circumstances where a committee member is unable to attend, the chair will attempt to receive questions to ask on behalf of the absent member, to be answered by the student to the satisfaction of the examiners.

2.1.2 The examination will be composed of 3 parts: a written component, a public presentation followed immediately by an oral examination on the material presented in the written proposal.

Initially, the student shall propose a grant topic based on their approved research program or a related area of particular interest to them. They will then prepare a one page summary which will be reviewed, modified as necessary and ultimately approved by the
supervisory committee. All members of the examination committee shall evaluate this summary.

The grant should be written within a maximum of 8 weeks following approval of the 1 page summary. Students are not permitted to ask colleagues or faculty for feedback on the written document prior to submission for formal evaluation. The student can ask the GPA or chair of the examination for clarification and advice if needed. Any evidence of inappropriate, informal feedback on the grant proposal will result in immediate suspension of the examination until the process as outlined in UofG’s policy on academic dishonesty is completed.

The oral examination is to be conducted within 2 weeks of the grant submission to the Examination Committee. The duration of the oral examination is between 2-4 hours (2 rounds of questioning, second round in camera; 15 mins per examiner in round 1, and 10 mins per examiner in round 2). At the conclusion of ther oral exam and before deliberations begin, the supervisor will be invited by the Chair of the Examination committee to provide an evaluation of the quality of the student’s performance to date in research and of the student’s potential as a researcher. The examiners then vote on the oral examination and provide either an assessment of satisfactory or unsatisfactory with respect to the student’s overall performance in the entire examination. If there is more than one negative vote the student is considered to have failed the examination.

In the event that the student’s performance is deemed satisfactory, the chair of the exam committee may provide specific feedback and recommendations if difficiencies were noted in any of the 3 components of the QE. A copy of this repport will be provided to the student, the supervisor and the Chair of the GPC.

2.1.3 Re-Examination
In cases where the student is deemed to have failed in the written and/or defense portion of the examination, the student shall meet with the supervisor and/or supervisory committee, if possible within 1 week, for specific feedback (see below).

The student is to be re-examined within 8 weeks of a failed first attempt.  The Chair of the Examination Committee will prepare a written report outlining the deficiencies identified in the examination and suggestions for improvement, as well as the timeline for re-examination within one week of the the failed examination. This report is conveyed to the student, the Advisor and Advisory Committee, and the Chair of the Graduate Program Committee. The examination committee for the second attempt will normally be the same as for the first attempt under most circumstances.

A second failed examination attempt is reported to the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies) and the student will be required to withdraw from the PhD program. Under specific circumstances, and in consultation with their advisory committee/supervisor, the student may change to and complete an MSc program, provided they do not currently hold an M.Sc.

Contact Us

OVC Graduate Programs Services

Heather Hamilton, Graduate Program Assistant
Stewart Building #45, OVC, Room 2509

Ext. 54780 /

contact us

Contact Us

Ontario Veterinary College(519) 824-4120

Department Chair - Tarek Saleh, x54700,

Assistant to the Chair & Faculty - Kim Best, x54918,

BIOM Major Advising - Kim Best, x54918,

Graduate Program Assistant - Heather Hamilton, x54780,

Operations Manager - Holly Illman, x54911,