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Graduate Degree Programs

Biomedical Sciences
Clinical Studies
Population Medicine

Biomedical Sciences

The focus of graduate training in the Department of Biomedical Sciences is in scientific disciplines which are basic to the understanding of the structure and biological function of various organ and cellular systems in vertebrate animals. The research emphases within the department deal with scientific topics that are basic to veterinary medicine and problems which have application to the health of human beings and animals, in addition to research in cell biology.

The Department of Biomedical Sciences offers the following degree programs: Master of Science (MSc), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc). The MSc and PhD programs provide emphasis in one of the department's major divisions. A distinctive feature of both the research interests of the faculty and the graduate training, is their interdisciplinary nature. Graduate students may also participate in Interdepartmental programs in toxicology and biophysics if their faculty advisor is a member of the Interdepartmental graduate group.

Students may take an MSc degree in Biomedical Sciences with an emphasis on aspects of Reproductive Biology; Developmental, Cell and Tissue Morphology and Biomedical Toxicology/Pharmacology. The program requires that the student successfully completes the requirements of advanced level courses, executes a research project and prepares a thesis as a means of developing research skills and extending intellectual curiosity. The degree may qualify the student for a leadership role in Biomedical Research, or serve as a prerequisite for doctoral studies. A number of choices are available for the thesis research project; these may include molecular, cellular, immunological or developmental aspects of growth and differentiation, physiological, morphological or biomechanical investigations of normal function and disease processes in a variety of organs and tissues, or pharmacological mechanisms related to therapy and drug toxicology.

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. 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.

Clinical Studies

The Department of Clinical Studies offers three graduate programs, the Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc), Master of Science (MSc) and the Graduate Diploma.

The DVSc program provides rigorous advanced academic preparation in both discipline training and research and is a unique post-professional doctoral level degree. The DVSc differs from PhD training by emphasizing the development of both research and applied skills in the various areas of clinical specialization. The DVSc is an interdepartmental program with participation from all four academic departments in the Ontario Veterinary College.

The MSc program provides traditional research training in the major clinical discipline areas (surgery, medicine, anesthesiology, radiology, cardiology, ophthalmology) for those students who do not desire or need a training program which combines both research and the development of advanced clinical skills.

The Graduate Diploma program entails a full-time three semester program for candidates who enroll in Medicine, Surgery or Anesthesiology specialties. This three semester program fulfils the need for veterinarians with limited time for graduate study, but who desire to upgrade their clinical knowledge and skills. Historically, this program was utilized by veterinarians employed in government laboratories, industry, and occasionally in private practice.


The Department Pathobiology offers graduate training in Veterinary Immunology, Microbiology, Parasitology and Pathology. There are four graduate degree programs. The department offers programs of study leading to MSc and PhD degrees and a Graduate Diploma. The department also participates in the inter-departmental Doctor of Veterinary Science (DVSc) program.

The primary objective of the MSc program is to provide students with training in conceptual and laboratory aspects of research, combined with advanced training in a field of knowledge relating to manifestations, basic mechanisms and host resistance to diseases of vertebrates. DVM (or equivalent) graduates may obtain some of the practical experience required for specialty certification in veterinary anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, microbiology or parasitology.

The PhD program is designed primarily for students whose career aspirations are towards the independent research on the manifestations, basic mechanisms and host resistance to diseases of vertebrates. The primary objective is to provide advanced training in conceptual and laboratory aspects of independent research, combined with advanced training in one or more appropriate fields of knowledge. The major emphasis is on the generation and critical evaluation of scientific knowledge relating to the causes, mechanisms and/or consequences of diseases affecting a particular species, organ system or biological process or to the understanding of host resistance and basic mechanisms of health or disease in vertebrates. DVM (or equivalent) graduates may obtain some of the practical experience required for specialty certification in veterinary anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, microbiology or parasitology.

The Department of Pathobiology participates in the DVSc program which provides a balance of advanced training in a discipline in veterinary medicine, combined with a thesis-research project. The program emphasizes diagnostic and health management aspects of veterinary anatomic pathology, veterinary clinical pathology, veterinary clinical microbiology, clinical immunology, laboratory animal science, wildlife and zoo animal pathology, avian medicine and pathology, and fish pathology. The research project addresses an applied aspect of a significant disease problem in vertebrates. The program provides practical training towards specialty certification in veterinary anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, veterinary clinical microbiology or veterinary parasitology.

The objective of the diploma program is to provide advanced practical training in a field of veterinary pathology to veterinarians working in industry, government or in private practice. The program emphasizes practical and course-based applied training in anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, avian medicine and pathology, laboratory animal science, or wildlife and zoo animal pathology.

Population Medicine

The Department of Population Medicine emphasizes a quantitative, holistic approach to the understanding of health and prevention and control of disease in domestic animal populations. Research MSc programs in epidemiology, theriogenology, swine health management, and medicine (the latter emphasizing population aspects of medicine, including health management) and a course-work MSc program in epidemiology are available. DVSc programs are offered in epidemiology, theriogenology and health management. The DVSc program involves clinical and research training. A PhD program is available in epidemiology.

The Department of Population Medicine participates in the DVSc program, a College as opposed to a Departmental Program, that encourages cross-departmental collaboration. Program duration is 9 semesters, with approximately 2/3 of the effort being directed toward discipline training and 1/3 toward research. As in other doctorate programs, there is a qualifying examination, usually held in semester 5 or 6. A thesis is also required and the program has a coursework component. Recognized areas of specialization within Population Medicine include theriogenology, ruminant health management and clinical epidemiology. Stipends are available for a number of these graduate positions.

The prescribed studies for the research-based MSc are a minimum of four courses (at least 2 course credits) appropriate to the discipline. Epidemiology I (POPM*6200), Epidemiology II (POPM*6210) and Statistics for the Health Sciences (POPM*6290) are normally required courses; these can be waived by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee under exceptional circumstances. A minimum of `B-' average is required in the prescribed studies. Each MSc student is also required to complete course POPM*6100, the Department Seminar. This course does not count towards the required four courses. A thesis must be completed and successfully defended.

For the MSc by course work and project, no fewer than eight courses (at least 4 course credits) will be taken. These must be approved by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Each student in the program will take six prescribed courses (including the course Project in Epidemiology, POPM*6250, which is equivalent to two courses), and at least two additional courses. The department seminar course POPM*6100, is also required but does not count as one of the eight required courses.

The major emphasis in the PhD program is on the preparation of an acceptable thesis. There are no specific course requirements other than the Seminar Course, POPM*6100, which must be completed twice. However, it is usual for students, in consultation with their advisory committee, to select a suitable program of studies. Course selection takes into account the student's background, research area, career aspirations, and need to prepare for the qualifying examination. Courses should normally be completed before the qualifying examination is attempted.