Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Additional information on our PhD program can be found in the Graduate Calendar.

A faculty advisor is required for both the course-based and thesis-based programs before we can move an application forward. Prospective students are encouraged to contact faculty (either before or soon after submitting an application) to ask them if they are willing to take them on as a graduate student. Program space may be limited by faculty availability.

Admission Requirements

A PhD program is available in the fields of Epidemiology and Public Health. Admission into this program is usually granted to holders of a Masters of Science (MSc) or Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree who have demonstrated superior performance, or to MSc students who have not completed their thesis but have performed exceptionally well in courses, shown exceptional aptitude and skill in research, and whose thesis research is suitable for expansion to the doctoral level. For such direct transfer, a thesis proposal and strongly supportive letters of reference are required. Infrequently, well qualified Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or honours degree holders may be accepted directly into the PhD program.

All applicants should submit a one-page statement of research interests and career goals to assist in the identification of a faculty advisor who has the funding necessary to support the thesis research. Students may be admitted into the fall, winter or summer semesters.


Degree Requirements

The major emphasis in the PhD program is on the preparation of an acceptable thesis. There are no specific course requirements other than the Department Seminar Course (POPM*6100), which must be completed twice. However, students are expected to have taken Epidemiology I (POPM*6200) and Epidemiology II (POPM*6210), or their equivalent, in their MSc program. It is usual for students, in consultation with their advisory committee, to select a suitable program of prescribed studies and additional courses. Course selection takes into account the student's background, research area, career aspirations, and need to prepare for the qualifying examination.


A description of the Population Medicine graduate courses can be found in the Graduate Calendar.


Courses should normally be completed before the qualifying exam is attempted. The written component of the examination is followed by an oral component (two to four hours), usually one week later. MSc holders must complete the qualifying examination by the end of the fifth semester. Students transferring from the MSc program and those who enter the program directly after their honours or DVM degrees (or their equivalents) must complete the examination by the end of the seventh semester. In addition, the advisory committee is required to confirm that the student has demonstrated ability and promise in research. The PhD program is completed by the successful defence of a thesis.