MSc Thesis-Based Program
Students within the Thesis-Based MSc participate in a research program and present the results of the investigation as a written thesis. The thesis must be evaluated and defended to the satisfaction of a thesis examination committee.
- Monitoring and Progress
- First-Year Seminar
- Transfer to the PhD program
- Continuing from the MSc to the PhD Program
- Program Completion
In addition to the immediate MSc supervisor, MSc students in the thesis-based program select an Advisor, an additional Graduate Faculty member that monitors the progress of the student and provides guidance. The Advisor is selected by the student in consultation with the Supervisor and is subject to the approval of the Graduate Studies Coordinator. Selection of the Advisor should be made within the first 3 months of program registration by submitting an Advisor Selection Form to the Graduate Office.
Both the Supervisor and the Advisor are required to submit formal annual reports on the student's progress at the beginning of each academic session, prior to re-registration. See MSc Advisor Report and MSc Supervisor Report.
The Supervisor, the Advisor, or the student, may report problems directly to the Graduate Coordinator or the Department Chair.
All first-year M.Sc. students are required to give a seminar after one year in the program. The seminars are normally held in October/November, and are an opportunity for you to become familiar with the expectations for the defense. You will be given adequate notification about the seminars. You will be asked to submit the title of your topic along with a request for any AV equipment you will need.
You should aim to present the results/progress made thus far and include any problems you are encountering. If you are still in the process of awaiting results from your thesis research, you can still give a seminar focusing on the scientific thought and rationale. The length of your presentation should be 15 minutes maximum. A 10-minute question period will follow your presentation.
Your supervisor(s) is required to attend your Seminar. Since supervisors are required to attend all of their students’ seminars, it is not possible for the Graduate Office to give the students a choice of dates. We will do our best to distribute a tentative schedule early enough so that if there are any conflicts you and your supervisor(s) can inform the Graduate Office before the final schedule is complete.
Outstanding MSc 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. Students enrolled in the course-based Applied Clinical Pharmacology program are not eligible to transfer to the PhD program; however, they are eligible to apply for the PhD program in Pharmacology upon completion of the MSc program.
- 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:
- Notify the Graduate Office you wish to be considered for PhD transfer.
- Submit to the Graduate Office:
- 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.
- A one-page summary of the Research Proposal
- C.V. (be sure to include any Publications and Presentations)
- 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.
As per SGS regulations, all students applying for admission are required to submit and pay the posted application fee; this includes those currently registered who wish to continue on to a second program of study. Full application must be made by all applicants by the posted application dates.
Eligibility for the Ph.D. Program:
To be eligible, the student must have achieved an average grade of at least B+ or higher in their Master's degree courses.
Continuing from the M.Sc. to Ph.D. program in Pharmacology may be carried out in one of two ways:
For those Pharmacology M.Sc. students in the thesis-based program who have already obtained a Ph.D. supervisor and proposed Ph.D. project, there is the opportunity to screen at their Master's defense. This Defense+Screening option is usually for students who are continuing on in the same laboratory with the same supervisor. Please note that an online application must be completed since the student is applying to enter a new program of study. However, the process can be slightly faster - e.g., the admission interview is normally waived, and the student usually has only one condition on the admission offer - i.e., that of completing their M.Sc. degree.
M.Sc. Pharmacology graduates who do not screen at their outgoing M.Sc. defense must also apply via the SGS on-line application system. As with all other applicants to the Ph.D. program, these students will be admitted based on their academic qualifications, references and a detailed examination of the full application package. An admission interview may or may not be required. See Admission Requirements.
Ph.D. Screening (Option #1):
Application to screen at the M.Sc. defense must be made to the Graduate Education Committee at least SIX WEEKS ahead of the proposed date of the defense (i.e, in time for the GEC to evaluate the application and PhD proposal prior to the proposed Defense+Screening.
Continuing students may enter the PhD program either in September or January.
Application is made via the online application system and applicants must pay the processing fee and comply with the posted deadlines and required documentation rules. SeeApplication Deadlines.
The application must include:
- Three references. One from the current M.Sc. supervisor, which states that the current project is suitable for a PhD project and that the student has the qualities and potential for the PhD program; the second should be from a faculty member (e.g., the M.Sc. Advisor) who is well acquainted with the student's work. [For students proposing to change supervisors for the Ph.D. program, an additional letter from the proposed Ph.D. supervisor discussing the suitability of the proposed project should be included.]
- Brief Ph.D. Proposal - including a one-page Summary of the Research Proposal. (Upload this document instead of the List of Proposed Supervisors and Proposed Research Areas of Study.)
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 (if applicable);
- A research plan for experiments to be completed in the PhD program;
- A statement of the overall significance of the research project.
- C.V. (be sure to include publications if any). Either Upload this as part of the PhD Proposal; or email directly to the Graduate Office.
Once the application to screen has been approved by the GEC, a standard M.Sc. examination committee must be assembled. Two additional Graduate Education Committee members will be added to the examination committee to evaluate the Ph.D. screening. These two additional Screening Committee Members are not required to have a copy of the thesis, unless specifically requested.
The student undergoing simultaneous M.Sc. Defense/Ph.D. Screening should be prepared to give an oral presentation (20 mins) that outlines the M.Sc. thesis research and a very brief description of the proposed Ph.D. project. Questions at the M.Sc. Defense/Ph.D. Screening can involve the M.Sc. thesis research, the proposed Ph.D. work, and general principles of pharmacology.
Program Completion - The MSc Oral Examination
The Committee for the MSc Oral Examination is composed of three voting members plus the supervisor(s); i.e., a minimum 4 voting members excluding the Chair. The MSc Oral Examination Committee form along with a copy of the thesis, must be completed, signed by your supervisor(s) and returned to the Graduate Office, FOUR WEEKS PRIOR to the date you are scheduled to defend.
IMPORTANT: In preparing for the oral examination, you should be aware that the Examining Committee is not required to restrict their questions to the specific subject area of the defense, since it is expected that students would have gained a broad knowledge base in pharmacology during the course of their studies. It is your responsibility to ensure that the thesis is delivered to the Examination Committee in a reasonable period of time (i.e., minimum four weeks) so the committee members can read the thesis and the appraiser can write the appraisal. All members of the examination committee (including the Chair) must receive a copy of the thesis. The Departmental copy can be used for the Chair.
A Thesis Approval Form is given to your Supervisor after the Defense. If your supervisor did not receive it for some reason, you may obtain another copy from the Graduate Studies Office. This form must be submitted to the Graduate Office in enough time for the Graduate Office to prepare and submit your Degree Recommendation to the School of Graduate Studies.
Please refer to the Planning the MSc Examination guide and the Electronic Thesis & Dissertation Submission Checklist.
The MSc Examination Committee is composed of:
- Voting Member
- Voting Member
- Chair (Obtained by the Graduate Officer)
The Appraiser: For the purposes of the M.Sc. defense, the Appraiser of the thesis should be an expert on the subject of the thesis and, normally, will be an Assistant, Associate or Full Professor at the University of Toronto. In nominating someone as Appraiser for a thesis, the Supervisor must certify to the Graduate Coordinator that the nominee has an arm’s-length relationship both with the candidate and with the Supervisor. The Appraiser provides a 1-2 page report with brief, constructively critical and analytical comments, in addition to an explicit recommendation that the thesis be or not be accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree.
Voting Members: One of the 2 voting members should have a graduate appointment in Pharmacology. The student's Advisor can be a voting member.
An examination may be postponed if more than one negative vote concerning the suitability of the written thesis for defense is received in advance. In this case, only one postponement of an oral examination is permitted. During the examination, more than one negative vote (or abstention) in either the thesis or oral examination category causes the oral examination to be adjourned. In situations where an examination was adjourned, a reconvened examination is to be held within one year of the adjournment. If the candidate is not successful at the reconvened exam, he/she will be ineligible for further M.Sc./ Ph.D. candidacy at the University. A thesis defense held after an initial postponement is considered the first attempt at the oral examination [i.e. this is NOT considered a reconvened exam following an adjournment]. Please contact the Graduate Coordinator if you have questions about the Postponement of Examinations; Adjournment of Examinations; or Reconvening of Examinations.