PhD > Degree Requirements
All Candidates for the PhD degree program must fulfil the following requirements:
- All entering students plan a research program with their supervisor at the start of their degree studies. Progress in research is monitored by the Supervisory Committee through meetings with the student and by a progress report consisting of a written paper and attendance at the graduate seminar series and two presentations during degree program. Satisfactory progress in research results in credit for Biology 7021 3.0/7022 3.0/7023 3.0/7024 3.0: PhD Research Evaluation and a statement of the student’s progress on the student’s record. In the event of failure to achieve satisfactory progress the student will normally be required to withdraw from the program.
In addition to PhD Research Evaluation, each student must successfully complete a minimum of 6 credits from the core courses listed under “MSc Degree by Research Thesis, Courses". Students are exempt from the 6 credit core courses if these requirements have been met as Biology MSc students at York University during three years preceding their enrolment in the PhD program, or if they are judged by the program to hold equivalent qualifications.
Students may be required to take a maximum of two full undergraduate courses (or equivalent) in biological sciences, if this is necessary to strengthen the student’s background.
- Preliminary Examination
Candidates (PhD II) must satisfactorily pass a preliminary examination before advancing in status to candidates (PhD III). The objectives of this examination are to determine whether:
- the Candidate has adequate background and intellectual ability to pursue independent research in the field approved by the supervisory committee;
- the proposed research is suitable for a PhD research program and
- the candidate has demonstrated aptitude for conducting the proposed research by means of adequate progress and productivity.
During the two to three hour oral examination, based on a substantial written proposal and progress report, students must demonstrate adequate knowledge and understanding of the proposed research field, and the broader areas of knowledge related to that field. The examination will be conducted by the student’s supervisory committee plus two other faculty members from within the program. For students entering the program with a master’s degree, the examination must be held within 18 months after the student becomes a Candidate (PhD I). For students converting from a master’s to a PhD program, the examination must also be held within 16 months of first registering in the master’s program. The examination in this case is conducted by the student’s supervisory committee plus three other faculty members from within the program. If the preliminary examination falls within two months of the annual progress reports, the student is exempt from such a report that year.
- Dissertation and Oral Examination
Candidates must prepare and submit a suitable dissertation based on original research carried out under the supervision of a supervisory committee. The research should demonstrate the candidate’s independence, originality, and understanding of the area of investigation at an advanced level. After the formal submission of the dissertation, an oral examination is held, normally centering on the dissertation and matters related to it. The total length of the dissertation should not exceed 200 pages unless previously authorized by the supervisory committee. Prior to submission to the graduate Faculty, the dissertation must be presented to, and approved by, a majority of the program members of the examining committee.
Normal Time Limits
Candidates may expect to spend, on the average, between three and five years to complete the requirements for the PhD degree. Students have a maximum of six years to complete their degree either full or part-time.