Doctoral seminar requirement

Doctoral Seminar

This seminar (CHEM 795) is a credit requirement. Students must complete this requirement by presenting a departmental seminar, which will normally be scheduled in term 7 of the program. It is about a 30 minute presentation, and is usually based on the thesis research topic. As with the MSc seminar, the goal is not the presentation of new data, but an explanation of the thesis research area, which should be geared to a general audience of chemists, and should include a summary of results obtained to-date. At the conclusion of the open discussion period following your seminar presentation, you will have your annual Supervisory/Advisory Committee meeting. Please note it is a Faculty of Science policy that all PhD students are required to hold a Supervisory/Advisory Committee meeting once a year to informally present and discuss the progress made in their research project. In addition to the seminar presentation, the student must attend at least six departmental/CHEM 795 seminars by other speakers to obtain credit.

PowerPoint presentation

To ensure useful feedback, the student is required to provide copies of their PowerPoint (or presentation) slides at least two working days before the seminar.


An Evaluation Committee consisting of the research advisor/supervisor, and at least three other faculty members (one outside the department), usually members of the student’s Advisory Committee. The supervisor chairs the seminar.

The Evaluation Committee will grade the seminar based on the following criteria:

  • Preparation, content, and organization.
  • Presentation, speech, and grammar.
  • Student’s understanding of material.
  • Student’s ability to handle discussion.

Students will be assigned a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory grade based on the committee's evaluation.

Doctoral comprehensive/qualifying examination

The PhD Comprehensive/Qualifying Examination (CHEM 796), will be scheduled in the second term of the doctoral program or in the fifth term of a BSc Direct Entry Program.

Students are required to hold a committee meeting at the end of term 1 or within the first six weeks of term 2.

Then, the PhD Comprehensive/Qualifying Examination (CHEM 796), will be scheduled to occur within the last six weeks of the second term. During the meeting, student’s PhD Advisory Committee, chaired by the advisor/supervisor, will define the topics to be covered in the CHEM 796 Oral Comprehensive Examination.

The student’s Advisory/Supervisory Committee will also make recommendations for three Examining Committee members (normally constituted so as to include representation from both campuses of the Centre and one of whom may be a non-Centre member). The Examining Committee will normally include some or all of the Supervisory Committee, but will not include the student’s supervisor. A form is provided to fill in the recommended committee members and choose a recommended examination date/time.

Three examiners will provide three questions. The student will answer six questions (two from each section), which should be able to be completed by the student in approximately 15 minutes. The student will be allowed to review the questions for 30 minutes prior to the start time of the examination. The total time booking for an exam will be approximately two hours.

To reward strong performance in seminar presentations, a prize is awarded annually on each campus of the Centre for the best Master’s or doctoral seminar.