Accelerated PhD program

For exceptional students registered full-time in the MSc program, a conversion into the PhD program is possible before completion of the MSc degree. Progress of MSc students will be reviewed every six months by their advisory committee to determine if transfer to the PhD program is appropriate.

Acceptance into the accelerated PhD program

For Graduate Students registered in the MSc program, conversion into the PhD program is possible before completion of the MSc degree. An MSc student can request the acceleration up to 3 equivalent full-time terms after initial registration. The Advisory Committee will consider whether the request for acceleration to PhD is appropriate and desirable.

Funding must be available to support a PhD thesis project.

The student must show the potential for independent research necessary to complete a PhD.

Criteria that may be used to assess that potential for accelerated PhD are listed below:

  1. The Supervisor & Committee must approve the request.
  2. A paper in submission (written in English) to a refereed journal in which the Graduate Student has fulfilled a role as first or second author. The term “first or second author” infers that the Graduate Student’s contribution to the writing of the paper was substantial as assessed by the Supervisor and Advisory Committee. A patent submission by the student as first or second holder would also be an appropriate criteria to use for acceleration.
  3. An overall average for graduate courses of at least 80%.

Requirements of the accelerated PhD program

Requirements for the accelerated PhD are the same as the normal PhD program with the exception of additional course requirements. MSc course credits may or may not be counted towards the PhD at the discretion of the Graduate and Research Committee after hearing advice from the student's committee.

Thesis proposal

By the end of their fourth term of enrollment (sixth term for part-time students) in the Vision Science program students must make a formal presentation of their proposed thesis research to their advisory committee.

Course and seminar milestone requirements

Course and seminar requirements are tailored to meet the needs and backgrounds of individual students. A minimum of four one-term (0.5 unit weight) graduate courses (or equivalent) is required. Two of these must be in Vision Science. Normally a maximum of two courses may be independent study courses. Students may use courses taken during the time they were registered for the MSc towards the PhD.

All Vision Science graduate students in the PhD program must present at least two talks on their current research during their degree program, as well as, attend a minimum of 10 research seminars and a one day research symposium throughout each year of enrolment. Normally, the presentation and symposium requirements can be fulfilled through the Annual Graduate Student Conference sponsored by the Graduate Studies Office. The seminar requirement can be fulfilled by attending the School’s annual program. Consideration will be given (in special cases) to attend an alternate research symposium if it is not possible to attend the University of Waterloo Annual Graduate Student Conference or the School’s annual program.

Comprehensive examination

PhD students are required to take a comprehensive examination to demonstrate a broad knowledge in the field of Vision Science. This exam must be completed by the 16th month of study.

Time limits

The minimum number of terms during which a student must register full-time is 4 (from an MSc degree). The maximum time for a full-time PhD is 12 terms (4 years). Students who require additional time must complete a Petition of Extension form and supply a timeline for completion.