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The PhD degree can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis.

Degree requirements

A primary requirement for the award of the PhD degree is the successful completion of a thesis, the defense of the thesis as well as the comprehensive examination. An Advisory Committee is appointed for each student. The advisory committee is available to the student for help and guidance and reviews a student's progress to help ensure successful completion of the degree.

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 milestones

Course and seminar requirements are tailored to meet the needs and backgrounds of individual students. A minimum of two one-term graduate courses (or equivalent) is required. See the OPTOM graduate course list.

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 symposium if it is not possible to attend the 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 4th term 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.