Information for

Graduate Courses

Graduate students in the School of Pharmacy complete mandatory coursework as part of their graduate program requirements. In addition to these core courses, students take additional courses toward their degree requirements and can choose those additional courses from Pharmacy courses or select a course from another UW department or other Ontario University.

Core courses in the Graduate Pharmacy program

  • PHARM 601 and PHARM 616 are the MSc and PhD Thesis Proposal courses, respectively

  • PHARM 610 Topics in Drug Development

See the Graduate Academic Calendar for a list and description of the pharmacy graduate courses.

See the Schedule of Classes for Graduate Students for current and upcoming course schedules.

About PHARM 601 and 616, the MSc and PhD Thesis Proposal courses

Completion of the thesis proposal courses in Pharmacy require that the student complete the following:

  • Attend the Pharmacy Scientific Writing Workshop, normally offered in Fall and Winter/Spring terms.  For information and current offering, please contact the liaison librarian for Pharmacy.
  • Attend two thesis proposals; the Administrative Coordinator informs students of upcoming proposal presentations via uwaterloo email.   
  • Confer with your Thesis Proposal Examination Committee (normally the Thesis Advisory Committee) to select a date for your proposal presentation; book a room, send an IT ticket to schedule IT support* for your proposal, and inform the Administrative Coordinator.
  • Forward your thesis proposal to the Examination Committee, Graduate Officer, and Administrative Coordinator, electronically, 2 weeks prior to your proposal date.

*You should set up an IT orientation/practice session in advance of your proposal presentation.

Thesis Proposal Guidelines

The Thesis Proposal should outline the reasons for undertaking the project, concisely survey the relevant literature, present a detailed description of the methodology to be used and outline any preliminary results.

The purpose is to evaluate/confirm that both student and project are clearly on track for successful completion.

A report of 30-40 pages is required, not including figures, legends and references. Excess pages may be removed or disregarded.

Additional material including raw data may be included in appendices if there is a need for it to be included.

The completed Thesis Proposal should be double-spaced with 1 inch margins and size 12 font.

The style of the report should follow conventions familiar to the area of research of the student but it should include:

  1. Title page – including student name, student number, title of research and names of Supervisor and Advisory Committee members.
  2. Abstract - approximately 200 words in length.
  3. Table of contents - may also include a separate list of figures and tables.
  4. Table of abbreviations - defining frequently used abbreviations. Note, all abbreviations should also be explicitly defined in the text when they are first introduced.
  5. Introduction - The introduction should include an up-to-date and properly referenced review of the relevant literature and clearly delineate the nature of the problem(s) to be addressed by the proposal. Discuss why the proposed research should be done, and the expected implications for the field.
  6. Objectives and hypothesis - include short- and long-term objectives and testable hypotheses appropriate to the MSc or PhD program.
  7. Preliminary data – If this is appropriate (more the case for laboratory research than studies involving populations or patients, show preliminary data collected to date. If the work was not done by you or if you had help collecting the preliminary data you must assign credit to those individuals.
  8. Proposed projects - A majority of your proposal should be devoted to a careful description of your research objectives and the methodology by which these objectives will be achieved. You should at least know how you are going to start out and have some ideas for future options. You should describe alternative avenues if the proposed studies do not work out. You should be able to address the feasibility of your proposed studies. You must also include a clear description of the statistical methods you will use to analyze your data. Any limitations of the proposed studies should be identified and possible alternate strategies should be discussed.
  9. Significance - discuss the significance of the proposed studies.
  10. Timeline - provide a term by term list of objectives for your planned graduate program, including coursework, important goals for your research, data analysis and writing and defence of the thesis.
  11. Figures, tables, other diagrams - should be presented on additional pages with legends. Only show figures that are referred to in the text. All figures and tables should be numbered and referred to by number in the text, and the source of material taken from the literature should be clearly identified in the legend. Figures and associated labels should be clear and legible.
  12. References - should be presented in full (no abbreviations other than initials and journal titles) and in a consistent format similar to a journal in your field of study. References should be identified in the text and presented in the list of references.

What to expect at the thesis proposal examination

The oral examination will take approximately 2 hours and consists of a 25 minute PowerPoint presentation followed by questions from the Examination Committee.

The question period will involve a first round of questions from the Committee lasting 10-15 minutes per committee member, followed by a second round of questions in the same format but usually only 5-10 minutes each. Questions from audience members are not permitted.  

Thesis proposal examinations are not ‘public’ in the same sense as thesis defences and are not announced throughout the Faculty of Science.

  • Other research group members and colleagues may attend.
  • Graduate students are required to attend 2 proposals presentations prior to their own proposal presentation, in fulfillment of the proposal attendance component of Pharm 601 and 616.
  • the Administrative Coordinator notifies graduate students of the scheduled proposal examinations via their uwaterloo email.   
  • External friends and relatives are not permitted to attend.

The oral examination of your proposal should show the Committee that you have suitable knowledge of your field, grasp the necessary methods, understand the scientific context of the work, and have a credible plan for bringing the project to completion within the normal time limits for your program.

One of the main criteria in which the oral presentation is being evaluated is the comprehensibility of the subject to a non-expert; the presentation should minimize the use of acronyms and technical jargon.

  • Due to time limitations for the oral examination it may not be possible to cover all aspects of the proposal in the presentation.

Add a course from another department at Waterloo

To apply to enrol in a course taught in a UW department other than Pharmacy, students should email the course instructor directly and request permission to enrol. If you are approved to enrol, the instructor will provide you with an enrolment code to enter into Quest.

During the first six weeks of term, students must drop or add graduate courses using Quest, the University of Waterloo's on-line student information system.

After the first six weeks of term, students may not drop or add a course except by petition using a Graduate Studies Course Drop and Add form, and only under certain circumstances with the signature of the instructor, Supervisor(s), Graduate Officer and the Associate Dean (Graduate Studies).

Courses may not be dropped or added, nor course status changed, after the examination period begins.

Students may also Audit a course for interest. Auditing usually requires full class attendance and the submission of a small piece of assessment - the course instructor will indicate this when you request to enrol. At the end of term if you have successfully met these requirements, a grade of AUD will appear on your transcript. There is no limit on the number of courses a student can Audit, but this should always be done in consultation with your Research Supervisor so that workload can be appropriately considered.

Use the Graduate Course Search to explore other University of Waterloo Graduate Courses. 

Ontario Visiting Graduate Student (OVGS) program

The Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Plan (OVGS) allows a graduate student of an Ontario university (Home University) to take graduate courses at another Ontario University (Host University) while remaining enrolled at his/her own university. The plan allows the student to bypass the usual application for admission procedures and resultant transfer of credit difficulties. The student enrols and pays fees to his/her Home University and is classed as an "Ontario Visiting Graduate Student" at the Host University where he/she pays no fees.

Students and their Advisory Committee must first ensure that the course selection reflects the expectations for a graduate degree in Pharmacy and the student must be in good standing in their program.

OVGS Courses - University of Waterloo Students

The course(s) selected must be at the graduate level and there must be no comparable course(s) offered at the University of Waterloo. The course(s) selected must be required for the student's degree program. Such courses may not be "extra" or "audit" courses for the student.

To apply to the OVGS program, students must complete the following forms: