Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Planning

Degree Requirements Program Duration
  • two 700-level obligatory one-term courses: 700 and 710, for a total of 1.0 units
  • two 800-level obligatory one-term courses: 801 and 802, for a total of 1.0 units
  • student's advisory committee may require up to two additional one-term graduate level courses if necessary for research area
  • thesis (2.0 unit weight)
  • in addition, students must complete two program milestones:
    • comprehensive examination
    • research plan - oral presentation December of 2nd year

4 years - 12 terms of full-time enrollment

6 years - 18 terms of part-time enrollment

Alumni Success

Our PhD graduates have gone on to work in a variety of positions, including:

  • Analyst, Health Statistic, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, ON
  • Planner (Information Systems), Hamilton, Bermuda
  • Member, Canada Energy Commission, Calgary, AB
  • Assistant Planner, Rural Planning District Commission, Fredericton, NB
  • Lecturer, Innis College, University of Toronto, ON
  • Ministry of Environment, Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON
  • Lecturer, McMaster University, ON

Recommended program sequence

Thesis: Thesis completion timeline to be determined by the student with approval from the supervisor and committee. Details of the thesis research timeline will vary by student. Students should consult with their supervisors early in the program to ensure that their proposed timeline results in timely program completion.

Term 1 (Fall)

Courses: PLAN 700, 801

Term 2 (Winter)

Thesis: Submit well-developed research plan by October of second year. Oral presentations for third party review are held in PLAN 802 in the second year.

Courses: PLAN 710

Term 3 (Spring)

Courses: NONE

Term 4 (Fall)

Courses: PLAN 802


  • The Research Plan milestone is satisfied with the oral presentation of the research plan in PLAN 802.
  • Comprehensive Exam: PhD candidates shall normally be give the comprehensive paper question during or after the 13th month (term 4, October) from the date of first registration in the PhD program and at any time up to and including the 16th month (term 5, January). In scheduling the oral exam, they should allow at least seven weeks from picking up the question until the oral exam. The advisor should initiate the exam scheduling process by filling out the Comprehensive Examination Worksheet and returning it to the Graduate Program Administrator. For further information about the comprehensive examination, please see the Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Procedures.
  • Doctoral Comprehensive Exam Procedures for students enrolled in the Doctoral program prior to May 1, 2019.