MSc fast track to PhD

Occasionally, a student will enter the MSc program with a clear intent to pursue the PhD in Public Health Sciences. A master’s student may be considered for fast-tracking into the PhD based on the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of prior research achievements (e.g., adjudicated research report, co-author on a peer-reviewed publication, first author of a peer-reviewed publication). If achievements fall outside of the given examples, the student’s cover letter should speak to the nature of their work and why, within their field, this work should be considered a research achievement credible for admission to the PhD program.
  2. Completion of required MSc courses
  3. Review of original MSc application materials
  4. Minimum of an 85% average in the MSc program
  5. Clear focus and interest in PhD research

Fast-track applications are considered by the graduate admissions team/task group once annually. The applicant must submit to the research graduate coordinator by July 1, for admission to the fall term:

  1. Letter of support from the proposed PhD supervisor (in the case of co-supervisors, separate letters or a joint letter are acceptable)
  2. Cover letter from the student explaining the rationale for fast-tracking, including a narrative addressing criteria 1, 2, 4, 5 above, as well as an explanation of how the proposed PhD thesis topic differs from the MSc thesis topic (in cases where the PhD thesis topic remains unchanged or slightly altered from the MSc thesis topic, the applicant must explain how the thesis project will be expanded to meet the requirements of a PhD)
  3. Up-to-date CV

The graduate coordinator will provide students’ transcripts to the graduate admissions team/task group members charged with reviewing fast-track applications.

Please note that not all applications to fast-track will be approved. Applicants must be exceptionally strong and demonstrate clear research potential. As well, all required courses for the MSc and PhD programs must be completed before graduation. Denials of fast-track applications cannot be appealed, and students are not permitted to re-apply for fast-track later (however, they may apply for admittance to the PhD program during the normal application round).

The applicant must submit a Gradute program/plan change form to the graduate coordinator within two weeks of approval to officially fast-track to the PhD program.

Degree time limits and extensions

All requirements for the PhD and MSc degrees in Public Health Sciences must usually be completed within certain specified time periods (beginning with the term of initial registration), as stipulated by University Senate: MSc 6.0terms, PhD 12.0 terms. MSc students who fast track into the PhD program have 18.0 terms to complete their program.

A term of full-time enrolment is counted as 1.0, a term of part-time enrolment is counted as 0.5, and an inactive term is counted as 0. If you are past your time limit, you must always complete a Request for Extension Beyond Program Time Limits form for each term beyond the time limits. For more infortmation, see Program extension | Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs. This form must be signed by yourself, your thesis supervisor, the School’s associate director, graduate studies, and, in the case of an extension beyond three additional terms, the associate dean, graduate studies. If students do not submit a request by the specified dates (i.e., for a fall term extension: August 1; for a winter term extension: December 1; for a spring term extension: April 1), they will be required to withdraw from the program. A student receiving a Required to Withdraw decision (resulting from lack of request approval or failure to submit their form) may challenge that decision through Policy 70. Students who have been granted an extension of time limit on conditional status can be asked to withdraw from the program if progress toward completion of the degree is not deemed to be satisfactory.

Please note: Since each term of part-time study is counted as 0.5 terms, part-time students who are beyond the program limits will submit an extension request form every second term (including those who switched from full- to part-time status). For part-time students, the form will be due in advance of each even-numbered term(i.e., April 1 if currently in term 6.5 and the following spring term will be term 7.0). Full-time students must submit the form in advance of every term beyond term 6.0.