University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

F.A.Q.s

FAQ's for prospective students

FAQ's for current students

FAQ's for faculty

 

FAQ's for prospective students

How many researchers are there in Calgary working in neuroscience?

There are currently over 50 faculty registered for Graduate level supervision in the Department of Neuroscience, with research areas ranging from basic science to clinical outcomes. Visitors are always impressed by the scope of research conducted in Calgary.

What is the relationship between Research Groups and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute?
Our members were traditionally organized by Research Groups. Some of these exist today, but most neuroscientists are now associated directly with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI). Calgary has a long history of promoting communication between basic and clinical researchers, and the HBI was created in part to capitalize on these interactions to increase the amount of translational research opportunities.

How many students are enrolled in the Department of Neuroscience?
There are currently 39 MSc, 42 PhD and 8 MD/PhD (Leaders in Medicine) students in the Neuroscience Graduate Program.

What is tuition at the University of Calgary? For international students?
Tuition for domestic students is currently $5,538 plus ~$1500 for general fees for the first year of a MSc program and three years of a PhD program. After this the tuition decreases to $1,611.

Tuition for foreign students is currently $12,570 plus ~$1500 for general fees for the first year of a MSc program and three years of a PhD program. After this the tuition decreases to $3656.

See the University site (http://grad.ucalgary.ca/prospective/tuition) for more information. The province of Alberta dictates that foreign students be charged a differential fee. The Faculty of Medicine will reimburse foreign students on full fees $6000 per year in the first year of their MSc and first two years of their PhD. Tuition relief is provided to pre-Candidacy PhD students on full fees depending on the availability of Departmental funds.

What is the minimal salary stipend for students in the program?
The Dept. Neuroscience requires a minimum stipend of $20,000.00 per year for at least the first two years of a program. Students can earn more than this by competing for funds from external agencies and through local awards administered by the Dept. of Neuroscience (see program announcement above). The Faculty of Graduate studies also offers Dean's Research Excellence awards in the amount of $3000.00 to students who gain National External Salary Support (e.g., NSERC) while paying full tuition fees.

Awards for PhD students
In accordance with the University of Calgary’s intention of increasing the enrollment of PhD students, several significant awards have been targeted specifically to students who enroll in a PhD program:

Achievers in Medical Science (AIMS): $25K for up to 4 years in program
T. Chen Fong Award: $30K for up to 4 years in program
Dean's Entrance Scholarship: $6K for first year of program
Tuition free remission depending on fund availability for pre-Candidacy PhD students

What are the requirements for the program?
We have minimal course requirements in order to focus on research time in the lab. MSc and PhD students all take 2 core half courses (MDSC 619.01 and MDSC 619.02), and PhD students take at least one additional graduate level course. A research proposal must be completed within the first year, and a PhD candidacy exam completed within 36 months.

What is the procedure to move to a PhD program?
Our program now accepts students directly into a PhD program. Alternatively, a student registered as a MSc student who has successfully completed the MSc program requirements can apply to transfer to a PhD after 12-18 months. A revised research proposal and approval by the Supervisory Committee and the Dept. of Neuroscience are required to complete the transfer. One of the Graduate Directors must attend the committee meeting in which transfer to the PhD is requested.

How long do students generally take to complete their program requirements?
Our Supervisory Committees work towards having MSc students complete and defend their thesis within 2 years of entry, and PhD students within 4 to 5 years.

What forms do I need to complete to begin a graduate program?
You will need to complete an official University of Calgary graduate school application form and provide 2 letters of reference, official transcripts from all post secondary institutions, official TOEFL score report (International students), an identified supervisor, and a processing fee. Filling out our reduced application form serves the purpose of introducing yourself to potential supervisors with no obligation.

Does the Hotchkiss Brain Institute have an active seminar or journal club program?
Yes, the HBI has a very active seminar program, with speakers from around the world at least once a week. We also host 8 different Journal clubs attended by faculty and students interested in different areas of neuroscience[cs1] .

Are there structured Supervisory Committees for students?
Yes, a Supervisory Committee consisting typically of the supervisor and 2 other faculty members must be assigned within 3 months of beginning the program. Students are expected to meet with their supervisory committees at least twice a year.

Are there many students from other parts of the country in the program?
We have students who have come from virtually all parts of the country as well as international locations.

Is Calgary on a main route for airlines?
Yes, the Calgary International Airport provides direct flights to most major US destinations and to all Canadian and US hubs as well as to Europe, providing ready access to international meetings.

How much does it cost to live in Calgary?
The cost of living index for Calgary is comparable to other large cities in Canada (see www.albertacanada.com/immigration/). The lack of Provincial Sales Tax in Alberta further reduces daily expenditures. A 2 bedroom apartment typically rents between $700.00 and $1200.00 Cdn. There are several apartment complexes within walking distance of the University.

How is transportation in Calgary?
Calgary has an efficient bus system that works in conjunction with a light transit rail system. Tuition fees for university students provide unlimited access to both systems throughout the year for a cost of $100.00.

Is Calgary cold in the winter?
Not compared to Central or Eastern Canada! Calgary winters are surprisingly mild given the occurrence on average of 12 Chinook pressure fronts in the winter. Click here for the current Environment Canada forecast for Calgary. Chinooks can last up to a week and raise temperatures to +10C or more (www.mountainnature.com/Climate/Chinook.htm). As a result, a virtually snow-free winter is often found in Calgary, even with record snowfalls in the nearby mountains. Running shoes are therefore the norm for winter wear in town. See an additional link for yearly records in Calgary.

How far is it to the mountains?
It takes approximately 45 min by car to reach the mountains, 1 hour to be in downtown Banff, and 1hr 15 min to the Sunshine Village Ski Hill gondola.

Last but not least: Are there bugs in the summertime?
NO! It's too dry. Any mosquitoes typically shrivel in two weeks' time.. What's a black fly?


FAQ's for current students

What is the definition of an Internal-External examiner? 

An internal-external examiner is internal to the University of Calgary but not a member of the Department of Neuroscience.

Do I need an Internal-External examiner for my Candidacy exam?

No. Examining Committee members can be members of the Department of Neuroscience. The Examining Committee consists of members of your Supervsiory Committee plus two faculty members that are not in conclict of interest with the student or supervsior. Conflict of interest includes publishing together or holding grants with the supervisor within the last 5 years,  or having a family or personal relationship.

Do I need an Internal-External examiner for my Thesis (defense) exam?

Yes. Thesis exams require an External examiner (a faculty member from a different University) and an Internal-Exteral examiner (a University of Calgary faculty member who does not belong to the Department of Neuroscience). These requirement are mandated by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Are there funds to support travel for PhD defense external examiners?
Yes. Faculty of Graduate Studies no longer supports travel for external examiners and recommend increased use of teleconferencing for exams. However, our partners, the HBI, offer an PhD external examiner travel award.

How do I switch from an MSc to PhD?

The Department encourages all outstanding MSc students to do a PhD. Switching involves holding a special Supervsiory Committee meeting, chaired by a Department of Neuroscience Director. The entire committee, including the Director,  must be in support of the switch.  Two forms are required (a "Change of Program" form and a "Transfer to PhD Checklist" form. They can both be found on our Program Forms page.

 


 

FAQ's for faculty

How do I join the Department of Neuroscience?

Please contact neurosci@ucalgary.ca for an application package to join the Department and seek permission to supervise Neuroscience Students.

Does my student need an Internal-External examiner for their Candidacy exam?

No. Examining Committee members can be members of the Department of Neuroscience. The Examining Committee consists of members of the Supervsiory Committee plus two faculty members that are not in conclict of interest with the student or supervsior.

Are there funds to support travel for PhD defense external examiners?
Yes. Faculty of Graduate Studies no longer supports travel for external examiners and recommend increased use of teleconferencing for exams. However, our partners, the HBI, offer an PhD external examiner travel award.

How does the Department define conflict of interest?

Generally, if faculty judge their relationship with supervsior and/or student would add bias or be seen to add bias, then a conflict of interest likely exists. Conflict of interest include, but are not limited to, publishing together or holding grants with the supervisor within the last 5 years,  or having a family or personal relationship. If you are concerned that a conflict of interest might exist, please consult Directors of the Program. Further discussion of conflict of interest in graduate education can be found here.

Does my student need an Internal-External examiner for their Thesis (defense) exam?

Yes. Thesis exams require an External examiner (a faculty member from a different University) and an Internal-Exteral examiner (a University of Calgary faculty member who does not belong to the Department of Neuroscience). These requirement are mandated by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

How do I switch my student from an MSc to PhD?

The Department encourages all outstanding MSc students to do a PhD. Switching involves holding a special Supervsiory Committee meeting, chaired by a Department of Neuroscience Director. The entire committee, including the Director,  must be in support of the switch.  Two forms are required (a "Change of Program" form and a "Transfer to PhD Checklist" form. They can both be found on our Program Forms page.