University of Calgary : Veterinary Medical Sciences - VMS

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Graduate Studies Calendar 2011-2012 Program Descriptions Veterinary Medical Sciences VMS
Veterinary Medical Sciences - VMS
Contact Information

Location: Teaching Research and Wellness (TRW) Building, Room 2D09
Faculty number: 403.210.6628
Fax: 403.210.8121
E-mail address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MSc), thesis-based

*All students are registered full-time.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine requires:

a) A Baccalaureate degree ** or its equivalent from a recognized institution with a minimum admission grade point average of 3.00 on a 4-point scale or equivalent, and a minimum of 3.00 during the last two years (60 credit hours) of undergraduate study;

b) For applicants required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 580 (written test), or 92 (internet-based test), a minimum IELTS score of 7.0, or a minimum MELAB score of 82;

c) Two reference letters.

**Note that a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree is not a requirement for entry into the MSc or PhD programs.  Applicants who do not meet the above requirements will be considered only under exceptional circumstances.

3. Application Deadline

Applications will be considered for the September, January, and May terms and will only be reviewed upon submission of on-line application and receipt of ALL required supporting documents by the following deadlines:

Admission Term

Canadian and US
Admission Deadline

Admission Deadline


June 1

March 1


November 1

June 1


March 1

November 1

4. Advanced Credit

Advanced credit may be given for course work completed prior to entry into the program. The applicant must make requests for advanced credit as part of his or her application for admission.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements, all MSc and PhD students must complete:

a) Veterinary Medicine 600 - Seminars in Veterinary Medical Sciences

b) Veterinary Medicine 601 - Professional Skills in Health Science Research

c) Veterinary Medicine 605 - Introduction to Research Methods

A suitable entry-level biostatistics course may be taken as an alternative with permission from the Graduate Program Director;

d) MSc students must take at least one additional and PhD students must take at least two additional graduate level half courses appropriate to their field of study and approved by their Supervisory Committee; and

e) Presentation of a final seminar that precedes the thesis defence.

6. Additional Requirements

All Graduate Students will meet with the Graduate Training Manager at least once per year to review their research and scholarly progress.

Contributions to the published research literature and presentations at scientific conferences are encouraged.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

The student's Supervisory Committee may recommend credit for undergraduate courses provided they are relevant to the area of study.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time for an MSc is two years with a maximum time of four years, for students in full-time study; students in PhD programs are expected to complete in four years but not longer than six years.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Students will normally have identified a permanent supervisor at the time of admission. Alternatively, the VMS Graduate Program has an optional rotation program that may last up to six months. This program will only be available for the September admission term. The rotation program allows each student to sample different research areas and thus to make a highly-educated choice of research topic, supervisor, and their research team. Rotations are 8 weeks in duration during which the student works closely with the supervisor or member of the research team as part of an ongoing study, as well as focusing on their course work. Students will be paid the standard stipend by the Program during the rotation period (prorated from $20,000 per year = $10,000 for six months or less if the student chooses a permanent supervisor early). After the rotation program, the student will select a permanent supervisor and is encouraged to apply for further funding. For further details, please contact

In consultation with their supervisor(s), a Supervisory Committee will be selected which includes a minimum of two additional faculty members (MSc) or three additional faculty members (PhD). In the case of the PhD, one member should come from outside the VMS graduate program. The Graduate Program Director will approve the composition of the committee within three months of appointment of supervisor.

10. Required Examinations

The candidacy exam for VMS PhD students will consist of a written and oral component. The student’s research proposal serves as the basis for the written component of the candidacy exam. In the VMS Graduate Program, the oral part of the exam is based both on the written proposal and all relevant related topics assigned by the exam committee. Therefore, it is required that the candidacy is completed early in the student’s program, at the latest by 18 months. The written component shall consist of maximum 20 page (double-spaced) document, excluding references and figures, and will include a relevant literature summary of the student’s field of study and description of proposed research. The oral exam should be
scheduled one week after submission of the written proposal to the exam committee. The supervisor/co-supervisor will attend the exam as non-voting members.

The final thesis defence for MSc and PhD degrees will consist of a public seminar followed by an open oral examination.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

The VMS Graduate Program requires all Masters and PhD students to defend a Research Proposal to their supervisory committee. A copy of the final version of the proposal will be kept in the student’s file. For VMS Masters students, this must happen no later than twelve months after initial registration in the program. For VMS PhD students the defense of the proposal is part of the candidacy exam. All components of the candidacy exam must be completed within 18 months of first registration. All Masters students who transfer to a PhD must present and defend a revised proposal to their Supervisory Committee within six months of program transfer as a component of their candidacy exam.

12. Special Registration Information


13. Financial Assistance

Full time graduate students in the VMS Graduate Program will be offered a stipend of at least $20,000 per year (normally two years for MSc and four to five years for PhD students). Funding, secured by the student and or supervisor, may come from a variety of sources, including grants, external salary awards, and UCVM scholarships. Students who hold relevant professional degrees (e.g. DVM, MD) are also eligible to apply for generous post-professional awards of up to $40,000 per year for two years through the UCVM Entrance Awards. Admission to the Program is conditional on demonstration of internal or external studentship support. Although initially required to pay a differential tuition fees, International students registered in the VMS Graduate Program will be reimbursed the full value of their differential fee each year. Further information on funding opportunities can be found at

14. Other Information

Outstanding students enrolled in the MSc program may request a change of registration status and transfer to the PhD program. The request must be done within the first 18 months of the program and supported in writing by the supervisor and formally recommended by the Supervisory Committee to the Graduate Program Director. The student will be required to defend their thesis proposal, appropriate for a PhD project, within six months of transferring to complete the requirements of the PhD candidacy exam.

15. Faculty Members/Research Interests

Faculty members and their research interests may be found at:

Additional information can be obtained by calling the contact number listed for the VMS program or from the Administrative Office of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.