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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2014-2015 Program Descriptions Medicine Programs Medicine, Gastrointestinal Sciences MDGI
Medicine, Gastrointestinal Sciences MDGI
Contact Information

Location: Health Sciences Centre, Room G341B
Program number: 403.210.9572
Fax: 403.210.8109
Email address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

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

All master’s thesis and doctoral students are considered full-time. In exceptional circumstances part-time status may be considered and must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.


  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunopharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Parasitology
  • Pathology
  • Epidemiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions 
2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations, the Cumming School of Medicine graduate programs require a minimum admission grade point average of 3.30 (on the University of Calgary four-point system; equivalent to a "B+") based on the last two years of the undergraduate degree consisting of a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents.

  • BSc degree or equivalent

Doctor of Philosophy

  • MSc degree, or relevant master’s degree, recognized by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, or transfer from MSc program, or, in exceptional cases, BSc degree or equivalent (3.70 GPA recommended).

a) For applicants required to provide proof of proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (written test), or 100 (Internet-based test), or an IELTS score of 7.5, or a MELAB score of 84 or a PTE score of 70.

b) Two references from individuals who can attest to the applicant’s academic background. Each referee to provide a reference form and accompanying letter on institutional letterhead.

c) Student must procure a supervisor within the Gastrointestinal Sciences program, prior to admission.

d) Endorsement by the Chairperson, Gastrointestinal Sciences Education Committee (GSEC) that the applicant is acceptable and that adequate supervision of the proposed program is available.

e) Meeting the minimum admission criteria does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Applications are ranked according to academic excellence, prior research experience and commitment to the study of gastrointestinal sciences.

3. Application Deadline

Deadlines for submission of required documents for international applicants:

April 1 for September admission
August 1 for January admission
December 1 for May admission
February 1 for July admission

Deadlines for submission of required documents for domestic applicants:

June 1 for September admission
October 1 for January admission
March 1 for May admission
May 1 for July admission

Students who wish to apply to the Leaders in Medicine joint degree program (i.e. MD/MSc or MD/PhD) must apply individually to the graduate and to the medical program. If accepted into each program he or she must complete a supplementary application for the LIM Program.

4. Advanced Credit

See “Medicine Programs”.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Cumming School of Medicine requirements, the Department requires:

a) The completion of a minimum of two half-course equivalents for the Master of Science. For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, the completion of a minimum of one half-course equivalent for those entering with a master's degree in a related subject. For those entering with a Bachelor of Science or equivalent, a minimum of three half-course equivalents are required. Normally, one of these courses is Medical Science 637.01. Exceptions, however, can be approved by the Program Director on the recommendation of the supervisor or the graduate education committee.

b) A supervisory committee set up within three months of initial registration.

c) A written research proposal presented to the supervisory committee within twelve months of initial registration.

d) A seminar presentation once a year. Exceptions require recommendation by the supervisory committee and approval of the Graduate Program Director.

e) Doctoral students must pass an oral candidacy examination within 24 months in the program. If transferring from MSc to PhD within 30 months of initial registration in the program. The exam requires submission of an approved version of the doctoral research proposal and specific topics of study to the examining committee no less than 2 weeks prior to the exam. Specific details of the exam format can be found at

f) Regular, mandatory attendance at the G.I. Sciences weekly seminar program.

* To qualify for an approved specialization, the supervisor and/or at least one member of the supervisory committee should have expertise in that specialization and the research in the thesis should be largely based in that discipline. In addition, the student should complete graduate course work deemed relevant/required by the supervisor and the supervisory committee for the student to be competent in the specialization.

6. Additional Requirements


7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

No credit given.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time is two and a half years for the master’s program and five years for the doctoral program. See “Medicine Programs” for maximum completion times.

9. Supervisory Assignments

See “Medicine Programs”.

The various laboratories in the group assess students, and the laboratory that has a need/interest in the student will offer the student a placement. Student is responsible for finding a supervisor prior to admission.

10. Required Examinations

See the “Medicine Programs” entry in this Calendar.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

See the “Medicine Programs” entry in this Calendar.

12. Special Registration Information

Exceptional students registered for the MSc degree may request to change their registration status to that of a PhD candidate within 24 months of admission to the program. Within 18 months of initial registration, the student will discuss with the supervisor his/her intent to transfer from the MSc to the PhD program. Students are only eligible for transfer if at least two graduate courses have been completed. A revised draft research proposal should be presented to the supervisory committee before the transfer has occurred. Transfers will require unanimous approval from each member of the supervisory committee and recommendation to the program director. The student’s academic record and approval from the supervisory committee will be considered in making a decision to recommend a transfer into a PhD program.

13. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, see

14. Other Information

Contributions to journals, relevant journal clubs and/or seminars are an expectation. Please visit the Department of Gastrointestinal Sciences Website at for additional information.

15. Faculty Members/Research Interests

Current faculty research interests and additional information of the MDGI graduate program can be found at