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Graduate Studies Calendar 2014-2015 Program Descriptions Veterinary Medical Sciences VMS
Veterinary Medical Sciences - VMS
Contact Information

Location: Teaching Research and Wellness (TRW) Building, Room 2D09
Program number: 403.210.8764
Fax: 403.210.8121
Email address:
Web page URL:

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

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

Note: All students are registered full-time.

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements, the Veterinary Medical Sciences program requires:

a) A baccalaureate degree* or its equivalent from a recognized institution with a minimum admission grade point average of 3.00 on a four-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 the online 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 601 - Professional Skills in Health Science Research;

b) Veterinary Medicine 605 - Introduction to Research Methods**;

**A suitable entry-level biostatistics course may be taken as an alternative to Veterinary Medicine 605 with permission from the Graduate Program Director.

c) MSc students must take at least one additional half course, and PhD students must take at least two additional graduate-level half courses that are appropriate to their field of study and have been approved by their Supervisory Committee; and

d) MSc students is the presentation of one seminar prior to scheduling the thesis defense; the program requirement for PhD students is one seminar scheduled prior to oral candidacy, and the presentation of a second seminar prior to scheduling the thesis defense.

e) A public presentation of a final seminar that immediately precedes the thesis defence.

6. Additional Requirements

In accordance with Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines, all students who work with animals must take either Veterinary Medicine 603, or a suitable certification course on animal care and use. All students working with humans or animals must take appropriate certification. In accordance with Tri-Council guidelines, all students who perform research involving humans must take the CORE tutorial certificate prior to applying for ethics certification ( and must receive ethics certification prior to working with human subjects.

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. Final approval is required by the Graduate Program Director.

8. Time Limit

In accordance with FGS policy, students in full-time study, are expected to complete an MSc in two years, with a maximum time of four years; students in PhD programs are expected to complete their degree in four years with a maximum time of six years.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Students will normally have identified a permanent supervisor at the time of admission.

In consultation with the student's supervisor(s), a Supervisory Committee will be selected that includes a minimum of two additional faculty members for MSc degrees, or three additional faculty members for PhD degrees. In PhD committees, one member will be named from outside the VMS graduate program. The appointment of a supervisory committee shall be completed within three months after starting the program. The Graduate Program Director will approve the composition of the committee.

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 written component of the candidacy exam. In the VMS Graduate Program, the oral exam is based both on the written proposal and all relevant related topics assigned by the exam committee. Therefore, it is required that the oral candidacy is completed early in the student’s doctoral program, ordinarily by 18 months, but not later than 24 months after initial registration. 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. References, figures and appendices ordinarily should not exceed 15 pages. 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 and may question the candidate, however they serve as non-voting members.

The final thesis defence for MSc and PhD degrees will consist of a public seminar immediately followed by an open oral examination. In the thesis defence, the supervisor(s) are full voting members of the examination committee.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

The VMS Graduate Program requires all master's and doctoral 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 master's students, it is recommended that the research proposal be defended by six months after starting the program, but no later than twelve months after initial registration in the program. For VMS doctoral students the defence of the research proposal is the oral candidacy exam. All master's students who transfer to a doctoral degree must present and defend a revised proposal to their Supervisory Committee within six months of program transfer as a component of their doctoral 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 supervisor, may come from a variety of sources, including grants, external salary awards, and UCVM scholarships. Admission to the Program is conditional on demonstration of internal or external studentship support. 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 on the Faculty website (http://(

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.