University of Calgary : Veterinary Medical Sciences - VMS

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Graduate Studies Calendar 2015-2016 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 (paper-based), 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 registration in the September, January, May and July terms and will only be reviewed upon submission of the online application and receipt of ALL required supporting documents. Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received and, once complete, they will be evaluated by the Graduate Education Committee of UCVM for suitability for admission to the Veterinary Medical Sciences graduate program. It is especially important for international students and their prospective supervisors to note that once admission is offered it may take considerable time to obtain the proper immigration authorization (up to six months depending on country of origin). International students are encouraged to apply for admissions well in advance of posted deadlines. Prospective students are unable to begin their programs prior to registration (only after the registration term begins, applicants become active students and gain access to university resources, including insurance).

Admission Term

Application Deadline


June 1


October 1


March 1


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

d) MSc students are required to give one public seminar prior to scheduling the thesis examination; PhD students are required to give one public seminar prior to scheduling the oral candidacy examination, and are required to give a second public seminar prior to scheduling the thesis examination.

e) MSc and PhD students are required to give a public presentation of their thesis work immediately preceding their thesis examination.

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 performing 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 take place one week after submitting the written research proposal to the examining committee. The supervisor/co-supervisor will attend the exam, do not question the candidate, and serve as non-voting members.

Thesis Examination

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

Effective September 1, 2014, in addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies thesis examination requirements, Veterinary Medical Sciences program requires:

Scheduling of the Examination

All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s research, including a relevant written sample of the materials related to the thesis, before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee

The Internal Examiner must be external to the home program.

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.