PhD Program

PhD Student Requirements

Welcome to the PhD program within the Department of M&I. We have outlined the course requirements, teaching assistantship requirements, plus the research communications expectations for the PhD program below. PhD graduates are expected to become experts in their field of research, to become critical independent and creative thinkers with original contributions to research. The insights and skills a PhD student acquires though their program will advance their scientific interests, scope of knowledge and choice of careers. We recognize that everyone’s experiences in the program will be different however we have provided the following milestones to help you plan your degree.

Major Milestones



PhD Benchmarks

A) Meet with Supervisor 

Before or soon after entering the graduate program

  • Discuss career goals, potential projects
  • Decide on appropriate courses to take
  • Student submits initial thesis project (Sept)

B) First Committee Report Outline

Before the end of the second academic term

  • Discuss course grades
  • Assess project, research plan, progress

C) Teaching Assistantships

Assigned by July 15 in your second year

D) Pre-comps meeting*

18 months in program

  • Assess research plan, progress
  • Permission to take comprehensive exam
  • Set comprehensive topics

E) Comprehensive exam*

Between 18.5-21 months after entering program

F) Subsequent thesis committee meetings

Once per academic year, submit a Thesis committee meeting report

  • Discuss research plan
  • Publication plan

G) Exit Seminar

Approximately one year before graduating

  • Present PhD research to Department in a 45' talk

H) Permission to write thesis

Final annual meeting or special meeting


Download and review the Full Course List

1.    PhD students without a Master’s degree are required to take MICB506C. PhD students with a Master’s degree are required to take MICB506D.

2.    Continual registration in your thesis (MICB649) is required. The Graduate Program Coordinator will do this on your behalf.

  • Note: if the student account is in financial hold than they cannot be registered and they are responsible for registering when their account is settled.

3.    Graduate students can take additional courses if their supervisor and graduate advisor approve them.

  • Note: The student’s set of courses should be listed on the “Initial Thesis Project” form (see forms) and handed in to the Graduate Program Coordinator


Recent publications

Thesis Defence

The Faculty of Graduate Studies oversees Doctoral Oral Exams and sets the rules for thesis preparation and submission.

A few departmental rules and resources you should bear in mind:

  • Provide your supervisor with a complete draft of your thesis for approval and make any recommended corrections before submitting it to your supervisory committee.
  • Your supervisor and supervisory committee must sign off on the thesis before it is submitted to the External Examiner.
  • Present a full exit seminar on your research to the Department as part of the Microbiology and Immunology seminar series.

The student and supervisor work together to ensure the following key items are met before the deadlines.


There are four deadlines doctoral candidates must meet in order to be eligible for the respective end/graduation date. All deadlines can be reviewed on the website of Graduate Studies

Some important deadlines to keep in mind:

  • 6 months before the completion of the thesis: Appoint an External Examiner - student’s supervisor submits External Examiner form to Graduate Advisor.
  • 8 weeks before the oral exam: Submit thesis to Graduate Studies for External Examination; appoint a University Examiner and submit the Examination Program