Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I need to provide to apply for a M.Sc. or PhD degree in Medicine?

A: Please refer to our How to Apply page for details on the documents needed for an application to the Department of Medicine.

Q: I would like to apply to your program. How do I find a supervisor?

A: The Department of Medicine requires that all applicants have a supervisor (within the department) who has agreed to supervise the prospective student. To find a supervisor, we suggest you start by viewing our list of some potential supervisors.

In addition, the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry hosts a database with available positions for graduate students for specific projects. Please review the listings in this database for positions that may suit your area of interest.

Another way to find a potential supervisor is to visit the PubMed website. Type in the area of research in the search bar that you are interested in (for example, "transplant infectious diseases") along with "University of Alberta". The results will show researchers from the University of Alberta who have published papers in that particular area.

It is your responsibility to find a potential supervisor. When contacting them please provide a Statement of Purpose and a copy of your most recent CV.

Q: I have a Masters of Public Health (MPH) degree. Can I go straight into the PhD program?

A: For admission to our PhD program we do not automatically recognize course-based or professional degrees such as MPH, MD (Doctor of Medicine), PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy), etc. as eligible to enroll.

However, such non-research based degrees may be reviewed by members of the Research Training Committee, which will take into account research experience and track record. The outcomes of this review can result in:

  • a recommendation for admission directly into our PhD program;
  • a recommendation for admission into our M.Sc. program with evaluation for transfer to the PhD program after one year (please see our Change of Category page for details on the criteria to transfer programs); or
  • rejection of the application.

In all cases, the final decision on admission comes from the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research.

For more information, please refer to our Entrance Eligibility page.

Q: What are the admission requirements for a M.Sc. degree?

A: Applicants are normally required to have completed a four-year baccalaureate degree, or its academic equivalent, from an academic institution recognized by the University of Alberta. An admission grade point average of 3.0 on most 4.0-point grading systems or B on most letter grading systems, based on your most recent two years of full-time study (or equivalent) is required.

Applicants are also required to demonstrate English Language Proficiency. Refer to the FGSR International Admissions website for the various means of demonstrating proficiency. Please note that the Department of Medicine requires the following scores for TOEFL and IELTS examinations:

Finally, you must have an approved supervisor who has confirmed their willingness to supervise you. All supervisors must provide a stipend to graduate students (see our student funding policy)

Q: If I have an undergraduate degree, can I go straight into your PhD program?

A: The Department of Medicine does not admit students with undergraduate degrees directly into our PhD program. Prospective students with undergraduate degrees should apply to be admitted as a master's student. After being admitted to our M.Sc. program, it is possible to transfer to a PhD after one year provided all transfer conditions are met. Please see our Change of Category page for details on the criteria to transfer programs

Transferring credits to current M.Sc./PhD degree

Q: What are the requirements to transfer a course for credit to my Department of Medicine graduate degree?

A: Transfer credit for certain courses may be granted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research (FGSR), provided that the courses have not been counted toward a previous degree or program and were not used to satisfy admission requirements of FGSR.

Q: How many credits can I transfer?

A: A maximum of six units of course weight of a student's thesis-based program may be met through transfer credit and/or course exemption.

Q: How do I transfer credits?

A: Contact the Graduate Education Office ( for information if you would like to request transfer credit for a course.

The Responsibilities of the Student and Supervisor

Q: What is my role as a graduate student?

A: Graduate students are ultimately responsible for their own programs. They are expected to read the calendar and any other relevant documents to become familiar with all regulations and deadlines relating to their programs.

The student's fundamental responsibilities include ensuring that their registration is accurate and does not lapse, submitting appropriate forms to the department for signature and processing, and paying all fees required by the deadline dates set out in the calendar.

You can obtain more information on your role as a graduate student in section 1.1 of the FGSR Grad Program Manual as well as in the Department of Medicine The Role of the Graduate Student policy.

Q: What is the role of my supervisor?

A: Although a major part of supervision involves the student's research project, this is by no means the supervisor's only role. The supervisor should serve as a mentor for the development of the student's career. Even though the supervisor's and supervisory committee's recommendations are the largest factor in deciding a student's program, the final program decisions rest with the department's Research Training Committee and FGSR.

A list of your supervisor's responsibilities can be found in section 1.2 of the FGSR Grad Program Manual as well as in the Department of Medicine The Role of the Supervisor policy.

Thesis Registration

Q: How do I know which is the correct THES to register in?

A: In Fall and Winter terms:

For full-time students:

  • Each semester, full-time students are required to be registered in 9 units of course weight. If I am registered in:
    • 0 academic courses = THES 909 (9 units course weight)
    • 1 academic course x (3 units course weight) = THES 906 (6 units course weight)
    • 2 academic courses x (3 units course weight each) = THES 903 (3 units course weight)
    • 3 academic courses x (3 units course weight each) = no THES registration is required

For part-time students:

  • Each semester part-time students are required to be registered in 3 units of course weight. If I am registered in:
    • 0 academic courses = THES 903 (3 units course weight)
    • 1 academic course = no THES registration is required

A: In Spring and Summer terms:

  • Every student, part-time and full-time, is to register in THES 906.

Ethics Training

Q: What is the Academic Ethics Training requirement?

A: Ethics and academic integrity training is mandatory for all newly admitted U of A graduate students who started their degree program on or after September 1, 2004.

Each student is expected to complete the equivalent of at least eight (8) hours of structured academic activity to meet this requirement.

Departments offer this ethics training requirement in one of two ways:

  1. GET (Graduate Ethics Training): A web-based course offered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (equivalent to five hours of research training); and/or
  2. Department-based workshops, seminars, tutorials etc.

To access the GET course please visit the FGSR Ethics Training Requirement website to self-register and for additional information.

Payroll Deductions

Q: How does the tuition payroll deduction work for students receiving a stipend?

A: The University's payroll system automatically deducts outstanding tuition and fees from the pay cheques of graduate teaching and research assistants a month after the start of Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer terms. For the most up-to-date schedule of deductions, please refer to the FGSR website (Payroll Deductions). Please note that students receiving a stipend cannot opt-out of the payroll deduction system.

Note: As of May 2016, the university has revised the Spring/Summer payroll deduction system. Spring and Summer terms are no longer considered as one term for tuition deduction purposes. The FGSR website (Payroll Deductions) outlines the revised Spring and Summer tuition deduction schedule.

Formatting of Thesis

The FGSR Minimum Thesis Formatting Requirements document establishes the minimum academic criteria for master's and doctoral theses. These specifications ensure your thesis is compatible with the standards of the University of Alberta Libraries and Library and Archives Canada (National Library).

The Department of Medicine does not specify additional formatting requirements.

MSc Thesis

The Department of Medicine expects that the MSc thesis will be comprised of enough work to fill at least 1 scientific manuscript. This work may be published or should be worthy of publication.

PhD Thesis

The Department of Medicine expects that the PhD thesis will be comprised of enough work to fill at least 3 scientific manuscripts. This work may be published or should be worthy of publication. These projects should be unified into one cohesive document.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How should I incorporate a published paper in the thesis, when other individuals have contributed to this paper?
    • A: The entire paper should be included with the appropriate acknowledgements, rather than removing the portions that you did not complete. Such a work should only be included if you had a significant contribution.
  • My thesis contains some published and some unpublished works. Is it necessary for me to write an abstract and bibliography for each unpublished chapter?
    • A: This is at the discretion of you and your supervisory committee. In addition to any references provided at the conclusion of each manuscript, FGSR also requires that a bibliography be included for the entire thesis document. This may result in the duplication of some references.
  • Can my thesis have one overarching methodology chapter, or should each chapter have its own methodology section?
    • A: This is at the discretion of you and your supervisory committee.