PhD Proposal

Laboratory Medicine & Pathology strives for excellence in graduate studies, where graduate students are highly motivated to make original contributions in science and to complete their PhD program with peer-reviewed publications. The department utilizes the expertise of external reviewers to review all proposals from PhD students registered in our program.

PhD students must submit a PhD Proposal package following the completion of the majority of their course work and within the first 2 years of the start of their program. If the proposal is not submitted within this time frame, a written explanation and timeline for submission should be forwarded to the Graduate Studies Director from the supervisor.

PhD Proposal

The proposal will contain:

  • a review of the pertinent literature,
  • the research hypothesis,
  • the specific objectives of the research,
  • a review of the relevant work done previously by the student or the research group on the subject,
  • a detailed presentation of the planned experimental approach, and
  • the significance of the anticipated results.

The planned experimental approach will present the actual work proposed by the student and will not contain work or anticipated work that will not be conducted by the student.

The thesis proposal is to be written by the student. The thesis proposal must be entirely the student's own creation, although she/he can utilize the supervisor's guidance and/or the expertise in the department or on campus to explore ideas and obtain specific background or technical information.

The PhD Proposal Package

The student's proposal package consists of the following 5 documents:

  1. The proposal form which includes:
    • Project title
    • Student's completed and proposed coursework
    • Ethics training
    • Student honours and awards
    • Student presentations
    • Student publications
    • Timeline of the PhD program, indicating Supervisory Committee meetings, proposed month of the candidacy examination and final oral examination
    • Student's signature
    • The signatures of the student's supervisor and the supervisory committee members to indicate approval of the proposal package.
  2. A written statement from the supervisor (maximum of 200 words) outlining the potential contribution to science of the student's PhD project.
  3. A written statement from the supervisor on the expertise of the supervisory committee members (one or two sentences per committee member), as well as the resources (facilities, equipment, personnel) available to support the student's program relevant to the PhD proposal.
  4. A proposal outlining the scope of the research project:
    • A written proposal. This must be completed independently by the student and should clearly and precisely outline his/her role in the research.
    • Length: Must not exceed four (4) pages, excluding appendices.
    • Format: single spaced with 1.0 inch (2.5 cm) margins.
    • Font:Times New Roman, size 12.
    • Appendices. These are limited to 10 pages with not more than 2 figures per page, and should be restricted to figures, legends, references, questionnaires and tables.
     Please Note: Anything exceeding these guidelines will be returned to the student and not be included for review.
  5. Proposals must be accompanied by a list of five potential reviewers from outside our department (include name, department/institution, contact information). These reviewers must not be collaborators on the student’s project. The list is to be submitted by the student's supervisor directly to the Graduate Studies Director at Reviewers names are not be identified to the student.

The proposal package documents are not to be combined into a single file. The package is submitted to the LMP Graduate Program Office at

Submissions are accepted at any time.

Assessment of the PhD Proposal Package

The Graduate Studies Director reviews the PhD proposal package and may request a meeting with the student. The signature of the Graduate Studies Director on the PhD Proposal form indicates the PhD proposal package is complete and the PhD proposal may be sent for external review.

At least two independent experts review the graduate student's PhD proposal. They are asked to respond within two weeks to the following three questions and provide comments to support their responses:

  • Does the proposal encompass sufficient scope for a PhD degree?
  • Is there the potential for original contribution to science?
  • Is the proposal well-articulated?

See the LMP Graduate Program Handbook for further information.