PhD Proposal Package


A PhD proposal package must be submitted, reviewed and approved before the student is eligible to proceed with the candidacy exam. This must be done within 24 months of the start of the graduate program. Once the PhD proposal is approved, the candidacy exam should take place within the following six months. Falling outside this time frame would require a written explanation and timeline for submission to be forwarded to the Graduate Coordinator and the MSGP Chair. Failure to meet this timeline will affect a student's eligibility for the MSGP graduate student awards. For more information, please refer to the Outline of Responsibilities document.

The information in the PhD proposal package will help the MSGPC to assess the:
1.    Student's background and readiness;
2.    Supervisor and research environment;
3.    Supervisory committee and their contributions to the development of the student;
4.    Scope, rigour and quality of the research project


A list of five potential reviewers must be sent by the department graduate coordinator in a sealed envelope signed by the graduate coordinator or administrator, or e-mailed directly from the graduate coordinator or administrator.


Turnaround Time

Typically a complete PhD proposal package submitted to fmdgrd@ualberta.ca within the first week of a month, will be reviewed and discussed at the following month’s MSGPC meeting. For example if a package and list of reviewers are submitted by March 8 then they would normally be discussed at the MSGPC meeting on around April 10.These meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month. Sometimes, it may take longer than one month to receive reviews, or a meeting may be cancelled, so students are advised to plan the PhD proposal process well in advance of the intended candidacy exam date.


Procedure


Students should prepare a proposal (full instructions below), and submit it to their department for signature by the grad coordinator. Then either the department or student can submit the proposal electronically to fmdgrd@ualberta.ca. The department should also submit a list of five potential reviewers, to fmdgrd@ualberta.ca. The proposal will then receive two reviews (usually one arm’s length and one MSGP committee member) and will be discussed at an MSGPC meeting. After that meeting, the committee’s decision as well as any feedback from the reviewers, is communicated to the student, supervisor and graduate coordinator in writing.

A proposal package should consist of the following, as one PDF, in this order:

1.    Completed PhD Proposal Form

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 proposal outlining the scope of the research project: This must be completed independently by the student and should clearly and precisely outline his/her role in the research.
The proposal should be a maximum of four (4) pages, plus no more than 10 pages of appendices/figures.   Format: single spaced with 1.0 inch (2.5 cm.) margins, Times New Roman, size 12.
Appendices should be restricted to figures, legends, references, questionnaires and tables. As mentioned earlier appendices should be no more than 10 pages and manuscripts should not be included.


As a general guideline, the proposal will also contain:

  • 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
  • detailed presentation of the planned experimental approach, and
  • the significance of the anticipated results.

Please Note: Anything exceeding these guidelines will not be included for review.

4.    A description (< 1 page) explaining the student's individual role/contributions in the PhD research project, i.e. leadership in experimental design, data collection, manuscript preparation/authorship, etc.


5.    Student's academic record, in the form of transcripts from the University of Alberta and other institution(s), if applicable.


6.    A Curriculum vitae from for the supervisor (and co-supervisor, where present) must be submitted in the common CV format, to a maximum of six pages.


The complete PhD proposal package, including CVs, should be submitted as one PDF to:

Nonso Ezenwa or Jen Freund
MSGPC, Office of Research
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
2-13 HMRC
Tel: 780-492-9721
Email: fmdgrd@ualberta.ca