PhD Proposal Package

 A PhD proposal package must be submitted, reviewed and approved before the student is eligible to proceed with the candidacy exam, normally by the end of the second year of the PhD program. Falling outside this timeframe would require a written explanation and timeline for submission to be forwarded to the Graduate Coordinator and the MSGP Chair. For more information, please refer to the Outline of Responsibilities document.

The Medical Sciences Graduate Program Committee (MSGPC) requests each applicant’s proposal package consists of the following information presented in the order in which it appears:

  1. Student's academic record, in the form of transcripts from the University of Alberta and other institution(s), if applicable.
  2. The proposal form must be completed, stating:
    • Supervisory committee members
    • Project title
    • Student's completed and proposed coursework
    • Project's source of funding, including the name, duration and amount
    • Supervisor's source of funding, including the name, duration and amount
    • Student publications
    • Student honours and awards
    • Timeline of the PhD program, indicating supervisory committee meetings, proposed month of the candidacy examination and final oral examination
  3. A written statement from the supervisor (maximum of 200 words) outlining the potential contribution to science of the student's PhD project.
  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 should be restricted to figures, legends, references, questionnaires and tables.
    • A sign-off page. The signatures of the student’s supervisor, the supervisory committee members and the departmental graduate coordinator must be present to indicate approval of the proposal.

    As a general guideline, the proposal will also 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
    • detailed presentation of the planned experimental approach, and
    • the significance of the anticipated results.
    Please Note: Anything exceeding these guidelines will be returned to the student and not be included for review.
  5. 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 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

If the MSGPC approves the proposal, the graduate co-ordinator, the supervisor and the student are notified in writing. If the MSGPC has concerns about any aspect of the proposal package, further clarification will be requested.

Proposals must be accompanied by a list of five potential reviewers outside the student's department in a sealed envelope. This information is to be supplied by the department graduate co-ordinator and will not be accepted if brought by the student unless it is in a sealed envelope signed by the graduate co-ordinator.

Download PhD Proposal Form Template


Submit an original paper copy of the complete PhD proposal package, including CVs, to:

Attn: Jen Freund
MSGPC, Office of Research
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
2-13 HMRC
Tel: 780-492-9721
Email: jen.freund@ualberta.ca