PhD Admission to Candidacy

The doctoral candidacy process has both a written and an oral component. Both the written and oral components need to be satisfactory for successful admission to candidacy.

VMS Admission to Candidacy Process


Please note: PhD Oral Field-of-Study Examinations in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine do not require an introductory seminar before the exam begins

Checklist and Scheduling Requirements

Admission to Candidacy Checklist

All doctoral students in VMS must successfully complete the following components to be admitted to Candidacy:

Required Coursework

All required coursework for the VMS graduate program

Thesis Proposal

A graded evaluation of a written Thesis Proposal

Field of Study

An oral examination on broad knowledge in their Field of Study

Admission to Candidacy Procedures:

(counts as one of FGS-required annual supervisory committee meetings)

Within 14 months supervisor convenes pre-examination meeting of supervisory committee with the purpose to:

  1. Provide specific feedback on candidate’s research proposal (the candidate will submit a draft 8-12 pages double spaced, at least 7 days prior to pre-examination meeting)
  2. Identify topic areas (typically 6-7) that will form basis of Field of Study oral exam. Topic areas are to be recorded on the “VMS Doctoral Pre-Candidacy Preparation” document, which will be submitted to the Graduate Program Administrator.

At least 12 weeks prior to scheduling the Thesis Proposal and Field of Study exams, the supervisor will forward recommendations for external examiners to the Graduate Program Administrator (external examiners may be the same or different for the examinations).

  1. The Request for Approval of External Examiner for Doctoral Research Proposal form and the Request for Approval of External Examiner for Doctoral Field of Study Oral Examination form must be submitted to the Graduate Program administrator.  For examiner(s) outside of the UofC, a most up to date CV is also required.
  2. The external examiner(s) may be chosen from within VMS, however may not have a conflict of interests with student or any of the supervisory committee members.
  3. The examination committee for Thesis Proposal and Field of Study Oral Examination are composed of the supervisor, co-supervisor (if applicable), supervisory committee plus one external examiner.

At least 4 weeks prior to the Thesis Proposal Examination, the supervisor is required to submit the following information to the Graduate Program Administrator to schedule the examinations:

  1. Date of the Thesis Proposal Submission date
  2. On the Thesis Proposal Submission date, the candidate supplies the Graduate Program Administrator with the final research proposal
  3. Date and Time of the Field of Study Examination
  4. Confirm the external examiner(s)
  5. The Graduate Program Administrator will book the room for the Field of Study Examination, secure a neutral chair for the examination and prepare all required paperwork

It is imperative to allow plenty of time to schedule both the Thesis Research Proposal and Field of Study examinations, as examinations are scheduled on a first come first serve basis and are dependent upon securing a neutral chair.

  1. Taken no later than 22 month after initial registration
  2. Thesis Proposal will consist of a minimum of 20 pages, maximum of 25 pages, double spaced (excluding figures, tables and references)  
  3. Final version of written research proposal must be submitted and examined before 22 months after initial registration with FGS.
  4. On Thesis Proposal Submission Date, candidate supplies Graduate Program Administrator with a copy of the written proposal. Within one working day, Graduate Program Administrator provides all examiners with copy of Thesis Proposal and VMS Thesis Proposal Grading Form.
  • The Thesis Proposal Examination Committee consists of the three supervisory committee members (including one from outside the VMS program), and one additional external examiner.
  • Within three weeks after Thesis Proposal Submission Date, all examiners must provide a completed Thesis Proposal Grading Form to the Graduate Program Administrator, who will calculate average grade. The average grade will be forwarded to the supervisor, who will share it with the candidate.
  • A grade of B- (2.70) or above signifies a pass, and a grade of less than B- signifies a fail.

(2 hours not including deliberation time of examining committee)

  • Taken no later than 24 months after initial registration, and scheduled after Thesis Proposal is examined.
  • The Field-of-Study Examination Committee includes the Supervisor, supervisory committee members, and one external member.
  • Each examiner must record recommendation of “Pass” or “Fail” on official FGS Report of Candidacy Oral Examination. Should the outcome of the final vote include one negative vote, the recommendation will be “Pass”; should the outcome include two or more negative votes, the recommendation will be ‘Fail”.

Candidacy Forms

VMS Doctoral Pre-Candidacy Preparation form

Learn more

PhD External Examiner Thesis Proposal Request form

Learn more

PhD External Examiner Filed of Study Request form

Learn more