Academic Requirements for MD/PhD Students
The PhD Portion
A total of eleven sessions on a full-time basis must be spent on a supervised research project: two summer sessions (after Years 1 and 2 of the MD program, >16 weeks total) and nine sessions (three years, i.e.,Years 3-5).
Three (for students admitted with a M.Sc.) or six (for students admitted with a BSc) credits of graduate course work must be completed (each graduate course equals 3 credits). Graduate courses will be taken within the first two years of the undergraduate medical school program during elective time. These will be coordinated with the office of the Director of the undergraduate medical school curriculum.
One seminar course is mandatory during the PhD program. Participation in and successful completion of seminar course requirements will be administered according to the rules of the individual participating graduate programs.
One original research seminar must be delivered in the home department prior to thesis submission.
The Thesis Advisory Committee assesses the initial research plan of the student during the first summer semester in the graduate study program after Year 2; the Thesis Advisory Committee annually monitors the progress of the MD/PhD student. The composition and the role of the Thesis Advisory Committee will be governed by the rules of the participating graduate programs with one exception: a member of the MD/PhD Program Committee will be part of the Thesis Advisory Committee.
The Comprehensive Examination should be passed by the end of Year 3 of the combined program. The scheduling of the comprehensive examination early in the course of the PhD program is designed to assist students with the completion of studies within the time allocated to the PhD program. The comprehensive examination will be governed by the rules of each participating graduate program. The successful completion of the comprehensive exam is a prerequisite to proceeding with the doctoral program.
The submission of a thesis based on the student’s original research will be completed near the end of Year 5 of the graduate program or during the first semester of re-entry into the undergraduate medical school program (in Year 6; see also outline of the typical curriculum).
If a student decides to withdraw from the graduate program prior to sitting for the comprehensive examination, he / she will not be eligible to obtain a PhD (or MSc) degree from the Faculty of Medicine. The student must then discuss and plan with the Director of the undergraduate medical school curriculum how soon the last two years of medical school can be completed.
In the event of failure to pass the comprehensive examination, even after a second attempt within the permitted time frame of one semester, the student must withdraw from the PhD program. The student may have the option to complete a MSc degree based on successful completion of the graduate course work, the generation of original research data appropriate for this degree, and the writing of a MSc thesis. The MD/MSc student will be assisted by the MD/PhD Program office to devise a plan with the Director of the undergraduate Medical School Curriculum as to how soon the last two years of medical school can be completed (given that his/her time spent in the graduate program is less than the scheduled three years).
A student who has passed the comprehensive examination but fails to complete the research project and fails to submit the thesis during the first semester of Year 6 must discuss with the PhD program director(s) the option to complete his/her graduate studies during the summer after completion of Year 6 in the combined program or after the final two years of the undergraduate medical school curriculum (i.e., after Year 7). Alternatively, the student may seek to contact the Clinician Investigator Program (“CIP”) at the University of Ottawa. The CIP is a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada-approved program (Director, Dr. Jonathan Angel) that offers MD graduates the opportunity to enter a program that sees the completion of clinical residency training and the pursuit of graduate work (CIP/eng/index.html).
The MD Portion
Students must fulfill all of the requirements of the MD program within the specified time frame in order to be eligible to formally transfer into the PhD. program. The course requirements (first two years) are completed as for the MD program alone.
In addition, MD/PhD students will also take one (or two) graduate school course during their elective time in the first two years of their undergraduate MD curriculum (see outline above)
- Years 3 and 4 of the medical school curriculum (i.e., Years 6 and 7 of the combined MD/PhD Program) are completed following the three years in the PhD graduate program.