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PhD Timeline

A PhD program at SPPH takes an average of four years of full-time study to complete and must be finished within six years. If you have questions about extensions or leaves, please click here (Extensions) or here (Leaves of Absence).

Students are generally admitted to candidacy within two years of enrolling in the degree, and must be admitted within three years. If you are a student who has transferred from a Masters program, then this means within three years of enrolling in the Masters.

Sample PhD Timeline:

Prior to Admission

  • Meet with individual faculty members & identify potential supervisor.
  • Identify research topic area.
  • Apply for graduate fellowships, if eligible.

Year 1 Term 1
(Sept to Dec)

  • Complete Coursework:
    • Electives
  • Meet with Supervisor
  • Apply for Awards

Year 1 Term 2
(Jan to Apr)

  • Complete Coursework:
    • One of the following:
    • Electives (if needed)
  • Begin Defining Thesis Topic

Year 1, Summer Term
(May to Aug)

  • Complete Coursework
    • Electives (if needed)
  • Continue to define thesis topic
  • Begin preliminary work for thesis preparation (ethics applications, data requests)

Year 2, Term 1
(Sept to Apr)

  • Complete Coursework:
  • Begin Preparing Thesis Proposal
  • Begin to seek additional committee members

Year 2, Term 1
(Jan to Apr)

  • Complete Coursework
    • Electives (if needed)
  • Study for Comprehensive Exam
  • Prepare Thesis Proposal
  • Formalize Supervisory Committee

Year 2, Summer Term
(May to Aug)

  • Pass Comprehensive Exam
  • Present to Thesis Screening Panel

Years 3-6

  • Advance to Candidacy
  • Continue & Complete Research
  • Write & Revise Dissertation with assistance from Supervisory Committee
  • Complete Final Oral Examination
  • Submit Dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
  • Apply to Graduate