LFS Grad Student Handbook

Note: This handbook is intended to provide an outline only. Regulations established by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FG+PS) supersede information presented in this document. Policies and procedures for all UBC graduate students can be found at The Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures Manual.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. GRADUATE DEGREES OFFERED THROUGH THE FACULTY OF LAND AND FOOD SYSTEMS
  3. FACILITIES AND SERVICES IN LAND AND FOOD SYSTEMS
  4. STUDENT RESEARCH PREREQUISITES
  5. GRADUATE PROGRAM ADVISORS
  6. THE SUPERVISOR
  7. THE STUDENT
  8. UNCLASSIFIED STUDENT
  9. FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE
  10. COURSE/SEMINAR REQUIREMENTS
  11. THESIS PREPARATION
  12. THE RESEARCH MASTER’S PROGRAM (MSc)
  13. THE PhD PROGRAM
  14. TERMINATION OF PROGRAM
  15. APPEALS
  16. PUBLICATION OF RESEARCH
  17. GRADUATION
  18. APPENDICES
  19. FAQ – coming soon

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS).  LFS provides a number of graduate education opportunities through the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (FG+PS). We are pleased that you have accepted our invitation to enrol in one of our graduate programs, and we hope that your graduate experience will be both stimulating and rewarding.

The purpose of this Handbook is to outline the University’s and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems graduate programs’ policies and procedures.  If you require further information, please contact the LFS Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office:

Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Room 344 MacMillan Building

2357 Main Mall

Vancouver BC  V6T 1Z4

Phone:  604-822-4593

Email: lfs.gradmgr@ubc.ca

 

This Handbook is intended to provide an outline only.  Regulations established by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies supersede information presented in this document. In this Handbook, the Faculty is collectively composed of faculty members (including adjunct and honorary professors), research associates, post-doctoral fellows, visiting scientists, visiting scholars, staff and students.

1.1 Glossary

UBC – The University of British Columbia

LFS – Faculty of Land and Food Systems

FG+PS – Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Professor – Assistant, Associate or Full Professor

Supervisor – Any faculty member who is a member of the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is eligible to serve as a graduate student supervisor. The supervisor is the chair of the supervisory committee, provides academic support and prepares the student for thesis research.

Adjunct Professor – Person holding non-tenured professorial rank who is not a university employee who may co-supervise graduate students

Honorary Faculty – Person actively involved in teaching, research or graduate student supervision who may co-supervise graduate students

Professor Emeritus – Retired LFS professor who may be involved in graduate student supervision and who may co-supervise graduate students

1.2 Administrative Unit

Dean Dr. Rickey Yada
MCML 248
lfs.dean@ubc.ca
Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Dr. Zhaoming XU
FNH 219
zxu@mail.ubc.ca
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office Shelley Small
Graduate Programs Manager
MCML 344
lfs.gradmgr@ubc.ca
Lia Maria Dragan
Graduate Programs Assistant
MCML 344
lfs.gradapp@ubc.ca

1.2 Graduate Program Advisors

Agricultural Economics (MSc) Dr. Ronaldo Cerri
ronaldo.cerri@ubc.ca
Applied Animal Biology (MSc, PhD) Dr. Ronaldo Cerri
ronaldo.cerri@ubc.ca
Food Science (MSc, PhD) Dr. Zhaoming Xu
zxu@mail.ubc.ca
Human Nutrition (MSc, PhD) Dr. Zhaoming Xu
zxu@mail.ubc.ca
Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems (MSc, PhD) Dr. Jennifer Black
j.black@ubc.ca
Food Science (MFS) Dr. Jerzy Zawistowski
jerzy.zawistowski@ubc.ca
Food and Resource Economics (MFRE) Dr. Kelleen Wiseman
Kelleen.wiseman@ubc.ca
Land and Water Systems (MLWS) Dr. Les Lavkulich
lml@mail.ubc.ca
Plant Science (MSc, PhD) Dr. Ronaldo Cerri
ronaldo.cerri@ubc.ca
Soil Science (MSc, PhD) Dr. Ronaldo Cerri
ronaldo.cerri@ubc.ca

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GRADUATE DEGREES OFFERED THROUGH THE FACULTY OF LAND AND FOOD SYSTEMS

Master of Science, MSc Completion of the M.Sc. program requires a minimum of 18 credits (or 12 credits) of coursework plus 12 credits (or 18 credits) of thesis research. Offered by the Agricultural Economics, Applied Animal Biology, Food Science, Human Nutrition, ISLFS, Plant Science & Soil Science Graduate Programs.
Doctor of Philosophy, PhD Research-based Doctoral programs are offered by the Applied Animal Biology, Food Science, Human Nutrition, Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems, Plant Science & Soil Science Graduate Programs. Course requirements are depended upon the student’s academic background.
Master of Food Science (MFS) The 12-month MFS course-based program is ideal for professionals already working in government, industry or private practice who want to upgrade their skills.
Master of Food and Resource Economics (MFRE) The 12-month MFRE course-based program is unique in the sense of combining applied economics with policy analysis and agribusiness management. It is designed for people wanting to work in the food and natural resource sectors, either for private firms, governments, or international organizations overseas.
Master of Land and Water Systems (MLWS) The goal of the innovative 12-month MLWS course-based program is to offer a professional degree that will serve both practicing resource managers, and recent graduates from cognate undergraduate academic programs, the necessary credentials to address the emerging concerns of land and water resources conservation and management.

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FACILITIES AND SERVICES IN THE FACULTY OF LAND AND FOOD SYSTEMS

The MacMillan Building (MCML) is home to the following Faculty Units:

  • Dean’s Office (Administration, Faculty Relations, Development, Communications, Human Resources) – MCML 248
  • Student Services (Undergraduate, Graduate, International, Aboriginal) – MCML 344
  • The Learning Centre (IT, Multimedia, Learning Management System) – MCML 264
  • MacMillan Learning Commons (Student study space) – MCML 360
  • Agora Cafe (Student-run cafe, Land and Food Systems Undergraduate Society LFSUS) – MCML Lower Level
  • Conference Rooms: MCML 139 & MCML 350

The Food, Nutrition and Health (FNH) Building is home to:

Desk Space

Desk spaces will be assigned to students actively involved in their graduate program on a first come first serve basis. Students in MCML should send their requests for desk space to the Graduate Program Assistant (lfs.gradapp@ubc.ca).  Students in FNH should send their request for desk space to the FNH Building Manager (patrick.leung@ubc.ca).

Laboratory Facilities

Laboratory space, equipment and materials in the various buildings are organized by the student’s Supervisor.  LFS technical staff supervises and monitors shared laboratory spaces and equipment. These technicians will assist you with the resolution of technical problems encountered during your research. All students working in laboratories are expected to contribute to maintaining a clean and safe workplace. All students are required to obtain relevant safety certificates and participate in a lab safety orientation session prior to conducting working in a laboratory.

Computer and A/V Equipment

Computer and A/V equipment are available in MCML 264/6/8 for word processing, teaching, computer modeling, and statistics. For graduate students in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Programs, laptop computers and A/V equipment are available in room 230 in the FNH Building. Slide preparation equipment and other multimedia equipment are located in the Learning Centre in MCML 264/6/8.

Mailboxes

Graduate students in the MCML building have mailboxes in Room 262 and in Room 200 in the FNH Building.

Photocopying

Graduate students are offered photocopier use at cost. Arrangements may be made in MCML 254 for use of the photocopier located in MCML 262. Students in the FNH Building may make arrangements with the Secretary in room 230 for use of the photocopier.

Keys and Building Access

In order to more effectively meet the needs of the Faculty, the Dean’s Office uses an online request form to process key requests. Please use the following online form to submit key requests.

STUDENT RESEARCH PREREQUISITES

4.1. Research Involving Human Subjects

Any project carried out by a person connected with the University, which involves human subjects, must conform to University Policy #89: Research and Other Studies Involving Human Subjects. Research involving human subjects is defined as any systemic investigation (including pilot studies, exploratory studies, and course-based assignments) to establish facts, principles or general knowledge, which involves living human subjects, human remains, cadavers, tissues, biological fluids, embryos or foetuses.

Research is defined as either clinical (See Section 4.1.1) or behavioural (See Section 4.1.2) research. The appropriate application forms must be completed and signed by the Associate Dean, Research before they are submitted to the appropriate university screening committee for approval. Research funds are not released until the appropriate approval has been obtained.

4.1.1. Clinical Research

Any research conducted at UBC facilities (including UBC-Affiliate Hospitals*) or by persons connected to the University, involving clinical interventions such as the testing of drugs, medical devices, rehabilitation exercise programs, and/or the analysis of clinical data obtained from medical records or studies of a clinical nature involving linkage of data from existing databases must be reviewed and approved by the Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB).

4.1.2. Behavioural Research

Any research or study conducted at UBC facilities or by persons connected to the University involving human subjects in procedures that require potential invasions of privacy, must be reviewed and approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB). Behavioural projects may involve asking subjects to participate in studies that use, for example, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, observation, data linkage, secondary use of data, deception, testing, video and audio taping.

4.2. Research Involving Experimental Animals – Policy #91

Researchers planning to use experimental animals must submit an Application to Use Animals for Research for review and approval by the UBC Animal Care Committee before research funds are released. This form is to be signed by the Associate Dean, Research who retains a copy. The Committee ensures the humane and ethical care and use of experimental animals is in compliance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care Guidelines. It also adheres to the principle that in order for animal use to be justifiable in scientific research, the research must have a reasonable expectation of providing a benefit to the health and welfare of people or of animals, or of advancing basic knowledge. All researchers in the LFS follow the principle of the 3 R’s: replacement, reduction and refinement.

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GRADUATE PROGRAM ADVISORS

Responsibilities

  • Advise graduate students on academic matters within their Program
  • Make recommendations to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies on matters pertaining to individual graduate students in their Program
  • Serve as their Program’s representative on the Graduate Committees
  • Ensure that graduate students’ research interests are matched with their Supervisors’ and Supervisory Committee members
  • Are responsible for administration and chairing final Master’s thesis defense and Doctoral Comprehensive examinationGraduate Program Advisor may designate someone experienced with the Graduate Program to chair these examinations
  • Responsible for accuracy of relevant Program recruitment materials
  • Helps recruit exceptionally qualified students
  • Helps ensure that faculty members supervising or teaching graduate students are aware of, and adhere to, applicable policies and procedures
  • Helps coordinate their Program’s ranking of graduate students for fellowships, scholarships and awards
  • Serves as contact person for graduate students if there are problems or appeals, as well as for information and general advice in their Program
  • Coordinates the development and selection of graduate courses in their Program

THE SUPERVISOR

All research-based graduate students are required to have a Supervisor. The Supervisor is normally identified at the time LFS recommends acceptance of the applicant to FG+PS. The principal role of the Supervisor is to help students achieve their scholastic potential and to chair the student’s Supervisory Committee. The Supervisor will provide reasonable commitment, accessibility, professionalism, stimulation, guidance, respect and consistent encouragement to the student. The Supervisor, along with members of the Supervisory Committee, are to be available for help at every stage of the student’s program, from selection of course work to formulation of the thesis research proposal by establishing the methodology and discussing the results, to presentation and publication of the dissertation. The Supervisor must ensure that the student’s work meets the requisite standards of the University and the academic discipline.

If an approved Adjunct Professor acts as Research Co-Supervisor, a full-time faculty member is required as the Academic Co-Supervisor who also chairs the student’s Supervisory Committee. Supervisors who will be absent from campus for more than 2 months must arrange for an interim Supervisor and notify the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

It is important that the student’s Supervisor establish a functional Supervisory Committee within 4 months of commencement of the student’s program. The completed applicable committee approval form should be submitted to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.

The roles and responsibilities of Supervisors are well described in the supervision & advising section of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ and in Appendix A.

7.1. Qualifications

Supervisors must be Professors, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor and members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. When Adjunct Professors are approved to be co-supervisors, Adjunct Professors are responsible for academic and administrative aspects of the students’ program together with the other co-supervisors. Supervisors normally will hold the equivalent of a Doctoral degree and must be active researchers as evidenced by regular contributions to refereed scholarly publications. Supervisors must have a record (or show promise) of successfully supervising graduate students.

THE STUDENT

In undertaking a thesis project, the graduate student is making a commitment to devote the time and energy needed to engage in research and to write a dissertation which constitutes a substantial and original contribution to knowledge in the field appropriate for the degree program. The Supervisor has the right to expect substantial effort, initiative, respect and receptiveness to suggestions and criticisms. The student must accept the rules, procedures and standards in place in the program and at the University and should check the University Calendar for regulations regarding academic and non-academic matters. Students must maintain regular contact with their Supervisors.

8.1. Graduate Student Statuses

All graduate students, with the exception of domestic Master’s students enrolled in a part-time program, are registered as full-time students. All graduate students are required to maintain continuous registration throughout their program by registering and paying tuition installments according to the schedules in the Calendar. All graduate students in research-based graduate programs are expected to register for the thesis throughout their program.

8.1.1. Full-Time Students

All graduate students who pay fees according to Schedule A are considered full-time students. See the Fee section of the UBC Calendar for details. Please note that merit-based scholarships are only available to full-time students.

8.1.2. Part-Time Students

Students who wish to be assessed master’s program tuition according to the part-time schedule (Schedule B) must obtain approval of their Graduate Program Advisor and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies prior to the beginning of the first term of the program (i.e., prior to the commencement of the degree program) in which fees are assessed. Please note that merit-based scholarships are only available to full-time students. Only candidates planning to take their degree through part-time study are permitted to select Schedule B. Candidates who select Schedule B are advised that, by virtue of their part-time status, they are ineligible to receive government loans, interest-free status and University fellowships or scholarships. Candidates are not permitted to switch from Schedule B to Schedule A after the due date of the first tuition fee installment. Please note that this option is not available to international students.

8.1.3. Going to Another University as a Visiting Students

Graduate master’s students may be permitted to take up to 12 credits of eligible courses at another university to be counted toward a UBC degree. Credits completed while being a visiting student at another university must be approved at UBC by LFS and FG+PS prior to registering at the host university. These transfer credits:

(1) cannot have been counted towards any other degree program,

(2) cannot have been counted towards basis for admission to the graduate degree program, and

(3) must have been taken within five years of commencement of current graduate degree program, and

(4) must be in courses in which at least a B grade standing (UBC 74%) is obtained.

To obtain permission, the student must submit to FG+PS, in advance, a letter from the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS in support of the transfer credits. The LFS letter must provide an academic justification for allowing the course(s) for transfer credit. The student must obtain letters of approval from both the home university and the host university before taking these courses.

Refer to the FG+PS website for details on Western Dean’s Agreement and Graduate Exchange Agreement.

Student Insurance

UBC students doing off-campus research on behalf of UBC or engaging in UBC-sanctioned activities may be covered by or be eligible for additional insurance coverage under UBC Risk Management Services’ insurance policies. Students should consider these policies (both automatic and optional) before undertaking off-campus visits. Students are encouraged to find additional information from FG+PS’s Graduate Student Insurance page.

8.2. Leave of Absence

Leave of absence is normally granted when a student is best advised for personal, health, or other reasons (including financial need) to have time completely away from academic responsibilities (https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/managing-your-program/leave-absence). The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree. Normally a leave will begin on the first day of term with a period of 4, 8, or 12 months. Note that a leave must be taken in 4-month blocks of time. The total duration of all leaves of absence granted in a graduate program is normally limited to 24 months for a doctoral student and to 12 months for a master’s student, except for Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study. On-leave students continue to be registered and must pay a reduced fee for the leave period. The period of leave is not counted toward the time required for completion of the degree. It is understood that students with on-leave status will not undertake any academic or research work, or use any of the University’s facilities during the period of leave. Students must inform the University immediately upon return. Leave is not granted retroactively, nor to a student whose registration is not current or whose time in the program has elapsed. Retroactive leaves will only be approved in highly exceptional cases. The Office of the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must submit a written recommendation and justification for a student’s leave to FG+PS for approval before a student will be granted leave. An explanation of the reason for the leave must be included.

On leave students who hold awards will receive the full amount of the award for which they are eligible. In most cases, however, students cannot receive awards while they are on a leave of absence. Students will receive the balance of their awards when they return to full-time registration status. Award Holder’s Guide: Leave from Program

8.2.1. Parental

A graduate student who is bearing a child or who has primary responsibility for the care

of an infant or young child is eligible for parental leave. Parental leave is normally limited to 12 months per childbirth or adoption (including multiples).

 

8.2.1A Parental Accommodation

The Parental Accommodation policy applies to students currently registered in full-time graduate programs at the University of British Columbia who are in good standing and making satisfactory progress toward the completion of their degree. Students must have completed at least one term of full-time study in their program.

The policy makes it possible for a student to maintain full-time student status during an eight-week period surrounding the arrival of a new child under the age of six (newborn or newly-adopted), with all the benefits of such status, by standardizing a minimum level of academic accommodation during that period.

Requests must be made no later than 30 days before start date.

Requests must be approved by the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at LFS and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

If approved for parental accommodation:

  • Students continue to be registered as a full-time, and tuition and student fees must be paid as usual.
  • Academic deadlines and expectations are to be flexible and modified to accommodate the student’s new parental responsibilities
  • Time allowed for advancement to candidacy (doctoral students) and degree completion will be extended by four months.
  • Graduate programs are expected to extend any internal deadlines for the completion of academic requirements by a minimum of four months
  • Student retains the full value of any fellowship or other award for which the terms and conditions are established by FG+PS and will experience no change to funding, payment schedule, total amount granted, or completion date of the scholarship.
  • Awards for which the terms and conditions are not established by FG+PS will be paid according to the terms conditions established by the donor or granting agency.

Procedure:

  • Discuss parental accommodation with supervisor.
  • Download and complete the “Request for Parental Accommodation” form from FG+PS website.
  • Obtain the signatures of supervisor and graduate program advisor indicating their approval.
  • Send the form to the FG+PS.

8.2.2. Health

A graduate student who encounters a health problem that significantly interferes with the ability to pursue his or her course of study is eligible for a leave for health reasons. Requests for a leave for health reasons must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation from the clinician providing primary care for the health problem. A leave for health reasons is normally limited to 12 months.

8.2.3. Professional

A graduate student who wishes to suspend his or her course of study in order to take a relevant work professional development experience may be eligible for professional leave.  Professional leave is normally limited to 12 months.

8.2.3. Personal

A graduate student who encounters personal circumstances that significantly interfere with the ability to pursue his or her course of study may be eligible for personal leave. Personal leave is normally limited to 12 months.

8.2.3. Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study

Following consultation with his/her program advisor and graduate supervisor, a graduate student may apply for a leave of absence from one program to pursue a second course of study. Leave for a second program of study may exceed 12 months.

8.3. Maximum Time to Completion and Extensions

Students in the LFS are encouraged to complete a Master’s degree within 24 months and a Doctoral degree within 48 months of continuous study. University regulations establish a 5-year time limit for the completion of a Master’s program and 6-year time limit for the completion of a Doctoral program. If a student transfers from a Master’s program to a Doctoral program without completing the Master’s degree, the start time for the Doctoral program will be from the date of first registration in the Master’s program.

8.3.1 Extensions

Extenuating circumstances not of the student’s making may justify allowing the student additional time to complete his or her degree program. A request for a one year’s extension may be received favorably by FG+PS if it is fully justified and supported by the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

A student should discuss the possibility of an extension with his or her supervisor and graduate advisor.  Each request must be accompanied by a completed Request for Extension form and a memo from the supervisor or graduate advisor justifying request for extension, including a written report from the last Supervisory Committee meeting and a schedule (Extension Timeline) showing how the program will be completed in the extension period requested.

Extensions will not be granted beyond 2 years and must correspond with the beginning and end of term.  Fees are assessed for students on extension.

8.4 Transfers

8.4.1 Transfer from Master’s to Doctoral Programs Without Completing Master’s Requirements

Students may be eligible to transfer from a master’s program into a related doctoral program (“fast track“) if they meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree, and have completed a minimum of one year of study in a master’s program with 9 credits at the 500-level or above and of first class standing (80% or better).
  • Students entering the doctoral program after partial completion of the master’s degree must, during the first two years of study at the graduate level, complete a total of 12 credits with a first-class average (of which at least 9 credits must be at the 500-level or above and at least 9 credits must be of first-class standing) to maintain registration as a doctoral student.
  • Students must also clearly demonstrate research ability or potential;

Transfer directly into a doctoral program is normally accomplished after completion of the first year of study at the master’s level and will not be permitted after completion of the second year. Transfers may not be retroactive.

Additional Information

Students must be in good academic and financial standing.

 8.4.2. Transfer from Doctoral to Master’s Programs

Students may apply to transfer from doctoral to master’s programs. Transfers may be approved if they meet the following conditions:

  • Ideally, the transfer is initiated early in the student’s doctoral program.
  • The transfer should be justified on the grounds of its appropriateness for the student’s personal or professional goals. These should be discussed by the student and his or her advisor.
  • Transfer requires the full agreement of both student and graduate program.

Transfers between programs involving a change of discipline must be treated as new admissions.

Important

Transfers from doctoral to master’s programs may have implications for student funding.

Students must complete all the requirements for the master’s program in order to be awarded their degree.

8.5. Student Responsibilities (see Appendix B)

8.5.1 Student Concerns

Students who are concerned about their academic programs and are wishing to obtain advice outside their Supervisory Committee, are encouraged to discuss their concerns, in confidence, with the Graduate Program Advisor first. If concerns persist, the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies should then be contacted.

UNCLASSIFIED STUDENT

An unclassified student is one who is enrolled for studies not intended to lead to a particular degree or diploma. Unclassified students should already have a recognized degree

  • Admission as an unclassified student does not guarantee that a student will be able to register for any course offered, nor does it imply future admission as a regular student.
  • Unclassified students may only take graduate courses with the advanced approval of course instructor, Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS and the Dean of FG+PS.
  • Courses taken as an unclassified student may be approved for transfer toward a graduate program on permission of Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS and Dean of FG+PS. See the Calendar for more information on allowable transfer credits.
  • Unclassified courses that are used to raise a student’s GPA to the minimum level required for admission to a graduate program are not transferable to that graduate program.
  • Fees for Unclassified students can be found in the Calendar.

A student may also enrol as an unclassified student for the following reasons:

  • to upgrade grade point averages by taking additional courses at the senior undergraduate level;
  • to make up specific prerequisite courses which are required for admission into specific graduate programs
  • to make up one additional year because the applicant only holds a three-year undergraduate degree

Students may be asked to take a load of up to 30 credits. Applicants with a three-year degree (equivalent to 90 credits) must take the full 30 credits. The courses that make up these credits must include the specific courses that the student is required to take in order to fulfill prerequisite requirements. These courses must be specified (minimum number of credits, minimum average, minimum number of credits with first class marks) as these marks are to demonstrate an acceptable level of academic achievement.

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FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE

Financial support for graduate students within LFS typically comes from one or more of four sources:  merit-based awards administered by the FG+PS (including Affiliated Fellowships and LFS Departmental Awards), teaching and research assistantships, need-based awards and direct awards from external agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Effective January 1, 2016, all newly admitted graduate students in research-based MSc programs will be provided with a minimum funding package equal to of $16,000/year for the first 2 years of their study.  Effective September 1, 2018 students admitted in PhD programs will be provided with a minimum funding package equal to $18,000/year for the first 4 years of their study.  All students must maintain a good academic standing to receive this minimum funding support.  Students are expected to be proactive in applying for awards and scholarships.  Please refer to FG+PS for more information.

Also see LFS grad student financial support, scholarships and awards webpage.

10.1. Tuition Awards

10.1.1. International Students

International Tuition Awards of $3,200 are provided to all international students in research-based programs except for those whose tuition is paid by a third party.

10.1.2. PhD Students

The Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) program will ensure UBC’s best PhD students are provided with financial support of at least $18,200 per year plus tuition for the first four years of their PhD studies. This program allows UBC to continue to attract and support outstanding domestic and international PhD students, and provide those students with stable, base-level funding for the first four years of their PhD studies and research.

10.2. Scholarships and Fellowships

Students are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from scholarships and fellowships available from FG+PS and various agencies.

This site is for the LFS Graduate Programs Awards which lists many of the internal and external awards available to graduate students in the LFS Graduate Programs.

10.2.1. LFS Graduate Scholarship Committee

The LFS Graduate Scholarship Committee is responsible for adjudicating applications and recommending recipients for the LFS’ major scholarships (>$10,000) to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS.  The Committee consists of the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (chair) and representatives from graduate programs.  Recommendation for the LFS minor graduate scholarships (>$10,000) is made by the corresponding graduate programs in conjunction with the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

10.3. Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships (TAs) are available for registered full-time graduate students in LFS. TAs provide an excellent opportunity to gain teaching experience.  All graduate students are encouraged to gain this experience during their degree program.  Students interested in TAs are advised to discuss this option with the course instructor and then apply on-line by the deadline.  TA assignments are made immediately before the start of the fall or winter term when course enrolments are known.  A full TA involves 12-hour work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction.  In LFS, most TA appointments are partial appointments. TA rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the TA’s Union, a Local of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.  Incomes from TAs is part of the MSc and PhD funding package.

International students interested in TAs are strongly encouraged to participate in the teaching programs through Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.  This Program is offered a number of different time at their centre and website.

10.4. Graduate Research Assistantships

A limited number of Research Assistantships are available from research funds administered by graduate Supervisors. Research duties (in accordance with University Graduate Assistantship policies) may be required in return for a stipend.  This may involve work, which is unrelated to the thesis and must therefore be scheduled so that it does not seriously interfere with the student’s graduate program. Incomes from Research Assistantships is part of the MSc and PhD funding package.

10.5. Graduate Student Travel Assistance

The LFS and FG+PS provide limited amounts of financial support towards travel by graduate students presenting their thesis research at major conferences.  Application process for the Travel Assistance and relevant details are available at: LFS Travel Award and FG+PS Travel Award.

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COURSE/SEMINAR REQUIREMENTS

11.1. Administration of Courses

11.1.1. Adding and Dropping Courses

Except in special circumstances, a one-term course may be added to your program only within the first two weeks of the course, and a two-term course within the first three weeks of the course. If you drop a course within these periods, no record of registration in the course(s) will appear on your transcript.

If you want to add or drop a course outside of these time periods, you need to complete a Change of Registration Form (Add/Drop form), provide a reason for the late request in writing and have signed the Form before submitting to the relevant course instructor and Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Students in LFS for approval.

Students may withdraw from courses in which they are registered at any time up to the end of the sixth week of class for courses that are offered in a single term, and up to the end of the twelfth week for courses that span two terms. Withdrawals will be noted on the academic record by a standing of “W”. Such standings will not be included in computing averages.

11.1.2. Courses not Completed

A student who ceases to attend a course, does not write the final examination, or otherwise fails to complete course requirements, and who neither qualified for a deferred examination nor has obtained official permission to drop the course, will be given a standing of “F” grade which reflects performance in the course.

11.1.3. Audit

Auditors are students registered in a credit course who are expected to complete all course requirements except the final exam. If you successfully complete the course requirements for an audited course, your academic record will list “AUD” as the final grade.

If your performance is not satisfactory, you may be given Fail (F) standing. This mark will count toward your overall average.

If you wish to audit a course you must:

  • Obtain the approval of the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS.
  • Register for the course using the Change of Registration form. Be sure to indicate AUDIT.
  • Inform the instructor at the commencement of the course of your intention to audit it.

All changes between Audit and Credit standings must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies on the Change of Registration Form by the appropriate course-specific deadline.

Requests for changes between Audit and Credit standings submitted after the appropriate deadline may be granted if accompanied by a compelling rationale endorsed by the course instructor and graduate advisor of your program.

11.1.4. Courses Outside a Student’s Program

Students are encouraged to take appropriate graduate courses outside LFS. Approval must be granted in advance from the Graduate Program Advisor and the course instructor.

11.1.5. Grade “T”

A graduate student is expected to register for the thesis throughout their program.  A grade of “T” is recorded for each session until the thesis is completed.  The “T” grade may also be used for graduating essays (in professional master’s programs), for directed individual study, or project courses in which the course requirements extend beyond the normal deadline for the submission of a final grade.

11.1.6. Pass or Fail Grades

FG+PS academic progress:

  • Failed courses cannot be credited toward a graduate program.
  • Students failing a course require a LFS recommendation to continue.
  • Students failing more than one course normally will be required to withdraw.

MSc students: a minimum of 60% must be obtained in any course taken by a student enrolled in a master’s program for the student to be granted pass standing. However, only 6 credits of pass standing may be counted towards a master’s program. For all other courses, a minimum of 68% must be obtained. When repeating a failed course, a minimum mark of 74% must be obtained.

PhD students: a minimum of 68% (B-) must be achieved in all coursework taken for credit. Where a grade of less than 68% (B-) is obtained in a course, and on the recommendation of the graduate program and the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the student may repeat the course for higher standing or take an alternate course. When repeating a failed required course, a minimum mark of 74% must be obtained.

A listing of relevant graduate courses and their description are found here.

11.2. Seminar Requirements

Graduate students must present in  at least two public seminars during their program as part of the LFS requirements. The number of seminars may vary from Program to Program.  Please check with your Graduate Program Advisor for details.

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THESIS PREPARATION

Students should obtain the current FG+PS “Instructions for the Preparation of Theses“.

In order to be eligible for convocation, you must submit your final, defended thesis electronically as a single PDF file to UBC’s online information repository, cIRcle. It will be reviewed for formatting by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and approved for inclusion in cIRcle. Your program cannot be closed and you will not be eligible to graduate until the content and formatting of the thesis have been officially approved and you have received an official email confirming final approval of your thesis.

Submitted theses and dissertations must be formally approved by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

12.1. Format of Thesis

Effective January 1, 2011: Students are expected to submit all final theses/dissertations electronically.

THE RESEARCH MASTER’S PROGRAM (MSc)

13.1. Summary of Program

Immediately after commencing program

  • Recommendation of appointment of Supervisory Committee form to Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS for approval.

Within 4 months from initial registration

Initial meeting with Supervisory Committee to:

  • Approve courses for the program.
  • Review selected research area.

Supervisory Committee to meet with the student at least once every 12 months, and preferably once every 6 months.

Normally within 6 to 8 months from initial registration

Students must submit a Research Proposal to their Supervisory Committees at a formal meeting of the Committee. It is expected that students will submit their research proposal between 6 to 8 months from initial registration. Students must submit an electronic copy of the research proposal to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Office: lfs.gradmgr@ubc.ca.

FINAL MSc DEFENSE WITHIN 24 MONTHS from initial registration

The final Master’s Oral Examination is chaired by the Graduate Program Advisor (or alternate) who neither votes nor signs the thesis. The Examining Committee (including the Chair) must receive copies of the thesis at least 4 weeks before the defense. The student must submit the “Approval MSc Supervisory Committee to Proceed to Final Exam” and “MSc Thesis Defense Composition” forms to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office at least 2 weeks prior to the examination.

13.2. Supervisory Committee

The Supervisory Committee should be established as soon as possible after the thesis topic is identified, but not later than 4 months after initial registration. If possible, the research supervisor should consult with prospective supervisory committee members about the proposed coursework even if the thesis topic has not been decided.

The supervisory committee consists of your supervisor and at least two other individuals (normally faculty members). Its role is to provide support by broadening and deepening the range of expertise and experience available to you and your supervisor. The committee offers advice about and assessment of your work.

Students in a master’s program with a thesis usually have a supervisory committee that advises them on coursework, research, and thesis preparation.

Graduate students who establish their supervisory committees early in their programs and who meet with their committees regularly, tend to complete their degree programs successfully, and more quickly, than students who wait to establish their committees.

 

13.2.1. Responsibilities

Supervisory Committee provides academic support throughout the student’s program. Helps plan a program of courses, which will prepare the student for thesis research, meet program requirements and assist career development. Provides critical comments on the research proposal and the thesis. Reviews academic and research progress on no less than an annual basis. Recommends whether the thesis is of acceptable standard for examination. Ensures that all LFS and FG+PS procedures associated with the degree program are adhered.

13.2.2. Appointment

The Supervisory Committee is selected jointly by the Supervisor and student and recommended to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, immediately after the student commences his/her program but no later than 4 months after initial registration. The Committee membership may change once the thesis research area is finalized. Master’s Supervisory Committee Composition form.

13.2.3. Composition

  • Normally, the Research Supervisor will Chair the Committee, and must be a Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor as well as a member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. If an approved Adjunct Professor acts as co- supervisor (research), a full-time, faculty member is required to serve as the co- supervisor (academic) and to chair the committee.
  • At least two additional faculty members will serve on the Committee. They normally will be at least of the rank of Assistant Professor and members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • One member will be from outside the Program in which the student’s degree is to be taken. The size of the Committee must be at least three. The membership may include faculty from other units and additional members from other universities.
  • If the committee only has two members from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, approval from the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is required. The Committee may also include additional qualified persons who are not faculty members. For the Master’s program, when persons from outside the University are proposed and the Committee does not meet quorum, approval from the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must be obtained.
  • The majority of the Committee must be from UBC.

13.2.4. Replacements

Members on study leave or any other leave exceeding 2 months may be replaced. A change in research direction or academic program may require a change in Committee composition.

13.2.5. Meetings

Supervisory Committees must meet at least once a year, and preferably twice a year, to monitor the student’s progress. The following meetings are required:

  • Initial meeting immediately after the student commences his/her program to review the proposed research area and approve courses for the program.
  • Meeting to approve the research proposal and proposed schedule for completion.
  • Regular meetings conducted to review progress to determine whether sufficient work has been achieved to prepare an acceptable thesis.

The Committee Chair is responsible for promptly submitting minutes of these meetings signed by the Supervisor and student to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. [Committee Meeting Report]

13.3. Research Proposal

Within 6 to 8 months of starting a Master’s program, the student will normally submit a Research Proposal to her/his Supervisory Committee for approval at a formal meeting of the Committee. The purpose of the proposal is to demonstrate how the student is going to carry out the research to meet the degree requirements. The Supervisory Committee meets to discuss the proposal with the student to ensure the validity of the research plan and to ascertain the student’s ability to formulate scholarly research questions and to convey these in both written and verbal forms. The student will make a brief (< 20 min) oral presentation on his/her research proposal at the beginning of the meeting. The exact format of the proposal is determined by discussion with the Supervisor. It should, however, include a summary of information previously published on the topic, hypothesis, objective, experimental design, brief description of methodologies (including statistical analysis), and timeline, and the significance of the proposed research. An outline of the Thesis Proposal format for the Human Nutrition Graduate Program is presented as an example in Appendix C.

13.4. Final Oral Examination

The final Master’s Oral Examination is chaired by the Graduate Program Advisor (or designate) who neither votes nor signs the thesis. Copies of the thesis must be received by the Examining Committee (including the Chair) at least 4 weeks before the defense. The student’s supervisor must submit the “Approval by MSc Supervisory Committee to Proceed to Final Exam” form to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office at least 2 weeks prior to the examination.

  1. 4 .1. Examining Committee
  • Examination Chair (Graduate Program Advisor or designate).
  • Thesis Supervisor (and/or co-supervisor).
  • At least two members of the Supervisory Committee (could include research co-supervisors).
  • At least one additional member from outside the student’s Supervisory Committee.
  • One member of the Examining Committee must be from another Graduate Program or Department.
  1. 4 .2. Examination Format

The examination is open to the public and normally lasts approximately 2 hours.

The Examination Chair:

  • Introduces student and examiners.
  • Reviews purpose of the examination.
  • Outlines examination procedures.
  • Establishes the order for questioning, normally ending with the Supervisor(s).
  • Ensures that the examination is conducted in an impartial manner.

The Student: Provides a 20 – 25 minute oral presentation on her/his thesis work to the public and the Examining Committee.

The Examiners: Following the oral presentation, the examiners examine the student (normally up to 20 minutes each) for one or two cycles, with the second cycle normally much shorter than the first.

Questions are invited from the public. The public and the student are asked to leave the room while the committee reviews the student’s performance and the thesis.

  1. 4 .3. Adjudication

In the absence of the student and the public, the Supervisor reviews the student’s background and confirms that program requirements have been fully met (residency, courses); the Examining Committee evaluates the student’s performance in terms of a) the student’s defense and b) thesis quality. The decision is rendered as one of the following by majority decision:

  • Unconditional pass – required changes are only of an editorial nature. The thesis is normally signed by all Examining Committee members at the time.
  • Conditional pass – requirements involving re-analysis or major restructuring of the thesis are specified by the Examining Committee and are to be completed within 6 weeks of the examination. Signatures of the Supervisor and members wishing to check revisions are withheld.
  • Adjournment – procedures for re-evaluation of the thesis or re-examination are specified by the Examining Committee (re-evaluation or re-examination must be completed within 6 months of the original examination); or
  • Fail – recommend withdrawal from the program.

Evaluation is by majority decision but individual examiners may choose not to sign the thesis. The Supervisor signs the thesis only after all revisions have been made.

The Examination Chair informs the student of the results of the examination in the presence of the Examining Committee and, if necessary, summarizes, in writing, modifications required such that the thesis is acceptable by a set date. The Chair reports the examination results in writing to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. [Chair’s Report on the Final Master’s Oral Examination]

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THE PhD PROGRAM

14.1. Summary of Program

Immediately after commencing program

Recommendation of appointment of Supervisory Committee form to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for approval.

Within 4 months from initial registration

Initial meeting with Supervisory Committee to review and approve the proposed program, including courses that the student needs to take to ensure an adequate knowledge basis needed to carry out his/her research project. Supervisory Committee to meet with the student at least once every 12 months, and preferably once every 6 months.

Within 12 months, but no later than 18 months from initial registration

Supervisory Committee has reviewed Research Proposal at a formal meeting of the Committee.

Within 18 months, but no later than 24 months from initial registration

Ph.D. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION

Each Graduate Program has prepared a statement of examination procedures, requirements, and regulations which are listed in Appendix E. Check with your Graduate Program Advisor regarding procedures and requirements for your graduate program.

Supervisory Committee meets with the student to arrange date, format & scope of questioning. Committee nominates two additional members for the examining Committee.

Supervisor ensures the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies receives the completed “Notice & Approval of Comprehensive Examination Committee” form for approval no less than two (2) weeks before the examination.

The Graduate Program Advisor or designate will chair the comprehensive examination.

Examination Chair reports the examination results in writing to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, with copies to the Graduate Program Advisor, Committee members, and the student. The Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will in turn inform FG+PS of the outcome of examination.

ADMISSION TO CANDIDACY

When the student has been successful and has met other requirements, request FG+PS to admit the student to candidacy.

FINAL Ph.D. ORAL EXAMINATION

Three months prior to submission of the completed thesis to FG+PS, the Supervisor submits “Appointment of External Examiner for Doctoral Thesis“ form to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for approval and submission to FG+PS for approval.

Visit the FG+PS website for details on “The Final Oral Examination, Guide for Doctoral Candidates

14.2. Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee consists of your supervisor and at least two other individuals (normally faculty members). Its role is to provide support by broadening and deepening the range of expertise and experience available to you and your supervisor. The committee offers advice about and assessment of your work.

A doctoral student’s supervisory committee is responsible for guiding the student in selecting any required courses, planning the research, and preparing the thesis.

Graduate students who establish their supervisory committees early in their programs and who meet with their committees regularly, tend to complete their degree programs successfully, and more quickly, than students who wait to establish their committees.

14.2.1. Responsibilities

The Supervisory Committee provides academic support throughout the program. Helps plan a program of courses, if necessary, which will prepare the student for thesis work, meet program requirements and career development. Provides critical comments on the research proposal and the thesis. Helps plan the comprehensive examination format. Reviews research progress on no less than an annual basis. Recommends whether the thesis is of acceptable standard for examination. Ensures that all LFS and FG+PS procedures associated with the degree program are adhered.

14.2.2. Appointment

The Supervisory Committee is selected jointly by the Supervisor and student and recommended to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for approval as soon as the thesis research area is known or within 4 months of the student’s initial registration, whichever comes first. (PhD Supervisory Committee form)

14.2.3. Composition

Normally, the Research Supervisor chairs the Committee, and is a Professor, Associate or Assistant Professor with some previous experience on doctoral committees and a member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. If an approved Adjunct Professor acts as the co-supervisor (research), a full-time, faculty member (Professor, Associate or Assistant Professor) is required as co-supervisor (academic) who chairs the committee. At least two additional faculty members will serve on the Committee. They normally will be at least of the rank of Assistant Professor and member of the FG+PS. One member will be from outside the Program in which the student’s degree is to be taken. The Committee must have at least three members. The membership may include faculty from other units and additional members from other universities. If the committee contains less than three members from the FG+PS and when persons from outside the University are proposed, a memo requesting approval must be sent to the Dean of the Faculty Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies via the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS, with a justification and a curriculum vitae of the person(s) nominated. The majority of the Committee must be from UBC.

14.2.4. Replacements

Members on study leave or any other leave exceeding 2 months may be replaced. A change in research direction or academic program may require a change in Committee composition.

14.2.5. Meetings

The Supervisory Committee must meet at least once a year, and preferably twice a year, to monitor the student’s progress. The following meetings are required: Initial meeting (within 4 months of registration) to review the student’s proposed program, including coursework. Meeting to approve research proposal and the date and format of the Comprehensive Examination (within 18 to 24 months from initial registration). Regular meetings to review progress and to determine whether sufficient progress has been achieved to prepare an acceptable thesis. The Supervisor is responsible for promptly submitting minutes of these meetings to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. Graduate Student Supervisory Committee Meeting: Form for Progress Report & Recommendations 

14.3. Research Proposal

Within 18 to 24 months of starting his/her doctoral program, the student will normally submit a Research Proposal to her/his Supervisory Committee for approval at a formal meeting of the Committee. The purpose of the proposal is to demonstrate how the student is going to carry out the research to meet the degree requirements. The Supervisory Committee meets to discuss the proposal with the student to ensure the validity of the research plan and to ascertain the student’s ability to formulate scholarly research questions and to convey these in both written and verbal forms. The student will make a brief (< 20 min) oral presentation on his/her research proposal at the beginning of the meeting. The exact format of the proposal is determined by discussion with the Supervisor. It should, however, include a summary of information previously published on the topic, hypothesis, objective, experimental design, brief description of methodologies (including statistical analysis), and timeline, and the significance of the proposed research.

14.4. Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive Examination For Doctoral Students: Form for Notice And Approval Of Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination Committee.

The Comprehensive Examination is designed to ensure a student’s preparation for thesis research and is intended to be comprehensive in determining if the student has adequate background knowledge in the chosen field of study. “A comprehensive examination [is] normally held after completion of all required coursework.  It is intended to test the student’s grasp of the chosen field of study as a whole, and the student’s ability to communicate his or her understanding of it in English or in French. The student’s committee will set and judge this examination in a manner compatible with the policy of the program concerned. The comprehensive examination is separate and distinct from the evaluation of the thesis prospectus.” (Excerpt from UBC Calendar)

Successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination is a FG+PS requirement for all doctoral programs before a student is granted Doctoral Candidacy status. Each Graduate Program has prepared a statement of examination procedures, requirements, and regulations which are listed in Appendix E. Normally, the examination will be held after completion of all required coursework. The Examination is normally held within 18 months but no later than 24 months after the student begins his/her Doctoral program, when any necessary course work has been completed.

14.4.1. Examining Committee

The Examination Committee is normally composed of: a Chair (Graduate Advisor or designate), two or three members of the Supervisory Committee, and two additional full-time professors not on the Supervisory Committee (one of whom will be from another graduate program in UBC). All members must be informed of the examination date, purpose, scope and format, and be provided with copies of the Comprehensive Examination guidelines. The two additional members may wish to meet with the Supervisor and student immediately following their appointments to the Committee. The Examining Committee in Food Science is composed of all faculty members in the Food Science Program plus one member from another Program.

The Examination Chair: Reviews the purpose of the examination; outlines examination procedures; and indicates the order of questioning.

The Thesis Supervisor: Briefly reviews the student’s background; and confirms that program requirements have been fully met (residency, courses, proposal approved).

The Student: Provide a short oral presentation about his/her background and goals at the beginning of the examination. The nature and length of this presentation differs between Programs.

The Examiners: Examine the student according to procedures outlined by the Examination Chair.

14.4.2. Adjudication

In the absence of the student, evaluates the student’s performance and renders one of the following by simple majority decision:

  • Unconditional pass.
  • Conditional pass – requirements are specified in writing by the Examining Committee and are to be completed within 6 weeks of the examination unless they involve requiring the student to successfully complete an additional course.
  • Adjournment – procedures for continuing the examination are specified in writing by the Examining Committee (a student may have one examination adjournment, provided the student is within the first 36 months of his/her program at the time of the continued examination).
  • Fail – recommend withdrawal from the program.

The Examination Chair informs the student of the results in the presence of the Examining Committee. The Chair also reports the examination results to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. FG+PS will be notified by the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, in writing once the student has successfully completed the examination with copies to the student, Supervisor and Graduate Program Advisor.

14.5. Advancement to Candidacy

It is expected that a decision should be made whether a student will be Advanced to candidacy within 18 – 24 months from the date of initial registration. A student who is not admitted to candidacy within a period of 36 months from the date of initial registration will be required to withdraw from his/her program. Extension of this period may be permitted by the Dean of FG+PS under exceptional circumstances.

The basic requirements for the status of Advancement to Candidacy are:

  • All required course work (if any) has been successfully completed.
  • The Comprehensive Examination has been passed.
  • The Research Supervisory Committee has approved the thesis proposal.

As soon as the student has satisfied all requirements, the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies recommends to the FG+PS that the student be advanced to Candidacy.

14.6. Final Oral Examination

PhD Final Oral Preparation Timelines

(Detailed information on the Doctoral Final Oral Examination)

PLAN AHEAD. There are lots of deadlines to meet before you even get a defense date and it’s advisable to start investigating these about 4 to 5 months before you anticipate defending. Tools for planning.

3 months prior to submission of the completed thesis to FG+PS for forwarding to the external examiner, Supervisor submits Nomination of External Examiner Form to FG+PS. Signatures of both the research Supervisor and the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS are required on the Form. Submit Thesis to FG+PS 8 weeks before Oral Examination if External Examiner is from outside North America or 6 weeks if External Examiners from inside North America.

The dissertation must be complete and ready (except for very minor text changes) to send to the external examiner: Email your dissertation to graduate.thesis@ubc.ca for review. A PDF is preferred. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure format is incompliance with university requirements.

Submitting the Dissertation for External Examiner has more information on submission requirements.

A Graduate Program Approval of Doctoral Dissertation for External Examination Form from the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must be submitted along with the thesis indicating that the student has completed the requirements for the Doctoral degree and is ready to defend his/her thesis. A UBC account number for the courier charges is included in the form. Thesis without proper accompanying documentation will not be processed.

FG+PS no longer requires students to submit The Examination Programme.  However, students or research supervisors are still welcome to create and distribute a program should they wish to do so. For those seeking guidance, a template is available on our website.

Confirm date and time of Oral Exam with the Doctoral Examinations Coordinator.

Appointment of University Examiners Form: The Supervisor and Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies recommends the University Examiners. Both University Examiners must be members of FG+PS. Professors’ emeriti who are active in their field are eligible and most welcome. Assistant professors may be nominated with full justification of nomination in writing by the Research Supervisor one week prior to the University Examiner form being submitted.

The Research Supervisor is responsible for inviting and confirming a mutually convenient time with all members of the examining Committee, to attend the Final Oral Examination. In order to meet quorum, the Examining Committee must consist of a Chair, two members from the Supervisory Committee, and two University Examiners (one from the candidate’s Graduate Program and one from another Graduate Program). As soon as a date and time is fixed, FG+PS must be informed so that a room can be booked for the candidate. The candidate is responsible for delivering to each member of the Examining Committee a copy of the thesis in its approved form. FG+PS will appoint a Chair for the exam. FG+PS must receive a minimum of 4 weeks notice in order to book an examination room. FG+PS only sends the thesis to the External Examiner (outside UBC) and the Chair. The supervisor and/or candidate is responsible for providing the thesis to the two University Examiners and also members of the Supervisory Committee members attending the Final Oral Examination.

The Final Oral Exam is a public examination and is normally held in the Graduate Student Centre. Doctoral candidates must orally defend their theses. [Submission of Graduate Thesis]

14.6.1. Adjudication

In the absence of the student, the examining committee evaluates the student’s performance and the Committee by way of the Chair recommends to the FG+PS one of the following by simple majority decision:

  • No revision or only minor revision required. At least two examining committee members sign the Doctoral Dissertation Approval form; the research supervisor withholds signature until revisions are complete. The final dissertation should be submitted to FG+PS within one month of the exam.
  • The dissertation is satisfactory subject to substantive revision affecting content. Fewer than two committee members sign the Doctoral Dissertation Approval form; the research supervisor and additional committee members withhold signatures until revisions are complete. The examining committee should recommend the procedure to be followed for revisions, and the procedure should be outlined in the Chair’s report. The final dissertation should be submitted to FG+PS within six months of the exam date.
  • The dissertation is unsatisfactory in its current form. Major rewriting and rethinking are required. No one signs the Doctoral Dissertation Approval form. The Examining Committee should recommend the procedure to be followed for revision of the thesis, and the procedure should be outlined in the Chair’s report. Further instructions for final submission will come from FG+PS.
  • The dissertation is failed and re – examination on this research is not permitted.

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TERMINATION OF PROGRAM

15.1. Required to Withdraw

A graduate student may be required to withdraw from the University under any one of the following conditions:

  • The Comprehensive (Ph.D. only) or Final Oral Examination is failed.
  • A student who is not admitted to Ph.D. Candidacy within a period of 36 months from date of initial registration will be required to withdraw from the program.
  • Progress is considered unsatisfactory because of poor performance in coursework, research, or other academic endeavors.
  • Circumstances arise which make it unlikely that the program will be successfully completed within a reasonable time period.

15.2. Procedures

Recommendations to the FG+PS of Final Oral Examination failure and termination of a student’s program are made in writing by the Examining Committee (condition 1 above) or by the Supervisory Committee. In condition 2, extension to the third-year may be permitted by FG+PS under exceptional circumstances. In conditions 3 and 4, the student must receive prior notice in writing that progress has been unsatisfactory, and be given a clear definition of remedial action with realistic deadlines.

APPEALS

See:

16.1. Academic Decisions

Every effort should be made to resolve disputes informally. Appeals are directed first to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS within 3 months of the original decision. If efforts to resolve the dispute within the Faculty fail, the student can appeal to the Dean of FG+PS within 10 working days of official notification of the decision by the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS. The Dean of FG+PS will not accept an appeal of an academic judgment. Such an appeal will be referred back to the Faculty. The Dean will only consider appeals based on alleged prejudice or bias in the evaluation or improper procedures in the evaluation process. If an appeal cannot be resolved satisfactorily by the intercession of the Dean of FG+PS, the student may lodge a written notice of appeal with the Senate Committee on Academic Standing, within 10 days of being informed in writing of the Dean’s decision.

16.2. Grades

Any dispute concerning grades should first be discussed with the instructor, then with the Graduate Program Advisor and finally with the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in LFS.

16.3. Other

Matters such as financial support, professional conduct, etc., are handled by the Graduate Programs Committee, the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and FG+PS, in that order.

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PUBLICATION OF RESEARCH

Research data collected by graduate students during their programs remain the property of the LFS, and in some cases, of the funding agency. Copies of all data are to be filed with the student’s Supervisor. Thesis research should be prepared for publication within 6 months of the Final Oral Examination. After this time, the Supervisor may assume responsibility for communicating the research findings.

GRADUATION

The student must maintain his/her registration until the thesis is submitted.  Please follow FG+PS instructions for final thesis/dissertation submission.

Students should apply for graduation on-line.

It is the Graduate Program Advisor’s responsibility to confirm that all program requirements (courses, comprehensive examinations, etc.) have been satisfied.

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APPENDICES

APPENDIX A: RESPONSIBILITIES OF A SUPERVISOR

(See: supervisor responsibilities)

Master’s Program

  • Foster academic excellence.
  • Establish a supervisory committee early in the student’s program and convene a meeting, at least once annually, to evaluate the student’s progress, with input from the student and colleagues wherever appropriate.
  • Assist the student in the development of academic and research programs.
  • Arrange and chair meetings of the Supervisory Committee and record its assessment of academic and research progress in writing. Send copies to the student, committee members, and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office after each meeting.
  • Arrange examinations (examiners, time, date, room, etc.).
  • Provide adequate research facilities and funding to support the student’s research project.
  • Assist and direct the student in the preparation of the thesis.
  • Have sufficient familiarity with the field of research to provide guidance and/or a willingness to gain that familiarity before agreeing to act as Supervisor.
  • Respond to written work submitted by the student in a timely and thorough manner, with constructive suggestions for improvement and continuation. The turnaround time for comments on written work should not normally exceed 3 weeks.
  • Make arrangements to ensure continuity of supervision when absent for two months or longer.
  • Within the norms appropriate to the discipline, make reasonable arrangements to ensure that the research resources needed for the thesis project are available to the student and, when necessary, assist the student in gaining access to facilities or research materials.
  • Help to ensure that the research environment is safe, healthy and free from harassment, discrimination and conflict.
  • When there is conflicting advice or when there are different expectations on the part of co-supervisors or members of the Supervisory Committee, endeavor to achieve consensus and resolve the differences.
  • Assist the student to be aware of current program requirements, deadlines, sources of funding, etc.
  • Encourage the student to make presentations of research results within the University, as well as to outside scholarly or professional bodies, as appropriate.
  • Help the student plan the work, set a time schedule and adhere as closely as possible to that schedule. Encourage the student to complete their program of studies when it would not be in their best interest to extend it.
  • Appropriately acknowledge the student’s contributions to presentations and published material, in many cases via joint authorship.

Doctoral Program

  • Ensure that recommendations for external examiners of doctoral theses are made to the Graduate Program Advisor and forwarded to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, in the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office in a timely manner; make other arrangements for oral examination of the thesis and assist the student to comply with any changes that need to be made after the oral examination.
  • Other items are the same as for the Master’s Program.

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APPENDIX B: RESPONSIBILITIES OF A GRADUATE STUDENT

See: grad student responsibilities

  • Make a commitment and show dedicated efforts to gain the background knowledge and skills needed to pursue the research project successfully.
  • Develop, in conjunction with the Supervisor and Supervisory Committee, a plan and a timetable for completion of all stages of the thesis project, and work assiduously to adhere to a schedule and to meet appropriate deadlines.
  • Meet with the Supervisor when requested and report fully and regularly on progress and results.
  • Maintain registration throughout the program and (for international students) ensure that student visas and, where applicable, employment authorization documents are kept up to date. Keep the Supervisor, Graduate Program Advisor, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office and FG+PS informed of how you can be contacted.
  • Give serious consideration and respond to advice and criticisms received from the Supervisor and other members of the Supervisory Committee.
  • Pay due attention to the need to maintain a workplace which is tidy, safe and healthy and where each individual shows tolerance and respect for the rights of others.
  • Take appropriate courses on safety, radiation, etc.
  • Be thoughtful and reasonably frugal in using resources provided by the Supervisor and by the University, and assist in obtaining additional resources for the research or for other group members where applicable.
  • Conform to University, Faculty and Program requirements, including those related to deadlines, dissertation style, conflict of interest, etc.
  • Recognize that the Supervisor and other members of the Supervisory Committee may have other teaching, research and service obligations which may preclude immediate responses.
  • Recognize that where the student’s research comprises a component of the Supervisor’s research program, the responsibility for utilization of data and for publication is held jointly by the Supervisor and student. In such cases, a draft paper, together with raw data, will be made available to the Supervisor prior to submission for publication.
  • Meet agreed performance standards and deadlines of the funding organization to the extent possible when financing has been provided under a contract or grant.
  • Conform to the strictest standards of honesty in order to assure academic integrity and professionalism. This includes, but is by no means limited to, acknowledging assistance, materials and/or data provided by others.
  • When the program requirements have been met, terminate the work and clean up the work space, in consideration of the next student.
  • Return borrowed materials to the Supervisor, LFS, library or reading room, etc. when the project has been concluded or when return is requested.

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APPENDIX C: OUTLINE FOR MSc AND PhD THESIS PROPOSAL

  1. Human Nutrition Graduate Program

Title Page – Include the title of the thesis proposal, name of candidate, and name of Thesis Supervisor and Supervisory Committee members.

Introduction – Introduce the research topic.

Specific Aims – State the primary objectives of the study.

Background – A brief review of the pertinent literature and a list of references should be given. Emphasis should be on developing a review that is highly relevant to the project rather than an exhaustive review of the entire field.

Rationale – State the hypothesis(es) to be tested and give the rationale of the approach.

Research Design – Describe the number of observations in each experimental group and list what procedures are to be done, and what measurements are to be made on each. In animal studies, proper diets and protocol should be included. Sampling strategies in human studies should be included.

Methods – Describe the specific methods to be used in the project. The basis for new methods and/or significant modifications of established methods should be given.

Analysis of the Data – Specify how the data are to be analyzed. The specific number of comparisons to be made, the types of statistical tests to be used, and the number of samples to be obtained for use in making the comparisons should be listed.

The Role of Candidate in Project – Describe exactly the role the candidate will have in the project. What analyses will be done by the candidate in which laboratories, and from where will other pertinent data be obtained? The role of any technical personnel working on the project should be specifically identified.

Significance – Describe the significance of this study with reference to the state of knowledge of the field and the possible nutritional implications of the findings.

Human Studies – See Guidance for Research with Human Subject in preparation of this section. Procedures for obtaining the appropriate permissions for research with human subjects must be stated. This outline of a thesis proposal is intended to serve as a guideline. Specific details of the proposal should be discussed with the Research Advisor.

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APPENDIX D: SAMPLE THESIS TITLE PAGE

(See: thesis preparation and checking)

EVALUATION OF POTENTIAL MICROBIAL HAZARDS IN BLUEBERRY AND RASPBERRY PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

By

John Smith

  1. Sc. (Microbiology) McGill University, 2000

A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF

Master of Science

In

THE Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

(Agricultural Economics or Applied Animal Biology or Food Science or Human Nutrition or Plant Science or Soil Science)

THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

May 2004

© John Smith, 2004

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APPENDIX E: PhD COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION FORMAT

  1. PhD Comprehensive Examination in Applied Animal Biology

The comprehensive exam in the Applied Animal Biology Graduate program is to test the student’s background knowledge related to her/his dissertation research and their ability to carry out their proposed research. This exam should be completed within the first 24 months of their program. As such, the student is not to be tested on his/her dissertation research itself or defend his/her research proposal but rather is examined on subject areas related to a review paper prepared before the oral examination. The student, in consultation with their research supervisory committee, shall identify topics (typically two to four) relevant to the students’ core area of research. These topics will then become the subject of a critical, integrative review. Students may choose to write their review in the form of a manuscript that may later be submitted to a referred journal. A version of the review may also be suitable for inclusion in the final dissertation as an introductory chapter.

Once the supervisory committee approves the document (and signed the examination approval form) the oral examination date can be set. The exam committee consists of the Chair (Graduate Advisor or designate), 2 – 3 members of the PhD supervisory committee, and 2 university examiners (full-time professors not on the supervisory committee). At least one member of the examination committee must be from another Graduate Program. The examiners should be chosen according to the topics central to the review paper. The student will meet with each examiner and deliver his/her critical review document no less than 2 weeks before the examination. The chair (non-voting) will outline the purpose of the exam and the order of questioning; normally the exam begins with the external examiners, followed by the supervisory committee members and ends with the supervisor. The oral examination may begin with a short (less than 20 min) presentation by the student. Examiners are free to ask any question they see as appropriate during the examination; the review paper will provide context and help frame the discussion. Each examiner will examine the students for 15-20 minutes followed by a shortened second round of questions.

After the examination, the examiners meet in camera to determine the outcome by majority decision.

  • Unconditional pass
  • Conditional pass
    • The student may be required, for example, to successfully complete a course in which the committee finds the student needs additional knowledge/skills.
  • Adjournment
    • If the committee finds that the performance in the oral examination is not satisfactory, but believes that, with additional preparation, the student has the potential for satisfactory performance, the examination will be adjourned.
    • The committee’s rationale for recommending an adjournment and the procedures for continuing the examination, including the time frame, will be specified in writing by the Chair of the examining committee.
    • One examination adjournment or retake is permitted, provided the student has the opportunity to complete the examination within the first 36 months of his/her program.
    • The continuation will be videotaped.
    • The examination committee membership normally remains unchanged for the continuation of the exam.
    • If the continuation does not result in an unconditional or a conditional pass, the student will be required to withdraw from the program.
  • Failure
    • Students who fail the oral examination will be required to withdraw from the program. Students will be informed in writing by the examination committee of the failure.
  1. PhD Comprehensive Examinations in Food Science

The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to assess the following:

  • academic preparation for your doctoral research
  • potential to independently formulate a proposal for original research
  • fundamental knowledge of core food science concepts
  • problem solving and critical thinking abilities
  • ability to communicate knowledge in written and oral formats

The Food Science graduate program advisor will meet with you ~ 5-6 weeks prior to your comprehensive exam date, to present you with a hypothetical “research problem”. This research problem and your research proposal to address it will form the basis of the comprehensive examination to assess the aforementioned indicators of your abilities. The topic of the research problem is “separate and distinct from” your doctoral dissertation prospectus, and will be selected to represent a typical research problem of significance in the food science field.

Within four weeks of receiving this research problem, you will be required to submit to the Food Science Graduate Advisor, a written report that provides the necessary background, the rationale for the proposed research approach and a well-documented research strategy to address the problem. The report should be no longer than forty double-spaced pages, printed with a 12- point font size. Tables and figures may be appended to the report. The report should include appropriately referenced background information and issues relevant to the problem. This background information should constitute no more than half of the report.

The experimental plan and methodology proposed for the research plan, including experimental design and statistical analysis of data, should constitute at least half of the report. You should also indicate the limitations that may be encountered in the execution of the proposed research plan. You should take into account the anticipated outcomes of the research in the design of the research plan.

The written report, which will be photocopied and distributed to the Examining Committee, will form the basis of the oral comprehensive examination.

  1. “A comprehensive examination is normally held after completion of all required coursework and is intended to test the student’s grasp of the chosen field of study as a whole, and the student’s ability to communicate his or her understanding of it in English or in French. The student’s committee will set and judge this examination in a manner compatible with the policy of the graduate program concerned. Programs should make available to students a written statement of examination policy and procedures. The comprehensive examination is separate and distinct from the evaluation of the doctoral dissertation prospectus.” (Excerpt quote from the 2010/2011 UBC Calendar at http://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/managing-your-program/comprehensive-examination-doctoral-students)
  2. The Examining Committee for your oral examination will be composed of a Chair, at least four faculty members from the Food Science graduate program, and one faculty member from another graduate program. The oral examination will be scheduled to take place within one to two weeks following submission of the report to the Food Science Graduate Advisor.

The format for the oral examination, which is conducted in closed format, will be as follows:

  1. Oral presentation by the candidate for about 20 to 30 minutes, with appropriate visual aids;
  2. Questions from the Examining Committee (15 to 20 minutes for each examining committee member in the first round of questions, with options for a second round of questions); and
  3. Decision (unconditional pass; conditional pass; adjournment; fail) by the Examining Committee.
  1. PhD Comprehensive Examinations in Human Nutrition

Preamble

This document provides guidelines to students in the PhD degree program in Human Nutrition regarding their comprehensive examinations. These exams include two components, a screening exam and preparation/oral examination of a research proposal, each of which is described separately following the section on “Timing of the Exams”.

Purpose of the Exams

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies states that comprehensive exams are normally intended to assess whether the student has developed: a. strong analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking abilities b. required breadth and in-depth knowledge of the discipline c. ability to communicate knowledge of the discipline d. required academic background for the specific doctoral research to follow e. potential ability to conduct independent and original research. The Human Nutrition Comprehensive Exams are intended primarily to address items (a) through (c) in the above list. Items (d) and (e) are assessed through the Supervisory Committee’s evaluation of the PhD research proposal.

Timing of the Exams

In the Human Nutrition Graduate Program, doctoral students are normally expected to complete their comprehensive examinations within 18 months from the date of initial registration. Completion of comprehensive exams is one aspect of the requirements for admission to PhD candidacy, and according to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, a student who is not admitted to candidacy within 36 months from the date of initial registration must withdraw from the program. The screening examination must be passed before the research proposal component can be attempted. Normally, the screening exam will be taken within 6-12 months of initial registration. The research question to be addressed in the research proposal should be approved by the Human Nutrition Graduate Program within 14 months of initial registration, with the oral examination taking place within the following 3 months. The written research proposal must be circulated at least 2 weeks prior to the oral examination.

Part 1. Screening Examination

The purpose of the screening exam is to ensure that doctoral students have comprehensive knowledge of the fundamentals of human nutrition. Students are expected to have knowledge in the following areas (courses covering these areas are in parentheses): Basic macronutrient and energy metabolism (including fibre) (FNH 250 and 350) Basic micronutrient metabolism (FNH 250 and 351) Basic principles of nutritional assessment, and familiarity with techniques for commonly assessed nutrients (FNH 370) Major issues in nutrition across the lifespan (FNH 471) Basic research methods in nutrition and other health research (FNH 398) DRIs – major issues considered and rationale for the recommendations for the major nutrients, especially any problematic or controversial nutrients (FNH 350, 351, and 471) Basic role of nutrition in prevention and pathogenesis of the major chronic diseases influenced by nutrition (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity) (FNH 350, 351, and 451). Students will have 3 hours to complete the closed-book exam, which will consist of multiple choice, short and medium length questions. Exam questions will be set by the instructors of the above courses (i.e., FNH 250, 350, 351, 370, 398, 451, and 471), and will be similar to questions asked in examinations in the undergraduate courses. Current course syllabi from the above courses will be made available to exam candidates. Students must receive a mark of 75% or greater to pass the exam. Students who obtain a mark of 60%-74% on their first attempt will be given one opportunity to retake the exam within 2 months of the first attempt. Students who receive less than 60% on their first attempt or less than 75% on their second attempt will be required to withdraw from the program.

Part 2. Research Proposal

The purpose of this part of the comprehensive exam is to establish that students have an ability to critically evaluate primary research literature, identify a gap in the current literature, establish a research question and appropriate hypotheses/objectives, address the research question through designing appropriate original investigations systemically and logically, with application of appropriate methodologies and statistical analyses. In addition, this part of the examination will also assess the breadth and depth of students’ knowledge within one area of human nutrition research. This part of the comprehensive exam consists of preparation and oral examination of a CIHR style research proposal.

2.1 Preparation of the Research Proposal

Format and Process

  • In consultation with their dissertation research supervisor, students are required to identify a research question that must not be in the immediate area of their dissertation research. For example, an acceptable research question might be one that would be addressed using similar research methods to those of the student’s dissertation research, but with a focus on a different nutrient, health outcome or life stage. If the timing is appropriate, this topic could be used for the student’s ‘long seminar’ in HUNU 631.
  • The research question will be presented to the HUNU graduate faculty in the form of letter of intent. The letter of intent (LOI) should follow the format of the one-page summary required for registration of a CIHR operating grant, including background information, research questions, objectives and/or hypotheses, study design and methods, and significance (maximum 1 page, single spaced, 2 cm margins). An additional page should be submitted with a one paragraph summary of the student’s dissertation research question/topic. It should be submitted shortly after successful completion of the screening examination and within 14 months of initial registration in the doctoral program to the advisor of the Human Nutrition program who will circulate it to all HUNU graduate faculty members. Faculty members will respond to the program advisor within 1 week, indicating if they do/do not approve the LOI. If they do not approve, reasons shall be given. The program advisor will collate responses and let the student know within 10 days whether or not the LOI has been approved. In the event that it is rejected, clear reasons will be provided and the student asked to revise and resubmit within 14 days.
  • Upon approval of the letter of intent, students are responsible for preparing the research proposal, which includes a one-page summary of the research proposal, a lay abstract, the proposal itself (maximum 11 pages), appropriate components of the research proposal appendix, and budget information. Students are strongly urged to consult with the CIHR website to ensure full compliance with the requirements and format for Open Operating Grant applications (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/35674.html#t3). Students are expected to prepare the proposal independently, without review by their supervisor or other faculty members (although they are allowed to have conversations with their supervisor about the topic).
  • The completed research proposal is submitted electronically to the advisor of the Human Nutrition program, who will be responsible for distributing it to faculty members of the Program.
  • The proposal should be submitted to the Advisor of the Human Nutrition Program within 17 months of initial registration in the PhD program. Only e-submission will be accepted.
  • If the LOI or proposal are not submitted within the expected time frame, the student, supervisor, and graduate program advisor will meet to discuss why this has occurred, and develop a time line for completion of these components as soon as possible.

2.2 Oral Examination of the Research Proposal

Format

The oral examination is held in camera. The exam is primarily centered around the research proposal. Students are expected to address other relevant questions, including, but not limited to, the strength and weakness associated with the experimental design, methodologies, and statistical analyses, etc.

Note that a minimum of 2 weeks elapse between the date of submitting the research proposal and the scheduled date of the oral exam. The Supervisor must submit the “Notice and Approval of Oral Examination” form to the Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, at least 8 weeks before the oral examination. In the event that the oral examination will not occur as scheduled, the Supervisor must notify members of the Oral Examination Committee at the earliest possible time.

The Chair begins the exam by reviewing the purpose and format of the exam. The student will then present a 10-15 min synopsis of the proposal, followed by the question period. The question period is conducted in the order established by the Chair. The approximate length of time for each examiner is 15-20 minutes, and two rounds of questioning may occur. Normally, the research supervisor asks questions last.

Since one of the purposes of the oral examination is to determine the breadth and depth of students’ knowledge, students are not expected to be an expert in everything that they are asked about. Thus it is acceptable to say “I don’t know”, but the Committee would expect the student to follow this up with a discussion of what s/he might anticipate, based on related knowledge. Again, the point is to determine if the student can discuss the subject in an intelligent manner.

Committee

The Graduate Advisor normally serves as Chair of the Oral Examination Committee. However, if s/he is the supervisor of the student, another faculty member in Human Nutrition will serve as Chair.

The Chair’s role is to ensure impartiality, to ensure that the program’s procedures are followed, and to file the exam report. S/he also monitors the length of questioning by each examiner. The Chair may participate in the examination process but does not vote except in the event of a tie.

The Committee will include all available faculty members in Human Nutrition (minimum 3, in addition to the Chair), as well as one faculty member from another Graduate Program, for a minimum of 4 examiners plus the Chair.

Evaluation

After the oral exam, the examining committee meets in camera to evaluate the student’s performance in all aspects of the exam and renders one of the following decisions;

  • Unconditional pass
  • Conditional pass
    • The student may be required, for example, to successfully complete a course or re-write aspects of the proposal in which the committee finds the student needs additional knowledge/skills.
    • The additional academic requirements will be provided to the student in writing by the examination committee and include expected standards of achievement and time frame for completion.
  • Adjournment
    • If the committee finds that the student’s written research proposal and performance in oral examination is not satisfactory (e.g., inadequate depth; inability to critically evaluate the literature, and inappropriate hypothesis and experimental approaches, etc.), but believes that, with additional preparation, the student has the potential for satisfactory performance, the examination will be adjourned.
    • The committee’s rationale for recommending an adjournment and the procedures for continuing the examination, including the time frame, will be specified in writing by the Chair of the examining committee. Students will also be informed whether the adjournment is related to one or both aspects of this part of the comprehensive exam.
    • One examination adjournment or retake is permitted, provided the student has the opportunity to complete the examination within the first 36 months of his/her program.
    • The continuation will be videotaped.
    • The examination committee membership normally remains unchanged for the continuation of the exam.
    • If the continuation does not result in an unconditional or a conditional pass, the student will be required to withdraw from the program.
  • Failure
    • Students who fail the oral examination will be required to withdraw from the program. Students will be informed in writing by the examination committee of the failure.
  1. PhD Comprehensive Examinations in Plant Science

The comprehensive exam is to test the candidate’s background knowledge related to the candidate’s thesis research in order to determine whether the candidate is capable of carrying out the proposed research. As such, the student is not to be tested on his/her thesis research nor a defense of her research proposal.

The exam committee consists of the:

  • Chair (Graduate Advisor or designate),
  • 2 – 3 members of the thesis supervisory committee, and
  • 2 university examiners (full-time professors not on the supervisory committee). At least one member of the Exam committee has to be from another Graduate Program or department. The examiners should be chosen according to the particular areas that the candidate needs to be tested on.

After the committee members have been identified, the candidate will visit the examiners to deliver his/her thesis research proposal. Each examiner may assign the candidate some review papers, a set of journal papers, or books so that the candidate can read up on the area that he/she is to be tested.

  1. PhD Comprehensive Examinations in Soil Science

The comprehensive exam is to assess the candidate’s background knowledge related to the candidate’s thesis research in order to determine whether the candidate is capable of carrying out the proposed research. As such, the student is not to be tested directly on his/her thesis research nor a defense of the research proposal, rather the examination addresses the candidate’s academic background and abilities to conduct original research appropriate for the doctoral degree.

The examination committee consists of the:

  • Chair (Graduate Advisor or designate),
  • all members of the thesis supervisory committee, and
  • one University examiner who is not on the supervisory committee. The examiners should be chosen according to the particular areas of the candidate research program.

After the committee members have been identified, the candidate will visit the examiners to deliver his/her thesis research proposal. Each examiner may assign the candidate review papers, a set of journal papers, or books so that the candidate can read in preparation for the examination.

  1. PhD Comprehensive Examinations in ISLFS

Purpose of the ISLFS Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination

The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to

  1. Determine whether the candidate has enough background knowledge to start his/her thesis research,
  2. Determine whether the candidate has knowledge about the tools he/she will need to carry out his/her thesis research.
  3. Determine whether the candidate has enough communication skills to defend his/her thesis successfully

Procedure for ISLFS Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination

  • The composition of the Examining Committee will meet FLFS requirements and will be approved at a meeting of the Ph.D. student’s thesis committee.
  • The student’s Supervisory Committee will agree upon subject areas for the exam and communicate this to both the student and the Members of the Examining Committee
  • Each Member of the Examining Committee will provide the student’s Supervisor with a question in the agreed upon subject area –the Supervisor will confirm the questions are complementary and consistent with the subject area agreed upon by the student’s Supervisory Committee.
  • The Supervisor is responsible for providing the complete list of a limited number of questions and reading lists to the student and the Examining Committee no later than one month prior to the examination date, unless a different time is agreed upon at a committee meeting.
  • The student will write a 2000 to 3000 (max.) word response to each question and provide them to the Examining Committee, including the Chair, one week prior to the examination unless a different time has been agreed upon at a committee meeting.
  • The student should demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the subject areas including methodology, theory and content to proceed with the project. The student may present written responses to questions with a 20 minutes presentation in the examination, which will address the student’s informed reaction to the questions posed by the examining committee.
  • A short summary of the proposal needs to be sent to the external examiner at least three weeks before the examination.
  • The examination will begin with a 10-15 minute presentation by the student on the student’s informed responses to the committee’s questions and what the student has learned through the process of responding to the questions. The presentation may last 20 minutes if the student elects to forgo the written responses.
  • The Examiners will examine the student’s knowledge of the agreed upon subject areas, including topics derived from the student’s written/oral responses to the Examination Committee’s questions. The question period will last no more than 1.5 hours.
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