Program requirements (PhD)

PhD in Kinesiology Sciences: Program Requirements

Time to complete a PhD in Kinesiology Sciences should be 4 to 5 years from entry into the program. Residency requirements (full-time) for doctoral programs at McGill University are 2 years of enrolment at the graduate level (i.e., 2 years following PhD1 admission, or 1 year following PhD2 admission). Students are not permitted to graduate until they have fulfilled McGill University’s residency requirement or paid the corresponding fees in their program. McGill University’s time limitation policy requires that students complete their PhD degree by the end of PhD7. Individuals entering a McGill PhD program with a Master’s degree automatically enter at a PhD 2 level.

For detailed program information please refer to the listing of program requirements in McGill University’s eCalendar Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Kinesiology Sciences

Comprehensive exam requirement:

EDKP 701- Comprehensive Examination (0 credits).

The purpose of comprehensive examinations is to determine whether the student demonstrates the necessary research skills and academic achievements to continue in the Ph.D. program. The comprehensive examination must be completed by the end of the second year (i.e., prior to entering PhD4). The comprehensive examination will have two components, written and oral. Students must pass both components. Regulations regarding failure will be subject to university policy on comprehensive exams.

Required program milestones:

Students in the PhD in Kinesiology Sciences program will be required to complete other program milestones. All program requirements and milestones can be tracked on the student’s myProgress page.

Thesis Proposal

Ph.D. thesis proposal will be prepared, under guidance of the supervisor and supervisory committee, usually following the successful completion of the comprehensive examination.

The goal of the thesis proposal will be to provide an opportunity for the student and committee to receive constructive feedback on the protocol and ensure:

  • The project is feasible and appropriate for a Ph.D. thesis;
  • The student has the opportunity to review the thesis work and receive feedback at an early stage of protocol development;
  • The timeline for the project is reasonable for a Ph.D. thesis;
  • The student has an opportunity to gain experience in developing and presenting a research protocol.
  • The main body of the proposal is recommended to be about twenty-five (25) pages including a description of:
    • What the student wants to do (central hypothesis, research question, specific objectives);
    • Why is the proposed research a reasonable thing to do (review of previous work done on the subject matter, rationale);
    • Why is the proposed research important (new knowledge to be obtained, improves to health and wellbeing which will result);
    • How the student is going to complete the proposed research (work plan, timelines, analysis and interpretation of results, pitfalls, ways around the pitfalls, alternatives).
    • Why should the student conduct the proposed research (relevant prior experience, collaborators for technical gaps, preliminary data showing feasibility).
  • Collection of initial pilot data for the project to assess feasibility may be undertaken before the proposal is formally accepted by the committee. These results should be included in the presentation.

Research Progress Tracking

Students are required to submit regular research tracking forms. Details of submission dates will be circulated via email by the department’s graduate program office. McGill’s Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Studies requires:

annual tracking of doctoral students’ progress toward the degree. The Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Form is to be used during face-to-face meetings between the doctoral student, supervisor, and at least one other departmental representative. Having written agreed-upon expectations and clearly defined requirements aids in reduced times to completion and leads to fewer supervisor-supervisee misunderstandings.”

See for additional details and the progress tracking form.

Progression of a typical Ph.D. in Kinesiology Sciences student

The table below outlines the typical progress of a student enrolled in the PhD in Kinesiology Sciences program. This table serves as a guide and may vary based on course offerings. Students should discuss their program pathway and progress with their supervisor and supervisory committee.

Role of Supervisor and Supervisory Committee


Progress tracking and program compliance will be under the responsibility of the Graduate Program Director. Each student will be advised and mentored by a supervisor (identified upon admission). The role of the supervisor will mainly be to:

  • Establish student’s plan for course and research objectives;
  • Clarify a timeline to complete academic program requirements and other degree milestones and track/ monitor student progress;
  • Meet regularly with student to provide direction and feedback;
  • Encourage student’s intellectual and professional independence;
  • Promote a high standard of academic ethical behaviour;
  • Provide resources in terms of materials, technical support and research equipment to facilitate research activities;
  • Assist student in disseminating research at academic conferences and in peer review journals.

Supervisory committee

Within the first two months of entry into the Ph.D. in KS, the student and their supervisor(s), in consultation with each other, will assemble a supervisory committee to assist with the initial formulation of the thesis project and to offer advice on coursework and other training opportunities. The committee will be comprised of the supervisor(s) and typically two other members (no more than four). At least one of the committee members, besides the supervisor(s), must be a McGill faculty member. The members of the supervisory committee will provide guidance to the student throughout his/her program of study. Their role will mainly be to:

  • Approve the program of study, help identify coursework and other training;
  • Make an academic contribution to the student’s research by providing him/her with
  • Information and ideas relevant to the development and completion of the thesis and to assess his/her progress;
  • Provide appropriate feedback and constructive criticism regarding progress;
  • Participate in the annual progress review of the student;
  • Review the written thesis proposal and serving as examiners of the comprehensive examination;
  • Ensure accessibility to the student for consultation;
  • Attend and evaluate the student's thesis proposal.




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