Fast tracking and back tracking

Fast tracking procedures

Transfer from the Master’s to Doctoral Program

Upon recommendation by the program and approval by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS), academically promising students registered in Master’s programs may proceed directly to Doctoral studies without completing the full requirements for the Master’s degree.  An applicant for such a transfer from the Master’s program to the Doctoral program in the same academic unit must present both a strong academic record (CGPA of 3.5 or higher) and strong evidence that they are capable of successfully completing appropriate research for the Doctoral level. The applicant must have completed a minimum of 2 full-time terms in the Master's program, up to a maximum of 4 full-time terms, according to the requirements of the academic unit. The student, if approved for fast-tracking, will enter the doctoral program at the PhD2 level.

Each Graduate Program must have rigorous policies and procedures upon which evaluation, recommendations and deadlines for such transfers are based. Comprehensive evaluation of the student’s abilities is important to avoid subsequent back tracking to the Master’s program, which is problematic because of auditing requirements of GDEU (Gestion des données sur l'effectif universitaire).

A candidate for transfer must submit an application to the Doctoral program according to normal procedures and deadlines. 

Back tracking procedures

Terminating Registration in a Doctoral Program to Complete a Master’s Degree in the Same Program 

GPS strongly discourages the practice of withdrawing from a Doctoral program to register in the same program for a Master’s degree (“back-tracking”).  However, in exceptional circumstances such a transfer may be preferable academically to having the student fail or withdraw from the Doctoral program.  

In such cases where a transfer is preferable, the student must have permission from both the Graduate Program and GPS to transfer from the Doctoral to the Master’s program; the Graduate Program Director must provide specific reason(s) when recommending the change in program to GPS. The student must then submit an application to the Master’s program according to normal procedures and deadlines.  Also, the student must be made aware that they will not be eligible for subsequent readmission to the same Doctoral program after completion of (or participation in) the Master’s degree. The student should discuss any concerns with the Graduate Program Director and if necessary, the Associate Dean GPS.

Note: The Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, Recherche et Science (MERS) regulations require that a student must be registered for at least one academic term in the program from which they intend to graduate.  


Reapplication to a graduate program subsequent to having back tracked or fast tracked

A student who has already fast tracked from a Master’s to Doctoral program or back tracked from a Doctoral to a Master’s program (with or without having completed the Master’s degree) is not eligible for admission to the original program.   However, such a student may be eligible for admission to a different graduate program under normal admissions processes.                                  

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, McGill University.

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