Kyoto-McGill International Collaborative Program in Genomic Medicine (Joint Ph.D.)



As world leaders in research and graduate education, McGill University and Kyoto University have joined forces to establish a joint Ph.D. degree in genomic medicine. Building on a strong institutional partnership based on complementary strengths, the joint Ph.D. degree offers a unique opportunity for research-intensive training at the interface between large-scale approaches to biology and quantitative methodologies with application to human health and disease. The partnership was initially established with support from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) under its Top Global University Project, which is intended to foster internationalization of Japanese universities. Students accepted into the joint degree program will share their time between the two universities. Upon successful completion of the program, the Ph.D. degree will be awarded jointly by the two universities.

Participating universities

McGill ranks 1st in Canada among medical-doctoral universities (Maclean’s) and 32nd in the world (QS World University Rankings 2018). Canada’s most international university, McGill is located in vibrant multicultural Montreal, in the francophone province of Québec. The language of instruction is English. Kyoto University is ranked 2nd in Japan and 36th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2018). It is located at the cultural heart of Japan, and its engagement in education and research on an international stage provides a unique environmental for foreign students. The joint Ph.D. courses will be conducted in English.

Research areas eligible under the joint degree

The joint Ph.D. in genomic medicine is designed to provide training at the interface between genetics, genomics, other high throughput experimental methodologies, and quantitative analysis in biomedicine. Each student will have two designated supervisors, one from each university. Eligible research areas include:

  • Quantitative genetics
  • Population genetics
  • Genetic/genomic epidemiology
  • High-throughput experimental methods in biology associated with quantitative analysis of data
  • Bioinformatics and computational genomics

Currently available topics from participating faculty will be posted in the near future. Students are free to propose their own research topics subject to acceptance by their supervisors.

Program requirements

The expected duration of the joint Ph.D. program is four years, with the possibility of extension. Students will spend a minimum of one year of the program period at the partner university and, in addition to completing the curriculum coursework, will conduct their research under the supervision of their supervisors (one from each of the two universities). Students will also be required to take a compulsory Joint Course, offered alternately at each of the two universities as short, intensive lecture courses. All students will take a Comprehensive Exam before entering the thesis preparation stage. The doctoral thesis must be written in English.

Admission requirements

Admission to the Kyoto-McGill program is conditional on acceptance by both universities. Applications can be made through either university. However, Canadian students are expected to apply through the McGill's Department of Human Genetics using McGill’s online application form (uApply). Applications should be made to the Ph.D. Program in Human Genetics for Summer term of admission, it the respective year.

McGill prerequisites and other admission requirements

  • B.Sc. – minimum CGPA 3.0 out of 4.0, or 3.2 out of 4.0 in the last two full-time academic years
  • A minimum of 6 credits in cellular and molecular biology or biochemistry, 3 credits in mathematics or  statistics, and 3 credits in genetics
  • English language proficiency
  • CV listing previous degrees, institutions and grades along with other relevant information
  • Brief (maximum 3 pages) letter of motivation outlining the applicant’s academic objectives and showing  alignment with the areas covered by the Program
  • Letter of support from the potential faculty supervisors
  • Letters of recommendation from at least two instructors or supervisors familiar with the applicant’s work.

Once admitted, students must maintain continuous registration at both universities for the duration of the program.

Application deadline

At McGill, the joint Ph.D. students will be registered in the Department of Human Genetics. The joint Ph.D. program accepts applications for the Summer term only (see deadlines below). Applications submitted after these deadlines may be considered, if a suitable supervisor can be secured.

  • Non-Canadian citizens: January 10
  • Canadian citizens/permanent residents of Canada: March 31
  • Current McGill students (any citizenship): March 31


Students admitted to the joint Ph.D. program will be eligible for tuition fee waivers and stipends at both institutions. Canadian or international students who have applied to the program initially through McGill will receive additional support of $7,000 per annum pro rata during their stay at Kyoto University, and tuition fees will be waived at both Universities for this period.

For more information, please contact:

Kyoto-McGill Joint PhD Project

Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Institute of Genomic Medicine

740 Dr. Penfield Avenue Montréal, Québec H3A 0G1 (Canada) email: kyoto-mcg.genome [at]

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