F. A. Q.


How many courses do I have to register for?

M.Sc. students should register for 3 in-class courses; 1 of them should be either PN1 (NEUR 630) or PN2 (NEUR 631), and then 2 electives. Alternatively, they may register for both PN1 and PN2, and choose 1 elective. Ph.D. students should register for 4 in-class courses: both PN1 and PN2, and 2 electives.

Can I register for courses outside of the IPN, and will they count towards my degree?

Yes, you can register for courses not listed on the IPN website as long as they are graduate-level courses and the IPN office (ipn [at] mcgill.ca) receives an e-mail from your supervisor giving you permission to take the course.

Yes, the graduate-level course will count towards your degree.

Can I register for an undergraduate course?

You can only register for an undergraduate course once you get the permission from your supervisor. You must then complete a form to indicate that this course will be counted as an extra course and will not count towards your degree. 

Who should register for the thesis courses?

Only M.Sc. students register for thesis courses (NEUR 696, 697, 698 and 699). Please note that you cannot register for more than two thesis courses in a semester.

If I registered for NEUR 698 and did not do my seminar, should I register for it again in the term that I do my seminar?

You only need to register for the thesis courses once.


Course Exemptions


Advisory Committee

How many committee members should I have?

The IPN office requires students to have 2 committee members, but can have a maximum of 3. Please note that all the committee members must attend all the annual meetings, the seminar, and the candidacy exam for the Ph.D. students.

Who can I choose to be on my committee?

A committee member should have knowledge in the area of your research. This person can be from the IPN, other departments within McGill, from other universities within Montreal, or even doctors and clinicians.


Ph.D. Candidacy Exam

When should I have my candidacy exam?

For the Ph.D. students, you should plan to complete your candidacy exam by the end of 24 months if you started as a Ph.D. 2.

What is the difference between Ph.D. 1 and Ph.D. 2?

Ph.D. 1 students come to the program right after their Bachelor’s degree, and Ph.D. 2 students are those who already have a graduate degree and come in as Ph.D.s.

I started as a Rotation or Ph.D. 1 student. When should I have my candidacy exam?

 If you started as a Rotation student or as a Ph.D. 1 student,  the candidacy exam must take place 36 months after joining the IPN program.

If I am an M.Sc. student and I want to transfer to the Ph.D. program, when should I have my candidacy exam?

The transfer from M.Sc. to Ph.D. must be completed by the end of M.Sc. year 2.

When should I register for NEUR 700?

You should register for NEUR 700 in the term that you plan to do the candidacy exam.


Ph.D. Oral Defence

What is the difference between external examiner and external member for the defence?

The external examiner reads and evaluates the thesis and then gives out a report. This person does not have to attend the Ph.D. Oral Defence. On the other hand, the external member must attend the defence. The oral defence committee must include at least one person whose primary appointment at the University is outside the Unit (can be from IPN but not in the same building as the supervisor) in which the student is registered and who has not been involved in the thesis research. External members should have sufficient knowledge of the discipline to read the thesis and question the student at the oral defence, but are not required or expected to be experts in the field of the student’s research. An important role of external members is to ensure that the written thesis and the student meet the standards of McGill University.

Can a member of my committee serve as the internal examiner for the thesis?

Yes, a member of your advisory committee can serve as an internal examiner. The internal examiner will read and evaluate the thesis and also give out a report. They must attend the Ph.D. Oral Defence.

How many members from my advisory committee can be on the defence team?

Only 1 committee member can be on the oral defence team. This member can serve as an internal examiner or as an internal member (additional faculty member) for the defence.  If this person is already serving as the internal examiner, then you will have to look for someone outside of your advisory committee but from within the IPN to serve as the internal member for the defence.

Who is the Departmental Chair or Deputy for the defence?

This should be your mentor. They will be chairing the oral defence. Please note that they are not supposed to sign the oral defence form. Once you and your supervisor sign the oral defence form, you should e-mail the form to ipn [at] mcgill.ca, and the Director of the program will sign it.

When should I start organizing my defence?

This should be done as soon as you receive the blank oral defence form from the IPN office. Please check the date that is indicated at the bottom of the form. Note that it is your responsibility to organize the defence and submit the completed form to ipn [at] mcgill.ca at least 4 weeks before the defence date.

On the GPS website, it is written that I should not have any contact with the examiners. How do I contact the internal examiner to schedule the defence?

Once you get the blank oral defence form, you can send out a Doodle to all the members of the defence team to set a date. In doing this, you are not contacting the internal examiner directly.

Once I submit my thesis, how long does it take to receive the oral defence form?

GPS usually sends the oral defence form at least 2 weeks after the initial thesis submission. Once the thesis is received, GPS sends it to the examiners and they are given about 4 weeks to review it and send a report to GPS.


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