As per the University's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS), M.Sc. students may transfer (fast-track) to the Ph.D. program without completing the full requirements of their M.Sc. degree (i.e., submitting a Master's thesis) by demonstrating both academic and research excellence. You are free to do your exam in-person or on zoom. In-person meetings should be scheduled with the building administrator of the building you have chosen to do your exam in.

Students who intend to fast-track to Ph.D. are not required to submit an M.Sc. Thesis Proposal, but should instead submit a PhD Thesis Proposal at least 2 weeks prior to their Candidacy Exam. IPN M.Sc. students can take the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination as of their third semester, up until their fourth semester (this does not count summer semesters). In order to be eligible to take the Candidacy Exam, students must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • Successfully complete at least one of the core courses (NEUR 630 or NEUR 631);

  • cGPA ≥ 3.5 out of 4.0 at the Master's level; 

  • Proposal approved by the student's Advisory Committee demonstrating that the student is a candidate for Ph.D. studies.

Please carefully read this before you start the Fast Track process: PDF icon Candidacy Exam Policy and Procedures 2023


1. Consult with your supervisor and thoroughly discuss the readiness of your proposal before sending it to your committee for approval. 

2. Get approval from your committee for your proposal using the Ph.D. THESIS PROPOSAL APPROVAL & CANDIDACY EXAM SCHEDULE.

3. Register for NEUR 700 Doctoral Candidacy Examination in the semester you intend on taking the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination. This means that if you plan on becoming a Ph.D. student in the Fall, you should register for NEUR 700 in the Winter. If you plan on becoming a Ph.D. student in the Winter, you should register for NEUR 700 in the Fall.

4. Contact ipn.admissions [at] (IPN Admissions) for instructions on how to submit the application before the deadline. Note that you do not need to submit supporting documentation such as transcripts or reference letters. Do not attempt to submit an application without IPN’s approval as you will end up with a non-refundable application fees.

5. Send electronic calendar invitation through the McGill outlook system to the supervisor, exam committee members (including external examiner & IPN mentor), with an invitation to the ipn [at] The student will then attach all examination-related documents to this calendar invite. It is highly recommended to plan far in advance to avoid Summer scheduling conflicts. The following documents are required by the corresponding deadline prior to the exam :

  • Ph.D. THESIS PROPOSAL APPROVAL & CANDIDACY EXAM SCHEDULE form signed by all members of your committee
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • IPN Progress Reports to date
  • Thesis Proposal

6. Complete and pass the Candidacy Exam by the deadline to complete candidacy exam.

PDF icon View the Flow Chart

After the Candidacy Exam

Upon successful completion of the Candidacy Exam, please send ipn [at] the Candidacy Evaluation form. Once this is received, your supervisor will be asked to complete a new Letter of Understanding (LOU). You must confirm that you agree to the Letter of understanding before you can proceed. The student will then receive an offer of admission into the Ph.D. program through Slate. The student is required to confirm this admission offer prior to registering in the program as a Ph.D. student for the following semester. 

NOTE: M.Sc students are given one chance to pass the candidacy exam. If you fail the exam, you will not be permitted to retake the exam and therefore you must proceed with writing the M.Sc thesis.

NOTE: Save a copy of the evaluation form. You will be expected to upload this document when your Ph.D. milestones are set up on your My Progress record.

Tuition & Fees

Transfer M.Sc. students are required to pay their tuition and fees at the M.Sc. level up until the semester they will be entering the program as a Ph.D. student. 

F.A.Q.: "Why am I being charged tuition fees for the summer term?" 

This is because you have completed the required thesis full-time terms of residency for your degree, and are now considered thesis additional session. You are no longer charged tuition, but simply the additional session fee which is the same for all Master's and Ph.D. students, regardless of fee residency. Additional session students are charged fees in all three terms (Fall, Winter, and Summer).


Application Deadlines



Canadian Applicants Deadline for Application on Slate June 1, 2024
Deadline to complete Candidacy Examination July 12, 2024
International Applicants Deadline for Application on Slate January 15, 2024
Deadline to complete Candidacy Examination March 15, 2024



Canadian Applicants Deadline for Application Application on Slate November 10, 2023
Deadline to complete Candidacy Examination November 25, 2023
International Applicants Deadline for Application on Slate August 1, 2023
Deadline to complete Candidacy Examination September 25, 2023



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