Changing Graduate Programs

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The Department allows students to transfer between programs subject to certain conditions detailed below. Changing from a thesis to non-thesis Master of Engineering (MEng) or vice versa is considered a transfer because the degree program is the same. Changing from MEng (Thesis) to PhD is considered a change of program and entails a new (but accelerated) admission process.

Transfer from MEng (Non-Thesis) to MEng (Thesis)

Students who have been in the MEng (Non-Thesis) program for 15 months or less may transfer to the MEng (Thesis) option, with the support of their proposed supervisor. The student must have completed at least one term of course work and at least three courses. The student must have followed the recommended program (compulsory core courses taken at first opportunity); not have failed any courses while in the program; and have a minimum GPA of 3.3.

To request a transfer from the MEng (Non-Thesis) to MEng (Thesis) option, a student must apply, in writing, to the Associate Chair of Graduate Student Affairs. The request should include a note from the proposed supervisor supporting the request. The request must be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Admissions Committee. If approved, the Associate Chair notifies the student and supervisor and arranges to send a memo to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requesting its final approval of the change.

Transfer from MEng (Thesis) to MEng (Non-Thesis)

In exceptional circumstances, an MEng (Thesis) student may transfer to the MEng (Non-Thesis) option. The request to transfer should be made in writing to the Associate Chair of Graduate Student Affairs and should include

  • the original entry date into the program,
  • the reason for the proposed transfer, and
  • a letter of support from the supervisor proposed to work with the student.

The Associate Chair will discuss the proposed transfer with the supervisor and student to ensure that it is in the student's best interest. If approved by the Graduate Admissions Committee, the Associate Chair will notify the student and supervisor and arrange to send a memo to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, requesting final approval for the program change.

Changing Programs from MEng to PhD

Within 15 months of initial registration in the MEng (Thesis) program, an outstanding student may request a transfer into the PhD program (often referred to as "fast-tracking") without submitting a master's thesis, provided that the following requirements are met:

  • The student has completed at least four courses at the 500 level or above toward the MEng requirement.
  • The courses have been completed in no more than two terms.
  • The student has a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or higher.
  • The supervisor supports the transfer.

The request must include a current CV, a transcript of the student's McGill grades and the letter of support from the supervisor. It is reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Committee for evidence that the student is academically outstanding and has strong research capabilities. If the request is approved, the student will be asked to submit an application to the PhD program, and a decision form will be sent to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to effect the transfer.

Within six months of the transfer, the student must complete any outstanding coursework credit for the MEng degree and take the PhD Preliminary Oral Examination. The normal PhD course requirements must be fulfilled within one year of the transfer.