PhD Program

PhD degree in Human Nutrition is suitable for students with a MSc degree in Nutritional Sciences or related areas who wish to become independent researchers and/or leaders in the field of nutritional sciences. The School offers a stimulating research environment in which students can pursue a PhD degree from a wide variety of research themes due to the great diversity of research interests by the faculty members that provides opportunities in basic science, clinical research with our many hospital clinicians, as well as population health in Canada and abroad. Careers include academic positions, senior government and industry positions within in Canada and internationally.

Each graduate student has a supervisor and two members of a supervisory committee to guide the student. The supervisor will be defined at the time of admission to the program and committee members thereafter. Students are free to take many different courses to enhance their expertise but the only required course is the Doctoral comprehensive examinations unless there are courses required by the admissions committee.

The PhD thesis allows for the in-depth research in a broad range of areas in nutrition from genetic through to population health. Clinical research, population health in many areas of the world and animal models of nutritional problems are all of interest to our broad range of academics in human nutrition.

NOTE: Contacting potential supervisors in conjunction with applying will strengthen applications (see Applying for Graduate Studies in Human Nutrition).

PhD in Human Nutrition - see program details

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Human Nutrition

    Offered by:Human Nutrition
    Degree:Doctor of Philosophy

Program Requirement:


A thesis for the doctoral degree must constitute original scholarship and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge. It must show familiarity with previous work in the field and must demonstrate ability to plan and carry out research, organize results, and defend the approach and conclusions in a scholarly manner. The research presented must meet current standards of the discipline; as well, the thesis must clearly demonstrate how the research advances knowledge in the field. Finally, the thesis must be written in compliance with norms for academic and scholarly expression and for publication in the public domain.

    Required Courses

    • NUTR 695 Hum Nutr Research Orientation 1 Credits
        Offered in the:
      • Fall
      • Winter
      • Summer

    • NUTR 701 Doctoral Comprehensive Exam
        Offered in the:
      • Fall
      • Winter
      • Summer

    • NUTR 796 PhD Research Presentation 1 Credits
        Offered in the:
      • Fall
      • Winter
      • Summer

    Program Requirements

    The general requirements for graduate studies at McGill University are described in the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

    Students must complete NUTR 695 within the first year of study and NUTR 701 by the end of the second year of study (PhD III), and NUTR 796 near the end of their program.

    Additional Courses

    Additional courses may be required, such as courses prescribed by the Admissions Committee as a condition of admission into the program, or courses prescribed by the supervisory committee as part of the training program.

    Thesis Supervisory Committee

    The School requires students registered in the PhD program to have a supervisory committee comprised of the student's supervisor (or the student's co-supervisors) plus two additional members who will normally be full-time members of the School's faculty.

    Students are advised to work together with their supervisors to establish a thesis supervisory committee within 3 months of starting the program.

    Important: Supervisory committee members must respect the University's Policies on Conflict of Interest. See also Recognizing Conflicts

    Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

    All PhD students must take the NUTR 701 Doctoral Comprehensive Examination by the end of the second year of study (PhD3), and must pass the exam to continue in the doctoral program (see PhD Comprehensives Policy). Failure by the student to comply with deadlines will be deemed to be unsatisfactory progress on the Graduate Student Research Progress Tracking Report. A complete copy of the NUTR 701 guidelines and forms (Enrollment; Consent for online SHN comprehensive exam) are available for download.

    Thesis Submission Procedure

    Important: Note that there are critical deadlines associated with the submission of a thesis.

    Students are advised to familiarize themselves of the University's Guidelines for the Preparation and Submission of theses several months prior to submission.

    Thesis submission is made through myThesis platform MSc and PhD where all required information is provided to students and their supervisor(s).

    In brief, students initiate the process by completing an "Intent to submit thesis" approximately 2 months prior to submission. Supervisors must confirm that the suggested external reviewers have agreed before the student enters their names on myThesis. Examiners will then receive an automated invitation and accept/decline. Once the advisory committee agrees that the thesis is ready for submission, the student submits. The thesis will then be reviewed by the GPD for proper content and format. Allow 2 weeks prior to deadline in case the thesis has to be returned to students for corrections and resubmitted.

    See also Requirements and Policies on Graduate Studies

    Back to top