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Ph.D. Requirements

The Ph.D. degree has several core components designed to ensure well-rounded, scholarly and intellectual development in learners. These include: thesis research, residency, course work, a comprehensive examination, and departmental colloquia and research seminars.

  1. Course work: All Ph.D. students must complete graduate courses in statistics (6 credits), two semesters of Advanced Research Seminars (6 credits), as well as other courses determined by the student, the supervisor, and the program committee. Courses related to the student's research interests can be taken in other departments at McGill or other local universities.
  2. Comprehensive Examination: The student is given two questions (one related and one unrelated to their thesis area) and must independently write two papers to scientifically discuss and answer each question. The Major paper (related to the thesis topic) will then be orally presented to SCSD students and faculty.
  3. Thesis: The thesis is the key component of the Ph.D. program. The topic is decided upon through careful consideration of the student, the supervisor and a thesis committee. Steps are taken to ensure that the formulation and acceptance of the proposal, the research conducted and the writing of the thesis, are completed within the time limits specified. The thesis must display original scholarship expressed in good literary form and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge.
  4. Residency: The residency requirement in the PhD. program is 2 years for students in the Regular Program (starting as PhD-2) and 3 years for students in the Qualifying Year Program (starting as PhD-1). Note that the residency requirement only specifies the minimum enrollment to obtain a degree, there is no guarantee that the degree requirements can be completed in this time. Students typically need to enroll beyond the minimum residency period in order to complete their program
  5. Department Colloquia and Research Seminars: Ph.D. students are expected to attend departmental colloquia and to participate in departmental research seminars.

Will there be opportunities to teach?

Whenever possible, students are given the opportunity to gain teaching experience for courses in their areas of interest, under the supervision of faculty members, or they may be invited to give a guest lecturer in their area of expertise. There are no formal teaching requirements in the PhD program and please note that the School does not employ Teaching Assistants. Stipends are provided whenever students are assigned to teachfull courses or course components by the Director.

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