The nominal duration of the Ph.D. program is four years: two years for coursework, comprehensive examinations, and the dissertation proposal, followed by two years for research and writing. In some cases, research and writing occur during the first phase as students start working on discrete elements of their dissertation as part of their coursework or research assistantships.
In their first year of study, students will take all their required courses in theory, methods, and substantive areas of interest. In exceptional cases, a student may take one or two extra classes in the second year of study to specialise further. Students who are in the first two years of their studies will meet in doctoral seminars to discuss questions of research design and methodology, and to present their ongoing research to their fellow students and professors.
Students in the Ph.D. program are expected to complete their Comprehensive Examination and their Doctoral Research Proposal within 24 months, and to successfully complete all program requirements within six years of entering the Ph.D. program (i.e., by the end of their Ph.D.-7 year).
Applicants who have earned a two-year Master's degree enter the program as Ph.D.-2 students. They are required to be in residence on a full-time basis for two years following first registration in the program (Ph.D.-2 and Ph.D.-3 years). Furthermore, they must be registered on a full-time basis for at least one year after completion of the residency requirement (i.e., during their Ph.D.-4 year) before being able to continue as 'additional-session' students until completion of the program.
If the Master's degree is deemed not to be equivalent to a two-year McGill Master's degree, the student is admitted at the Ph.D.-1 level and the residency requirement is increased to three years. Also, they will be asked to take additional courses prior to taking their Comprehensive Examination.
Click here for the application procedures for the Ph.D. program.