Degrees & Programs

Three levels of graduate study are available in the Faculty of Science: pre-MSc, MSc (Master of Science) and PhD (Doctorate).

  • The pre-MSc is designed for students wishing to take an MSc but who do not have a qualifying undergraduate degree (typically equivalent to a four year honours degree). A pre-MSc degree is normally one year in duration.
  • An MSc degree (research or course based) is the normal first graduate degree and is designed to require approximately two years of study. An MSc degree must “show mastery” of a subject area but commonly also includes a research contribution as well.
  • The PhD degree is the highest graduate degree available and normally requires completion of a previous research-focused MSc degree. PhD degrees typically take at least three years to complete and four years is not uncommon. Obtaining a PhD degree demonstrates the student’s ability to complete a research project and effectively present the findings associated with it. A PhD is normally required for academic positions after graduation and is sometimes a pre-requisite for high-end research positions in industrial and government labs. Sometimes, for students who are performing exceptionally well, transfer between programs is possible. This is most common for MSc students who transfer to a PhD program part way through their MSc degrees.

MSc and PhD degrees are normally awarded within a given department. Details on specific requirements may be found in the graduate calendar on the Faculty of Graduate Studies Calendar and Publication page.  Additional information may also be found on departmental research web sites.