McMaster University

McMaster University

Degree Requirements

  • General
  • Comprehensive
  • Thesis
  • Graduate


For graduation, a McMaster MD/PhD student will fulfill all the requirements of the graduate program in which he or she is enrolled, and will fulfill all the requirements of the McMaster MD program.

The MD/PhD program will be offered in an integrated format with specific blocks of time provided for clinical and research activities. (See MD/PhD Program timeline.) There will be opportunity for flexibility in the arrangement of student curriculum, if requested and/or deemed appropriate, but that is at the discretion of the MD/PhD Program Committee.

MD Program Fulfillment (in the MD/PhD program): Students must successfully complete the new MD curriculum, electives and clerkship rotations. Horizontal electives are required for graduation in the MD/PhD program and must be completed during graduate research block (3 years). A minimum of 80 hours in horizontal electives must be completed satisfactorily. These electives must be documented and evaluated by a clinical supervisor.

PhD Program Fulfillment: MD/PhD candidates must successfully complete required courses, comprehensive exam, and submit and defend a research thesis as required by the program in which the student is enrolled.

Required courses: Course requirement varies depending on the graduate program in which the student is enrolled. Details can be found on the appropriate website (see below). REQUIRED COURSE FOR ALL GRADUATE STUDENTS: All graduate students, including part-time students, must complete the course SGS 101 - Academic Research Integrity and Ethics and SGS 201 Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). A graduate student may not obtain a graduate degree at McMaster without having passed these courses.

The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (Health Sciences) or the Supervisory Committee may recommend a more extensive course of study.

Comprehensive Examination

It is a University regulation that all Ph.D. students must pass a Comprehensive Examination before they can be awarded a doctoral degree. The format, purpose and evaluation of the Comprehensive Exam differ between graduate programs. The student should be familiar with the requirements in each program (see below).


Candidates for the doctoral degree must complete a dissertation or thesis. This will be a coherent document which provides a complete, systematic and sequential account of the research accomplished by the writer. In some cases, parts of the research may have been prepared for separate publication perhaps with multiple authors, but the dissertation must nevertheless be the student's own work.

Doctoral candidates must present a thesis which embodies the results of original research and mature scholarship, and represents a significant contribution to new knowledge. Consequently, the material in a doctoral thesis should be publishable.

Graduate Programs

McMaster MD/PhD students can complete their research studies in one of 5 graduate programs. The student should review the applicable website for more information on courses, comprehensive exam requirements, thesis requirements, and any other program specific requirements for graduation. Further information can also be found in the McMaster University Graduate School Calendar.

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