Image of a ECG machine

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

The graduate program in Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences engages students in advanced research through the Cardiovascular Group, the Smooth Muscle Research Group and the Airways Inflammation Research Group. Students' individual research programs are supported by multidisciplinary, laboratory environments that encourage collaboration and exposure to new techniques and model systems.

Students gain a foundation in molecular biology, organ and vascular systems, cardiovascular and respiratory physiology and pharmacology. The program is supported by state-of-the-art facilities and direct contact with patient-oriented research. Students typically advance to careers in health care-focused professions, as well as research opportunities in academia and industry.

Completing this program

  • Courses: The amount of required course work is determined by the student's supervisory committee.
  • Research Ethics: Students are required to attend Research Integrity Day sessions in the first year of their program. Additional Research Ethics requirements may apply, depending on the type of research being done.
  • Sex & Gender Module: Students are required to complete one of the CIHR sex and gender online training modules found at in the first year of their program.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Seminars: Student participate in a journal club and work-in-progress seminars for their research group, and will present one seminar per year.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.


Researchers at academic institutions, education, medicine, government agencies, health organizations, private sector/industry, biotechnology start-up companies, clinical trials coordinators, research-oriented positions in pharmaceutical/biotech companies and Fortune 500 businesses.

A PhD in cardiovascular and respiratory sciences is usually considered a final degree; graduates may go on to pursue post-doctoral research.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Three courses, depending on academic background

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Six years maximum


A supervisor is required, and must agree to oversee the student's research before admission will be granted

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.

  1. Portrait: Dr Ejaife Agbani

    Ejaife Agbani

    Accepting Inquiries
    Platelet Biology, Thrombosis and Haemostasis., Procoagulant Membrane Dynamics (PMD) Analysis and Translation, Medical Device Innovation
  2. Placeholder Profile Image

    Todd Anderson

    Accepting Inquiries
    Atherosclerosis, lipids, endothelial function
  3. Andrew Braun

    Andrew Braun

    Accepting Inquiries
    Vascular Physiology and Ion Channel Function
  4. Steven Greenway

    Steven Greenway

    Cell-free DNA, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Microbiome
  5. Justin MacDonald

    Justin MacDonald

    Accepting Inquiries
    Vascular smooth muscle biology, Chronic inflammation, Chemoproteomic drug discovery
  6. Robert Newton

    Robert Newton

    Seeking Students
    Inflammation - Anti-inflammatory glucocorticoids
  7. Aaron Phillips

    Aaron Phillips

    Accepting Inquiries
    Research Area, Collaborations, Tools, Trainees
  8. Dr. Marc Poulin

    Dr. Marc J. Poulin

    Accepting Inquiries
    human physiology, healthy brain aging and dementia, sleep, intermittent hypoxia & high altitude, industrial physiology
  9. Satish R Raj MD MSCI

    Satish Raj

    Accepting Inquiries
    Human, Cardiovascular Autonomic Physiology and Pharmacology, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, Vasovagal Syncope, Orthostatic Hypotension
  10. Dr. Robert Rose

    Robert Rose

    Seeking Students
    cardiovascular physiology, heart disease, arrhythmias

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.3 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

An MSc degree or equivalent.

Work samples



Official transcripts are required.

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For January Admission

International application deadline: August 1

Domestic application deadline: October 1


For May Admission

International application deadline: December 1

Domestic application deadline: March 1


For September Admission

International application deadline: April 1

Domestic application deadline: June 1

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences

Graduate Science Education
HSC 341C, 3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit their website

Cumming School of Medicine

Health Sciences Centre
Foothills Campus, University of Calgary
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Cumming School of Medicine website

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