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Medical Science

Doctor of Philosophy

Thesis-based program

Program overview

For over 40 years the graduate program in Medical Science has prepared students for independent scientific careers in academic and non-academic settings. Graduates of the doctoral program have a strong record of excellence in obtaining post-doctoral positions often leading to faculty appointments or jobs in industry at leading institutes across Canada and around the world.

One of the University of Calgary's largest graduate programs, Medical Science offers specializations ranging from cancer biology and critical care to molecular and medical genetics (but training is not limited to these specialties). Our program is supported by collaborations with related programs throughout the Cumming School of Medicine and the University of Calgary.

Completing this program

  • Courses: Topics will be determined according to the student's research area.

  • Research Ethics: Students are required to attend Research Integrity Day sessions in the first year of their program.

  • Seminars: Students will participate in a research in progress semina and journal club relevant to their program.

  • Research Proposal: Students must defend a written research proposal to their supervisory committee.

  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.

  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.



Academic researchers, education, medicine, government agencies, health organizations, and the private sector/industry; biotechnology start-up companies, clinical trials, research-oriented positions in pharmaceutical/biotech companies and Fortune 500 businesses.

A PhD in medical science is usually considered a final degree; many graduates pursue post-doctoral research.

Thesis-based program

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

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required; potential supervisors must be listed when applying to the program

Fees and funding

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

Virtual Tour

Explore the University of Calgary’s (UCalgary) Foothills Campus from anywhere. Experience all that the Cumming School of Medicine has to offer for interested prospective graduate students. Explore this state of the art campus from wherever you are. Discover the buildings, student services and available programs all from your preferred device.


Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.

  1. Psychiatry

    Jean Addington

    Risk for Serious Mental Illness
  2. Herman Barkema

    Herman Barkema

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. Cheryl Barnabe

    Cheryl Barnabe

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Epidemiology and Health Services Research, Indigenous Health
  4. Picture of Dr. Katie Birnie

    Kathryn Birnie

    Accepting Inquiries
    Pain; Pediatric Pain; Child Health; Patient-Oriented Research; Implementation Science; Knowledge Mobilization
  5. Janice Braun

    Janice Braun

    Accepting Inquiries
    Molecular Chaperones and Neurodegeneration
  6. Signe Bray

    Signe Bray

    Accepting Inquiries
  7. Linda Carlson

    Linda Carlson

    Accepting Inquiries
    Psychosocial Oncology
  8. Kris Chadee

    Kris Chadee

    Accepting Inquiries
    Host-Parasite interactions, pathogenesis and host defence
  9. Carla Coffin

    Carla Coffin

    Accepting Inquiries
    Hepatitis B Virus Infection
  10. Alastair Cribb

    Alastair Cribb

    Pharmacogenetics, Molecular toxicology

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 or other relevant Master's degree.

Work samples




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 admission on May 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Mar. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Dec. 1 application deadline

For admission on Sept. 1

  • Canadians and permanent residents: June 1 application deadline
  • International students: Apr. 1 application deadline

For admission on Jan. 1

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Oct. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Aug. 1 application deadline

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

Medical Science - Graduate Studies

Health Sciences Centre, HSC G341C
3330 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website


Cumming School of Medicine

Health Sciences Centre
Foothills Campus, University of Calgary
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1

Visit the Cumming School of Medicine website


Learn more about UCalgary by taking a virtual tour