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.


Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Herman Barkema

    Accepting Inquiries
  2. Janice Braun

    Accepting Inquiries
    Molecular Chaperones and Neurodegeneration
  3. Signe Bray

    Accepting Inquiries
  4. William Brook

    Accepting Inquiries
  5. Linda Carlson

    Accepting Inquiries
    Psychosocial Oncology
  6. Kris Chadee

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

    Accepting Inquiries
    Hepatitis B Virus Infection
  8. Alastair Cribb

    Pharmacogenetics, Molecular toxicology
  9. James Cross

    Developmental and reproductive biology
  10. Placeholder Profile Image

    Jeroen De Buck

    Accepting Inquiries
  11. Antoine Dufour

    Proteomics, proteases, systems biology, inflammation, immunity
  12. Jeff F. Dunn

    Accepting Inquiries
    Disease processes, Medical imaging
  13. Kirsten Fiest

    Seeking Students
  14. Nils Daniel Forkert

    Seeking Students
    Medical Image Processing
  15. Richard Frayne

    Accepting Inquiries
    Brain and Cerbrovascular Imaging
  16. Bradley Goodyear

    Accepting Inquiries
    Functional MRI
  17. Steven Greenway

    Accepting Inquiries
    Cell-free DNA, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Microbiome
  18. Savraj Grewal

    Accepting Inquiries
    Molecular and genetic control of growth
  19. Placeholder Profile Image

    Ashley Harris

    Accepting Inquiries
    Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy
  20. Simon Hirota

    Seeking Students
    Microbial metabolite sensors and the regulation of gut function, The regulation of mesenchymal cell populations by NR4A1 - identifying new treatments for intestinal fibrosis and remodelling in IBD, Generating novel models to assess the pathogenesis of Johne’s disease
  21. Christian Jacob

    Accepting Inquiries
    Data Science with Virtual and Augmented Reality, Simulations of Biological Systems using Game Engines, LINDSAY Virtual Human
  22. Heather Jamniczky

    Accepting Inquiries
    Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Ecological Evolutionary Biology, Neuroeducation
  23. Craig Jenne

    Accepting Inquiries
    Infectious Disease
  24. Randal Johnston

    Molecular Biology of Cancer and Genomics
  25. Catherine Lebel

    Accepting Inquiries
    Medical Imaging, Pediatric Brain Development
  26. Ki-Young Lee

    Accepting Inquiries
    Regulation and function of Cdk5 and its related protein, Cdk5rap2
  27. Quan Long

    Seeking Students
  28. Paul Mains

    Developmental genetics, Molecular and Medical Genetics, Embryology, C. elegans, Molecular Biology, Cytoskeleton
  29. Placeholder Profile Image

    Christopher NAUGLER

    Accepting Inquiries
    Clinical Epidemiology, Patterns of Laboratory Test Use, Utility and Appropriateness of Laboratory Testing, Adverse Drug Reactions, Big Data Modelling of Laboratory Data, Precision Population Health
  30. Robert Newton

    Seeking Students
    Inflammation - Anti-inflammatory glucocorticoids
  31. Sachin Pendharkar

    Accepting Inquiries
    Sleep Disorders
  32. Bruce Pike

    Accepting Inquiries
    Medical Imaging
  33. Derrick Rancourt

    Accepting Inquiries
    Stem Cell Biology
  34. Kristina Rinker

    Accepting Inquiries
    cell based models of health and disease, cancer detection and treatment, cardiovascular, cell adhesion, transcriptomics, cell signaling
  35. Janet Ronsky

    Accepting Inquiries
    Musculoskeletal biomechanics
  36. Tannin Schmidt

    Accepting Inquiries
    Biomedical Engineering - Biomaterials & Biotherapeutics
  37. Fiona Schulte

    Accepting Inquiries
    Pediatric Psychosocial Oncology
  38. Jane Shearer

    Seeking Students
    Laboratory Mission Statement, Impact of Diet on Neurological Disorders, Mitochondrial Regualtion and Flux, Energy Drinks, Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
  39. Carrie Shemanko

    Accepting Inquiries
    Mammary Gland Development, Breast Cancer and Bone Metastasis
  40. Tim Shutt

    Accepting Inquiries
  41. Eric Smith

    Accepting Inquiries
  42. Placeholder Profile Image

    G. Campbell Teskey

  43. Pierre-Yves von der Weid

    The lymphatic system and its roles in inflammation and inflammatory diseases
  44. Brent Winston

    Accepting Inquiries
    Diseases of the critically ill
  45. Robin M. Yates

    Accepting Inquiries
    Biochemistry, Immunology, Cell Biology, Comparative Biomedical Sciences
  46. Keith Yeates

    Accepting Inquiries
  47. Kunyan Zhang

    Accepting Inquiries
    Molecular Evolution, Molecular Epidemiology, Virulence and Pathogenesis of MRSA

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:

  • TOEFL score of 105 (Internet-based). Our institution code is 0813.
  • IELTS score of 7.5 (Academic version).
  • MELAB score of 86, or higher.
  • PTE score of 75, or higher (Academic version).
  • Tier 3 of the International Foundations Program with minimum grades of A,A,A (Writing & Grammar, Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension & Oral Fluency)


For admission on May 1

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

For admission on July 1

  • Canadians and permanent residents: May 1 application deadline
  • International students: Feb. 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, Room HSC G347A
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