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Veterinary Medical Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Our graduate program is preparing the next generation of international leaders in animal and public health. Students will expand on their understanding of core competencies in veterinary medical sciences. They will acquire specialized expertise through the course of their thesis projects, deepening their skills as they embark on careers as highly-trained academics and professionals.

The graduate mission of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine is to be a world leader in the training of animal health researchers and postgraduate veterinarians, creating experts who will advance animal and public health as well as the veterinary profession.

Completing this program

  • Core courses: Students take courses in professional skills in health science research and biostatistical methods.

  • Seminar: Students will be required to give two seminars during their time in the program.

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

  • Additional Courses: Topics may include biology of laboratory animals, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, parasitology and more.

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



Academia; government (regulatory--food safety; water safety); feedlot; zoos; centre for disease control; biotechnology; pharmaceuticals; vaccine development; diagnostic pathology.

A PhD in Veterinary Medical Sciences is usually considered a final degree for pursuing academic and non-academic careers in the above sectors.

Thesis-based program

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

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Two 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 (UCalgary) from anywhere. Experience all that UCalgary has to offer for your graduate student journey without physically being on campus. Discover the buildings, student services and available programs all from your preferred device.


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

  1. Faizal Abdul-Careem

    Faizal Abdul-Careem

    Accepting Inquiries
    Avian viral immunology
  2. Herman Barkema

    Herman Barkema

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. Placeholder Profile Image

    Jeff Biernaskie

    Accepting Inquiries
  4. Canton, J

    Johnathan Canton

    Accepting Inquiries
  5. Prasanth Chelikani

    Prasanth Chelikani

    Accepting Inquiries
    Obesity, Diabetes, Nutrition
  6. Eduardo Cobo

    Eduardo Cobo

    Accepting Inquiries
    Innate immunity in the gut
  7. Alastair Cribb

    Alastair Cribb

    Pharmacogenetics, Molecular toxicology
  8. Placeholder Profile Image

    Jeroen De Buck

    Accepting Inquiries
  9. Rob Deardon

    Rob Deardon

    Seeking Students
  10. Ina Dobrinski

    Ina Dobrinski

    Biology of male germ line stem cells

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.0 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

A Master's degree from an accredited institution with course work appropriate for VMS graduate training from a recognized institution.

Work samples



Curriculum Vitae, and a Letter of Understanding signed by the prospective student and supervisor with a statement outlining the supervisor’s commitment to the training of the student, as well as their commitment to fund the student in accordance with the minimum VMS guidelines.

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:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements


For admission on September 1

Canadians and permanent residents: Jun. 1 application deadline

International students: Jun. 1 application deadline

For admission on January 1

Canadians and permanent residents: Nov. 1 application deadline

International students: Nov. 1 application deadline

For admission on May 1

Canadians and permanent residents: Mar. 1 application deadline

International students: Mar. 1 application deadline

For admission on July 1

Canadians and permanent residents: May 1 application deadline

International students: May 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

Veterinary Medical Sciences Graduate Program

Veterinary Medical Sciences Graduate Programs (Foothills Campus)
TRW 2D08, 3280 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 4Z6

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

TRW 2D01
3280 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 4Z6

Visit the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine website

Learn more about UCalgary by taking a virtual tour

Related programs

If you're interested in this program, you might want to explore other UCalgary programs.

Highlights of the Veterinary Medicine program

Vista in Tanzania, Africa

Battling parasitic worms in the developing world

John Gilleard is bringing knowledge of parasites in livestock to understand parasites in humans

Dairy cows

Understanding the link between antimicrobial use and resistance

William Ghali is investigating the use of antibiotics in food animals and its impact on human health

Student with horse

Gentle giants

Vet med researchers are looking at the effects of competing in the Stampede's Heavy Horse Pull