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Section D. PhD Program

Amended by Faculty Council December 6, 2001; Approved by Senate May 23, 2002; Editorial changes made and approved by FES Faculty Council on December 6, 2012; Editorial changes concurred by FGS in May 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. PhD Faculty Advisors
2. PhD Program Requirements

3. PhD Examinations

4. PhD (Graduate) Courses
5. PhD Student Records
6. PhD Program Monitoring

 D. PhD PROGRAM

The details of the PhD Program Requirements shall be published annually as the PhD Handbook (developed by the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee and approved by the Committee of Instruction).

D1. PhD FACULTY ADVISORS

D1.1 Before extending an offer of admission to a prospective student, the PhD Program Coordinator will confirm that an appropriate Faculty member is willing to serve as the student’s Interim Faculty Advisor.

D1.2 The Graduate Program Director shall appoint an interim Faculty Advisor to guide each student through to the development of a first PhD Program Plan.  The Interim Faculty Advisor supports the student through the development of a PhD Program Plan by meeting regularly with the student, offering advice on course selection, identifying and helping to recruit potential Advisory Committee members, guiding student research towards the completion of the Program Plan, and providing feedback on student grant proposals. By the end of the first term, s/he shall formally report on the student’s progress.

D1.3 Following submission of the first PhD Program Plan, the student shall be assigned by the Graduate Program Director to an Advisory Committee consisting of a Faculty Advisor (who may or may not be the Interim Faculty Advisor) and two additional members, at least one of whom must be a faculty member.  The advisory committee members shall together have responsibility for guiding the student through to the submission of the first and subsequent Program Plans, and then on to the Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation Proposal Examination.

D1.4 Changes in assignment of Faculty Advisor and members of the Advisory Committee may be made only by the PhD Program Coordinator in conjunction with the Graduate Program Director, upon written request from the student or the Faculty Advisor indicating that the matter has been discussed between them.  If the Graduate Program Director is the Advisor, the matter will also be reviewed by the Associate Dean, Students. The Graduate Program Director will normally seek comment from the present and prospective Faculty Advisors and members of the Advisory Committee before deciding whether to make a new assignment.

D 1.5 The Faculty Advisor will meet regularly with the student, normally not less than once per term. The Faculty Advisor will make satisfactory arrangements with the PhD Program Coordinator in conjunction with the Graduate Program Director for the supervision of the student when on leave or sabbatical, or on extended absence from the university.  The Faculty Advisor will follow the roles and responsibilities set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, helping the student to realize her/his scholarly potential while ensuring that the scholarly standards of the university and the discipline are met in the student’s work.

D2. PhD PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

D2.1 The program of study leading to the PhD degree is constructed individually by each student in conjunction with the Faculty Advisor and the Advisory Committee and, later, the PhD Dissertation Supervisor and the Dissertation Supervisory Committee, and is subject to review by the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee and to approval by the Committee of Instruction.

D2.2 The program of study shall consist of three stages:

         (a) PhD Program Plan Stage (first version along with comprehensive questions due at the end of second term);

         (b) PhD Comprehensive Examination Stage (anticipated completed after 6 terms); and

         (c) PhD Dissertation Stage.

PhD Program Plan Stage

D2.3 The PhD Program Plan Stage is intended to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their capacity to develop a satisfactory PhD Program Plan.

D2.4 Normally, this Stage shall last no longer than two terms.

D2.5 By the end of the first term of study, each student shall submit a draft Program Plan to the Interim Advisor. This draft will be included in the student dossier.   

D2.6 Following submission of the draft  PhD Program Plan, the members of the Advisory Committee shall be identified and assist the student in the further development of the PhD Program Plan.  Normally no later than the end of the second term of study, the Advisory Committee shall meet to discuss and approve the PhD Program Plan.

D2.7 The Advisory Committee shall recommend action on the PhD Program Plan via the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, to the Committee of Instruction.

D2.8 Following acceptance of the first PhD Program Plan, the Advisory Committee shall meet as required with the student to assist in the development of the subsequent PhD Program Plan and to monitor the student's progress in general.

D2.9 The Advisory Committee shall recommend action on the PhD Program Plan via the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee to the Committee of Instruction.

D2.10 Upon acceptance by the Committee of Instruction, the individual PhD Program Plan becomes an undertaking between the student and the Faculty with respect to the requirements to be fulfilled by the student to obtain the PhD degree.

D2.11 The student shall enter the PhD Comprehensive Examination Stage upon approval of the PhD Program Plan by the Committee of Instruction.

D2.12 In the event that a PhD Program Plan is not submitted or that a submitted PhD Program Plan is not approved by the PhD Advisory Committee and the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Committee, by the end of the second term of study, the student shall submit a revised PhD Program Plan prior to registration for the subsequent term.

D2.13 In the event that a PhD Program Plan is not approved by the end of the second term, the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee shall submit a recommendation that the student submit a Program Plan before the end of the third term following a plan of action developed with the Interim Advisor and the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, failing which the student shall be required to withdraw from the PhD program.

PhD Comprehensive Examination Stage

D2.14 The PhD Comprehensive Stage is intended to provide the student with an opportunity to study in depth the proposed areas of research and to prepare for the Comprehensive Examination and the Dissertation Proposal Examination.

D2.15 Normally, this Stage shall last no longer than one year.

D2.16 The student, the Faculty Advisor, and the Advisory Committee shall devise the areas of research, research questions and readings or activities for the Comprehensive Examination.

D2.17 During the PhD Comprehensive Examination Stage, the Advisory Committee shall recommend, via the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee to the Committee of Instruction, a proposal for the scope, format, and timing of the Comprehensive Examination and the Dissertation Proposal Examination (which may be coincident).

D2.18 The Committee of Instruction shall decide whether the student has satisfied the requirements of the Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation Proposal Examination (including ethical review of research involving human participants).

D2.19 If the Dissertation Proposal is acceptable, the Graduate Program Director shall recommend a Dissertation Supervisor, a Dissertation Supervisory Committee and the Dissertation Proposal to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies; upon appointment of the Supervisory Committee, the Advisory Committee shall cease to function.

D2.20 The Dissertation Supervisory Committee shall consist of at least three members, including (a) a minimum of two faculty members in FES; and (b) a minimum of one York University graduate faculty member from outside FES; or, if appropriate, (c) a minimum of one member from outside York University*. The Dissertation Supervisor is the chair of the Dissertation Supervisory Committee.

*with permission of the Faculty of Graduate Studies

D2.21 The Dissertation Supervisory Committee shall meet as required with the student to assist in the development of the dissertation and to monitor the student's progress in general.

D2.22 The student shall enter the PhD Dissertation Stage upon successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination and the Dissertation Proposal Examination.

PhD Dissertation Stage

D2.23 The PhD Dissertation Stage emphasises research and the writing of the dissertation.

D2.24 Ideally, this Stage shall last no longer than two years.

D2.25 The Dissertation Supervisory Committee shall be responsible for:

          (a) guiding the student in the conduct of the research and preparation of the dissertation; and

          (b) at least once per year, reporting on the student's progress, in writing, to the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee; and

          (c) advising the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, in writing, when the student is prepared for the Final Dissertation Review.

D2.26 The prefatory material of the dissertation shall contain:

         (a) an abstract of the dissertation, not exceeding 350 words; and

         (b) a foreword that explains the nature and role of the dissertation in fulfilling the requirements of the PhD degree.

D2.27 The title page of the dissertation shall contain:

         (a) the title of the dissertation,

         (b) the name of the author,

         (c) the date of submission,

         (d) "A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Faculty of Graduate Studies in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Studies" or "A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Faculty of Graduate Studies in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Doctorate in Philosophy in Environmental Studies,"

         (e) "York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada."

D2.28 Beyond the requirements of the title page and the prefatory material, the format of the dissertation document is governed by specifications prescribed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

D2.29 At least one term prior to the scheduled completion of the dissertation, the Supervisory Committee shall report via the PhD Program Subcommittee to the Committee of Instruction that either:

         (a) the schedule is confirmed; or

         (b) a revised schedule or required withdrawal of the student from the PhD program is recommended.

D2.30 Following the Final Dissertation Review, the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee shall determine whether:

         (a) the dissertation is suitable for a Dissertation Examination; or

         (b) a revised schedule for revision of the dissertation is necessary; or

         (c) the required withdrawal of the student from the PhD program is recommended to the Committee of Instruction.

D2.31 When the PhD Program Subcommittee determines that the dissertation is suitable for a Dissertation Examination, the Graduate Program Director shall submit the dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for examination in accordance with the Regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

D2.32 Upon receipt of the report of the Dissertation Examination noting that the dissertation is accepted, the Committee of Instruction shall consider the student for recommendation for award of the PhD degree.

Registration Requirements

D2.33 The student must maintain continuous registration in each term, in one or other of the following mutually exclusive categories:

        (a) full time student; or

        (b) part time student; or

        (c) leave of absence (not using the services of the university).

D2.34 Normally, the student shall be required to be registered as a full-time student for the first year of study.

D2.35 After completing the Program Plan Stage, students shall enrol in the Comprehensive Examination Stage as an activity without course credits.

D2.36 After completing the Comprehensive Examination Stage, students shall enrol in the PhD Dissertation Stage as an activity without course credits.

D2.37 Students may apply for leave of absence on personal or family grounds. Leave of absence shall be granted on maternity grounds. Leave of absence will not be granted to pursue academic work, nor to undertake employment for Field Experience. Leave of absence will not be granted beyond three consecutive terms.

D2.38 In each term of study the student must register both in the Faculty of Environmental Studies and in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Registration and course enrolments are subject to the approval of the PhD Program Subcommittee and the Committee of Instruction.

D2.39 Registration in each term consists of the following:

     (a) FES registration, including:

            i. the prescribed forms for course enrolment, signed by the student, the director of a course or supervisor of an individual activity course (i.e., Field Experience, PhD Independent Research, Comprehensive Research, Dissertation Research), and the Faculty Advisor; and

            ii. if applicable, the prescribed form for request to take a course outside the Faculty, in York University or in another university, signed by the Faculty Advisor and the course instructor.

      (b) Submission of the prescribed form for registration in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, together with payment of fees.

      (c) Submission of such supplementary information as may be required by the Dean.

D2.40 Each PhD student shall be required to enrol in ENVS 8102 PhD Research Seminar (to be held during the Fall and Winter Terms) during the first year of study. 

D2.41 For each term the Dean shall set a final date by which every student must complete registration and a subsequent date by which all changes in course enrolments must be made. In order to register or to change a course enrolment or to withdraw from a course after the final date for these purposes, the student must successfully petition the Committee of Instruction.

Award of the PhD Degree

D2.42 The Committee of Instruction shall review the report of every Dissertation Examination and shall receive the decision of the examining committee. Students who have met the Dissertation Examination requirement shall be recommended by the Committee of Instruction for award of the PhD degree provided all other requirements for the degree have been met by the student.

D3.  PhD EXAMINATIONS

Comprehensive Examination

D3.1 The Comprehensive Examination, which shall focus on the areas of knowledge specified in the PhD Program Plan, shall consist of:

      (a) examination of written submissions (or equivalent) as required by the Committee of Instruction; and

      (b) an oral examination.

D3.2 The Comprehensive Examination Committee, which shall consist of the members of the Advisory Committee, shall recommend via the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, to the Committee of Instruction on:

       (a) the adequacy of the student's knowledge in the substantive areas of research; and

       (b) the student's capability of embarking on dissertation research.

D3.3 The Comprehensive Examination Committee shall determine the outcome of the Comprehensive Examination to be one of the following:

       (a) acceptable;

       (b) acceptable pending specified revisions;

       (c) unsatisfactory.

D3.4. In the case that specified revisions are required, the Advisor shall ensure that these revisions are completed.  If the specified revisions are not completed, the Comprehensive Examination is deemed unsatisfactory.

D3.5 In the case that the Comprehensive Examination is deemed unsatisfactory, the Advisory Committee shall give written instructions for revisions and schedule a second exam within six months of the first. Failure to pass a second exam will result in an Advisory Committee recommendation that the student be withdrawn from the Program.

Dissertation Proposal Examination

D3.6 The Dissertation Proposal shall include:

      (a)  the working title of the dissertation; and

      (b) nomination of a Dissertation Supervisor and a Dissertation Supervisory Committee; and

      (c) a statement of the proposed topic of the dissertation; and

      (d) a detailed research design; and

      (e) a detailed outline of the dissertation; and

       (f) a proposed schedule of activities; and

       (g) a statement indicating the relationship of the dissertation in the individual PhD Program Plan; and

       (h) the completed form "Application for Ethical Approval of Research Involving Human Participants." 

D3.7 The Dissertation Proposal Examination Committee, which shall consist of the members of the Advisory Committee and any new member(s) of the Dissertation Supervisory Committee, shall recommend via the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, to the Committee of Instruction on:

      (a) the quality of the Dissertation Proposal; and

      (b) the appropriateness of the proposed research schedule.

D3.8 The Dissertation Proposal Examination Committee shall determine the outcome of the Proposal Examination to be one of the following:

      (a) acceptable;

      (b) acceptable pending specified revisions;

      (c) unsatisfactory.

D3.9 In the case that specified revisions are required, the Supervisor shall ensure that these revisions are completed.  If the specified revisions are not completed, the Dissertation Proposal Examination is deemed unsatisfactory.

D3.10 In the case that the Proposal Examination is deemed unsatisfactory, the Supervisory Committee shall give written instructions for revisions and schedule a second exam within six months of the first. Failure to pass a second exam will result in a Supervisory Committee recommendation that the student be withdrawn from the Program.

Final Dissertation Review

D3.11 When the student has submitted the final draft of the dissertation, the Supervisory Committee shall examine the final draft of the dissertation, and recommend to the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, whether:

     (a) the dissertation is suitable for a Dissertation Examination; or

     (b) a revised schedule including required revisions of the dissertation or the required withdrawal of the student from the Faculty is recommended.

PhD Dissertation Examination

D3.12 Each student, in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the PhD degree, must pass a Dissertation Examination under the joint auspices of the Faculty of Environmental Studies and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

D3.13 The Dissertation Examination shall be taken following certification by the Supervisory Committee that the dissertation is suitable for a Dissertation Examination.

D3.14 The Examination shall be oral.

D3.15 The Dissertation Examination shall be attended by the student and an examining committee consisting of:

        (a) the members of the Dissertation Supervisory Committee; and

        (b) one York graduate faculty member from outside the program who will be at arm’s length from the dissertation;

        (c) one external examiner from outside York University, at arm’s length from the dissertation, recommended by the program director; and   

        (d) the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies or the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies or their delegate who shall be at arm’s length from the supervision of the dissertation and who will serve as Chair of the examining committee.

D3.16 The time and place of oral examination shall be set by the graduate program director in consultation with the student, the Chair and members of the examining committee and with the approval of the FES Dean and the FGS Dean. Normally, the examination shall be held no less than four weeks from the date on which copies of the completed dissertation approved by the supervisory committee are sent to each member of the examining committee. The examination may be held less than four weeks from the time copies are sent to the examining committee provided all parties agree.

D3.17 The Dissertation Examination requirement is met (a) if the committee accepts the dissertation with no revisions; or, (b) if the committee accepts the dissertation with specified revisions.  If the dissertation is accepted subject to specified revisions, it is the responsibility of the Dissertation Supervisor to ensure that these revisions are made.  If the dissertation is accepted subject to major revisions, it is the responsibility of the Dissertation Supervisor and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies or delegate to ensure that the changes are made.  The candidate fails the dissertation oral examination if a majority of the examining committee votes for failure.

D3.18 The Dissertation Examination shall be adjourned if the decision of the examining committee is that the Dissertation requires major revision. In the case that the Dissertation requires major revision, the examination may be reconvened, by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the Dissertation Supervisor, a)  within twelve months to continue the oral examination; or, b)    the revised dissertation will be circulated within twelve months to all members, who will inform the Dean’s representative whether they feel the stipulated requirements have been met.

D3.19 The decision of the examining committee shall be immediately communicated by the chair of the examining committee, in writing, to the PhD Program Coordinator, the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, the FES Dean and the FGS Dean.

D4. GRADUATE COURSES

D4.1 All regulations in Section C: MES Program, Subsection 4, Graduate Courses, apply to students in the PhD Program.

D4.2 All graduate courses in FES are open to PhD students, where appropriate, with the exception of those courses which are specifically designed for students in the MES Program.

D4.3 Only PhD students may enroll in courses at the 8000 level.

D5. PhD STUDENT RECORDS

D5.1 With the exception noted below, all regulations in Section C: MES Program, Subsection 5, MES Student Records, apply to students in the PhD Program.

D5.2 Where those regulations refer to the MES Plan of Study, the terms “PhD Comprehensive Examination Stage”, “PhD Program Plan”, and “PhD Dissertation Proposal” shall apply.

D6. PhD PROGRAM MONITORING

PhD Program Plan Stage

D6.1 In the event that a PhD Program Plan is not submitted or that a submitted PhD Program Plan is not approved by the PhD Advisory Committee and the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Committee, by the end of the second term of study, the student shall submit a revised PhD Program Plan prior to registration for the subsequent term.

D6.2 In the event that a PhD Program Plan is not approved by the end of the second term, the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee shall submit a recommendation that the student submit a Program Plan before the end of the third term following a plan of action developed with the Interim Advisor and the PhD Program Coordinator, on behalf of the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee, failing which the student shall be required to withdraw from the PhD program.

Comprehensive Examination and/or Dissertation Proposal Examination

D6.3 In the event that the Committee of Instruction decides that a student has not satisfied the requirements of the Comprehensive Examination and/or Dissertation Proposal Examination, the Advisory Committee shall submit a recommendation via the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee to the Committee of Instruction that the student either:

      (a) be required to withdraw from the PhD program; or

      (b) continue in the PhD program, with specific requirements for action including a final date for a reconvened Comprehensive Examination and/or Dissertation Proposal Examination, failing which the student shall be required to withdraw from the Faculty.

D6.4 If, on the grounds of procedural irregularity, the student disagrees with the decision of the examining committee, the student may appeal to the FES Appeals Committee within the period of two weeks following the examination. As soon as possible after receiving the appeal and in any case no later than 60 days, the Appeals Committee shall either reject the appeal or direct the Dean forthwith to appoint a substitute examining committee and to convene a new examination not later than one month following the decision of the Appeals Committee. Subsequent appeals shall be made to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Registration Requirements

D6.5 The regulations in Section C: MES Program, Subsection 6, MES Program Monitoring referring to Registration Requirements shall apply to PhD students.

Incomplete Course Work

D6.6 The regulations in Section C: MES Program, Subsection 6, MES Program Monitoring referring to Incomplete Course Work shall apply to PhD students.

Withdrawn Course Enrolments

D6.7 If the Student History contains the symbol W (Withdrawn) for three or more courses, the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee shall assess the student's progress and advise the Committee of Instruction of the situation.

Unsatisfactory Course Work

D6.8 If the student has received the grade of Unsatisfactory for more than one course or for three or more course credits, the PhD Program, Curriculum and Admissions Subcommittee shall either (a) recommend to the Committee of Instruction that the student be required to withdraw from the PhD program or (b) establish the conditions upon which the student may continue with the program.

Breach of Academic Honesty

D6.9 The regulations in Section C: MES Program, Subsection 6, MES Program Monitoring referring to Breach of Academic Honesty shall apply to PhD students.

Unreported Grades and Evaluations

D6.10 The regulations in Section C: MES Program, Subsection 6, MES Program Monitoring referring to Unreported Grades and Evaluations shall apply to PhD students.

End of Section D

Every effort has been made to ensure that these Academic Regulations are complete and accurate.

In the event these published regulations are not fully consistent with FES approved legislation, then the duly approved legislation shall take precedence.