Timeline for Degree Completion

Ideally, you will progress through the PhD program as outlined below. Full-time registration is required – there is no part-time option for the FES PhD program.

Terms 1 and 2 (year 1 fall and winter)
Program Plan stage

  • Enrolling in ENVS 8102: PhD Research Seminar
  • Enrolling in other courses as appropriate for your Program Plan
  • Putting together your Advisory Committee
  • Preparing your Program Plan and having it approval by your Advisory Committee by the end of term 2

Terms 3 to 6 (year 1 summer to year 2 summer)
Comprehensive Examination stage

  • Wide and focused reading (supplemented by courses) as determined in your Program Plan
  • Comprehensive Exams should be passed by the end of terms 5-6 (year 2 winter to year 2 summer)
  • Putting together your Supervisory Committee by the end of term 5 (year 2 winter)
  • Preparing and defending your Dissertation Proposal, with your approved Proposal and nomination of Supervisory Committee sent to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for approval by the end of term 6 (year 2 summer)

Terms 7 to 18 (year 3 fall up to year 6 summer)
Dissertation stage

  • Research and writing of dissertation
  • Dissertation Examination passed by the end of terms 12 to 18 (year 4 summer to year 6 summer)

Because of the diversity of research projects in the Faculty, there is some variation in how and when PhD students move through these stages. However, Section 33 of the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations sets deadlines for when you must have your Supervisor/Supervisory Committee in place.

Time limit

The maximum time allowed for completion of the PhD degree is 18 terms/6 calendar years (not including leaves of absence and other exceptional circumstances). If you still working on the Dissertation stage after six years, you can withdraw in good standing and petition for readmission for one term only to complete your Dissertation Examination.

Under certain circumstances you can petition for permission to not register/pay fees in a specific term and the term will not be counted as part of your 6 year limit. For details please see Sections 16 and 31 of the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations.