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Graduate Student Handbook

Chapter 1 Application and Admission

Thank you for your interest in our program!  We encourage you to complete your application using the online application program available through the School of Graduate Studies website. 

Please note that in order for your application to be deemed complete two references are required. 

For the research based MSc/PhD program we recommend you make initial communication with a faculty member in your area of interest/expertise prior to beginning the application process to determine whether that faculty member will be accepting students for the upcoming academic cycle. Students considering graduate studies are encouraged to begin a dialogue with a potential supervisor early in the admission cycle.

All applications are reviewed by our graduate program admission committee. 


Graduate Program Assistants:

Wendy Cumpson (613-533-2796) – Last names beginning A-L

Diane Sommerfeld (613-533-6000 ext: 74836) – Last names beginning M-Z

Heather Lumb – MSc Anatomical Sciences Program

Chapter 2 Welcome to Kingston and Queen's University

Why Kingston

  • Kingston, Ontario is a historic city that ranks as one of the best places to live in Canada. It is located where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario and the Rideau Canal and is home to 21 national heritage sites. A vibrant city with ample recreational, dining and shopping opportunities and a rich arts and entertainment community, as well as a family friendly environment.
  • Kingston is located equidistant from the major urban centres of Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa and has easy access by car, bus, or train. 
  • Kingston, home to Queen’s University has been named by the BBC as one of the world’s great university towns to live in

  • A New York-based think tank recently identified Kingston on the world stage as a leading “Intelligent Community” rising to the challenge of a broadband economy providing a connected, engaged and inclusive community.  Intelligent Community Forum

Why Queen’s?

  • Queen’s is one of Canada’s oldest degree-granting institutions, and has influenced Canadian higher education since 1841 when it was established by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria.
  • Queen’s is a mid-sized university with a vibrant graduate community which represents 20% of the total student enrolment – the highest percentage in Ontario (based on 2013 data).
  • Queen’s graduate students bring diversity of experience, perspective and culture and come from over 70 countries and from across Canada
  • Queen’s has the second highest doctoral completion rate and third highest Master’s completion rate among the Canadian Research intensive universities (the U15).
  • Since 2003, Queen’s has ranked 1st among Canadian Universities in the number of awards and prizes per full-time Faculty.
  • Queen’s ranks 12th for research funding and 10th for research intensity (research funding per full-time faculty) in Research Infosource’s list of the Top 50 Research Universities in Canada in 2013.
  • Queen’s success rate in the Insight Grant 2013-14 competition was 3.5% percentage points higher than the National success rate and was second highest among the Ontario member universities of the U15
  • Queen’s ranks second in the U15 and first in Ontario with a success rate of 88% in the 2013 Discovery Grant competition for established researchers bringing in average grants of $38,800 (National average = $36,000)
  • The latest data from the U15 places Queen’s first among the Ontario member universities of the U15 in graduate student recipient rate of Tri-Council awards and 3rd in the U15
  • Funding packages for research Master’s and doctoral programs are above the U15 average
  • Queen’s offers one of the most comprehensive professional development programs for academic, professional and personal success (
  • Queen’s is committed to preparing our graduate students for a variety of career paths  - the versatile graduate - and has designed various workshops, online-courses and special events such as the Graduate Career Week in order to support students in finding academic and non-academic career success.
  • Queen’s University International Centre assists in building community among students and supporting the academic and personal development of all students, staff and faculty enhancing and diversifying the international learning environment.

Chapter 3 Where to Find Help

All regulations governing graduate studies at Queen's are established by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). 
These regulations may be found in the SGS Graduate Calendar. 

School of Graduate Studies
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street

Centre for Teaching and Learning

The Queen’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers a wide array of programs and services that are designed to meet the teaching and learning needs of students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and faculty members.

Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
Associate Head, Graduate Studies
Dr. Katrina Gee
Telephone: 613-533-2451

Program/Field Coordinators and Program Assistants



Program Assistant

MSc Anatomical Sciences Program

Dr. Les Mackenzie

Mary White
(613) 533-6000 ext. 77155

Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Dr. Graham Cote

Wendy Cumpson
(613) 533-2796

Experimental Medicine

Dr. Neil Magoski

Wendy Cumpson
(613) 533-2796

Microbes, Immunity, and Inflammation

Dr. Sam Basta

Wendy Cumpson
(613) 533-2796

Reproduction and Developmental Sciences

Dr. Charles Graham

Wendy Cumpson
(613) 533-2796

Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology

Dr. Terence Ozolins

Wendy Cumpson
(613) 533-2796

Chapter 4 Degree Requirements

All new graduate students must complete the following as part of their degree requirements:

  1. WHMIS Training
  2. AODA – 800
  3. QACS – 799 (if working with animals)
  4. Lab Safety Training
MSc Anatomical Sciences

The Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen's University offers a 16-month MSc Program in Anatomical Sciences. This program is structured around three pillars of competency (content, pedagogy, inquiry) and designed to educate students in the art of teaching and designing curricula in Anatomical Sciences. This teaching Master’s program spans 16-months and consists of 30 credit units (two 6 credit units and six 3 credit units advanced courses).  All MSc (AS) students must complete and defend a well-written MSc (AS) research project.

Minimum Entrance Requirements & Application Procedure

Candidates will be required to have completed a recognized honours degree with a background in Biology or Health Sciences or the equivalent professional degree (BNSc, BSc, in Physiotherapy, etc.). The minimum entrance average is set at 77% in the 2nd through 4thyear of study.

Interested individuals are asked to apply electronically through the School of Graduate Studies and Research at:

NOTE: Please indicate ‘M.Sc. Program in Anatomical Sciences (Teaching Masters)’ under ‘Research Interest’ on your application form.

Application deadline is March 1st. Short listed candidates will be interviewed in April for a September start.

Program Overview: Please see Chapter 7 Graduate Courses for more detailed information

Principles of Teaching and Learning


Advanced Gross Anatomy

Advanced Topics in Embryology

Advanced Topics in Neuroanatomy

Advanced Topics in Histology and Histology Techniques

Independent Studies in Anatomy and Cell Biology/Pedagogy

Curriculum Design


Embalming Techniques

Freeze Drying Techniques

Plastination Techniques

Museum Specimen Production

Electronic Media

Digital Imaging Techniques for Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomy, and Histology

Lecturing and Demonstrating

Core Faculty:

Dr. Ronald Easteal

Dr. Easteal is an Associate Professor in Anatomy and Cell Biology and has been teaching Anatomy at Queen’s University since 1975. He is a mining engineer and obtained his PhD degree in Anatomy at Queen’s University. Dr. Easteal has introduced many innovative methods in educating students in the field of Anatomical Sciences and has authored/coauthored several learning resources that have been valued by our anatomy students since 2004. Dr. Easteal was the recipient of the 2007 Chancellor A. Charles Baillie Teaching Award, Queen’s University.

Dr. Leslie MacKenzie

Dr. MacKenzie is Associate Professor and the Director of the Pattern II MSc Program in Anatomical Sciences.  Over the past decade, Dr. MacKenzie has distinguished himself as an outstanding educator in Anatomy. Dr. MacKenzie was the recipient of the 2009 Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching at Queen’s University, attesting to his commitment and innovations in undergraduate education in Anatomy.

Dr. Stephen C. Pang

Dr. Pang is Professor and Former Head (1996-2001; 2002-2007) of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Queen’s University.  His research program focuses on the structure and function of the cardiovascular system in health and disease.  More recently, Dr. Pang’s research also encompasses the establishment of polymeric devices for peptide drug delivery (with Dr. Brian Amsden, Chemical Engineering, Queen’s University) and the development of tissue-engineered cartilage for joint repair (with Dr. Stephen Waldman, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Queen’s University).  Over the past twenty years, he has been actively establishing internet-based learning resources for students and teachers of Anatomy leading to the debut in 2000 of an internet-based learning resource named Scalable Gross Anatomy and Histology Image Catalogue (SGAHIC).  Dr. Pang was the recipient of the 1998-99 Health Sciences Education Award, Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University.

Dr. Charles Graham

Professor and Former Head of the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology. His research group studies various aspects of cancer progression and the biology of the human placenta and pregnancy complications. Their cancer studies have led to the discovery of mechanisms by which the local tumour microenvironment contributes to the acquisition of metastatic behaviour, ability to evade immune destruction, and resistance to therapy in malignant cells. Their research on pregnancy aims for a better understanding of how adequate placentation is important for a healthy pregnancy; they also study the role of maternal inflammation in the development of pregnancy complications and how complications of pregnancy contribute to increased risk of disease in later life. Dr. Graham has coordinated the Anatomy and Cell Biology graduate program for several years and also coordinates the graduate field in Reproduction and Development.


MSc Degree Program

The Biomedical and Molecular Sciences MSc requires, at minimum, the completion of 12 credit units at the graduate level.  BMED 860* (3 credit units, Fundamentals of Academic Research) and BMED 897*(3 credit units, Biomedical Sciences Seminar Program) are mandatory courses. Additional required credit units are specified by some of the Field Specialization (see below).  Students may take no more than one 3 credit unit dual-numbered undergraduate course towards their additional credits. Students are encouraged to take additional graduate-level courses, and may be required to do so upon recommendation of their supervisory committee and/or depending upon participation in an interdisciplinary program. The minimum pass grade in a graduate course is a B-(minus).

Specific Field Course Requirements in addition to the 6 mandatory units described above:

  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology: MSc students in this field can choose from any BMED graduate courses to complete the remaining 6 credit units of coursework in consultation with the supervisor. It is highly recommended that students take at least one graduate course offered by the Biochemistry and Cell biology field: BMED 820*, BMED 821*, BMED 823*, or BMED 842. Graduate courses offered through other departments may also be taken if approved by the Graduate coordinator in consultation with the Supervisor.
  • Experimental Medicine: MSc students in this field can choose from any BMED graduate courses to complete the remaining required 6 credit units of coursework in consultation with the supervisor.
  • Microbes, Immunity, and Inflammation: MSc students in this field can choose from any BMED graduate courses to complete the remaining required 6 credit units of coursework in consultation with the supervisor.
  • Reproduction and Developmental Sciences: MSc students in this field can choose from any BMED graduate courses covering reproduction and development, or if appropriate other BMED graduate courses to complete the remaining required 6 credit units of coursework.
  • Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology: MSc Students in this field must complete an additional 3 credit units from the Methods Modules (ranging from BMED 862 – BMED 870). In addition, students must complete 3 credit units from one of BMED 813*, BMED 809*, BMED 815*, BMED 853*, or BMED 854*; the specific course will be determined in consultation with the supervisor.  In cases where students do not have the necessary background in core pharmacology, they will be required to pass an examination late during their first year of study. The examination will be based on the content of BMED 840 and 849. In preparation for the examination, students will be able to attend BMED 840 and 849 teaching sessions, and will have access to posted course materials. If they wish, students also may attend MEDS 121 lectures (the Therapeutics course in the MD program). Students who do not pass the exam will be required to take BMED 840 and 849 for credit.

Mini Master's Thesis

A student registered in the M.Sc. program, with an excellent academic record and exceptional ability to perform research, may be accelerated into a Ph.D. program upon recommendation of the department and submission and defense of a 'mini-master's' thesis. It is recommended that a 'mini-master's' should be considered early in the program for students performing at excellent levels.

See Chapter 10 for complete Mini Master’s Guidelines.

PhD Degree Program 

Students with an M.Sc. from a related field will normally not be required to take additional courses as part of the Ph.D.

Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Experimental Medicine, Microbes Immunity and Inflammation, and Reproduction and Developmental Sciences:

No specific additional coursework requirements.

Therapeutics, Drug Development and Human Toxicology:

If not taken during the M.Sc. (or equivalent from another university), Ph.D. students in this field must complete BMED 809*.

Other Requirements:

  • Ph.D. students must develop a thesis proposal within the first two terms of enrolment that reviews the literature and demonstrates the ability to design, conduct, and evaluate experiments and the data that arise from them.  This can be in the format of a powerpoint presentation given during the first mandatory Thesis Advisory Committee meeting.  As well, this information can also be contained in a written document prepared by the student prior to the committee meeting. If a student enters the PhD Program via a mini-MSc transfer, then the PhD proposal requirement will be waived.
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • All Ph.D. students must give an exit seminar prior to their final defence
  • Annual committee meetings
  • Oral and written defence

Chapter 5 Faculty Members and Research Areas

Field: Biochemistry and Cell Biology

S. Abraham: Haematopoietic and cancer stem cell biology

J. Allingham: Structure and function of kinesin motor proteins

B. Banfield: Molecular and cellular biology of viruses

M. G. Blennerhassett: Effects of inflammation on the nerve-smooth muscle relationship of the intestine

E.Y.W. Chan: Regulation of the autophagy/mitophagy stress response pathway

S.P.C. Cole: Anti-cancer drug resistance

G. P. Côté: Structure and function of protein kinases

A. Craig: Signal transduction in hematopoietic cells

S. K. Davey: DNA repair mechanisms

P. L. Davies: Antifreeze proteins and calpain

Q. Duan: Pan-omics investigation of biological networks contributing to variable drug response and multifactorial diseases.

N. Ghasemlou: Immune response to nervous system injury and disease

P. A. Greer: Proto-oncogenes in cancer

B. C. Hill: Membrane bioenergetics

Z. Jia: Protein crystallography

G. Jones: Vitamin D metabolism and cytochrome P-450s

F. W. K. Kan: Sperm-egg interaction and reproductive function

A. S. Mak: Podosomes and cell invasion

R. J. Oko: Biology of mammalian sperm components during fertilization

P. M. Petkovich: Retinoic acid signaling

W.C. Plaxton: Plant biochemistry and metabolism

S. P. Smith: NMR spectroscopy of proteins

V. Walker: Stress genes and the molecular basis of resistance


Field: Experimental Medicine

S. Abraham: Haematopoietic and cancer stem cell biology

M. A. Adams: Cardiovascular, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction

J. Allingham: Structure and function of proteins

R. D. Andrew: Electrophysiology of ischemia and head trauma

A. M. Baranchuk: Sleep apnea and cardiac dysfunction

B. M. Bennett: Activation of the cyclic GMP-guanylyl cyclase system

M. J. Beyak: Function of the primary afferent nerves innervating the GI tract and liver

M. G. Blennerhassett: Intestinal inflammation

G. Blohm: Computational neuroscience

A. Craig: Signal transduction in hematopoietic cells

B. A. Croy: Immune cells and pregnancy

Q. Duan: Pan-omics investigation of biological networks contributing to variable drug response and multifactorial diseases.

E. C. Dumont: Neurobiology of pain and addiction

A. Ellis: Allergic diseases

A. V. Ferguson: Autonomic control of energy balance

J. T. Fisher: Airway innervation and sensory feedback from the lung

M. F. Fitzpatrick: Sleep and respiration

J. R. Flanagan: Visual motor control of grasping

L. Flynn: Tissue engineering and adipose-derived stem cells

A. B. Froese: Allergies, acid reflux, and inflammation

C. D. Funk: Cardiovascular inflammation

N. Ghasemlou: Immune response to nervous system injury and disease

I. Gilron: Clinical pain management

C. H. Graham: Trophoblast and decidual cell interactions; biology of cancer

P. A. Greer: Proto-oncogenes in cancer

A. Y. Jin: Stroke, drug design, and neurology

A. Johri: 3D echocardiography, quality control in the echo lab, interventional echocardiography, and Hand Held Cardiac Ultrasound

C. J. Justinich: Pathophysiology and immunology of esophagitis

M. D. Kawaja: Neuroplasticity in the adult mammalian brain

A. E. G. Lomax: Neuroimmune interactions during inflammation

M. D. Lougheed: Symptom perception in asthma

R. J. MacLeod Non-canonical Wnt signaling in the intestine

N. S. Magoski: Ion channel modulation and neuronal excitability

A. S. Mak: Cell migration and cytoskeleton structure

D. H. Maurice: Phosphodiesterases and vascular function

C. R. Mueller: Role of BRCA1 in breast cancer

D. P. Munoz: Using eye movements to probe brain function and dysfunction

C. J. Nicol: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and cancer

D. O’Donnell: Pathophysiology of respiratory diseases

M. Othman: Haemostasis, coagulopathy in cancer and pregnancy complications

S. C. Pang: Cellular pathophysiology in hypertension

M. Pare: Neural basis of cognitive and active vision

C. M. Parker: Cardiopulmonary interactions and mechanisms of dyspnea

W. G. Paterson: Physiology and pathophysiology of the esophagus

E. O. Petrof: Probiotics, microbial-epithelial cell interactions in the gut, and the effects of intestinal bacteria on inflammation

D. P. Redfearn: Novel algorithm development and electrogram analysis

F. Rivest: Mathematical foundation of artificial and natural learning

P. K. Rose: Input/output properties of spinal neurons

S. H. Scott: Brain regions involved in motor control and learning

M. Szewczuk: Multimodal approaches targeting tumor cell heterogeneity

C. Tayade: Immune mechanisms in endometriosis and immunology of pregnancy

M. E. Tschakovsky: Cardio-respiratory regulation in exercise

D. A. Van Vugt: Neuroendocrine regulation of the menstrual cycle and appetite

S. J. Vanner: Inflammation and autonomic control of the GI tract

C. A. Ward: Myocardial electrophysiology and reactive oxygen

S. Zhang: Molecular mechanisms of ion channel function in health and heart disease


Field: Microbes, Immunity, and Inflammation

B. Banfield: Molecular characterization/analysis of viral proteins important in signal transduction in herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster virus and pseudorabies virus

S. Basta: Virus-host interactions, focusing on the immunobiology of antigen presenting cells

M. G. Blennerhassett: Effects of inflammation on the nerve-smooth muscle relationship of the intestine

E. B. Carstens: (Retired - no longer accepting new students) Cellular and molecular biology of baculovirus replication, including function and interaction of virus and host cell proteins in virus replication

A. Daugulis: Cell culture engineering, protein expression, partitioning bioreactors for biosynthesis and bioremediation, bioprocess development, modeling and simulation of bioreactors

A. Ellis: Allergic diseases

K. Gee: Cytokine expression and function regulation during infection and inflammation

N. Ghasemlou: Immune response to nervous system injury and disease

K. F. Jarrell: The unique flagella of methanogenic archaea, from physiological, ultrastructural and genetic aspects

A. Majury: Respiratory viral infections, pandemic influenza, environmental microbiology, epidemiology, zoonotic diseases and public health

N. L. Martin: Understanding how Salmonella typhimurium, a common cause of food poisoning, senses and adapts to changes in environments relevant to infection

J. Martinez-Cajas: Optimization of HIV treatment and better, earlier detection of HIV infection and resistance

E. O. Petrof: Probiotics, microbial-epithelial cell interactions in the gut, and the effects of intestinal bacteria on inflammation

R. K. Poole: Bacterial multidrug efflux pumps and their role in antibiotic and biocide resistance and treatment failure. Role of iron transport in the pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

L. Raptis: Signal transduction in cell transformation and adipocytic differentiation

M. Szewczuk: Role of Toll-like receptors in inflammation and infection

V. Walker: Stress genes and the molecular basis of resistance

W. Wobeser: HIV and epidemiologic studies of Tuberculosis


Field: Reproduction and Developmental Sciences

B.A. Croy: Functions, mechanisms of activation and lineage relationships of immune competent cell populations that home to the maternal-fetal interface during mammalian pregnancy
R. Easteal: Learning Modalities, working memory and interactive teaching
C.H. Graham: Cancer progression and the biology of the human placenta
F.W.K. Kan: Regulatory role of glycoproteins secreted by the oviduct in sperm-egg interaction and reproductive functions
M. Koti: Inflammation and chemotherapy resistance in ovarian cancer
L. Mackenzie: Pedagogy in anatomical sciences
R.J. Oko: Developmental biology of specialized mammalian sperm head and tail components and their roles during fertilization
T.R.S. Ozolins: Developmental toxicology: ventricular septation defects (VDS)
S.C. Pang: Structure and function of the cardiovascular system in health and disease
C. Reifel: The study of human congenital malformations in a collection of human fetuses displaying a wide range of rare developmental anomalies
G.N. Smith: Adverse obstetrical events
C. Tayade:  Understanding the pathophysiology of endometriosis
L. M. Winn: Developmental toxicology


Field: Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology

M. A. Adams: Mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease and development of new therapeutic strategies for prevention and treatment of this condition 

B. M. Bennett: Pharmacology of the nitric oxide/guanylyl cyclase/cGMP signal transduction system

J. F. Brien: Nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and vascular function

S. P.C. Cole: Anti-cancer drug resistance

A. Ellis: Allergic diseases

I. Gilron: Clinical management of pain

T. E. Massey: Biochemical and molecular toxicology of the lung

D. H. Maurice: Phosphodiesterases and vascular function

K. Nakatsu: Pharmacology of carbon monoxide and heme oxygenases

C. J. Nicol: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-mediated influence on breast and colon cancer

T. R.S. Ozolinš: Developmental toxicology: ventricular septation defects

E. O. Petrof: Probiotics, microbial-epithelial cell interactions in the gut, and the effects of intestinal bacteria on inflammation

J. N. Reynolds: Neurotoxicology of alcohol

M. Szewczuk: Role of Toll-like receptors in inflammation and infection

L. M. Winn: Developmental toxicology

Chapter 6 Timeline MSc Anatomical Sciences


1st Term

2nd Term

3rd Term

4th Term

Course Work

BMED 812 or 827*
BMED 804
BMED 831*
BMED 834
BMED 805

BMED 817 or 806*
BMED 804
BMED 834
BMED 805
BMED 828

BMED 828
BMED 834

BMED 834
BMED 805


BMED 847
BMED 889

BMED 847
BMED 889

BMED 847
BMED 889
BMED 847
BMED 889


Independent Study/Thesis

BMED 898

BMED 898

BMED 898

BMED 898


*BMED 812 or 827 for those who have taken ANAT 312 or equivalent

*BMED 831 for those who have not taken ANAT309 or equivalent

*BMED 817 or 806 for those who have taken ANAT 417 or equivalent


MSc Degree Program

Year 1

Year 2







BMED 860
BMED 897
Other pertinent coursework
Start research


BMED 897
Other coursework

BMED 897
FHS Research Day
Progress report

BMED 897
Other coursework

BMED 897
Finish coursework
Start thesis draft

Finish Thesis Draft
Complete research
Progress report
FHS Research Day
Thesis defence


PhD Degree Program

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4













Other coursework (including research proposal)
Start research

Courses if needed

Progress Report
FHS Research Day



Progress Report
FHS Research Day


Progress Report
FHS Research Day


Thesis draft
Exit Seminar
Progress Report

Thesis defense


Forms for requests for changes in status (full time vs part time), parental leaves, and time limit extensions can be found here under “Admissions & Registration: Forms for Students Requiring Faculty Signature or Approval"

Chapter 7 Graduate Courses

To see which courses are being offered in the upcoming term, and to view additional course information, please visit the Graduate Courses page.

Chapter 8 Supervisory and Thesis Advisory Committee

Thesis advisory committees for thesis-based MSc and PhD students: Thesis advisory committees, which will consist of the supervisor and at least two other members, will be formed within the first semester of the student’s program. The committee is formed by the student in consultation with the supervisor. Members must be either regular or cross-appointed faculty members of DBMS. The purpose of the thesis advisory committee is to provide ongoing advice and assistance with problems that may arise as students progress through their programs. Each student is required to meet with their committee once every year to review progress and the state of their research. The student must prepare a written summary of progress (usually 2-4 pages) to be distributed to the committee members at least five working days prior to each meeting. Upon completion of a committee meeting, the student must complete an annual progress form that is to be signed by the student, supervisor, and committee members (RESEARCH ADVISORY COMMITTEE ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT FORM FOR PHD AND MSC).

Advisory Committees for MSc in Anatomical Science (AS) Program students: All MSc (AS) students enrolled in the program will meet every three weeks with their supervisor, every nine weeks with their Advisory Committee and every two months at a “Class Business Meeting”, to which all students attend and provide input and feedback.  For nine-week Advisory Committee meetings students must provide a summary of their progress in advance. Students then receive oral feedback on their progress from their Committee at the meeting. Your supervisor will provide the Pattern II Supervisory Committee Report Form. If you have any questions, please contact Heather Lumb.

Chapter 9 PhD Comprehensive Examination


Purpose: The comprehensive exam serves to develop skillsets for PhD candidates useful for their research projects, preparation for thesis defense and career path. These skills include written and oral communication, the ability to critically read and assess literature, and confidence to participate in scientific discussion. The examination will evaluate the candidate’s ability to explore and comprehend the fundamental knowledge, and to use this knowledge to inform research questions and/or approaches, ultimately ensuring a solid foundation exists upon which the student will progress towards being considered an expert in that field upon degree completion.


To ensure that PhD candidates have:

  • the ability to express themselves clearly and concisely in written and oral formats
  • the ability to seek out primary and secondary sources of information to support an argument
  • the ability to defend, logically and clearly, their reasoning
  • an awareness of what constitutes ethical behaviour in scientific research
  • a sound background in the broad aspects of their field of specialization, as well as more detailed knowledge in their chosen area of research

Format: There are two choices for the format of the PhD comprehensive exam, allowing students to choose a learning experience suited to the skillset(s) they wish to further develop. For both options, the PhD candidate is expected to work independently from the supervisor, and to think critically about developing a breadth of knowledge and topics in their general field, and how it will better inform their grasp of a specific subject area.

  1. Research proposal. This option provides the experience of reviewing literature to inform a rationale and objectives that address a void in a current area of research. An experimental outline complete with expected results and pitfalls must be described in addition to the overall significance of the work and contribution to the field.
  2. This option provides the experience of delving into specific questions and detailing answers based on information found in the literature. Students must be able to rationalize their answers to the questions in a clear and concise fashion.

Timelines & Examination Committee: The comprehensive examination should be administered no earlier than 12 months and no later than 24 months into the PhD program. If the student enters the Ph.D. program after completion of the Mini-MSc examination the comprehensive examination should be completed no earlier than the term following admission into the Ph.D. program. The comprehensive examination should be completed over the course of six weeks and this timeline should be discussed with the supervisor in alignment with ongoing research work.

Approximately 6 weeks prior to the examination, the Supervisor and Student shall establish a Comprehensive Examining Committee for approval by the field coordinator. The Examining Committee shall include: three examiners and the Field Coordinator, or delegate, who shall Chair the committee. The student’s supervisor is invited to attend the examination; however, the supervisor will not question the student during the examination, nor will they be a voting member of the Examining Committee. Attendance of the student’s supervisor at the examination is optional.

Outcome of the Oral Component: The committee shall judge the candidate's performance as either "Pass" (unconditional) or "Repeat”. The three Examiners are the only voting members of the Committee, and the majority decision rules (i.e., the decision does not have to be unanimous). If the outcome is “Pass”, the Chair will notify the candidate of this outcome, in writing, and within a week of the oral exam. If the outcome is “Repeat”, it means that the candidate is not yet sufficiently prepared and should have another opportunity within 6 months to demonstrate their ability. The committee may exercise discretion in determining the timing and nature of a repeat examination; it may require the student to repeat the entire examination, including revisions to the proposal or one or more of the essays, or one or more new written questions. The Committee may also decide to repeat just the oral component. If a repeat examination is necessary, the Chair must provide the candidate, in writing and within a week, detailed information from the examiners about perceived deficiencies and recommendations for improvement. The repeat oral examination will address these deficiencies and may contain material peripheral to the proposal/essay(s) but relevant to the student’s discipline.

On the repeat examination, the decision shall be "Pass" or "Fail"; in the latter case, examiners must provide to the Chair in writing, within 24 hours, the reasons for judging the candidate unfit to continue in the PhD program. The Chair will then communicate the decision, in writing and as soon as possible, to the candidate and their supervisor. Thereafter, the procedure for withdrawal on academic grounds will be followed according to the General Regulations of the SGS.

Overview of timelines

Detailed Description of Option 1 - Research Proposal Format

After the Comprehensive Examination Committee membership is established, the student will have one week to write a letter of intent (LOI) that outlines the proposal. The LOI should be no more than 2 pages, double-spaced, single-sided pages with 12 point font and one inch margins; including cited literature.

The LOI should include a brief background synopsis, rationale/hypothesis, aims, and significance.

The LOI shall be electronically submitted to the Chair, who will distribute it to the committee for adjudication. The student will have 1 week to confer with the examining committee, who will provide feedback on the LOI.

The proposal must not be on the exact thesis topic but may cover related areas to provide the student an opportunity to explore the literature in a sub-discipline related to their thesis work. Additionally, the proposal should differ from work submitted (grant proposal, manuscript) by the supervisor(s).

If not approved by the examining committee, the student will have an additional week to revise the LOI. At the time of approval, the Chair of the Comprehensive Examination Committee shall set the submission date of the research proposal, as well as the date and location of the oral examination.

Subsequently, the student will have three weeks to complete the proposal, with the following components: literature review; rationale; hypothesis or nature of problem; objectives; description of methodologies and expected results for each objective; significance

The proposal should be maximum of 25 pages, double-spaced, single-sided 12 font, 1 inch margins, excluding figures and bibliography. It will also include a summary page and a lay summary, as required for a CIHR project grant submission.

The oral examination will be held one to two weeks after the candidate has returned the proposal to the Chair and examination committee members. At least two days prior to the scheduled oral examination, the Chair will confirm with all examination committee members that the written performance on the proposal is satisfactory such that the oral component of the comprehensive should proceed.

If the oral examination is postponed, pending revision of the document, the student will have two weeks to revise the document and reschedule the oral exam (ideally within two weeks after submission of the revised proposal). The exact time given to the candidate to revise the document will be decided by the Chair in consultation with the Examination Committee. The reasons for postponement of the oral examination will be provided to the student by the Chair in writing. The candidate is encouraged to speak to relevant members of the Examination Committee prior to revision of the written proposal. Only one revision of the written proposal is allowed, and the oral examination will proceed regardless of the quality of the revised proposal.

The oral exam should not normally exceed two hours in duration. At the oral examination, initially the candidate is asked to withdraw from the room, the Chair reviews the student's performance on the proposal and each examiner is asked to comment briefly on the proposal. The order in which Examiners question the candidate will decided by the Chair in consultation with the Examining Committee. Once the candidate returns, they will give a 15-minute presentation summarizing the proposal. During the examination examiners shall confine their questioning to issues which have arisen from the proposal. Questions should be used to assess whether the candidate has researched the subject area well, understands the scientific concepts and theories behind the research plan and the methods proposed, demonstrates a thorough knowledge base appropriate to the field of study, and understands principles of appropriate and ethical behaviour in scientific research. There will be two rounds of questioning at the oral examination. During the first round, each Examiner will have 15 minutes to question the candidate and during the second round up to 5 minutes.

Detailed Description of Option 2 - Essay Questions Format

The three members of the examining committee will each provide one question to the Chair for approval. While the candidate’s supervisor does not provide a question, they may provide input into the formulation of the questions. The Chair will provide the student with the questions no later than 1 week after the examining committee is established. The student will have 1 week to confer with the examining committee, who will inform the student as to the level of detailed knowledge expected at the oral examination.

There is flexibility with respect to the exact nature of the questions, but they must be thought-provoking and require substantive effort on the part of the candidate. For example:

  • a question within the candidate’s field of specialization but decidedly outside the thesis sub-discipline
  • a question that encompasses several sub-disciplines distinct from the thesis project, i.e., an integrative-type question involving more than one cellular process, experimental method, drug class, organ system, etc.
  • a question on the philosophy, history, sociology, or ethics of scientific enquiry

The student will have 3 weeks to answer the questions. Each answer should be no longer than 20 pages, double-spaced single-sided pages with 12-point font and one-inch margins, excluding figures and bibliography.

The oral examination will be held one to two weeks after the student has returned the written answers to the Chair and examination committee. At least two days prior to the scheduled oral examination, the Chair will confirm with all members of the examination committee that the written performance on the essays is satisfactory such that the oral component of the comprehensive should proceed.

If the oral examination is postponed, pending revision of the document, the student will have two weeks to revise the problematic essay(s) and reschedule the oral exam (ideally one to two weeks after submission of the revised proposal). The exact time given to the student to revise the essay(s) will be decided by the Chair in consultation with the Examination Committee. The reasons for postponement of the oral examination will be provided to the student by the chair in writing. The student is encouraged to speak to relevant members of the Examination Committee prior to revision of the essay(s). Only one revision of the essay(s) is allowed, and the oral examination will proceed regardless of the quality of the revised essay(s).

The oral examination should not normally exceed two hours in duration. At the oral examination, initially the candidate is asked to withdraw, and the Chair reviews the student's performance on the essays. Each examiner is asked to comment briefly on the written responses. The order in which Examiners question the candidate will decided by the Chair in consultation with the Examining Committee. Examiners will focus their questioning on issues which have arisen from the written answers. Questions should be used to assess the student's understanding of concepts rather than details. However, because we expect students to have a general knowledge, questioning may be broadened from the particular to the general. It is expected that the candidate will have a detailed knowledge of the background to the sub-discipline in which the thesis project is based. There will be two rounds of questioning at the oral examination. During the first round, each examiner will have 15 minutes to question the candidate, and during the second round up to 5 minutes.





Chapter 10 Mini Master's

The guidelines for transferring via the Mini-Master's to the Ph.D. program can be found here Mini-Masters Departmental Guidelines

Chapter 11 Thesis Procedures and Defense

Master’s and Doctoral Thesis Examination

The guidelines for Thesis Examination Committee taken from the Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Council (FHSGC) Manual can be found here.

  1. Thesis Formatting
  2. Prepare for your oral examination
  3. Thesis examination procedures
  4. Final Submission
  5. Other Resources

Ph.D Oral Thesis Examination Form

Master's Oral Thesis Examination Form

Chapter 12 Registration and Fees

For information on graduate student tuition, registration and fees please visit the University Registrar’s website.
Pre-Authorized Payment Plan (PPL)

Chapter 13 Financial Support

Graduate students receive an annual stipend to help defray living expenses and tuition.  The stipend is not employment income as the training activities undertaken are an integral part of the educational outcomes of the graduate program.  Stipends for thesis based graduate students are established by the School of Graduate Studies and Research (SGSR) for PhD candidates at a guaranteed minimum of $19,000 per annum for 4 years, while no minimum is in place for MSc students.  DBMS provides a guaranteed minimum stipend of $21,000 per annum for PhD candidates for 4 years, and $19,000 per annum for MSc candidates for 2 years to assist with living expenses and tuition.  A small stipend is usually provided to Pattern 2 MSc students although there is no guaranteed minimum. Tuition and student fees are paid by the student (see the Registrar's web pages for details).

Most students receive financial support from a combination of sources including external and internal (to Queen’s) scholarships, Faculty of Health Sciences fellowships, Queen’s Graduate Awards, and Graduate Research Fellowships (supervisor’s research grants).  The supervisors of students who have been awarded scholarships at the provincial or national level are encouraged to supplement the minimum stipend level when financially possible.  Many students undertake Teaching Assistantships and, wherever financially feasible, the associated remuneration may be allocated, at least in part, in addition to the minimum stipend.

The Graduate Program Committee reviews the minimum stipend to be paid to graduate students, taking into account increases in tuition and the cost of living. The Committee’s recommendations are presented for approval at the departmental level, where a final decision on the amount of the minimum stipend is made.  In the situation where a supervisor is unable to continue to meet their financial commitment to a full time student, the Department will make its best effort to provide financial support or, if necessary, to secure alternative supervision in order to allow the student to complete their program, but cannot guarantee that the student will receive the minimum stipend.

Chapter 14 Student Awards

Queen’s University Student Awards Website

Queen’s Internal Awards

Queen’s Graduate Awards (QGA)

QGA allocations are made to Departments/Programs based on the number of funding-eligible graduate students (full-time equivalent, or, FTE) that appear on the University’s official November 1 count. Queen’s Graduate Awards (QGAs) are awarded annually on the recommendation of a Department, Program, School or Faculty to the School of Graduate Studies. QGAs are awarded to eligible Master’s and Doctoral students in all fields. The value of the QGA is variable, but will not exceed $18,000 in 2014-2015.

Graduate Entrance Tuition Awards (GETA)

Graduate Entrance Tuition Awards (GETAs) are distributed to eligible Master's and Doctoral students in all fields, on the recommendation of a Department, Program, School, or Faculty to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). The award is given to an incoming graduate student with an average of at least A- (A minus) (or equivalent) in each of the last two years.
  • The award must be given to a new, incoming graduate student with an average of at least A- (A minus) (or equivalent) in each of the last two years of study.
  • The amount of the award is equivalent to the current academic year’s domestic tuition fee (to a maximum of the approved tuition fee for domestic Master’s/Doctoral students).
  • GETAs must be awarded to domestic full-time funding-eligible students.
  • The recipient must be enrolled in a first year Doctoral or Master’s program full-time as of September of the upcoming academic session.
  • The award is held in the first year of study only, and is not renewable.

International Tuition Awards (ITAs)

Each new international Doctoral student admitted to full time study receives an ITA (or ITA equivalent) to be held for the duration of their period of funding eligibility (i.e. years 1-4 of a four-year Doctoral program, years 1-3 of a three-year Doctoral program) provided they also maintain full time registration and international student status. The annual award is $5,000.

Conference Travel Awards (also see DBMS PhD Travel Grant)

The School of Graduate Studies (SGS) allocates a lump sum of CTA funding to each department/program based on student enrolments (full time domestic and international students in year 1 or years 1-2 of a one-year or two year Master’s program, respectively or years 1-4 of a PhD program). Departments/programs allocate awards to their students who meet the award criteria. Departments/programs also have the flexibility to determine the amount of each award.
  1. Awards must be used to provide financial support for travel, accommodation, food and registration fees associated with a recognized conference at which the student is presenting their own or co-authored paper or poster.
  2. Recipients must be registered full time in a graduate degree program within the School of Graduate Studies at the time of the conference.
  3. Students who are registered full time but are beyond their funding- eligible period (years 1-2 for Master’s students, years 1-4 for Ph.D. students) and are presenting their own paper or poster at a conference may be eligible to receive a CTA. The decision to allocate awards to beyond funding-eligible students resides with the department /program.


R.S. McLaughlin and Franklin and Helene Bracken Fellowships

The R.S. McLaughlin Fellowships and Franklin and Helene Bracken Fellowships are merit based fellowships established by two generous benefactors of Queen's University, who provided endowments for the establishment of graduate fellowships in their names. The R.S. McLaughlin Fellowships and Franklin and Helene Bracken Fellowships are designated as "Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Funds (OSOTF)" awards. Under the OSOTF program, the Ontario government matched funding for awards designated for Ontario residents. The value of the R.S. McLaughlin Fellowships, and Franklin and Helene Bracken Fellowships is $10,000 for one academic year.

Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Program Awards

The Abrahams Prize in Physiology

Established by the Abramsky Foundation to honour Dr. Vivian Abrahams, distinguished physiologist, Professor of Physiology at Queen's from 1963 to 1995 and Head of the Department from 1976 to 1988. Awarded annually to a student enrolled in the Ph.D. program in the Department of Physiology who shows exceptional promise for independent research. Value: variable.

The Dr. Gerald and Marion Marks Prize in Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology

Established in June 2008 by family, friends and colleagues in honour of Dr. Gerald Marks, former Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Mrs. Marion Marks, and awarded to the M.Sc. or Ph.D. graduate student deemed to have had the best thesis in the Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology field of the DBMS graduate program, in a calendar year. Students are nominated by their supervisor(s), which will include 1) a letter of nomination from the supervisor; 2) a letter of support from another faculty member who is familiar with the student’s research; 3) the abstract of the thesis; and 4) an up-to-date curriculum vitae of the student. The adjudication committee will consist of three members including the Graduate Student Representative, the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, and the Head of the Department. Value: Award (value variable) and Plaque.

The Jane Poulson Memorial Prize in Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology

Established in February 2004 by the Estate of Dr. Jane Poulson, B.Sc. 1974, M.Sc. 1976, with additional contributions by friends and colleagues and awarded on the basis of academic achievement to graduate students in the Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology field of the DBMS graduate program. The adjudication committee shall comprise three members including the graduate student representative and the graduate field coordinator, and another faculty member associated with the field. Selection will be based upon all aspects of the student's graduate endeavour including: performance in course work, progress in research (based on a one-page abstract written by the candidate), participation in seminars/journal clubs, and performance in teaching. Value: variable.

The Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology Alumni Fellowship

Established from donations by alumni of the graduate program in Pharmacology and Toxicology and their friends. Awarded to a graduate student(s) in the Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology field of the DBMS graduate program, based on the student's academic record. Financial need may also be taken into consideration. Selection of the recipient(s) will be made by the Head of the Department in consultation with a selection committee. Value: variable

The Jellinck-Lyttle Graduate Fellowship in Biochemistry

Established in July 2011 by Richard Lyttle, Ph.D. 1973, in honour of Dr. P. Harry Jellinck, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry. Awarded on the basis of academic excellence to funding-eligible Masters or Ph.D. level students enrolled in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology field of the DBMS graduate program in the School of Graduate Studies. Relevant working experience may also be considered. Selection will be made by the Awards Committee of the Biochemistry and Cell Biology field. Value: variable.

The E. G. Bauman Fellowship

Awarded to doctoral students in the departments of Biology, Economics, English and Mathematics and Statistics or the Biochemistry and Cell Biology field of the DBMS graduate program. Candidates must be registered in the first or second year of a doctoral program and students may receive the award for two years. Candidates for the awards must show exceptional promise for making significant contributions to the study of biochemistry, economic theory and/or econometrics, English language and literature or mathematics. Value: $15,000

The Dr. Jeremy Nesheim Memorial Award in Biochemistry

Established in May 2002 by family, friends and colleagues in memory of Dr. Jeremy Nesheim, B.Sc. 1991, Ph.D. (Minnesota). Awarded on the basis of academic achievement to a student entering the Master's or Ph.D. program in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology field of the DBMS graduate program.  Preference will be given to a student who received their undergraduate degree at Queen's University. The candidate should demonstrate intent to pursue a career in research.

The Professors’ Prize for Outstanding Graduate Work in Anatomy

Awarded to a graduate student in the second or subsequent years of study in the Discipline of Anatomy. The recipient must demonstrate outstanding performance in research and course work. Consideration will also be given to teaching and extracurricular activities. Students must be nominated by their supervisor and can win only once in each degree program. Selection will be made by a committee consisting of the Department Head, Coordinator of Graduate Studies and two faculty members who teach Anatomy courses. Deadline for nominations is 1 April and the winner will be announced by 1 June. Value: variable

The Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award in Honour of Dr. Gloria Delisle

The Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award in honour of Dr. Gloria Delisle is awarded each fall to the student within the Microbes, Immunity, and Inflammation field, determined to be most deserving based on their teaching assistant evaluations from the previous year.  Value: plaque

The Eldon Boyd Fellowship

Established in September 1972 and revised in October 2014 by Professor E.M. Boyd and awarded to a graduate student or students in the current Pharmacology and Toxicology program, or in the field of Therapeutics, Drug Development, and Human Toxicology in the department of Biomedical and Molecular sciences graduate program. Preference will be given to a student or students with the M.D. degree wishing to pursue graduate studies in Pharmacology and Toxicology or Therapeutics, Drug development, and Human Toxicology. The Fellowship is renewable for 2 years dependant upon the student maintain satisfactory progress. If there is no suitable candidate, the Fellowship may be awarded to a post-doctoral student for one year. The Field Coordinator for Therapeutics, drug Development, and Human Toxicology will identify the successful candidate(s) in consultation with members of the staff, and make a recommendation to the School of Graduate Studies. Value: variable.

DBMS PhD Conference Travel Award

Networking at international conferences is an important aspect for developing contacts that will lead to future career development.  The purpose of this travel award is to facilitate presenting a PhD candidate’s thesis work at international or national conferences that are highly relevant to the candidate’s career aspirations. This award is a supplement that is meant to complement funds made available by conference organizers, grants, or other means of support, and candidates are encouraged to seek matching funding from other sources.

The following conditions apply:

  1. PhD candidate must have successfully completed their comprehensive exam prior to applying for these funds.
  2. Release of funds is contingent upon acceptance of an abstract for either a poster or oral presentation. Proof of acceptance of abstract must be provided.
  3. A DBMS PhD candidate is eligible for these funds once during their graduate career.
  4. Travel to the designated conference must take place prior to submission of the final copy of the award holder’s thesis to the School of Graduate Studies and Research
  5. The applicant must be the primary presenter of the work.
  6. A travel supplement of up to $2,000 will be considered for applicants, based upon demonstrated need. If the applicant does not receive the PhD Travel Award, they are eligible to apply for the Conference Travel Award. Recipients of the PhD Travel Award are not eligible for the Conference Travel Award.

To apply please submit the following information to the Associate Head, Graduate Education at the earliest timepoint that the information is known. A maximum of $6,000 in total will be allocated each academic year beginning in 2019-2020. If the number of applicants exceeds the allocated funds, applicants will be ranked based on their academic and scholarly achievements.

Please include:


Applicant’s name:

Supervisor’s name:

Date of successful completion of comprehensive exam:

Title of conference:

Location of conference:

Dates of conference:

Mode of travel to conference:

Draft of travel budget:

Date of acceptance of abstract:


External Awards


The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will award up to 3,000 Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS) annually, tenable at Queen's University. The awards are tenable in all disciplines and the scholars must have a high level of academic achievement. The awards are intended primarily for Canadian citizens and for landed immigrants; however, a small number of awards may be made to student visa holders who are students at Queen's University during tenure of the OGS. The current value of the award is $5,000 per term. Awards will be for two or three consecutive terms; one-term awards will not be made. Information on the application process, and the internal competition deadline will be circulated to all graduate departments/programs each Fall term.


Master’s Harmonized Tri-Council Awards – CIHR, NSERC & SSHRC

Canada Graduate Scholarship Masters (CGS M)

The federal granting agencies (Canadian Institute of Health Research CIHR, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council NSERC, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council SSHRC) have harmonized the Masters Canada Graduate Scholarship program. 
For more information about the CGS Master’s competition, including a summary of eligibility criteria, see tri-agency CGS harmonization site.



The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is Canada’s federal funding agency for health research. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
Funding from CIHR for graduate level studies is possible through a number of annual competitions.  Details can be found here: 

or by contacting CIHR:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
160 Elgin Street, 9th Floor
Address Locator 4809A
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0W9

General Inquiries: 613-941-2672
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178
Fax: 613-954-1800 

Grants & Awards Information: 613-954-1968
Toll Free: 1-888-603-4178 (press 1)

All information also available in French from the websites.

Information on the application processes, and the internal competition deadlines will be circulated to all graduate departments/programs annually.



NSERC is a federal funding and granting agency. The agency supports some 26,500 university students and postdoctoral fellows.
NSERC aims to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports university students in their advanced studies, promotes and supports discovery research, and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects. NSERC researchers are on the vanguard of science, building on Canada’s long tradition of scientific excellence.
Funding from NSERC for graduate level studies is possible through a number of annual competitions.  Details can be found here:

or by contacting NSERC:

350 Albert Street
P.O. Box 1610
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4

Phone: 613 995 5992

Fax: 613 992-5377


All information also available in French from the websites.

Information on the application processes, and the internal competition deadlines will be circulated to all graduate departments/programs each Fall term.

Chapter 15 Teaching Assistantships

A teaching assistantship is a contractual agreement between the School and a graduate student for a specified number of hours of teaching support during a term. All teaching assistantships are governed by the PSAC TA TF 901 Collective Agreement. Teaching assistantships serve several functions:

  • Most importantly, they provide teaching support to the undergraduate programs of the School;
  • they are a basic component of financial support for graduate students;
  • and they are an important part of the professional development of graduate students.

 Teaching Assistant Opportunities

Chapter 16 Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see These values are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University (Senate Report on Principles and Priorities:
Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations concerning academic integrity
and for ensuring that their assignments conform to the principles of academic integrity. Information on
academic integrity is available in the Arts and Science Calendar. Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification, and are antithetical to the development of an academic community at Queen's. Given the seriousness of these matters, actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning or the loss of grades on an assignment to the failure of a course to a requirement to withdraw from the university.

Regulation 1: Academic Integrity

Chapter 17 Intellectual Property Guidelines

Intellectual property is any form of knowledge or expression created with one’s intellect.  Specifically, this includes inventions, publications, computer software, works of art, industrial and artistic designs, as well as other creations that can be protected under copyright, patent, or trademark laws. The two main types of intellectual property protection in the University environment are copyright and patents. For the complete Intellectual Property Guidelines at Queen`s University please click here. 

In accordance with Queen’s University policy, intellectual property is created as a result of research, which in the case of graduate student research is often collaborative research, and is owned by the creators. However, the University retains a royalty-free irrevocable right to use for educational and research purposes any intellectual property created by a student in relation to her/his research activities. The student should be aware of and adhere to the University policy on the ownership of intellectual property and the retention of any information relevant to the research program by the University for educational and research purposes and to respect any contractual terms under which thesis research is conducted. At the outset of the program, supervisors should discuss with their students issues related to intellectual property. Original data should be retained in the laboratory or the department/program of the principal investigator and accessible to those involved in the research (supervisor and  student). Guidelines of the General Research Ethics Board and the Health Sciences Research Ethics Board should be followed as appropriate and in accordance with the procedure describe in the ethics submission. It should be recognized that the data should be retained in the designated location (e.g. lab, department/program) for a reasonable period beyond the time of publication and beyond the end of the grant period. In many disciplines, the supervisor plays a significant role in guiding the development, direction and completion of the student's research project such that the supervisor and student are both considered to have contributed intellectually to the research. Both students and supervisors must conform to the university policy on intellectual property. As an institution of intellectual inquiry, Queen’s is committed to fostering intellectual inquiry and transferring results to society and making them accessible. The ownership of intellectual property must not be used to suppress or distort research work conducted by members of the university.

Chapter 18 Copyright Permission

Copyright permission is required if your thesis contains someone else’s work; text, figures, maps, images, questionnaires, photos, etc.; AND/OR if your thesis contains your own previously published materials (e.g. journal article) or material (e.g. a chapter, an article) that was co-written with another author. You must obtain written permission to reproduce copyright material from the copyright owner (e.g. journal publisher and/or co-authors). Any copyrighted material including photos, pictures, charts, graphs, maps, etc. must receive full citation within your thesis. Please click here for more detailed information on copyright and your thesis. To visit the Copyright Advisory Office please click here

Chapter 19 Policies and Procedures Regarding Authorship of Collaborative Research Involving Students

Graduate students are encouraged to publish results from their thesis research in the academic literature. Since the thesis research is usually a collaborative effort, involving student and supervisor, and is often supported by the supervisor's research grant, some form of joint authorship is usually appropriate.

The following represents a statement of the School's policy:

  1. Paper Publications or Presentations Arising Directly from Theses - authorship is established by mutual agreement:
    1. the student is normally a first author if the student writes the first draft of the paper;
    2. if, by previous agreement, or by student request, the faculty member will be listed as the first author;
    3. where a significant amount of additional research or analysis is required to produce publishable results, or where the student does not contribute to the writing of the paper, the supervisor might be expected to claim first authorship;
    4. if a student expects to be sole author on publications based on all or part of his or her thesis research, this should be discussed in advance with the supervisor.
  1. The authorship of a report to a granting agency lies with the faculty member who has received the grant. Usually students who work on such grants have an established status as per the original grant submission and are acknowledged as such (i.e. Research Associate, Research Assistant, Research Coordinator, etc.) in any reports.
  2. Students employed as research assistants for data collection or analysis should not expect joint authorship unless they have made significant original contributions to the design of the study in question and/or authorship of the publication arising from the work.
  3. Incoming graduate students are encouraged to discuss possible joint authorship arrangements with their supervisor at the outset of their graduate programs.



Chapter 20 Ethics Approval

Any student working with animals is required to take QACS-799: Introduction to Animal Care.

Required Ethics

  1. All research involving humans or animals by Queen’s employees or their collaborators must be approved by a Queen’s sanctioned review board. For further details pertaining to specific Research Ethics Board guidelines please refer to the Office of Research Services website at 
  2. At the time of FMC protocol submission please submit an electronic copy of your FULL research ethics submission (including all appendices) in PDF format

New Protocols

  1. An investigator wishing to begin a new study at the 3T MRI Facility must submit a brief (less than 2 pages) summary of the proposed research to the Facility Management Committee which includes details of the experimental protocol. A Word document template is available entitled “FMC_protocol_template.doc”. The report will be kept on file with the Facility Director.
  2. The protocol will be discussed with regard to safety, appropriateness and experimental design by the Management Committee at a meeting that is open to any interested participants. Only the Management Committee will vote to approve or deny the protocol.
  3. Approval of the study must be obtained through the appropriate Queen’s University Research Ethics Board or Animal Care Committee before the study may commence (see below). Template documents are provided as examples to assist with portions of the required ethics submissions. These are available in the documents “Ethics_risks&benefits.doc” and “subject_information_template.doc”. Ethics procedures change periodically and it is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that the information taken from these templates conforms to current ethics board recommendations.

Chapter 21 Academic Appeals

The Academic Regulations for the Faculty of Arts and Science are designed to ensure that academic standards are upheld and that all students are treated fairly and equitably. The Faculty does, however, understand that there are occasions in which extenuating circumstances – that is, personal circumstances beyond a student’s control – adversely affect a student’s performance at Queen’s University. The appeal process is available to reconsider the suitability of sanctions or penalties imposed upon a student in light of information brought forward by the student concerning such extenuating circumstances. In general, with the exception of appeals related to final examinations, final grades, or non-academic discipline where other criteria will apply, appeals are only granted where there are significantly extenuating circumstances, beyond the student’s control, which would merit the waiving of a particular Faculty regulation or decision. Extenuating circumstances normally involve a significant physical or psychological event that is beyond a student’s control and debilitating to his or her academic performance. These kinds of extraordinary situations should be supported by official documentation from an appropriate professional. Official documentation does not need to outline the specifics of the particular condition or matter affecting the student, but should clearly indicate ways in which the extenuating circumstances directly affected the student’s performance, and should verify that these effects were substantial enough to cause the academic problem. Information on the start, duration and present state of the extenuating condition is critical to helping the instructor, Associate Dean (Studies) or Board of Studies to make an informed decision. Further, a clear statement on whether the condition or circumstances have either improved or are being managed so that they will not have a significant detrimental effect on future academic performance is also essential. The appeals process does not compensate for extenuating circumstances that the student is unable to resolve, or for which the student is unwilling to actively seek accommodation. In addition, the appeals process does not compensate for extenuating circumstances that are actively being accommodated, for example where a student’s permanent disabilities are being accommodated through the University’s Disability Services Office. Multiple appeals citing the same extenuating circumstances will be reviewed very closely. This review may include, with the permission of the student, consultation with the appropriate professionals involved to obtain more detailed information. In order for such an appeal to succeed, there must be convincing evidence that the circumstances that affected the student’s academic performance will be resolved within a reasonable timeline, or will be appropriately managed on an ongoing basis.


Appeals Against Academic Decisions

Appeal of an Assigned Grade in a Graduate Course

Chapter 22 Academic Culture in the School

The Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences offers a dynamic learning environment where students can explore the complex world of biomedical and molecular sciences to develop into an independent, productive, research scientist. The department provides a cross-disciplinary environment and delivers the programs in a collaborative and integrated manner. This interdisciplinary gives candidates access to over 80 faculty members engaged in a broad spectrum of biomedical research, using techniques to address questions concerning single molecules, cellular/microbial function, organ-systems, and whole-animal biology.

Graduate Student Seminar Series (BMED 897)

BMED 897 is a requirement for all DBMS MSc students.  Students are required to attend the DBMS Plenary Seminars and present their research in seminar format to a broad yet knowledgeable audience.  This forum also brings all DBMS graduate students and faculty members together on a regular basis to enjoy presentations related to ongoing research activities. At the seminar you will hear presentations by visiting scholars, by our own faculty, faculty from other departments at Queen’s, and by grad students within DBMS. This course spans a two-year period, fall, winter and spring terms. 

Annual Meeting for Health Science Research Trainees

This one-day annual conference provides research trainees with an opportunity to make formal conference presentations in either poster or oral format. It provides an excellent opportunity to see the different types of research that are undertaken in our department and also to attend a talk from a keynote speaker. The conference is normally held during the spring term. 

Chapter 23 Vacation Guidelines

Scheduled time off and vacations are important for personal health, well-being, and workplace productivity. Graduate students are not employees of the School of Graduate Studies and as a result, there is no mandated entitlement for a vacation benefit. However, many graduate students have an employment relationship with the University as teaching assistants or teaching fellows, in addition to their academic status as students, for which applicable vacation policies and provisions apply. Please consult the Department of Human Resources for all matters regarding vacation entitlement related to employment; the guidelines below are intended for graduate students in their student role.

Graduate students may be enrolled continuously for the entire academic year during which there are no breaks between consecutive terms of study. The following guidelines are offered to graduate students, graduate coordinators, program directors, department heads and graduate student supervisors.

Full-time graduate students should be able to take up to 10 business days of vacation during the academic year (September 1 to August 31), over and above statutory holidays and/or periods when the University is officially closed (i.e. the period between the December 25 and January 1) provided that the time off:

  • Does not compromise the progress of a student's studies;
  • Does not compromise the progress of the research; and
  • Is negotiated and agreed upon by the student and his/her supervisor well in advance (usually one month).

Vacation periods do not result in any changes to registered student status or funding status; students remain registered and pay all fees during the vacation period in the academic session until completion or withdrawal.

It is expected that negotiations for time off for vacation will be free from controversy or disagreement. In the case of dispute, the usual dispute resolution procedures will apply. These procedures can be found in the Guide to Graduate Supervision booklet (section 10) published by the School of Graduate Studies. 

Chapter 24 Parental Leave and Part Time Status

Maternity and Parental Leave

a. Graduate students who wish to take a maternity and/or parental leave from their program of study may register as inactive without prejudice to their academic standing. The maximum duration of the maternity and parental leave is two terms and two terms respectively. Both parents are entitled to a parental leave. In addition, mothers are entitled to a maternity leave. The maternity and/or parental leave would normally be taken during the first year of the child's life, or, in the case of adoption of a child, within 12 months after the child first comes into the custody of the parent. A fee waiver for the period of the leave will be granted by the university through the School of Graduate Studies.

Students request this status by submitting the Maternity/Parental Leave Request Form.

b. For students taking a maternity and/or parental leave, the statutory periods for completion of degree programs (see Time Limits for Completion of Programs), together with the prescribed maximum periods of eligibility for financial support from the School of Graduate Studies' sources will, on resumption of studies, be extended by the time-period taken for the leave.

c. Awards to students which are derived from the resources of the School of Graduate Studies (such as but not limited to, Dean's Awards, International Tuition Awards, internal Fellowships and Scholarships, and Queen's Graduate Awards) will be suspended for the duration of a maternity and/or parental leave. On resumption of studies, the award will recommence to make up the full time-span for which support was originally granted.

d. Students holding externally funded fellowships, or other forms of support derived from sources external to the University, must observe the regulations prescribed by the granting agency concerned.

e. A change of status to inactive may also impact repayment requirements of any student loan that the student currently receives or has ever received, including any provincial and/or federal student loans, or loans from any other student loan provider. It is the student's responsibility to be aware of how a status change to inactive impacts any student loan(s).

f. Some doctoral students may qualify for maternity/parental leave funding.  See Maternity/Parental Leave Funding for complete details.

Part Time Status

Students who are registered as part-time are expected to be pursuing their studies on a part-time basis and making commensurate progress. The number of terms of study for a given program is expected to be approximately twice as long as for a full-time student in a comparable program, but progress is expected to be continuous.

Part-time students may not gain financial advantage over full-time students with respect to the overall cost of fees for their program as a function of their part-time status.

Part-time students, normally, may not enroll in more than one half course (3.0 units) per term (excluding thesis registration). An exception to this condition is made when the normal full-time course load in the program is four or more courses per term, in which case a part-time student may take two half courses in a given term.

Students may be admitted as part-time as permitted by the School of Graduate Studies. For such permission to be granted, prior to or at the time of recommending admission, the department/program must submit a formal recommendation containing

  1. an outline of a viable academic program
  2. a statement of the minimum and maximum period of registration to be allowed, and
  3. a statement of the proposed part-time status commitment.

This recommendation for part -time status must be approved before the student may be offered admission.

NOTE: The regulations above apply to any student who is admitted as a part- time student to what is normally a full -time graduate degree program. Part-time Master's degree programs, and/or professional part-time graduate programs (graduate diplomas and/or graduate certificate programs) normally have different regulations about course load and progression through the program. 

Chapter 25 International Student Information

International students at Queen's University are provided with support through the Queen's International Centre (QUIC). The International Centre provides a variety of services to help international students get settled in Kingston including helping you with documentation ie. VISA etc .to permit studies in Canada, house hunting, assisting with settling your children into appropriate schools, tuition costs, expectations of living costs while in Canada, and many other important resources. 

Follow this link to learn more:  Queen's International Centre (QUIC)

The School of Graduate Studies also provides an abundance of information to international students about arriving at Queen's and preparing for graduate studies. Click here for SGS International Student Information

Chapter 26 Career Paths

Career opportunities range from education coordinators, research technician, scientist, administrator in academia, private sector (biotechnology pharmaceutical industry, consulting firms), or in the government sector (Health Canada, Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture). Doctorates can pursue academic careers, or careers in the private and public sectors as listed above.

Welcome to Career Services

Expanding Horizons, Academic and Professional Development

Central Resources & Services for Students and their Supervisors

Central Resources & Services for Students and their Supervisors