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Guidelines for transferring via the mini-masters to the Ph.D. program are provided in the Faculty Health Sciences Graduate Council (FHSGC) Manual. These indicate the criteria to be used in determining whether or not a student is eligible to transfer to the Ph.D.:

  • If a supervisory committee is not already in place, one must be formed (this committee will oversee the Ph.D. program).
  • This committee determines if the student is eligible and if the student's progress and prospects for successful completion of the Ph.D. justify the application for the mini-masters. The committee recommends to the program (through the Coordinator of Graduate Studies) that the student proceed to the Ph.D. via the mini-masters. Supporting documentation (listed in the FHSGC Manual) must be provided.
  • The program decides whether or not to recommend the Chair of the FHSGC that the student proceed to the Ph.D. program via the mini-masters.
  • If deemed necessary by the Chair of the FHSGC, the program representatives (the Coordinator of Graduate Studies and the student’s supervisor) defends the recommendation before the FHSGC.  If approved, the Chair of the FHSGC recommends to the SGS that the student's application for entry into the Ph.D. be approved pending successful defence of the mini-masters (i.e., the thesis proposal).
  • The student must submit and defend his/her thesis before a committee whose composition and terms of reference are given in the guidelines of the FHSGC.  The thesis should include background information (with references) appropriate to the subject, a proposal(s) with the hypotheses to be tested, relevant results collected during his/her Master's research, and discussion of these results. Possible problems and options should also be discussed.
  • The chair of the examining committee reports the decision to the School of Graduate Studies.

Students registered in a Master's program at Queen's University, with first-class standing, and who show exceptional promise in their research may be considered for promotion to a doctoral program in the same Program, without completion of the Master's degree. Promotion to a doctoral program requires the recommendation of the Program, the approval of Council and the approval of the SGS. Students admitted to a doctoral program by the mini-master’s route may not revert to the master's program within the same Program. In exceptional circumstances, the student may, after withdrawal from the doctoral program, seek readmission to the master's program in the same Program, or make application for admission to a master's program in another Program, through the normal application procedures.

Promotion into a doctoral program without completing the Master's thesis is reserved for students who meet the following criteria:

  1. Must have completed two terms of the M.Sc., full time, and have completed EPID 801, EPID 804, EPID 821, and EPID 822 courses, or equivalent.
  2. Must complete all course requirements for both the Master’s and Doctoral degree prior to graduation.
  3. Should have an undergraduate honours degree with a minimum upper second class standing or equivalent.​
  4. Must have an overall first class average in graduate courses completed.
  5. Must meet Program criteria for demonstrating promise and ability at research.  This may take the form of oral or written presentation as well as letters of support from faculty familiar with the student’s progress.
  6. Must apply to Council following two terms of enrollment (8 months).  All requirements for completion of the mini- master’s must be satisfied by the end of the third term.
Procedure for Application and Approval

The student will meet with the supervisor, the supervisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator or delegate to agree upon whether he or she should apply to the Ph.D. program without completing the Master's thesis. During this meeting the ramifications of the transfer to the doctoral program are to be clearly defined for the student.

The following documents are required for submission to the SGS:

  • Updated transcript (internal transcript acceptable)
  • A brief justification outlining the student's qualifications for admission (to be completed by the Graduate Coordinator or delegate)
  • Letter of support from the supervisor.
  • Outline of student’s current and proposed research.
  • Completed application package for admittance to the doctoral program, including a decision sheet for acceptance into the Ph.D. program, “pending successful completion of the mini-master”.

The application will be forwarded to the Chair of Council.  The Chair will either sign the decision sheet, thereby accepting the student into the Ph.D. program pending successful completion of the mini-master’s examination, or, in the case where he/she queries the qualifications of the student, have the application forwarded to Council for discussion. Both the Graduate Coordinator (or delegate) in the student’s Program, and the supervisor must attend the Council meeting when the application is discussed.

No later than 40 working days after the approval to proceed via the mini-master’s route has been confirmed in writing by the SGS, the mini-master’s candidate will defend a written research report and proposal in an oral examination to an examining committee.

Procedure for Examination of the Research Proposal of the candidate for the Mini-Masters

The candidate must prepare a written report that normally should not exceed 10 pages in length, single spaced (excluding Figures, Tables and References), clearly delineating the background of the research project, the work done to date, and the proposal for development of the research into a doctoral thesis.  This report will be submitted to an examining committee composed of the following members:

  • Head/PhD Director or Delegate as Chairperson
  • MSc Director
  • Supervisor
  • Two faculty members (cross-appointees or the supervisory committee may be used)

The Mini-Masters Oral Examination Form will contain a signature line for the candidate indicating that the candidate has been informed of the make-up of the Committee and that there are no conflicts.

An oral examination will be held normally no later than 2 weeks (10 working days) after submission of the written report to the members of the examining committee. At the examination, the candidate will present a 15-20 minute talk on his/her research report and proposal.  This talk will be followed by an oral examination.

Questioning or comments of the examining committee will primarily relate to the background of the project, what the student has accomplished, and the basis for expanding the project.  This should normally last no longer than 1.5 hours.
At the end of the examination, the candidate will be asked to leave the room while the examining committee members discuss the performance of the candidate.  The examining committee will decide if the student will be recommended for promotion to the Ph.D. program or not. Two or more negative votes by the examining committee will result in failure of the mini-masters examination. The decision of the examining committee shall be forwarded to the SGS.

Students who pass their mini-master’s examination will be allowed to transfer to the doctoral program in September. Council members will be informed at the next Council meeting of the promotion. Students who do not pass the mini-masters examination will be allowed to co