Current graduate students

Transfer credits

You cannot transfer course credits obtained while in the graduate program if the courses have been credited towards another degree, diploma, certificate or any other qualifications. 

No credits will be transferred unless the courses are relevant to the LMP program being offered and your grades are a minimum of A- or higher. 

If you come from a Canadian University other than the University of Toronto, we may consider transfer of credits for relevant courses up to a maximum of one-full year course or two-half courses, based on the Graduate Coordinator’s discretion and approval. 

If you are from another graduate department in the University of Toronto and are transferred laterally to LMP, you can transfer credits for relevant courses up to a maximum of one-full credit, based on the Graduate Coordinator’s discretion and approval. 

If you have taken more than the required courses in a graduate program at the University of Toronto, and a graduate degree has been conferred, the non-required courses may be considered for transfer up to a maximum of one full credit (one-full year course or two-half courses), based on the Graduate Coordinator’s discretion and approval. 

MSc and PhD Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC)

All graduate students are supervised by a graduate faculty member and an advisory committee. 

The composition of the committee includes: 

  • your supervisor(s) 
  • two Graduate Faculty Members from the University of Toronto, one of whom will serve as the Committee Chairperson; the Chairperson should be experienced in graduate supervision 
  • an additional committee member, either from LMP or from outside the Department, may be added as required to provide expertise for the thesis project. 

Supervisors cannot chair their own student’s advisory committee. 

Complete an Advisory Committee Approval Form (online form) to receive approval of the committee from the LMP Graduate Coordinators. 

The committee will guide you on course work, the research program and to act on behalf of the Department in ensuring that the highest standards of scientific rigor and standards for degree completion are maintained. 

Running your meetings

The first committee meeting should take place within 6-9 months of registration in the program with subsequent meetings scheduled every 10-12 months. The date of the next meeting should be set at the end of each meeting. 

At the first meeting, you are expected to have:

  • well-defined projects
  • a  good understanding of your projects and
  • strategies to be used in your research. 

At least one week prior to each meeting, you should send a report to the committee members. 

The report should include:

  1. a title page (project title, student name, supervisor name, meeting location, date and time of meeting);
  2. an introduction;
  3. rationale and aims;
  4. results; proposed experiments; and
  5. references. 

The report should be a maximum of 3 single-spaced pages (not including title page, figures, and references) plus a maximum of 2 pages of figures (unpublished data, models). 

You should make an oral presentation no longer than 30 minutes. 

The committee then discusses the proposal with you and provides advice on your program. 

Immediately after the meeting, the Chair will provide you with feedback and complete a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) Report (available on the Graduate forms page) which is forwarded to the LMP Graduate Office. 

LMP performance expectations

MSc and PhD students are expected to maintain a minimum A- average and must demonstrate an acceptable level of performance in their research as assessed by the student thesis advisory committee.   

PhD students must demonstrate research abilities consistent with the development as an independent investigator. 

The PhD thesis must demonstrate a substantial contribution to laboratory medicine and pathobiology that involves a systemic investigation of disease-related hypotheses; the standard of work must be publishable in both content and presentation; and the emphasis is on quality of the science and its presentation. The PhD thesis is expected to be equivalent to three publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. 

The research content of an MSc thesis should generate an equivalent of one paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. 

Students are expected to participate actively in Departmental activities such as MSc/PhD thesis defenses, Graduate research seminars, and Departmental Research Day. 

Unsatisfactory performance 

Your performance will be considered satisfactory if you complete the various requirements for the degree for which you are registered in a satisfactory and timely manner, as determined by the graduate unit’s time line for completion of the degree. 

For the PhD degree, you will be denied further registration in the program and will have your candidacy terminated if, by the end of the fourth year of registration in the program you have not: 

  • completed all requirements for the degree exclusive of the thesis – including course requirements, departmental examinations; or 
  • have an approved thesis topic, supervisor, or advisory committee. 

In exceptional circumstances, you may be permitted to register in the program for two further sessions provided that the graduate unit approves. Continuation in the program beyond two sessions will require the approval of both the department and the School of Graduate Studies Admissions and Programs Committee. 

Academic appeals 

Information on academic appeals can be found on the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) website. 

Achieving candidacy

To achieve candidacy in the PhD program, you must complete all program requirements for the degree other than thesis research and ongoing research seminars (i.e. LMP1001Y). 

Candidacy must be achieved by the end of the third year for all PhD students. 

Direct entry PhD students must achieve candidacy by end of the fourth year. 

Program transfers

MSc to PhD transfer 

If you have a high academic standing (normally minimum A-average on MSc courses) and have clearly demonstrated the ability to do research at the doctoral level, you may, with the recommendation of their advisory committee, request consideration for transfer to the PhD program.

Transfer to the PhD program is based on your performance at an assessment examination, which is held 12 to 22 months after the start of the MSc program. 

Procedure for MSc to PhD transfer 

1. Set up and prepare the committee

Upon the recommendation of the thesis advisory committee, you and your supervisor will schedule the transfer examination and set up an Examination Committee. You will submit a transfer request at least four weeks before the examination using the transfer request form (online form). 

The Examination Committee consists of: 

  • Examination Chair, a member of the LMP graduate faculty, who chairs the examining committee, and at her/his discretion may participate in questioning you; 
  • your advisory committee; and 
  • two other graduate faculty members, one of whom is a member of another graduate unit 

2. Prepare a research proposal

You will prepare a Research Proposal and distribute it to the members of the examination committee (including the Chair) at least two weeks before the examination. 

You should also send the committee:

Your research proposal should describe the experiments that you intend to perform as a PhD student.

It is your task to convince the committee members that your proposed work will likely lead to novel and significant findings – passing the Transfer Exam depends on this. 

In general, good experiments have clearly described hypotheses, strong rationales (based on published data or your preliminary data that support your hypotheses), and feasible experimental approaches (well-established assays or assays that are within the expertise of your laboratory or your collaborator’s laboratory).

Your research proposal should not exceed 11 pages (12-point font; double-spaced; page limit does not include references and figures/figure legends). 

The research proposal should include the following sections: 

  • Abstract: Summary of the proposal (~1 page) 
  • Introduction: The purpose of the introduction is to provide background information that allows the examiners to understand your proposed work. Try to avoid writing a generic overview of the field. Your introduction should be tailored to your proposal. (~3 pages) 
  • Preliminary data: This section should contain data you have generated that is relevant to your proposed work. The style should be similar to that of a Results Section of a manuscript. (~3 pages) 
  • Research plan: The research plan should contain two to three specific aims. Ideally for each aim, you should provide a rationale (the reason why you believe the aim is strong), describe the experiments you will perform to achieve the aim, discuss potential pitfalls, and indicate alternative approaches if your primary approach fails. (~4 pages) 

3. Deliver a presentation at the examination

At the examination, you will give a presentation describing your research carried out to date as well as the research proposed for the PhD thesis.

Your presentation should be 20-minutes.

The committee will examine you on:

  • your research
  • the proposed research, and
  • general knowledge related to the proposal.

You should be prepared to discuss background knowledge and techniques as well as to defend the significance and feasibility of the proposed research. 

4. Committee discussion

After the formal examination, you and your supervisor will leave the room.

The Committee will then discuss your:

  • examination
  • written proposal
  • academic record
  • progress in research
  • the proposal for PhD thesis.

They will pay special attention to whether you have developed, or you hvae the potential to develop, the intellectual processes required for original thinking and independent research.

A recommendation to transfer to the PhD program will not pass if there is more than one negative vote or abstention.  

If the Examination Committee does not recommend transfer to the PhD program

Three options are available:

  • recommend you revise the proposal and re-take the oral examination within 6 weeks;
  • recommend you re-take the oral examination within 6 weeks, with no proposal revision;
  • recommend you complete an MSc degree. 

Final decisions

If the Examination Committee recommends transfer to the PhD program, the final decision will be made by the School of Graduate Studies. 

The Transfer Examination Checklist should be used to ensure that all requirements are met. 

MSc to PhD Transfer Examination Committee Report

PhD to MSc transfer 

Your advisory committee may recommend you transfer to the MSc program, or you may request the back-transfer.

This request requires approval of the Vice Dean, School of Graduate Studies. 

PhD to MSc Back-Transfer Request form (PDF). 

LMP Annual Graduate Student Research Day

One of the highlights of the academic year for the graduate program in LMP is the Annual Graduate Student Research Day.

This event allow students to interact with their peers, faculty and postdoctoral fellows from LMP and other departments, and present their research poster in a conference format.

The event also recognizes ongoing work done by graduate students in the Department.

Poster presentation prizes are also awarded at the event. 

Acknowledgements on publications, Abstracts, Posters, and Presentations

All publications, abstracts, posters and presentations must acknowledge: 

  • the University of Toronto’s affiliation which is the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto 
  • their hospital/research institute’s affiliation, if applicable. 

See the Forms page for detailed instructions on the use of the LMP Signature. 

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Guidelines for Graduate Students and Supervisors (School of Graduate Studies Guidelines): 

Covering issues associated with intellectual property that arise in the most varied of circumstances, across all settings at the University of Toronto in which graduate education occurs.

It is directed toward graduate students and graduate faculty members working with them, but we anticipate that it may also be of interest to a wider readership. 


Guidelines for Faculty of Medicine Graduate Students and Supervisors in the Context of Commercialization of Inventions Based on Thesis-Related Research (Graduate Life Sciences Education Guidelines)

Dealing with graduate student training in the context of the commercialization of inventions based on thesis-related research.

They apply in the following circumstances: 

  • thesis-related research funded through an industry contract, where research agreements are in place from the outset;
  • thesis research funded by non-industry sources where the opportunity and desire to commercialize the results are either anticipated or arises during the course of the research; and,
  • ongoing thesis research where the opportunity and desire arise to enter into a research agreement with industry 

Personal time off

The following LMP Guidelines outline expectations for personal leave, and as a general rule, students might reasonably expect up to three weeks (15 working days) per year in personal time off, plus statutory holidays, under the following conditions: 

  • Time off should be negotiated, in a clear and transparent manner, between you and your supervisor. 
  • Time off should not compromise the research program and/or your graduate studies. You must ensure that laboratory work, experimentation and other time sensitive activities are either completed, or arrangements made for others to continue ongoing work. 
  • You should take into consideration when the building or lab is closed (i.e. winter holidays). 
  • You must take into consideration time sensitive deadlines (i.e. award applications, abstract submissions). 
  • Time off cannot be carried forward from year to year. 
  • You should request time off as far in advance as possible. 
  • You should be able to maintain contact with your supervisor as appropriate if you are away for an extended period. 
  • You receive a stipend, not a salary, and the stipend continues, unaffected by personal time off. 

What is not included in personal time off

  • attendance at social activities within the academic community (departmental picnic, etc.)
  • attendance at scientific meetings
  • Sick leaves or absences for health reasons (which must be documented). 

Reporting of accidents / incidents involving students

U of T requires that all accidents to any person be reported, whether or not a personal injury is involved.

For students, this applies whether or not they are physically located on campus, in an affiliated teaching hospital, or other physical location. 

If physically located off campus, this procedure is in addition to the procedures to be followed at that physical location. 

How to report an accident or incident

Complete the Online Accident/Incident eForm for Students, Contractors and Visitors on the Environmental Health & Safety website

Further information about Reporting an Incident is available on their site.

Reportable incidents are those which: 

  • result in personal injury or lost time (including those requiring first aid, and occupational illness); 
  • have the potential to result in personal injury or property damage even though no injury or damage actually occurred; 
  • occur to any person on university premises; 
  • occur to a student during the course of his/her classroom, laboratory or field work; 
  • occur to a student during the course of a work placement (either paid or unpaid) which forms part of their university curriculum. 

Wellness counselling

University of Toronto and the Temerty Faculty of Medicine are committed to ensuring that our students are supported and academically thrive while engaged in their graduate training.

Effective Fall 2018, the Office of Graduate and LIfe Sciences Education (GLSE) in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine will have two dedicated on-location counsellors available exclusively to our graduate students. 

The Wellness Counsellor will offer brief counselling services tailored to the challenges presented by graduate-level university life.

The focus of counselling is on strengths, resiliency, and skills-building.