Program Requirements

1. Courses

MSc students are required to take at least 2 credits (12 credit hours) of courses. All students must take ANAT 5201.03 “Research Laboratory Techniques in Anatomy and Neurobiology I” and this counts for 3 of the 12 required credit hours. This course consists of classes given by faculty and staff in the department on a technique and some involve an assignment that is graded.

MSc students in the anatomy & neurobiology/neuroscience program must meet the same requirements as anatomy & neurobiology MSc students and, in addition, take NESC 6100X/Y (6 credit hours).

MSc students in the medical neuroscience program must take one of the required courses that provide training in a cardinal area of anatomy: neuroanatomy, gross anatomy, embryology & development, histology.

Note: Some of the required courses are worth only a half a credit (3 credit hours). If you choose to take one of the half credit courses then you have to pick up another credit (6 credit hours) by taking elective courses or courses from another Department. Students in anatomy/neuroscience can use NESC 6100 as part of the 2-credit course requirement but must take at least a half credit required anatomy course. Students in medical neuroscience can, with permission, take NESC 6100 for either a half (X or Y) or full (X/Y) credit.

PhD students: There are no formal course requirements for PhD students in the medical neuroscience program. However, students must fulfill a minimum of one credit of required classes if they have not previously taken core classes in anatomical sciences.

PhD students in anatomy/neuroscience must take NESC 6100X/Y (1 credit).

Final decisions about course selection must be made in consultation with your supervisor and approved by your supervisory committee.

For further information about courses consult the Graduate Studies Calendar and, to learn which courses are offered, and when, and where, see the timetable.

2. Supervisory Committee

In consultation with your supervisor, you need to assemble a supervisory committee. The recommended composition of the supervisory committee is two faculty members in addition to your supervisor. Although faculty from other departments can be members, at least one member (other than your supervisor) should be from the department.

If you're an anatomy & neurobiology/neuroscience student there must be a neuroscience faculty member on your committee and this person must be from outside the Department of Medical Neuroscience. The function of the supervisory committee is to evaluate and advise you about your thesis research and to evaluate the progress of your academic study and research.

Other duties of the supervisory committee are outlined in other sections of this handbook. FGS suggests you organize at least twice yearly meetings of the supervisory committee but, at a minimum, meetings should be held at least once a year.

Graduate Student Advisory Committee Report form [PDF - 11KB]

3. Teaching

As part of the program of instruction, all graduate students (MSc and PhD) are expected to assist with laboratory teaching in anatomy courses offered by the department to undergraduate and professional students in their second year of study and beyond. PhD students may request relief from teaching in their final year. Depending on demand each year, and on the course to which a student is assigned for their TA, the amount of teaching is 20-40 hrs per year.

4. Seminars

All graduate students are expected to attend departmental seminars. PhD students are required to give at least one seminar on their thesis research during the course of their study. MSc students are encouraged to give a seminar in their second year of study.

5. PhD Preliminary Exam

All PhD students must pass a PhD Preliminary (oral) Exam that must be held no less than one year prior to the PhD thesis defense but typically should be in the second or third year of PhD study. The objective of the Preliminary Exam is to test the depth and breadth of knowledge of the candidate in areas related to their thesis research.

The content of the exam is determined in consultation with the supervisory committee no less than three months in advance of the date of the exam. The examination committee will consist of i) a chairperson who is a member of the departmental graduate studies committee and is responsible for the conduct of the examination ii) the members of the candidate's advisory committee iii) one other faculty member, external to the advisory committee. The committee must consist of no less than three members (exclusive of the chairperson).

6. Thesis

All graduate students (both MSc and PhD) must prepare a written thesis and defend it orally before an Examination Committee.

For MSc students, the defense is arranged by the Department and the Examination Committee typically consists of the Supervisory Committee plus one new additional member. If there is no one on the Supervisory Committee from outside the Department of Medical Neuroscience then the additional member should be from outside the Department. The MSc defense will be chaired by a member of Department (typically the Graduate Studies Coordinator or a member of the Graduate Studies Committee).

For PhD students, the defence is arranged by FGS and an External Examiner from outside Dalhousie University will be invited to serve on the Examination Committee. The External Examiner is selected by the student, supervisor and Supervisory Committee and recommended to FGS for final approval. There are deadlines for submission of the thesis (prior to defense) to FGS so that it can be sent to the External Examiner. If you want to convocate in May this deadline is early to mid-February. For the October convocation, the deadline is early to mid-July. The date and place of the PhD defense is arranged by FGS and the defense will be chaired by an FGS appointee.

Thesis Deadlines: Please note that there are deadlines by which a completed (after defense, with all required corrections made) thesis must be submitted to FGS in order for a student to convocate in May or October. For May convocation, the thesis must be submitted to FGS early in April. For October convocation, the thesis must be submitted to FGS early in September.

Thesis Formatting: The format of both MSc and PhD theses must follow the thesis format guidelines by FGS.

If you do not defend your thesis prior to these deadlines, you must remain a student until you defend which can mean paying another term of fees. If you defend in the fall and submit your thesis prior to a mid-December deadline you pay fees only for the fall term. Although you stop receiving stipend support on the day you hand in your completed (post-defense) thesis to FGS, you are responsible for paying tuition for all of that current term.