Medical Research Graduate Program

Developing the next generation of clinician scientists

The Dalhousie University Medical Research Graduate Program is offered jointly through Dalhousie Medical School and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The goal of the program is to provide clinicians with structured and rigorous research training over two to five years that will equip them with the knowledge, skills and experience to effectively incorporate research into their careers. The program is open to residents enrolled in a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or Canadian College of Family Physicians Program, or to physicians, dentists, or veterinarians eligible to practice in Canada. Resident physicians at Dalhousie University may also take part in the program through enrollment in the Clinician Investigator Program.

Program overview

Master’s or PhD options

Participants in the MRGP have the option to pursue a master’s degree or a PhD in their chosen field of study. This involves class work, participation in journal clubs and seminars, design and completion of an independent research project, successful defence of a thesis, and—for PhD students—a comprehensive exam. Participants may also be required to teach and supervise junior students in their supervisors’ labs.

A master’s degree will typically take up to two years to complete, while a PhD generally takes three to six years. The duration of the program is flexible and can be adjusted according to participants’ clinical and family commitments.


Participants in the MRGP are supervised by a primary research supervisor, who must be a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University. In addition to the primary supervisor, each participant will work with a supervisory committee, as appropriate to their program (master’s or PhD) and field of study. For more detailed information, refer to pages 9 and 10 of the MRGP Student Handbook [PDF - 623 KB].

Clinical involvement during the MRGP

Medical residents taking part in the program continue to participate in departmental grand rounds and may work up to 16 hours a week in clinical service. Practising clinicians may also continue to work in their clinical roles for a limited number of hours per week. All clinical commitments must be approved by the MRGP Committee and must not interfere with participants’ research program.


Requirements for completion

In order to successfully complete the Medical Research Graduate Program participants must:

  • complete relevant course work as determined by their supervisory committee, with passing grades
  • attend relevant journal clubs and/or seminar series
  • present at least one formal seminar per year
  • complete an independent research study over a minimum of 24 months
  • submit two progress reports, attend two supervisory committee meetings, and submit two committee reports per year
  • prepare, submit and successfully defend a graduate thesis
  • PhD candidates must pass a comprehensive examination, consisting of written and oral components


Residents enrolled in the MRGP will receive an equivalent salary to their clinical counterparts, as per the Clinician Investigator Program.

All prospective participants must secure funding before being accepted into the program.

Sources of funding

  • national bodies, such as Canadian Institutes of Health Research and MITACS
  • specialty foundations, such as Heart & Stroke Foundation
  • local foundations, such as Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation
  • internal sources, such as departments, divisions, and supervisors’ individual operating grants and contracts held by Dalhousie Medical School researchers.


Funding must be confirmed by letter from the source. Students in this program are not eligible for funding through the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

How to apply

Individuals who are interested in applying to the Medical Research Graduate Program should contact the Medical Research Development Office for guidance. The Medical Research Development Office(MRDO) , if required, can assist the applicant on finding a supervisor and thesis project. Once they have identified these cornerstones, and secured appropriate funding, they must apply to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University.

Applications must include a completed Faculty of Graduate Studies application form [PDF - 134 KB], a description of the proposed research, relevant transcripts, supervisor/student (available from Program Administrator) and several other items. For a complete list of requirements, download the MRGP Application Checklist [PDF - 164 KB].

Detailed information

For more detailed information about the Medical Research Graduate Program, download the MRGP Student Handbook [PDF - 623 KB].