Current Graduate Students

Graduate Student Research

General Information

Transfer Credits

  • Course credits obtained while in the graduate program cannot be transferred 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 the grades are a minimum of A- or higher.

  • If a student comes from a Canadian University other than the University of Toronto, LMP 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 a student is from another graduate department in the University of Toronto and is transferred laterally to LMP, credits may be transferred for relevant courses up to a maximum of one-full credit, based on the Graduate Coordinator’s discretion and approval.

  • If a student has 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 & PhD Student Advisory Committee

All graduate students are supervised by a graduate faculty member and an advisory committee.  The composition of the committee includes:

  • the student’s 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.

Note: Supervisors cannot chair their own student’s advisory committee.

The student should fill out an Advisory Committee Approval Form to receive approval of the committee from the LMP Graduate Coordinators.

The committee provides guidance to the student concerning course work and 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.

The first committee meeting is to 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, students are expected to have well-defined projects, a  good understanding of their projects and strategies to be used in their research.

At least one week prior to each meeting, the student distributes a report to the committee members.  The report should include a title page (project title, student name, supervisor name, meeting location, date and time of meeting); an introduction; rationale and aims; results; proposed experiments; and references.  The report should be a maximum of 3 single-spaced pages (not includiing title page, figures, and references) plus a maximum of 2 pages of figures (unpublished data, models).

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

The committee then discusses the proposal with the student and provides advice on his/her program.

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

To Top

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

  • 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.

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

Unsatisfactory Performance

A student's performance will be considered satisfactory only if the student completes the various requirements for the degree for which he/she is registered in a satisfactory and timely manner, as determined by the graduate unit’s time line for completion of the degree.

Candidates for the PhD degree will be denied further registration in the program and will have his or her candidacy terminated if, by the end of the fourth year of registration in the program:

  1. the candidate has not completed all requirements for the degree exclusive of the thesis – including course requirements, departmental examinations; or
  2. the candidate does not have an approved thesis topic, supervisor, or advisory committee.

In exceptional circumstances, such a candidate 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 SGS website.

Achieving Candidacy

  • To achieve candidacy, students in the PhD program 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.

To Top

PROGRAM Transfers

MSc to PhD Transfer

Students, with high academic standing (normally minimum A-average on MSc courses) who have clearly demonstrated the ability to do research at the doctoral level may, with the recommendation of their advisory committee, request consideration for transfer to the PhD program. Transfer to the PhD program is based on the student's 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. Upon the recommendation of the thesis advisory committee, the student and supervisor will schedule the transfer examination and set up an Examination Committee.  The student will submit a transfer request at least four weeks before the examination using the transfer request form.
  2. 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 the candidate;

  • the student's advisory committee; and

  • two other graduate faculty members, one of whom is a member of another graduate unit

  1. The student 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.  The student should also send instructions and the transfer report to the Examination Chair.
  2. At the examination, the student will give a presentation describing his/her research carried out to date as well as the research proposed for the PhD thesis. The presentation should be of 20-minute duration. The committee will examine the student on his/her research, the proposed research, and general knowledge related to the proposal. The student should be prepared to discuss background knowledge and techniques as well as to defend the significance and feasibility of the proposed research.
  3. After the formal examination, the student and supervisor will withdraw from the room. The Committee will then discuss the student's examination, written proposal, academic record, progress in research and the proposal for PhD thesis. Special attention will be paid to determine whether the student has developed or has 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. 
  4. If the Examination Committee does not recommend transfer to the PhD program, three options are available: recommend that the student revise the proposal and re-take the oral examination within 6 weeks; recommend that the student re-take the oral examination within 6 weeks, with no proposal revision; recommend that the student complete an MSc degree.
  5. 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.

See the Forms page for the MSc to PhD Transfer Examination Committee Report.

Preparation of the Research Proposal

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)

PhD to MSc Transfer

A PhD student's advisory committee may recommend that the student transfer to the MSc program, or the student may request the back-transfer. This request requires approval of the Vice Dean, School of Graduate Studies.

See the Forms page for the PhD to MSc Back-Transfer Request form.

To Top


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 students, 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:

  1. the University of Toronto’s affiliation which is the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

  2. their hospital/research institute’s affiliation, if applicable.

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

To Top

IntelLectual property

For Intellectual Property Guidelines, please see below

  • School of Graduate Studies Guidelines -   The intent of this booklet, prepared by the School of Graduate Studies, is to address 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.

  • Graduate Life Sciences Education Guidelines - Document titled "Context of Commercialization of Inventions on thesis Related Research".  The guidelines are meant to deal with graduate student training in the context of the commercialization of inventions based on thesis-related research. They apply in the following circumstances: i) thesis-related research funded through an industry contract, where research agreements are in place from the outset; ii) 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, iii) 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 the supervisor and graduate student.

  • Time off should not compromise the research program and/or student’s graduate studies. Students must ensure that laboratory work, experimentation and other time sensitive activities are either completed, or arrangements made for others to continue ongoing work.

  • Consideration should be given as to when the building or lab is closed (i.e. winter holidays) when taking time off.

  • Time sensitive deadlines (i.e. award applications, abstract submissions) must be taken into consideration.

  • Time off cannot be carried forward from year to year.

  • Time off should be requested as far in advance as possible.

  • The student and supervisor should be able to maintain contact as appropriate if the student is away for an extended period.

  • Given that students receive remuneration as a stipend, not salary, the stipend continues, unaffected by this personal time off.

  • Attendance at social activities within the academic community (departmental picnic, etc.) or scientific meetings do not fall under the category of personal time off.

  • Sick leaves or absences for health reasons must be documented and do not fall under category of personal time off.

To Top

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.

Complete the "University of Toronto Risk Management and Insurance Report" (see, and fax the report to the LMP Graduate Office at 416-978-7361 who will ensure copies are forwarded to both the U of T Insurance and Risk Management Office and the Environmental Health and Safety Office.

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.

To Top

Wellness Counselling

University of Toronto and the Faculty of Medicine are committed to ensuring that our students are supported and academically thrive while engaged in their graduate traiing.  Effective Fall 2018, the Office of Graduate and LIfe Sciences Education (GLSE) in the 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.

For more information, visit the GLSE Website

To Top