Why do your PhD in Medical Neuroscience at Dal?

Conduct innovative research projects

As one of Canada’s top 15 research universities, Dalhousie is an excellent choice for your doctoral studies. Not only will you be part of the broader research community, you will also benefit from being part of the Faculty of Medicine, home to diverse medical researchers working on innovative research projects.

You can further your anatomical study and enhance your clinical skills thanks to the generous donations of Maritimers to the Human Body Donation Program and the Clinical Cadaver Program.

Program Details

PhD in Medical Neuroscience

Program structure

  • PhD: 5 years is the typical time to complete

Transfer from MSc to PhD

If you are in the MSc program, you can transfer to the PhD program with the recommendation of your supervisory committee. This should happen no later than the 5th term of study.

Degree requirements

PhD candidates must satisfactorily complete:

  • MNSC 5230.01 Medical Neuroscience PhD Graduate Seminar and MNSC 6101.03 Principles of Neuroscience: Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience. (Additional courses may be required if no prior neuroscience background.)
  • A comprehensive examination (PHDP 8000.00: Doctoral Comprehensive Requirement) should be taken in the second year of the program or not later than one full year prior to thesis submission.
  • Thesis research (MNSC 9530.00: PhD Thesis), preparation and oral defense of a thesis are required.


PhD students gain teaching experience by assisting, during two academic terms, with the laboratory component of courses delivered by the department.


You are required to attend departmental seminars. You are also required to give two seminars on your research during the course of your study.

Choosing a research supervisor

Before you begin the application process, you’ll need to find a supervisor who is able to support your research interests and has the capacity to take on the responsibility. Start by checking out our faculty profiles, then get in touch with them directly.

Assemble a supervisory committee

In consultation with your supervisor, you need to assemble a supervisory committee. The minimum membership for both MSc and PhD Supervisory Committees is comprised of the student’s Research Supervisor and two other faculty members including the Chair, at least one of whom is from the Department of Medical Neuroscience. Students with two Co-supervisors will have a four-member committee, including the Chair.

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. The Faculty of Graduate Studies suggests you organize meetings at least twice a year.

PhD preliminary exam

You must pass a PhD preliminary (oral) exam, designed to test the depth and breadth of your knowledge in areas related to your research. Students are encouraged to take the exam in their second or third year of PhD study, and it must be taken at least one year before your PhD thesis defense.

PhD defence

You must prepare a written thesis and defend it orally before an examination committee. For May convocation, the thesis must be submitted to FGS early in April. For October convocation, the thesis must be submitted to FGS late in August.

Important dates

Check out the Academic Calendar for Graduate Studies for important dates and university regulations.

Degree time limits

Graduate students have a maximum period of time to complete all degree requirements.  The normal upper limits for completion of a Doctoral degree is 6 years. A student cannot register in a program beyond 10 years from their initial registration.