Why do your PhD in Anatomy & Neurobiology 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 over 345 medical researchers working on more than 845 innovative research projects.

Understanding the human body
Through our Division of Anatomy, 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.

Setting you up for a promising career

Whether you are aiming for a career in academia or in a private research lab, our programs will provide you with:

  • a multidisciplinary background in neurobiology
  • in-depth research training in a particular aspect of neurobiology
  • opportunity to learn and teach human anatomy

Program Details

PhD in Anatomy & Neurobiology

Program structure

  • PhD: 4 to 5 years is the typical time to complete

Transfer from MA/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 4th term of study.

Course requirements

As a PhD student, you have no formal course requirements. That said, you must complete at least one credit of required courses if you have not previously taken core courses in anatomical sciences.


As part of the degree requirements, you 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. The amount of teaching is between 20 and 40 hours per year. You may request relief from teaching in your final year.


You are expected to attend departmental seminars. You are required to give at least one seminar on your thesis during the course of your study.

Choose a research supervisor

Before you begin, you'll need to find a supervisor who is able to support your research interests and has the capacity to take on the added responsibility. This individual will be an important part of your supervisory committee. 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 recommended composition of the supervisory committee is your supervisor and two additional faculty members. Although faculty from other departments can be members, at least one member (other than your supervisor) should be from the department.

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, with at least one per year as the minimum.

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 early in September.

Important dates

Check out the important deadlines for graduate students. These include funding deadlines, the final thesis submissions deadline and registration deadlines.