Additional Application Considerations

It is the applicant's sole responsibility to ensure that required documents, including electronic reference, are submitted to the IDPHD office in a timely manner in order to receive an admissions decision in time to register for the desired term. Please Note, that is can take some time to complete and submit the entire set of required documents. 

The IDPhD program will not provide feedback on the considerations and discussions that underpinned the decision to admit or not admit a particular applicant.  As per FGS regulations, there is no appeal of this process.

Initial entrance requirements:

IDPhD staff (in consultation with FGS staff where necessary) will confirm two necessary features of the applicant’s preparedness to undertake study:

(i) The applicant’s entry GPA, as calculated according to FGS practice from Master’s and undergraduate coursework grades, must meet or exceed 3.70.

(ii) The applicant must have completed a Master’s degree that includes a significant, research-based thesis as part of the program. Alternatively, the applicant may hold a non-thesis-based Master’s degree and present evidence of substantial, independent research experience, including first-authored and peer-reviewed papers in the research literature. That experience must be judged by the Admissions Committee as being functionally equivalent to a thesis-based Master’s degree. Official transcripts must be presented for all of the applicant’s previous university studies.

Complete application package

Once the applicant has received confirmation from the IDPhD program that the initial entrance requirements have been met, she or he may begin to submit the entire set of required documents.

While applicants MAY begin submitting these documents prior to a decision on entrance requirements, they require a signifigant amount of effort from the applicant and others.  We therefore advise applicant to NOT begin submitting documents unless and until they are informed of the results of the review of their entrance requirements.

The IDPhD Admissions Committee (in consultation with administrative staff where necessary) will confirm four necessary features of the applicant’s plan for studies leading to the Interdisciplinary PhD:

(i) The research program proposed in the Statement of Interdisciplinary Research Interests (SIRI) must be truly interdisciplinary, drawing significantly on a minimum of two disparate areas of academic endeavour. It must also be the case that the proposed program could not be carried out successfully within the framework of another existing PhD program at Dalhousie. This consideration recognizes that the research activities of modern, “discipline-based” academic units are often multidisciplinary and strongly collaborative—enough to accommodate many interdisciplinary projects. Research programs within the IDPhD at Dalhousie must be uniquely feasible within the framework of that program only.

(ii) The supervisory model proposed for the student must be suitable and robust, with a high likelihood that the proposed advisory committee can see the student from admission through completion of his/her program.

  • You must have one supervisor and at least two committee members, all of whom should hold a PhD, and the majority of whom must be faculty members from Dalhousie University.
  • The proposed supervisor must have significant experience in supervising doctoral students to successful completion of their program, including experience at Dalhousie; at the least, one proposed committee member who has that experience must be identified and express a willingness to mentor the supervisor and other members on doctoral supervision
  • All of the proposed advisory committee members must have research interests and experience that are supportive to the proposed research plan laid out in the SIRI.
  • All committee members must hold PhDs and have membership in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  The IDPhD program will assist in obtaining FGS membership for acceptable faculty at other universities or acceptable PhD level scholars.
  • The supervisor(s) will hold faculty appointments at Dalhousie University, and it is expected that most of the other committee members will normally do so as well. 
  • All committee members must address all required points for committee members' letters.

(iii) There must be clear evidence that the applicant will have sufficient financial resources over the duration of his/her program (median 4+ years) for fees, research costs, and personal support. Statements indicating that the applicant will seek funding, even if likely to succeed, are not sufficient. Beyond the financial issues, it must be demonstrated that the applicant will have access to the resources necessary to carry out the research work. These resources should be identified but may include space, equipment, administrative support, data, subject access, travel funding, etc.

(iv) It must be very likely that the applicant will complete the proposed interdisciplinary research program successfully, perform at the scholarly level expected of a doctoral student and make an original contribution to knowledge. This judgement will be informed by the applicant’s academic preparedness, the three reference letters, the SIRI, the supervisory model, the financial plan, the resources available, committee support, etc. 

Meeting with Director

The Director will request at least one meeting with each candidate.  The meeting is intended to ensure that the applicant fully understands and is prepared to undertakethe rigourous, largely independent, scholarly activities required.  It also permits the applicant to have questions answered.  Thus, this meeting usually takes place towards the end of the application process.

The applicant, must demonstrate the maturity and self-direction that makes success likely in the IDPhD program, given that this program does not generally provide the supportive environment tha would be the case in a home department.

The expectations of the student in terms of program outcomes, career value of the degree, resources, financial support etc.  must be realistic.  As well, the applicant must be able to demonstrate the commitment and time availability to focus on academic work, both of which are neccessary to complete the various requirements of the program (residency, coursework, comprehensive examinations, research work and thesis).

Applicants will be notified whether or not the Admissions committee has recommended that the Faculty of Graduate Studies offer admission to the applicant.

Final Verification by Faculty of Graduate Studies Admissions Office

In this final step, the Faculty of Graduate Studies will closely examine three aspects of the documentation from applicants recommended by the IDPhD Admissions committee:

(i) FGS will ensure that the academic credentials of the applicants are authentic, including the submitted transcripts. They will also ensure that any Master’s degree specified was indeed a research-based program with a thesis as a required part of the program.

(ii) FGS will ensure that the reference letters provided are authentic and from the individuals specified as providing them.

(iii) FGS will cross-check that the cumulative GPA calculated by the IDPhD program administrative staff was correct and > 3.70. If an application passes these final cross-checks by FGS, then a letter will be sent to the candidate offering admission to the IDPhD program.