May 19, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2022-2023 
University of Alberta Calendar 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Sciences - Orthodontics

The Department of Dentistry offers the degree of PhD in Medical Sciences - Orthodontics. It is a full-time research training program with clinical training integrated into it. Through a combination of didactic and clinical courses, the program is structured to prepare the dental graduate for an orthodontic practice and/or a related academic appointment.

Entrance Requirements

The Department’s minimum admission requirements are a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or equivalent and a Master’s degree (except in exceptional cases, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis) with an admission GPA of at least 3.4 on the 4-point scale from the University of Alberta, or an equivalent qualification and standing from a recognized institution, (see: Academic Requirements  for details on Graduate GPA calculation).

The Master’s Bypass allows for outstanding Master’s Candidates to request a change of program category to the PhD program without completing the Master’s degree. Additional research experience may be required within the PhD program for students selecting this option. See the Graduate Program Manual 7.2 Change of Category. Additional information on the process and timelines is available on the School of Dentistry Graduate Program Manual.

Where applicable, applicants must provide proof of English Language Proficiency (refer to English Language Requirement ). Any one of the following is acceptable:

  • TOEFL (internet-based) minimum score 95 and the following minimum score on each of the individual skill areas: Listening 22, Reading 22, Speaking 26, and Writing 24;
  • CAEL minimum score of 80 with at least 70 on each subtest;
  • or an IELTS (Academic) minimum score of 7.5 with at least 7 on each band.

All applicants are also required to submit the following:

  • a current curriculum vitae
  • a statement of intent
  • three letters of recommendation (two must be professional)
  • an official letter from the Dean of the Dental School stating that the applicant had no professional conduct issues.
  • Formal commitment from a full-time orthodontic supervisor is required
  • Letter(s) of good standing from current and all previous licensing bodies. For candidates in a GPR program, a letter from the Program Director stating they are in good standing with no professional conduct issues is required.
  • Applicants that are not licensed by Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C), need to be registered on the Education and Research Register from the ADA&C by August 1 prior to starting the program.
  • A personal interview is required for short-listed applicants. These applicants will be advised of the arranged interview date by e-mail.

Admission is dependent upon the approval of the Graduate Orthodontics Admission SubCommittee, the Department of Dentistry’s Graduate Studies Committee, and the Medical Sciences Graduate Program Committee.

For the PhD in Orthodontics the application deadline is September 1 for the following September admission.

Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 74 units in required coursework. Additional courses related to the specific area of research may be required. The program also consists of seminars, a clinical component and a thesis.

The clinical requirements involve successful completion of a selected number of teaching cases. Clinical training will not start until defined research milestones are attained and the candidacy examination is successfully passed. Clinical training will start in September immediately after these conditions are met.

Students enrolled in the PhD in Medical Sciences - Orthodontics program will not have the option of transferring to the MSc in Medical Sciences - Orthodontics program.

The program of study and professional development requirements are determined by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the supervisor and supervisory committee.

Student progress may be monitored through written and/or oral assessment. Feedback from this assessment serves to identify areas that require additional attention by the student. The assessment will permit the development of specific clinical and/or didactic improvement objectives before the next assessment.


In exceptional circumstances, a student may be required to complete additional graduate-level coursework that is above the required program credit load in preparation to undertake their thesis research. These courses will be chosen in consultation with the student’s supervisor and supervisory committee (where applicable), and approved by the department.

Required courses in clinical curriculum (71 units)


  • Registration in 900-level THES. Students are required to complete and defend a thesis.

Candidacy exam

Successful completion of the PhD candidacy examination will be required by October 1 prior to the academic year the student starts their clinical training. This will allow the allocation of a clinical training spot for the following September start.


Students have an attendance requirement for the Discover Dental Sciences seminars and to participate in the Graduate Student Research Day.

Requirements for Clinical courses

These requirements must be met prior to starting the clinical courses. If there is an associated fee, students are responsible for the costs incurred.

  • Medical Testing and Immunization Requirements: To ensure, insofar as possible, both student and patient safety, the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry requires that all students must have their immunization status reviewed and updated as necessary by a qualified healthcare professional upon acceptance into a health sciences program. (University Infectious Diseases Regulation)
  • Police Information Checks and Protection for Persons in Care: Applicants should be aware that a clear Police Information Check (PIC) is required as a condition of admission and that any criminal charges pending must be  declared. (Requirement for Police Information Checks); (Protection for Persons in Care)
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification (CPR) is required for all students registered in the program. The School will only accept Canadian or American Heart and Stroke: Basic Life Support CPR for healthcare providers. No other courses will be accepted to meet the CPR requirement. Students must provide evidence of valid CPR certification at the beginning of each fall term throughout the course of their program. A CPR BLS Provider certificate is valid for one year from the completion date of the course. Online CPR course certifications will NOT be accepted; students must attend an in-person course. Students who do not have current Basic Life Support Provider CPR certification cannot participate in clinical courses.  You may visit the Heart and Stroke website at Courses to find courses offered in Basic Life Support CPR for health care providers.
  • We encourage all students, even those with existing certification, to ensure their certification will cover the entire academic year.  Students with existing certification are strongly encouraged to renew early to be in sync with the academic calendar. Students are responsible for the costs associated with this training.
  • Professional Standards for Students in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry: (Professional and Ethical Standards)
  • The Department of Dentistry Technical Standards Policy: defines the necessary knowledge, skills, professional behaviors, and attitudes expected of students. (Technical Standards)

Length of Program

The time required to complete the PhD will vary according to the previous training of the applicant and the nature of the research undertaken.

Six years is considered normal. After six years a formal extension request to The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is needed.


Students are responsible for all program-related fees.