Jul 12, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2023-2024 
University of Alberta Calendar 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy with Specialization in Ecology (Biological Sciences)

Program Requirements

Students are required to complete research leading to a thesis, a minimum of 6 units in graded coursework, a seminar component, a candidacy exam, one term of graduate teaching, 8 hours of ethics activities, and 8 hours of professional development activities.


Registration in 900-level THES. Students must present their thesis research to the Department in the form of a public seminar either on the same day, or the day before, the thesis defence. In addition, students are strongly  encouraged to present annual progress reports to their supervisory committee.

Coursework and Seminar Component

Individual programs will be developed by agreement between the student and the supervisor/supervisory committee.

  • Two 3-unit graded courses.
    • At least one 3-unit course must be in a graded seminar or discussion-oriented course.
    • Enrollment in BIOL 603  is recommended.
    • Students are encouraged to complete these requirements in their first two years.
  • Students are encouraged to register in BIOL 631  in their first two years and to register and/or participate in BIOL 631  in subsequent years.
  • Project courses or individual study courses may not be included in the minimum requirements, but may be taken for credit in addition to the minimal graded requirement on the recommendation of the supervisory committee with approval of the Associate Chair (Graduate Studies).
  • Generally, coursework should be completed in the first year of the program.

Candidacy Exam

Students are required to complete a written and oral candidacy exam by the end of their third year.


  • Hold a 0.5 (6 hour per week) graduate teaching assistantship for one semester.


  • Complete 8 hours of approved ethics activities.
  • Ethics hours are approved by the Associate Chair (Graduate Studies).

Professional Development

  • Complete 8 hours of approved professional development (PD) activities.
  • PD hours are approved by the Associate Chair (Graduate Studies) but cannot include any activity for which the student has previously received credit, cannot be required for the student’s thesis research, cannot be required training, and cannot reasonably be an expected part of the students graduate program.

Residence Requirement

Candidates for the PhD degree must complete a minimum of two academic years (equivalent to four terms) in full-time residence at the University of Alberta.

Length of Program

The time required to complete the PhD degree will vary according to the previous training of the applicant and the nature of the research undertaken; however, a minimum of three years is normally required.

The maximum time to complete the PhD program as set by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is six years.