- Information for new students
- SES graduate policy document
- Program requirements
- Common Policies and Procedures
- PhD Qualifying Exam
- PhD defense
- Graduate courses
- Contact Information
Welcome to the School of Environmental Sciences!
Here are a few notes that will help you with getting started in the PhD program at Guelph: PhD Welcome Package
All SES graduate policies can be found here: SES Graduate Student Policies (2021/01/18)
The PhD program requires:
Completion of one mandatory 0.50 credit course (Research Seminar in Environmental Sciences).
Successful completion of a qualifying exam within five semesters of first registration in the program
Successful defense of a thesis describing original research, carried out under the direct supervision of a core faculty member.
The required Research Seminar in Environmental Sciences (ENVS 6900) focuses on developing writing and communication skills by having the students develop a research proposal that is both written and presented to the class.
In consultation with your advisory committee, you may choose to take additional courses from a number of disciplinary specific seminar courses, independent study courses and lab or field courses spanning the following broad areas of expertise within the school: Earth and atmospheric science, soil sciences, and environmental biology. Students may also select related courses from other departments on campus.
Successful completion of the PhD thesis occurs when the research is judged to be sufficiently meritorious to warrant publication in reputable, peer-reviewed journals in its field. PhD students are normally expected to have published, or have “in-press”, one or more papers in peer-reviewed journals prior to the defense. In cases involving intellectual property, it is recognized that publication may not always be immediately possible. In such cases, a Pass will require that the committee is satisfied that, in their opinion, the work is of sufficient quality and originality that it would meet the standards for peer-reviewed publications.
For more information see the full program requirements in the graduate calendar.
Scholarship search tool
Students may receive external scholarships (e.g NSERC, OGS) and/or internal scholarships. For more information, please consult the graduate studies Scholarships and Awards website. You may also use the Graduate Award Search Tool to find internal scholarships.
Other useful links:
- NSERC: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Scholarships information
- OGS: Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) information
- Awards for SES students: List of SES Awards Application/Letter of Interest for 2016
Research/writing course enrolment
For each semester that you will be registered, you must choose one of the following: UNIV*7510*01 Active Full-time Registration or UNIV*7520*01 Active Part-time Registration. Registering for one of these courses serves only to activate your registration.
In addition to this basic selection, you must be registered in at least one other course: UNIV*7500*01 Research/Writing or any real course for which an active section exists. Failure to do this will result in the term simply not appearing on any official transcript of record.
Commonly used forms
- Course waiver/Request forms need to be filled out if the course you are signing up for requires instructor consent or if you need to have some restriction waived. Required for Special Topics courses (obtain the course instructor's signature first, sign it yourself, then submit to Graduate Program Assistant).
- Late drop/add form needs to be filled out if you are trying to add or drop a course after the course selection period has closed for the semester (sign and submit to Graduate Program Assistant).
- Advisory Committee Appointment and Graduate Degree Program form. This form identifies your advisory committee as well as the list of courses that you plan to complete as part of your graduate degree. This is due early in your second semester.
- Graduate Faculty Nomination Form: Your advisor needs to complete this form if you wish to nominate someone for Graduate Faculty status to serve on an advisory committee. Submit the completed form along with a current copy of the nominee's CV to the Graduate Program Assistant. The Graduate Program Assistant can also confirm an individual's current Graduate Faculty status if you are unsure whether a nomination is necessary.
- Graduate student Progress Report The Advisory Committee should meet with the PhD student at least once per semester to review course work and research progress. The progress report (initiated by the student) should be filled out using the electronic gryphform. The form will make its way from the student to each advisory committee member before final submission to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
- Special Topics Courses Learning Contract (ENVS*6242, ENVS*6452, ENVS*6582, ENVS*6730, ENVS*6882)
- Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Application Form
- Part-time and Full-time Transfer Form
- Full-Time Distant Fee Status Application (apply for exemption from extra student fees if living at least 200km away from Guelph)
- Plan of Study for those over Maximum Program Duration
- Appeal for Extension of Maximum Program Duration (PhD semester 18)
- Departing Graduate Student Checklist (must be completed by student and advisor before leaving SES)
The Advisor is responsible for forming the Advisory Committee in consultation with the student. The minimum committee must be your advisor and two other faculty members, at least one of whom must be from outside your home department. We advise inclusion of a fourth faculty member. All members of the Advisory Committee who are not regular graduate faculty at the University of Guelph must hold Special Graduate Faculty status. Co-advisors must hold Associated Graduate Faculty status. If they do not have current Graduate Faculty status, they must be nominated by your Advisor and approved by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee and the University Board of Graduate Studies.
Preferably, the Advisory Committee should be established and should meet before the end of the student's first semester. The Advisory Committee must be formed and the advisory committee appointment form submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant no later than the tenth week of the student's second semester.
The Qualifying Examination provides an opportunity to ensure that students have acquired an in‐depth understanding of their area of research and in the broader aspects of scientific research and knowledge. For faculty, the Qualifying Examination provides an opportunity to assess the student’s breadth and depth of understanding of the subject area and related fields, technical competence, analytical skills, capacity for critical thinking and to identify a student’s weaknesses that can be addressed within our graduate program. As the name implies, upon successful completion of the Qualifying Examination, a student qualifies for the status of PhD Candidate. Thus, the Qualifying Examination allows the School to determine if a student is ready to progress to the dissertation stage of the doctoral degree.
Preparation for the Qualifying Examination involves a period of study and preparation, typically 2‐3 months. Please submit the PhD Qualify Exam Information Form to email@example.com According to SES policies, this examination should be completed at the beginning of the 5th semester. For students upgrading from an MSc to a PhD without completion of an MSc, the qualifying examination should be completed by the end of the 6th semester.
PhD Qualifying Exam Info Form https://www.uoguelph.ca/ses/ses-exam-information-forms
Full details about the process can be found in the SES policies and guidelines document.
Timeline calculator and checklist
Please refer to the Office of Graduate Studies link on thesis completion for important information.
SES specific policies related to the defense and thesis completion can be found in the SES policies and guidelines document.
The thesis results are defended in a process that includes a presentation of the work and defense of the thesis results through oral questioning. Both are open to the public.
The PhD examination committee normally consists of five members appointed by the Associate Director (Graduate Studies), as follows:
- Examination chair
- A member of the Candidate’s Advisory Committee (normally, the Advisor);
- A member of the graduate faculty or the associate graduate faculty or special graduate faculty who may be a member of the Advisory Committee;
- A fourth member from among graduate faculty normally from another Department or School at the University of Guelph (the “internal external”).
- A fifth member who has a doctoral degree, is an expert in the area, and is from outside the University, is the external examiner. The external examiner is selected by the Associate Director (Graduate Studies) from a list of two or more nominees provided by the Advisory Committee. To facilitate this, CVs may be requested by the Associate Director (Graduate Studies). The external must be free of conflict of interest and may not have worked with or published with the Candidate or the Advisor(s) within the previous five years, not be adjunct, associate or special faculty in any Department or School at Guelph, must not be a previous student or supervisor of the Advisor(s), and must declare that they are free of any conflict of interest.
The Defense consists of a 40-50 minute presentation by the student, followed by questions from the public. Following a short break, the examining committee members have two rounds of questions for the student. The first round is 15-20 minutes per examiner, whereas the second round of questions is usually 5-10 minutes per examiner. At the end of the examination, the student and public are asked to leave and the committee deliberates the results of the examination. The chair will then inform the student of the outcome as well as give an overview of any corrections or revisions required.
Forms that need to be filled out in consultation with your advisor prior to defense
- SES Examination Information Form to be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least 6 weeks before your defense.
- Examination Request Form to be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant (email@example.com) at least 4 weeks before you defense.
- Doctoral Final Examination Arrangements form (provide External Examiner Details)
Forms for the external examiner
- External Examiner form letter
- Guidelines for Report of External Examiner
- External Examiner Expense Form
- External Examiner Statement of Taxable Status
Forms and information needed after defense
- Thesis Submission Control Sheet
- Thesis Non-Exclusive License
- Request to Restrict Circulation of Thesis
- Information about formatting and submitting your thesis to the Atrium
- Final Thesis Submission Checklist
- SES Departing Graduate Student Checklist
Please refer to the SES Graduate Courses page for information on SES courses and current semester offerings. You may also wish to refer to the University Graduate Calendar course listing for information about all SES Graduate courses.
NOTE: Students may need to fill out a course waiver/request form with instructor consent to register in some of our courses. For Special Topics courses (section 01) where the graduate coordinator is listed as Instructor: please be advised that students will need to identify a faculty advisor who will work with them on a one-on-one basis to complete the course BEFORE the form is signed by the graduate coordinator. When submitting the form for signature, please state the name of faculty advisor you have identified. All forms need to be complete, filled out in full and in one .pdf file to be accepted. This includes collecting the signature from instructors that are not the Graduate Coordinator. Students should send completed forms to the Graduate Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org; she will ensure that the forms are signed and returned to students in a timely manner.
If you require more information or assistance, please contact: