PhD Welcome Package

To Graduate Students in the SES PhD program

1. When you first arrive on campus, you should pick up your ID card at the Student ID Card Centre, Enrolment Services, University Centre Level 3. After that, you should report to the SES Administrative Assistant, Ian Turner (Alex Hall Office 268). He will provide you with information about GTAs, payroll, office assignments, keys and so on.  Questions about your graduate program can be directed to the SES Graduate Program Assistant <>, whose office is Alex Hall Room room 275.

2. Course Registration.  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. Please click here for more information about registration.

While it is often advised to register for courses before the semester begins (some courses can fill up), it is also possible to register during the first two weeks of the semester, after classes begin. For courses that require instructor consent, or courses that you are unsure about, finalizing your course selection and registering during the first week or two of classes can make it easier to connect with faculty for signatures, detailed course information, etc.  If your chosen course does require instructor consent, you will need to fill out a ‘Course Add/Drop/Waiver Request’ form.  It is usually possible to get signature electronically by saving the form as a pdf and emailing it to the faculty member for an electronic signature, then sending it to the graduate program assistant for the graduate coordinator's signature.  See more information under graduate courses.

3.  Advisory Committee. The minimum committee must be your advisor and two other faculty members, at least one of whom must be from outside your home department. The members are decided by the Advisor in consultation with you, and we advise inclusion of a fourth faculty member. Your Advisor must complete the Advisory Committee & Graduate Degree Program form before the end of your first semester, which must be filled out, signed by you and your Advisor, and returned to the Graduate Program Assistant by the middle of your second semester. Your registration for semester 3 will be blocked if you fail to submit the Advisory Committee form before course selection starts. 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. Note: Part time students are also required to submit the Advisory Committee form during their second registered semester (class level 0.6).

4.  Required Courses. PhD students in SES are required to take ENVS*6900, Research Seminar in Environmental Sciences, in their second or third semester, unless they have taken an equivalent graduate-level course, such as, for example, in an MSc program. There are no University course requirements, but your Advisory Committee may decide on what other courses you require. This information must be provided on the Advisory Committee & Graduate Degree Program form (see above) before the end of your first semester, which must be filled out, signed by you and your Advisor, and returned to the Graduate Program Assistant by middle of your second semester.

6.  PhD Qualifying Exam. The Qualifying Exam must be done before the end of the fifth semester. See Appendix D of the SES Graduate Student Policies for more details on the Qualifying Exam process.

7.  Annual Meetings with Advisory Committee & Semester Progress Reports. We suggest you have annual meetings with the Advisory committee. These dates are documented on the Semester Progress Reports which must be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant by the start of each following semester, who will then forward them to the Graduate Coordinator for the required signature.

8. Expectations of the Graduate Student and the Advisor. See Section 8 of the SES Graduate Student Policies.

9.  Maximum Duration of Program. Graduate students in the PhD program are expected to complete their degree program in 12 semesters of full-time study.  However, the program may be extended to 16 semesters with approval from the Office of Graduate Studies.  If you have not completed your program by the 40th class day of semester 13, your registration for semester 14 will be blocked until you submit a Plan of Completion to the Graduate Program Assistant who will obtain the Graduate Coordinator's signature and forward the form to the Office of Graduate Studies. If your plan is approved, you may remain in the program until the end of semester 16.  If you fail to complete your program by the end of semester 16, you may apply for one additional extension to the end of semester 18. Appeals can be made for An Extension beyond the Maximum Program Duration, otherwise, you will be required to withdraw for failure to complete. 

10. Safety Training: You must take the following safety courses:

(a) The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Lab Safety Course, which is now offered online.

(b) The SES Safety Orientation offered at the start of each semester.