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Students registered in a Master's program at Queen's University, with a minimum A- average (equivalent to 3.7) in their last 20 post-secondary courses, and who show exceptional promise in their research may be considered for promotion to a doctoral program in the same Program, without completion of the Master's degree. Promotion to a doctoral program requires the recommendation of the Program, the approval of Council and the approval of the School of Graduate Studies. Students admitted to a doctoral program by the mini-master’s route may not revert to the master's program within the same Program. In exceptional circumstances, the student may, after withdrawal from the doctoral program, seek readmission to the master's program in the same Program, or make application for admission to a master's program in another Program, through the normal application procedures.

Guidelines for transferring via the mini-master's to the PhD program are provided in the Faculty Health Sciences Graduate Council (FHSGC) Manual. The mini-master’s process occurs in 6 steps:

1.     The student’s supervisor assesses if the student is eligible and if the student's progress and prospects for successful completion of the PhD justify the application for the mini-master's. The supervisor recommends to the PhD program that the student proceed to the PhD via the mini-master's with supporting documentation.

2.     The PhD program decides whether or not to recommend the Chair of the FHSGC that the student proceed to the PhD program via the mini-master's.

3.     If deemed necessary by the Chair of the FHSGC, the program representatives (the PhD Program Director and the student’s supervisor) defends the recommendation before the FHSGC.  If approved, the Chair of the FHSGC recommends to the School of Graduate Studies that the student's application for entry into the PhD be approved pending successful defense of the mini-master's report and proposal.

4.     Within 40 days of written receipt of approval from SGS, the student must submit and defend his/her mini-master's report and proposal before an examining committee.  This document should clearly delineate the background of the research project, the work done to date, and the proposal for development of the research into a doctoral thesis.

5.     The chair of the examining committee reports the decision to the School of Graduate Studies.

6.     If successful, the student transfers to the PhD program the following September.

Promotion into a doctoral program without completing the Master's thesis is reserved for students who meet the following criteria:

1.    Must have completed two terms of the MSc, full time, and have completed EPID 801, EPID 804, EPID 821, and EPID 822 courses, or equivalent.*

3.    Must have a minimum A- average (equivalent to 3.7) in their last 20 post-secondary courses.

4.    Must meet Program criteria for demonstrating promise and ability at research. This will take the form of an oral and written presentation with a letter of support from the student’s supervisor.

5.    Application to Council follows a minimum of two terms of enrollment (8 months) but prior to the end of fifth term (20 months).  All requirements for completion of the mini-master’s must be satisfied within 40 days of School of Graduate Studies approval and no later than the end of the sixth term.

* Note that the student must complete all course requirements for both the Master’s and Doctoral degree prior to graduation.

Procedure for Application and Approval

The student will meet with the supervisor, the supervisory committee and the Graduate Coordinator or delegate to agree upon whether he or she should apply to the PhD program without completing the Master's thesis. During this meeting the ramifications of the transfer to the doctoral program are to be clearly defined for the student.

The following documents are required for submission to the School of Graduate Studies:

  • Updated transcript (internal transcript acceptable)
  • A brief justification outlining the student's qualifications for admission (to be completed by the PhD Program Director)
  • Letter of support from the supervisor.
  • Outline of student’s current and proposed research.
  • Completed (paper) application package for admittance to the doctoral program, including a decision sheet for acceptance into the PhD program, “pending successful completion of the mini-master”.

The application will be forwarded to the Chair of Council.  The Chair will either sign the decision sheet, thereby accepting the student into the PhD program pending successful completion of the mini-master’s examination, or, in the case where he/she queries the qualifications of the student, have the application forwarded to Council for discussion. Both the PhD Program Director in the student’s Program, and the supervisor must attend the Council meeting when the application is discussed.

No later than 40 working days after the approval to proceed via the mini-master’s route has been confirmed in writing by the SGS, the mini-master’s candidate will defend a written research report and proposal in an oral examination to an examining committee. The oral examination will be held no later than two weeks after submission of the written research report to the members of the examining committee.

Procedure for Examination of the Candidate’s Research Report and Proposal for the Mini-Master's

The candidate must prepare a written report that normally should not exceed 10 pages in length, single spaced (excluding Figures, Tables and References), clearly delineating the background of the research project, the work done to date, and the proposal for development of the research into a doctoral thesis. This report will be submitted to an examining committee composed of the following members:

  • Head/PhD Director or Delegate as Chairperson
  • MSc Director
  • One faculty member who will cover content expertise if not covered by above
  • Supervisor

The Mini-Master's Oral Examination Form will contain a signature line for the candidate indicating that the candidate has been informed of the make-up of the Committee and that there are no conflicts.

An oral examination will be held normally no later than 2 weeks (10 working days) after submission of the written report to the members of the examining committee. At the examination, the candidate will present a 15-20 minute talk on his/her research report and proposal. This talk will be followed by an oral examination.

Questioning or comments of the examining committee will primarily relate to the background of the project, what the student has accomplished, and the basis for expanding the project.  This should normally last no longer than 1.5 hours.
At the end of the examination, the candidate will be asked to leave the room while the examining committee members discuss the performance of the candidate.  The examining committee will decide if the student will be recommended for promotion to the PhD program. Two or more negative votes by the examining committee will result in failure of the mini-masters examination. The decision of the examining committee shall be forwarded to the SGS.

Students who pass their mini-master’s examination will be allowed to transfer to the doctoral program in September. Council members will be informed at the next Council meeting of the promotion. Students who do not pass the mini-master's examination will be allowed to complete the MSc thesis, according to SGS regulations.