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The PhD course of study includes a set of common requirements with flexibility to enable the student to pursue a unique learning experience tailored to his/her learning needs and research problem focus. The program permits students to pursue their area of interest from different levels of understanding and theoretical perspectives.
The program enables students to take advantage of what the university/program faculty has to offer, and assists them in tailoring their studies according to their own experiences, scholarly interests, career direction and aspirations. This program also participates and encourages participation in a variety of interdisciplinary graduate University of Toronto Collaborative Programs such as Aging Palliative and Supportive Care Across the Life Course, Aboriginal Health, Addiction Studies, Bioethics, Community Development, Environment and Health, Global Health, Health Care Technology and Place, Health Services and Policy Research, Sexual Diversity Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Women’s Health
The PhD Program in Social & Behavioural Health Sciences (SBHS), including:
- Qualifying exam
- Thesis proposal
- Thesis defense:
A) Departmental Defense
B) Final oral examination – intended to give students depth and breadth in the theoretical and methodological foundations of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences.
- Coursework (reflects minimum requirements)
- 7 required courses
- CHL5005H: Introduction to Public Health Research
- 2 required theory courses
- CHL5101H: Social Theory and Health
- one of CHL5804H: Theories for Health Promotion and Public Health Intervention or CHL5102H: Social and Political Forces in Health Care
- 2 required methods courses
- To be selected according to the student’s interests and educational needs, in consultation with the supervisor.
- To obtain methodological depth in either quantitative or qualitative methods, it is expected that the student will take at least 2 courses in one of these two areas.
- For those interested in mixed-methods, in addition to taking 2 required methods courses, it is expected that the student will take other courses from qualitative and quantitative methods course offerings as necessary to achieve depth in both approaches.
- 2 electives
- Qualifying Exam
The qualifying exam (QE) should demonstrate the student’s capacity for independent scholarly work and creativity, ability to theorize a topic using a variety of approaches, ability to critically assess related empirical literature, and from these propose theoretically and methodologically sophisticated and consistent research questions that would advance the topic area and may be used for the dissertation. Through this process, the student will demonstrate capacity to identify, synthesize, and critique the literature within their chosen topic area.
The qualifying exam consists of:
i) a written paper
ii) an oral presentation of the paper
Detailed description of qualifying exam
- Thesis Proposal
The research proposal contains the following components: title page; abstract; problem statement and research questions; theoretical approach; critical review of relevant empirical research, including methods used; and research design.The thesis proposal must be reviewed and approved by the Thesis Committee before a student may proceed.
The PhD dissertation must demonstrate an original contribution to scholarship. The nature of the dissertation is agreed upon by the supervisor and the student, in consultation with a Thesis Committee. The Student should aim to defend the dissertation within four years of entry into the PhD program. The defense of the dissertation will take place in two stages: first, a Departmental defense, second, a formal defense (the Final Oral Examination) before a University committee according to procedures established by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). The two defenses generally are separated by at least ten weeks, although flexibility in timing may be possible.
4. A) Departmental Defense:
The Departmental defense will be held after the completed dissertation has been approved by all members of the Student’s Supervisory Committee, and the completion of the Departmental Oral Defense Report. The purpose of this defense is to rehearse the oral presentation for the SGS defense and to determine whether the Student is ready for the SGS defense.
The Student should expect constructive criticism about the clarity and length of the presentation and the quality of visual materials, as well as about the dissertation itself. In particular, the Departmental defense will confirm that:
- The Student has adequately met the requirements for a dissertation; and,
- The Student has the required level of understanding of the scientific issues involved in the dissertation work.The Departmental defense is attended by the Student, the Supervisor and other members of the Supervisory Committee, and two reviewers with full SGS appointments. At least one reviewer should have supervisory experience in social and behavioural health sciences at the doctoral level. The second reviewer may be a substantive expert from another discipline. Eligible reviewers will have had no prior involvement with the design or conduct of the research, with the exception of providing references or other background material, and generally will not be the faculty who served as reviewers at the proposal defense. The presentation will be advertised within the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences, and other students and faculty are encouraged to attend.Click here for Departmental Defense Procedures
- B) PhD Final Oral Examination: Arrangements for the PhD Final Oral Defense and for the preparation of the final thesis are given at length in the SGS calendar. The dissertation and the necessary documents must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the oral exam. See the Graduate Department of Public Health Science academic policies for forms and information for thesis preparation and defense.
- Master’s degree with research experience from a recognized university*
- A- (A minus) average in Master’s program in a relevant area of study
- Research experience