Comprehensive examination

The Faculty of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies (GP+S) requires that each Ph.D. student pass a comprehensive examination in their discipline. Although GP+S has some directives regarding this examination (https://www.grad.ubc.ca/faculty-staff/policies-procedures/comprehensive-examination), departments are given considerable flexibility as to its exact format.

Graduate students in the department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics are responsible in ensuring that they take the comprehensive examination within 18 months of their Ph.D. program. Students transferring from a Master’s program into a Ph.D. program will need to organize the comprehensive examination within 6 months of receiving official approval for the transfer.

Comprehensive examination

The CIHR grant application format is used for writing the proposal for the comprehensive examination. The proposal can be in the general area of the student’s thesis research but cannot be a duplicate of the student’s research or be based on a grant previously written by their supervisor. When the topic of the proposal has been selected, a detailed draft is to be submitted to the student’s supervisory committee for their approval. Students are required to submit the title and a short summary of their proposal to the departmental Graduate Advisor. After receiving the above summary, the departmental Graduate Advisor notifies the student’s supervisor to select an external examiner from outside the department in consultation with the student’s committee. The student submits the full proposal to their examination committee at least two weeks before the oral exam component. The oral component of the comprehensive examination will consist of a proposal presentation by the student, followed by questioning on areas relevant to the proposed work, and on the student’s knowledge of pharmacology and therapeutics.
The comprehensive examination committee will consist of the student’s supervisory committee (including the student’s supervisor) and the external examiner. The examination, conducted in the oral format, will be chaired by the Graduate Program Advisor (or a designated member of the departmental Graduate Program Committee). Both the supervisor and the Chair will be allowed to ask questions and to participate in the voting process. Students will be granted either an unconditional pass, or a conditional pass, with clearly stipulated requirements (such as a written assignment, for example). Students who are unsuccessful in passing the comprehensive examination may have their examination adjourned and can be examined again within a 6-month period. If a student is unsuccessful the second time, they will be asked to withdraw from the Ph.D. program.