Transfer to PhD

Students currently in the MASc program who wish to transfer into the PhD program prior to completion of the MASc must successfully complete a MASc Transfer Examination.  Interested students are encouraged to discuss the option of transferring with their supervisor(s) as early as possible in their MASc program.

The examination is normally held within the first 13 months of MASc studies, and may only be held up to the 16th month of MASc studies with permission from the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.

MASc students wishing to transfer to the PhD must achieve a grade of A- in at least two academic courses and have completed the relevant seminar courses (CHE300x and CHE1102) prior to transferring into the PhD program.

MASc Transfer Examination Process

Examination Committee Members

*Students must attend all Oral Examinations in person. Committee members may attend remotely if needed.
Student in person attendance is mandatory for access to a white or black board during a meeting/exam.

The student and supervisor work together to form the committee. The four-member Examination Committee is comprised of:

  • the supervisor(s)
  • reading committee member (must be from ChemE)
  • one additional faculty member (determined by the supervisor(s) and candidate), and
  • a Chair, who is appointed by the Graduate Office

Assigning a Chair

The student must submit a MASc Transfer Examination Request by email to the Graduate Assistant at least 3-4 weeks prior to the proposed exam date, providing the following information:

  • A copy of their Abstract
  • Research cluster they are studying in
  • Name of each Committee Member
  • Tentative Date and Time of exam (provide up to 3 time slots)

Once the Graduate Office has provided the candidate with the name of the Chair, the candidate should coordinate the date and time with all committee members.  The meeting room can be booked by contacting the Departmental Assistant in the main office. Please visit Room & Equipment Bookings for details. Once all exam details are finalized, send the date, time and room number to the Graduate Assistant.

Distributing Research Report

  • Students must submit a summary (20-30 pages) of completed work and proposed research, and a PDF of their academic record from ACORN to their committee and the Graduate Office at least two weeks before the exam.
  • These documents must also be attached to the calendar invite and the invite forwarded to the entire committee and the Graduate Office.

 Committee members may refuse to participate in the examination if less time is given to review the document.

Conduct of the MASc Transfer Examination

Pre Oral Review

At the start of the examination the candidate will be asked to leave the room while the following procedures are carried out:

  • The Examination Chair will briefly review the relevant Departmental Policies related to the transfer exam.
  • The Committee will review the length of time the candidate has been registered in the MASc program and examine the eligibility for the transfer exam.
  • The Committee will review the student’s course performance.
Oral Examination
  • The candidate will be asked to enter the room and make a 20-minute presentation on their research.
  • Committee members will question the student on their research.  Student observers may also ask questions. Questions can be on the fundamentals of Chemical engineering and outside the immediate field of the candidate.
  • At the end of the question period, the candidate and any observers will be requested to leave the room.
  • The exam committee will discuss their recommendations and a Transfer Exam Evaluation Form will be filled out by the Chair based on the committee’s discussion.

This exam also serves as a PhD qualifying exam.

Post Oral Review

On the basis of the research summary, presentation, and academic standing, the committee may recommend that:

  • the student transfers to the PhD program
  • the student remains in the MASc program. Note that the student can complete the MASc and proceed to the PhD upon recommendation of the MASc Oral Exam Committee.
  • there is no option to reconvene the exam
Transfer Process

Upon successful completion of the transfer exam, students should fill out a Program Transfer Transfer request which is available on the SGS Website.  This is necessary for the official transfer into the PhD program. Return the form to the graduate office at

Students who successfully transfer into the PhD program are not required to hold a PhD Qualifying Examination during their PhD studies, as the MASc transfer exam fulfills this requirement.