Flexible-Time PhD Programs

SGS Flexible-Time PhD Program Option Guidelines

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Flexible-Time PhD Program Option

This program is intended for professionals whose employment is closely related to their proposed area of research. Professionals include those practicing the profession of pharmacy and also those holding positions as pharmaceutical scientists in industry, government or academia. This program will benefit mature, career-minded individuals who are unable to undertake full-time studies due to professional obligations.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet all admission requirements for entry to the flexible-time PhD program set by the School of Graduate Studies and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Admission requirements are the same as the full-time PhD program with the addition of the Letter of Support from the EmployerUnder exceptional circumstances, students may be admitted directly to the program with an honours BSc degree.

Program Requirements

The Program requirements are the same for flexible-time and full-time PhD program, except for the timeframes in which certain components must be completed. Except for the thesis, program requirements must be completed by the end of the third year for students who entered the program with a master’s degree and by the end of the fourth year, for students who entered with a bachelor’s degree. Students must ensure that they have adequate time on campus to attend classes and fulfill the requirements.


Students in a flexible-time PhD program option will register full-time during the first four years and part-time during subsequent years in the program. Students are required to be registered for every session, including summers, following the first session of registration unless granted a leave of absence.

Time Limit

The time limit for completion of the flexible-time PhD program is eight years for those entering with a master’s degree and nine years for those entering with a bachelor’s degree. 

Transfer between Full-time and Flex-time PhD

Transfers between the full-time PhD program and the flexible-time PhD program option are not permitted.

Transfer from Part-time MSc to Flex-time PhD Program Option

Transfer from the part-time MSc program to the flexible-time PhD program will be considered only for students who have completed the requirements for transfer to the PhD program, including successful completion of the transfer exam withing 15-18 months of enrolment in the MSc program. In addition, students must meet the criteria for admission to the flexible-time PhD program option.


The supervisor will provide direct expenses related to the research component of the student’s thesis-related studies, where required. Since students in the flexible-time PhD program option will maintain their full-time employment, the research supervisors and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences will not be responsible for providing a stipend to support the living expenses and tuition for students. In certain cases, the student’s employer may wish to make contributions to the student’s project.

Thesis Supervision and Schedule of Study

The flexible-time PhD student will be directly supervised by a full member of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and his/her progress will be reviewed at least once a year by an Advisory Committee as described in the program requirements. The schedule of research and coursework study will be established through discussions between supervisor and the student early in the program, keeping in mind the time limitations for program completion. It is anticipated that the student will conduct the research including experimental work at the University. In the event that the research requires the use of the student employer’s facilities or equipment not available within the University, a written consent from the student’s employer with assurances that the experimental work will be performed by the student, under the employer’s supervision must be obtained prior to undertaking such activities. The employer’s personnel may contribute or provide guidance to certain limited aspects of the student’s research work; however, under no circumstances should the work be performed for the student or delegated to a subordinate. The student must personally undertake the research tasks involved in the research project in fulfillment of his or her doctoral requirements, and may not represent as his or her own, any idea, expression of an idea, data results, or other work of another individual without proper acknowledgement.

Intellectual Property Resulting from Flex-time PhD Enrolment

Intellectual property resulting from students’ thesis work will be treated according to the University of Toronto’s applicable intellectual property policies and procedures. Generally, a student and the student’s employer would be asked to acknowledge that for the purposes of carrying out the student’s academic program, the student will not be considered to be an employee, and all intellectual property resulting from the student’s academic activities, including thesis work will be owned in accordance with the University’s policies (i.e. not by the employer) and the student will not be restricted in any way from publishing his or her research results. In cases where the project will be treated as a collaborative project, the relevant part of the student’s work may be treated as a collaborative project under a separate agreement between the University and the employer appropriate to the circumstances and in accordance with the University’s policies.