September 2016
Under exceptional circumstances, it is possible for a student enrolled in our MA program to be transferred into
the PhD program prior to the completion of requirements for their MA degree. The School of Graduate and
Postdoctoral Studies regulations on this matter can be found here (section 4.05). These regulations state:
Programs may allow students to transfer their registration from the Master's to the Doctoral degree within the same program,
without completion of the Master's degree. The Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) will consider such requests
on the recommendation of the student's program.
Transfers from the Master's to the Doctoral program must take place before the sixth term of Master's registration, unless the
program's OCGS-approved provisions state otherwise.
Importantly a student who makes such a transfer will receive ONLY a PhD degree and not an MA and a PhD
Students who transfer into the PhD after only 2 terms of our MA program will also miss out on the many
valuable experiences and learning opportunities that go with the full MA they will never write a full MA
thesis and may not have that first real research/field experience that so many of our MA students get.
The procedure to be followed in MA to PhD transfers is described below:
1. Proposals for MA to PhD transfers should originate with supervisors in consultation with advisors, a
student’s MA teachers, and the student. A proposed applicant will be an exceptional student whose
track record and performance in our MA program clearly indicate capacities for research and
writing appropriate to the PhD level.
2. We will only consider applicants who have completed course requirements for the MA (i.e., after
two terms of study), and will not consider applications after a student has begun their 4
term of
MA study. In most cases, then, we will consider these cases in the spring or summer between the
student’s first and second years of MA study.
3. We will consider transfer cases in much the same way as we currently consider other PhD
applications, meaning that applicants will be asked to prepare an application file that includes a CV,
transcripts, letter of intent, and writing samples. In addition, the applicant’s MA supervisor and
their proposed PhD supervisor (if different from MA supervisor) and PhD advisor will provide
letters in support of the application, offering evidence of the student’s exceptional status and a
clear rationale for considering the transfer.
4. In addition, the student will submit a 5 to 7 page proposal in which they outline the scope of their
proposed PhD project.
5. Once complete, the graduate committee will invite members of the relevant subfield to consult the
file and will ask that they get back to us with comments and/or concerns regarding the admissibility
of the applicant. We will also invite suggestions as to what additional coursework the applicant
should complete as part of their PhD program. Although students may have already met the course
requirements for the PhD by completing their MA coursework, they may be expected to complete
additional coursework (normally between 1.0 to 2.0 courses) as part of their PhD program of study.
6. The Graduate Affairs Committee will make the final determination regarding a transfer as quickly as
possible following the completion of the application file. A positive decision will include a list of
further required courses (determined by the Graduate Affairs Committee in consultation with the
applicant’s proposed supervisor and advisors), if applicable.
7. The graduate committee’s decision is then passed on to SGPS. The Associate Vice-Provost in SGPS
makes the final approval of all applications.
8. Students transferring into the PhD program in this way will have the regular four-year funding
window within which to complete the requirements of the PhD program. THIS FUNDING PERIOD
Request for Transfer from Master’s to Doctoral Degree
The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the University of Western Ontario Act, 1982, as amended.
For a complete Collection Notice, visit
Form Revised November 2008
Student Name: Student Number:
Province: Postal Code:
Graduate Program:
Current Registration: Part-Time Full-Time
Term change is to be effective:
Reason for request to transfer to doctoral degree:
We recommend submitting the request for degree transfer at least FIVE WEEKS
before the start of the
upcoming term to ensure correct registration.
of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will notify the student and graduate program in writing
of any decision.
Date Supervisor Signature Date
Graduate Chair Signature Date Vice-Provost of SGPS Date