The qualifying exam is aimed to test your knowledge in molecular biology and to measure your progress of research.

The qualifying exam will take place before the end of the 6th term. It is recommended to do not follow any course during the term of your Qualifying Exam.

This exam is passed before a board of four examiners approved by the direction of the program on the recommendation of the research supervisor. The composition sheet of the jury of your qualifying exam has to be fill before the end of your 1rst year of Ph.D.

At the end of the examination, the board will decide whether you have succeeded or failed and issue a report. It may also decide to postpone the examination. In this case, you are required to retake an exam in 6 months.

The qualifying exam consists two parts: written and oral.

Composition of the board:

  • the Chairman which must be member of the programs It is generally the head of your unit or his / her representative;
  • your research supervisor;
  • an internal or external member to your research centre;
  • an external member to Université de Montréal

The jury should not be composed of collaborators who jointly published in the last 5 years, with your supervisor or co-supervisor. The choice of the jury is in agreement with the head of your unit.

The written examination

The written examination consists in reviewing articles. The Chairman of the board will contact the members of the board (other than the research supervisor) to provide him with one article each. The chairman should ensure that these articles are sufficiently distinct from your research subject. Three weeks prior to the oral examination date, the Chairman will give you three selected articles. Then, you have to choose one article to do a written critical study, and you are also required to be able to discuss the other two articles. The written review you have to provide should not exceed 10 pages (double-spaced excluding the references) subdivided into two parts. Five pages should be dedicated to the article criticism (including a short overview of relevant literature of approximately 1 page) and other five pages should outline a research project you would propose to develop the results obtained in the article.

In addition to this 10 page review, you are required to give each Member of the Board a week before the oral examination date a summary of project (2 single spaced pages) and a short CV including courses and notes updated.

The Oral examination

The duration of the oral examination is approximately 3 hours. This examination takes place a week after the written documents have been submitted. You should organize it in collaboration with your Research Supervisor.

The oral examination is structured as follows:

  1. Presentation of PhD project (about 1 hour, including 20 minutes of presentation followed by questions and answers).
  2. Discussion of the article you have chosen and the development of a research project (approximately 1 hour).
  3. Questions on your knowledge of contemporary topics in Molecular Biology. These questions may also be about the other 2 proposed articles (about 1 hour).

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