Summary

  • Degree offered: Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD)
  • Registration status option: Full-time
  • Language of instruction:
    • French
    • English

Note: Most of the courses in this program are offered in English.

Program Description

The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine is located in the Faculty of Medicine and offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Neuroscience.

The programs help students develop their theoretical knowledge as well as their capacity for critical analysis. This is achieved through reading and critiquing the scientific literature, conducting experiments in the laboratory, analyzing the data and results generated, and presenting their results in the form of research seminars or posters. The programs prepare candidates for a variety of careers in teaching and research both within and outside of academia.

Graduates of the program will acquire autonomy in conducting research and in preparing scholarly publications and grant applications. A comprehensive set of courses, state-of-the-art research facilities and outstanding research opportunities ensure a career in neuroscience.

The Department is a participating unit in the collaborative program in Human and Molecular Genetics and in Pathology and Experimental Medicine at the master's and doctoral levels.

The doctoral program participates in the Combined MD / PhD Program, which allows students to graduate with both a PhD in Neuroscience and an MD. For more information please see the website of the Faculty of Medicine.

Collaborative Program Description

The objective of the Pathology and Experimental Medicine collaborative program is to provide graduate students with the knowledge and skills to examine the basic mechanisms of disease pathology, and to develop new strategies for prevention and treatment. The degree awarded specifies the primary program and indicates “specialization in Pathology and Experimental Medicine.”

Main Areas of Research

The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine is located at the Health Sciences Center of the University of Ottawa. Through its cross-appointed and adjunct members, the Department has research affiliations with the following institutes: the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), the University of Ottawa Heart Institutes at the Ottawa Hospital (Civic Campus), the Institute of Mental Health Research (IMHR) at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, Elizabeth Bruyere Hospital, and the National Research Council.

Other Programs Offered Within the Same Discipline or in a Related Area

  • Master of Science Neuroscience (MSc)
  • Master of Science Neuroscience Specialization in Human and Molecular Genetics (MSc)
  • Master of Science Neuroscience Specialization in Pathology and Experimental Medicine (MSc)
  • Master of Science Cellular and Molecular Medicine (MSc)
  • Master of Science Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization in Bioinformatics (MSc)
  • Master of Science Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization in Human and Molecular Genetics (MSc)
  • Master of Science Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization in Pathology and Experimental Medicine (MSc)
  • Doctorate in Philosophy Neuroscience (PhD)
  • Doctorate in Philosophy Neuroscience Specialization in Human and Molecular Genetics (PhD)
  • Doctorate in Philosophy Cellular and Molecular Medicine (PhD)
  • Doctorate in Philosophy Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization in Human and Molecular Genetics (PhD)
  • Doctorate in Philosophy Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization in Pathology and Experimental Medicine (PhD)

Fees and Funding

  • Program fees:

The estimated amount for university fees associated with this program are available under the section Finance your studies.

International students enrolled in a French-language program of study may be eligible for a differential tuition fee exemption.

Notes

  • Programs are governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies.
  • In accordance with the University of Ottawa regulation, students have the right to complete their assignments, examinations, research papers, and theses in French or in English. Research activities can be conducted either in English, French or both, depending on the language used by the professor and the members of his or her research group.

Program Contact Information

Graduate Studies Office, Faculty of Medicine

451 Smyth Road, Room RGN 2016

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

K1N 6N5
 

Tel.: 613-562-5215

Email: grad.med@uottawa.ca
 

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Application Deadlines

Deadlines Fall term Winter term Summer term
Canadian students August 1 December 1 April 1
International students March 1 August 1 January 1
  • Applications received after the deadline will only be considered based on the availability of space and funding.
  • The admission period may close before the anticipated deadline if an excessive number of applications are received.
  • Apply now. Our departments often start examining applications when they receive them. In most cases, letters of offer to eligible candidates are sent within a few weeks of having received complete application packages.
  • The deadline for international students that would like to apply for the scholarship is December 1st, of every year. Decisions are taken in February of each year.

To be eligible, candidates must:

  • Have a master's degree in science with a minimum average of B+ (75%).

Note: International candidates must check the admission equivalencies for the diploma they received in their country of origin.

  • Demonstrate a good academic performance in previous studies as shown by official transcripts, research reports, abstracts or any other documents demonstrating research skills.
  • Pay the $100 ($CDN non-refundable) application fee.
  • Identify at least one professor who is willing to supervise your research and thesis.
    • We recommend that you contact potential thesis supervisors as soon as possible.
    • To register, you need to have been accepted by a thesis supervisor.
    • The supervisor’s name is required at the time of application.
    • The thesis director must be a member of the collaborative program.
  • Be sponsored into the collaborative program by a faculty member, normally the thesis supervisor, who must be a member of the Pathology and Experimental Medicine program.

Language Requirements

Applicants must be able to understand and fluently speak the language of instruction (French or English) in the program to which they are applying. Proof of linguistic proficiency may be required.

Applicants whose first language is neither French nor English must provide proof of proficiency in the language of instruction.

Language tests recognized by the University of Ottawa:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based) – 100 (internet-based); or
  • IELTS: 7.0 Overall – 7.0 Individual (paper-based or internet-based); or
  • An equivalent language test.

Note: Candidates are responsible for any fees associated with the language tests.

Notes

  • The admission requirements listed above are minimum requirements and do not guarantee admission to the program.
  • Admissions are governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies.
  • Candidates must apply to the primary program and indicate in their application for admission to the PhD program in Neuroscience that they wish to be accepted into the collaborative specialization in Pathology and Experimental Medicine. Students are normally informed about their acceptance into the collaborative program at the same time as being informed about their admission into the primary program. To be admitted to the collaborative program, candidates must also be accepted in the primary program.

Documents Required for Admission

In addition to the documents required for graduate and postdoctoral studies, candidates must submit the following documents:

  • A resume
  • A statement of purpose

Letter outlining your professional goals and proposed research area.

  • Three confidential letters of recommendation
    • Two from professors who have known you and are familiar with your work.
    • One from a professor who is willing and available to act as thesis supervisor.

You are strongly encouraged to contact your referee(s) prior to submitting your application in order to confirm their email address and their availability to complete your letter of recommendation.

  • Transcripts from all universities attended:
    • You must submit official transcripts from all the universities you have attended.
      This applies to all courses and programs at any university you attended, including regular programs (completed or not), exchanges, letters of permission, online or correspondence courses, courses taken as a special student or visiting student, etc.
    • If the transcript and degree certificate are not in English or French, a certified translation (signed and stamped/sealed) must be submitted.

Note: Documents that are not required for admission will not be consulted, conserved or returned to the student. These documents will be destroyed according to our administrative procedures.

Fast-Track from Master’s to PhD

Students enrolled in the master’s program in Neuroscience at the University of Ottawa may be eligible to fast-track directly into the doctoral program without writing a master’s thesis, provided the following conditions are met:

  • Satisfactory progress in the research program.
  • Written recommendation by the supervisor and the advisory committee.
  • Approval by the graduate studies committee.

Notes:

  • The transfer exam must be successfully completed before the end of the 5th term.
  • Following transfer, all of the requirements of the doctoral program must be met: the doctoral seminar (NSC 8325S), six units of course work (including either NSC 5102 or NSC 5104), the comprehensive exam (NSC 9998) and the thesis (NSC 9999).

Information about how to apply to this program is available under the Apply Now section.

Students should complete and submit their online application with supporting documentation (if applicable) by the deadline indicated above.

Doctorate with Collaborative Specialization

The Department may require students to take additional courses, depending on their backgrounds.

Students must meet the following requirements for the doctorate with collaborative specialization: 

Compulsory Courses:
MED 8166Professionalism and Professional Skills0 Unit
3 course units from:3 Units
Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Systems Neuroscience
3 course units from:3 Units
Advanced Topics in Structure and Function of Plasma Lipoproteins
Introduction to Cancer Biology
Cellular and Molecular Basis of Cardiovascular Function/Dysfunction
Advanced Topics in Cancer Biology
Advanced Topics in Neuropathology
Cell Biology and the Molecular Basis of Pathological Phenotypes
Seminars: 1
NSC 8325SSeminar for PhD Students3 Units
PME 8367Seminar0 Unit
Comprehensive Examination:
NSC 9998Comprehensive Examination (Ph.D.) 20 Unit
Thesis:
NSC 9999PhD Thesis 3, 40 Unit

Note(s)

1

The seminar courses involve the presentation of a seminar and regular attendance at the departmental seminars.

2

Successful completion of a comprehensive examination in the form of a research proposal on their own thesis project.

3

Preparation and defense of a thesis under the supervision of a professor who is a member of the Pathology and Experimental Medicine program. The thesis must be relevant to the focus of the Pathology and Experimental Medicine program. At least one of the examiners must be a member of the Pathology and Experimental Medicine collaborative program.

4

Students are responsible for ensuring they have met all of the thesis requirements.

Minimum Requirements

The passing grade in all courses is C+.

Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 units), the thesis proposal, or the comprehensive exam or whose research progress is deemed unsatisfactory are required to withdraw.

Research Fields & Facilities

Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, a few steps away from Parliament Hill, the University of Ottawa is among Canada’s top 10 research universities.

uOttawa focuses research strengths and efforts in four Strategic Areas of Development in Research (SADRs):

  • Canada and the World
  • Health
  • e-Society
  • Molecular and Environmental Sciences

With cutting-edge research, our graduate students, researchers and educators strongly influence national and international priorities.

Research at the Faculty of Medicine

“The Faculty of Medicine has a long history of conducting both basic and clinical research of the highest quality. Many of our high profile research projects are conducted in partnership with affiliated-teaching hospitals and research institutes. These partnerships lead to biomedical discoveries that have a significant impact on health care. In the process they educate the next generation of Canadian scientists. Our research activity also attracts significant investment, which stimulates the Ottawa economy.”

- Dr. Bernard Jasmin, Vice-Dean, Research

Facilities, Research Centres and Institutes at the Faculty of Medicine

For more information, refer to the list of faculty members and their research fields on Uniweb

IMPORTANT: Candidates and students looking for professors to supervise their thesis or research project can also consult the website of the faculty or department of their program of choice. Uniweb does not list all professors authorized to supervise research projects at the University of Ottawa.

NSC 5102 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience (3 units)

The molecular and cellular properties of neurons. Emphasis to be placed on the molecular basis of electrical activity of neurons and chemical synaptic transmission.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 5104 Systems Neuroscience (3 units)

Structure and function of representative components of the nervous system to be presented in an integrated and comprehensive manner, emphasizing a reductionist approach to the study of neural networks and their behavioural output.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 5106 Molecular Psychiatry (3 units)

Study of genetic and neurochemical bases of mental illnesses using transgenic and gene knockout mouse models, animal behavioural paradigms, in vivo imaging. Gene therapy approaches in psychiatry; influence of environmental stressors.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 6300 Seminars

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 7100 Neurotransmission and Neuromodulation (3 units)

Molecular and cell biology of neurotransmission including the identity, actions and mechanisms of neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Use of computer simulations to explore the complex interactions between synaptic input and the electrical architecture of neurons.

Course Component: Seminar

NSC 7999 Thèse de maîtrise / MSc Thesis

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

NSC 8101 Advanced Topics in Neuropathology (3 units)

General histopathological responses of central and peripheral nervous tissue to pathological stimuli including hypoxic-ischemic, traumatic, inflammatory/infectious, demyelinating and toxic. Emerging topics in neurology and neuropathology including the following: the pathology and pathogenesis of protein-based neurodegenerative disorders, the emerging family of RNA-mediated neurological disorders, mendelian and non-mendelian genetic diseases of the nervous system (including the role of microRNA in neurological disease), advances in diseases of skeletal muscle, advances in the molecular pathogenesis of Central Nervous System tumours, and advances in metabolic/mitochondrial/storage diseases.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 8103 Developmental Neuroscience (3 units)

Fundamental concepts of development of the nervous system with an emphasis on those aspects unique to this tissue type. Topics to include control of proliferation and differentiation, axonal outgrowth and pathfinding, synaptogenesis and formation of neuronal maps, neuronal plasticity, growth factor action and neural regeneration.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 8104 Computational Neuroscience (3 units)

Basic concepts of sensory-motor processing from the cellular level of excitable membranes and synaptic signalling mechanisms to the emergent properties of complex neural networks.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 8105 Molecular Biology of the Neuron (3 units)

Emphasis on how signal transduction regulates neuronal function. Topics to include the role of the cytoskeleton in neuronal function, membrane sorting in exocytosis and endocytic pathways, metabotropic and ionotropic receptor signaling, signaling by the GTP-binding proteins, plasma membrane and vesicular transporters, role of protein-protein interactions in the regulation of neuronal signaling, and genomic and proteomic approaches to study neuronal signaling.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 8106 Mechanisms of Neurological Disease (3 units)

Current knowledge of select neuropathologies with emphasis on the underlying genetics and biochemistry of these conditions. Examination of some fundamental cellular processes important for understanding neurological diseases.

Course Component: Lecture

NSC 8324S Seminar for MSc Students (3 crédits / 3 units)

All graduate students enrolled in the MSc program or who have been admitted to a PhD program without an MSc must participate in these seminars for one year. Two seminars must be presented by each student during the year.

Volet / Course Component: Séminaire / Seminar

NSC 8325S Seminar for PhD Students (3 crédits / 3 units)

All graduate students enrolled in the PhD program must participate in these seminars for one year during their doctoral or post MSc training. Two seminars must be presented by each student during the year: one on an assigned subject, the other on his or her research project.

Volet / Course Component: Séminaire / Seminar

NSC 8340 Neuromuscular Function and Dysfunction (3 units)

Topics to be covered include factors controlling muscle- and synapse-specific gene expression, regulation of myogenesis and muscle cell growth, formation of the neuromuscular junction, motor neuron-muscle interactions, the role of the cytoskeleton in the organization of post-synaptic domains, functional role of ion channels in muscle, molecular genetics of neuromuscular disease.

Course Component: Lecture

Prerequisite: CMM 5340 or equivalent.

NSC 9998 Examen de synthèse (doctorat) / Comprehensive Examination (Ph.D.)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

NSC 9999 Thèse de doctorat / PhD Thesis

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

PME 5367 Seminar

Presentation of one poster during the Research Day organized by the Pathology and Experimental Medicine collaborative program. Active participation in the annual Pathology Research Day of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Poster evaluated by Pathology and Experimental Medicine program faculty members. Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory).

Course Component: Lecture

PME 8112 Cell Biology and the Molecular Basis of Pathological Phenotypes (3 units)

Molecular principles of cell biology, with a focus on the mechanisms of disease. Disorders in cell biological processes that underlie many pathological phenotypes, such as intracellular transport, mitochondrial dynamics, cell biology of the nucleus and the regulation of the cytoskeleton. Emphasis on emerging experimental techniques, including functional assay design, fluorescence microscopy (multi-photon, confocal, assays like Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM), Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP), photoactivation and uncaging) and electron microscopy. Participants will have hands-on experience and will work to apply these techniques to their own research problems by rotation through participating laboratories. The experiments performed by the students during the course will be assembled into a manuscript-style paper for submission at the end of the term to be graded by the course co-ordinator. Enrolment is limited to 10 students and preference will be given to students whose projects are related directly to these concepts and techniques.

Course Component: Lecture

PME 8367 Seminar

Presentation of one poster during the Research Day organized by the Pathology and Experimental Medicine collaborative program. Active participation in the annual Pathology Research Day of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Poster evaluated by Pathology and Experimental Medicine program faculty members. Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory).

Course Component: Lecture