Thesis-based Opportunities

Photograph of learners in a lab

The thesis-based option offers opportunities for students to pursue a master’s degree in the basic sciences at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. Currently, seven areas/departments ARE offering this degree option:

Students interested in this option will take a one-year leave of absence from the MD Program. They would apply during their first year of the MD Program and begin their thesis-based master’s beginning July 1 of their first year of studies and continue the data-gathering phase for 14 months, re-joining the MD Program in September the following year. A thesis supervisor must be identified before a student can enrol in a thesis-based program.

Following completion of their 14-month intensive lab-based training, students would then return to the second year of the MD Program. The remaining requirements for the MSc thesis would be completed during their independent study and summer months of Year 2. During this time they would continue to work on their project and write and defend the thesis.

Students interested in a basic science thesis-based master’s program, should review all requirements through Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. They should also visit the website of the particular department of interest.

How to apply

Students must follow the application process as outlined for their particular program of interest. Please visit the appropriate department website and visit Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Approval Process

Students interested in pursuing the thesis-based option must be in good standing with the MD Program and receive the approval of the office of the Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education Program.


Students will express interest in the first three months of their first year of the MD Program. Interest should be expressed through the Vice Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education Office.

Graduate training would begin in July of Year 1 of the MD Program, and continue until August 31 of the following calendar year.

Students would complete their project and thesis and defend their thesis during their independent study and summer months of their Year 2 of the MD Program.

Financial Support

During the first two months (July/August) of their master’s program, students will receive a two-month stipend. For the full year of their master’s studies, students may receive compensation from their supervisor.


Can I enter the MD+ track in Year 2 of my studies?

You can but your graduation year may be deferred by 2 year. Year 3 and 4 curriculum is not able to accommodate this track requirements for Master completion

Can I build on my undergraduate research project in basic sciences?

Yes, this is one possibility, especially if your undergraduate supervisor is Schulich Medicine faculty. You do not need to have studied in the Master discipline if applying.

How can I complete this from Windsor Campus?

You would need to relocate for your research year. You would be able to complete your residual requirements virtually or with scheduled sessions on Western's campus.

What will happen if my thesis is not completed by Year 3?

You may be able to complete in the second half of Year 4 or by designating 2-4 weeks of electives as a research elective in Year 4. You must complete this before graduation.