The flexible-time PhD program is intended for professionals with employment that is closely related to a proposed area of research, such as  practicing pharmacists or pharmaceutical scientists in industry, government or academia.

This flexible program will benefit mature, career-minded individuals who are unable to undertake full-time studies due to professional obligations.  For further information on the flexible-time PhD Program option, visit the School of Graduate Studies.

PhD Flex-time students must:

  • complete two full course equivalents (2 FCE) by the end of the third year of registration.
  • attend a minimum of four (4) graduate departmental seminars each academic year for eight (8) years.
  • attend 50% of assigned graduate student group seminars and provide a 15-25 minute presentation yearly and chair one session yearly.
  • present one (1) poster with a Master's degree; or present two (2) posters at Graduate Research in Progress (GRIP) without a Master's degree (one must be at GRIP and the second one can be at a peer-reviewed conference).
  • Successfully complete qualifying examination within the first 32 months of the program.

Additionally, all students must:

  • Attend at least one research ethics workshop for graduate students. Students who completed this requirement while registered in the MSc program are not required to attend a second workshop
  • Plan and attend yearly advisory committee meetings.  This meeting must take place before June 30 of each academic year.
  • Attend GRIP annually.
  • Present a final seminar during one’s thesis defense.
  • Develop a thesis based on an approved research problem in an area of pharmaceutical sciences.


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. 


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

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 within 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 

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.