Program Learning Outcomes

M.Sc. Program

Degree Level expectations

Learning Outcome

Method of Evaluation

Depth and breadth of knowledge

  • Explain the state of knowledge in their research field

It is expected that the student will have an in depth understanding of the topic of the thesis and a general knowledge of how this integrates into the field as a whole. This knowledge is acquired through course work, the student’s independent study of past and current literature in the area and through interaction with the thesis supervisor. Knowledge is assessed formally through thesis advisory committee meetings, in the evaluation of the written thesis, and at oral defence.

Research and scholarship

  • Define research questions
  • Critically evaluate published literature and data

Successful students will be expected to, using their knowledge of the scientific literature in the field, to generate a research question and to propose an experimental plan to test hypothesis. This is directly evaluated at the first TAC meeting for which the student must prepare a research proposal and defend it as well as subsequent meetings. These skills are also developed in course work, seminar courses, journal clubs and in the preparation and defence of the thesis.

Level of application of knowledge

  • Perform scientific experiments safely in a laboratory setting
  • Demonstrate the appropriate use of research methodologies and interpret results of data gathering using appropriate statistical analysis

The student is expected to actively participate in the design and execution of experiments with the goal of testing research hypotheses to build new knowledge. This is evaluated primarily at TAC meetings and in the preparation and defence of the thesis. These skills are also reinforced in our seminar course where students must present a research poster.

Professional capacity/
autonomy

  • Demonstrate mastery of the ethical standards of conducting research
  • Recognize the societal benefit of scientific research in the discipline

Students are introduced to the ethical issues to be considered when conducting research through our Professional Skills course (formerly Ethics Day), and these skills are reinforced by interaction with the thesis supervisor, the TAC and participation in symposia and research conferences.

Level of communica-tions skills.

  • Communicate scientific findings through seminars, poster presentation and research reports

The student must develop a high level of communication skills in both oral and written formats.  These skills are developed during course work and lab meetings and formally evaluated during mandatory seminar and poster sessions as well as during the yearly thesis advisory committee meetings.

Awareness of limits of knowledge

  • Evaluate the limits of knowledge and to discuss the implications of research findings

The candidate must realize that science is a process through which knowledge is built and that there is always a certain degree of uncertainty involved. As such, students must recognize that not every finding should be reported as having a key role in a biological process without thorough investigation. Students must learn to ask themselves what other phenomenon could also produce the finding to begin to design appropriate control experiments to solidify their conclusions. This capability is evaluated through graduate coursework, graduate seminars, in TAC meetings, and at the thesis defence. Further opportunity to hone these skills is available during graduate symposia and journal clubs.

 

 

Ph.D. Program

Degree Level expectations

Learning Outcome

Method of Evaluation

Depth and breadth of knowledge

  • Explain the state of knowledge in their research field

It is expected that the student will have an in depth understanding of the topic of the thesis and a general knowledge of how this integrates into the field as a whole. This knowledge is acquired through course work, the student’s independent study of past and current literature in the area and through interaction with the thesis supervisor. Knowledge is assessed formally through thesis advisory committee meetings, in the evaluation of the written thesis, and at oral defence.

Research and scholarship

  • Define research questions
  • Critically evaluate published literature and data
  • develop and implement new methods of research
  • Autonomously create new knowledge in their chosen field of research through careful design and execution of an experimental plan and appropriate analysis of results.

Successful students will be expected to, using their knowledge of the scientific literature in the field, to generate a research question and to propose an experimental plan to test hypothesis. This is directly evaluated at the first TAC meeting for which the student must prepare a research proposal and defend it as well as subsequent meetings. These skills are also developed in course work, seminar courses, journal clubs and in the preparation and defence of the thesis.

Professional capacity/
autonomy

  • Demonstrate mastery of the ethical standards of conducting research
  • Recognize the societal benefit of scientific research in the discipline

Students are introduced to the ethical issues to be considered when conducting research through our Professional Skills course (formerly Ethics Day), and these skills are reinforced by interaction with the thesis supervisor, the TAC and participation in symposia and research conferences.

Level of communica-tion skills

  • Communicate scientific findings through seminars, poster presentation and research reports
  • Publish and disseminate their results in peer-reviewed journals and at conferences
  • Communicate complex ideas, issues, arguments and research findings clearly and effectively in both oral and written formats in a manner that is accessible and appropriate to a variety of audiences

The student must develop a high level of communication skills in both oral and written formats.  These skills are developed during course work and lab meetings and formally evaluated during mandatory seminar and poster sessions as well as during the yearly thesis advisory committee meetings.

It is expected that a PhD student will produce original research of a quality to satisfy peer review, and to merit publication. The ability of the students to produce results of quality required to satisfy peer-review is examined at the TAC meetings and at the thesis defence.

Awareness of limits of knowledge

  • Critically evaluate the limits of knowledge and to discuss the implications of research findings
  • evaluate the strengths and limitations of research approaches in relation to their research
  • make informed judgments on complex issues in their specific field of research

The candidate must realize that science is a process through which knowledge is built and that there is always a certain degree of uncertainty involved. As such, students must recognize that not every finding should be reported as having a key role in a biological process without thorough investigation. Students must learn to ask themselves what other phenomenon could also produce the finding to begin to design appropriate control experiments to solidify their conclusions. This capability is evaluated through graduate coursework, graduate seminars, in TAC meetings, and at the thesis defence. Further opportunity to hone these skills is available during graduate symposia and journal clubs.

The communication skills of PhD students are extensively tested in the course presentations (written and oral), seminar course, TAC meetings, and several other presentation venues (Journal Clubs and conferences).  In addition, the students’ ability to “think on their feet” is tested in the progressively higher expectations of the thesis advisory committee, and in the oral defence of the comprehensive exam.  Finally, PhD students must present a 1-hour research seminar prior their PhD’s defence which is a final test of the student’s ability to present complex ideas and respond to questions that probe the student’s knowledge. Ultimately, PhD students must present and successfully defend a thesis based on original research carried out under the direct supervision of program member.

 

 

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