Master of Science

Welcome, FHS MSc students

The information and resources found here are for current MSc students. Over the course of your graduate studies, you’ll want to visit to this page, or reference the MSc welcome package.

Course planning

The FHS MSc Program Plan is designed to help you plan your courses, term by term. It is your responsibility to be aware of any course prerequisites, as well as the program requirements necessary for graduation.

Course planning is completed in cooperation with your supervisor and committee.

For course planning assistance and advising throughout your degree, we encourage you to meet with Kellie Smith, FHS Manager, Graduate Programs. At least two semesters prior to your planned thesis proposal defence, you should book an appointment with Kellie to ensure that you are on track for completion.

Refer to the course timetable for detailed information on course time and location. To help in planning your courses over the next two years, FHS has released future course offerings. The schedules are subject to change.

Typically, HSCI 902 must be completed in the fall term and HSCI 903 must be completed in the spring term. For a full listing of HSCI graduate courses, please see the SFU Calendar.

Continuity of enrollment

To maintain continuity of enrollment, MSc students are required to be enrolled in one of the following courses each term that you are not on a leave of absence:

  • HSCI 886 every semester until the confirmation of acceptability for your thesis is signed and submitted;

  • HSCI 887 every semester until you graduate

Transfer to a PhD

MSc students in the FHS can apply to transfer to the PhD program with the support of their supervisor and committee.

To be eligible you need to complete at least 75% of your MSc course work with a CPGA of 3.5 or better, and be in the first 6 terms of your MSc.  Send your application to Margaret at mscphd_assistant@sfu.ca including: 

  • Application form
  • Unofficial SFU transcript
  • A supporting letter from your supervisor (needs to acknowledge funding and confirm that your research is substantial enough for a PhD)  
  • Support from your committee in the form of emails, letters, or signatures on the letter from your supervisor

Supervisor relationship

Have regular meetings and make agreements in writing.

Student expectations

  • To receive support throughout the process
  • Supervisors will read and constructively criticize their work
  • Supervisors will be available when needed
  • Supervisors will be interested/excited about their topic
  • Funding can be discussed

Supervisor expectations

  • Students will work independently and prioritize their graduate work
  • Students will be available for regular meetings
  • Student will be honest about their progress and raise issues in a timely manner
  • Student will work on their writing and use writing support resources to improve
  • Students will be open to accepting advice
  • Students will be fun to work with
  • Students will raise funding issues 

Graduate committee

A committee is required to help graduate students stay on track and to advise their research.  Each graduate student will meet with their committee during the course of their graduate studies.

To understand the roles of the student, supervisor and committee, please refer to these guidelines for supervision, written by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Forming your committee

The committee includes your supervisor and at least two other members. Your supervisor will assist with recruitment of the remaining committee members. One of the two additional committee members must be a member of the FHS research faculty. The third supervisory committee member could be from SFU, or could be an adjunct professor or faculty member from another institution.  You can also request to have a committee member from the community.  If your member is not from SFU, include their curriculum vitae with your forms.

Committee members should complement the student’s research and program goals and should be available for regular consultation. You can make changes to your committee as needed through your program. Each time a change is made submit the change of supervisory committee form.

See best practices in forming and utilizing a supervisory committee from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Initial committee meeting

The initial committee meeting is to ensure that you, as a new graduate student, are set up for success from the outset.

You need to meet with your supervisory committee early in your graduate program, ideally in the first term.

Once the meeting has taken place, a completed initial supervisory committee meeting form and an approval of supervisory committee form must be submitted to your graduate program assistant.

SFU regulations state that you need to have a committee in place four months after you start your program.  Students who do not submit these two forms on time may not be allowed to register in the following term.

Sensitive or classified material

Students, in consultation with their supervisors, will need to read the guidelines for sensitive and classified material. Both must confirm they have reviewed the guidelines by signing and returning the approval of supervisory committee form.

FHS research seminar

The Faculty of Health Sciences interdisciplinary research seminar series focuses on the research of the FHS faculty and related researchers. Held in the fall and spring semesters, the seminar is an excellent opportunity for students and faculty to engage.

While attendance is mandatory for first year MSc and PhD students as a requirement of HSCI 902 and HSCI 903, we encourage you to continue attending the seminars throughout your program.

Graduate progress report

In collaboration with your supervisor, you are required to meet with your committee once per year for the purpose of discussing your progress as a graduate student.

As a Graduate General Regulation (GGR) 1.8.1, all active SFU students in a research-based program are required to complete an annual Graduate Progress Report (GPR).

The student, supervisor and committee members each need to complete the appropriate sections of the Graduate Progress Report (GPR). In addition to an evaluation of your progress, the report will provide:

  • A review of courses taken and grades achieved, research progress and research-related activities (e.g., conference attendance, publications)

  • A proposal for coursework and research-related activities and plans for the coming year

  • Any sources and amounts of financial support from the senior supervisor, TA positions, fellowships, etc., for the previous and coming years.

Students will not be allowed to register for the next semester until the Graduate Progress Report has been submitted.

Students who start their program in September can expect to complete the report in the summer term; students who start in January can expect to complete the report in the fall term.

For more information and instructions, visit the GPR website. See managing your progress for ways to stay on track during your studies.

MSc thesis proposal defence

As a program requirement, you will write and present (defend) your thesis proposal to your supervisor and committee members, typically before the end of the 4th term of your program. Review the MSc thesis proposal defence preparation procedures before you begin the process.

Your thesis proposal will integrate theory, current research and methods in the fields related to your research area.

At the end of your presentation, your supervisor and committee members will sign the MSc thesis proposal confirmation of acceptability, and submit it to the MSc program assistant.

MSc thesis

All MSc candidates must write a thesis and pass a formal oral thesis defence that is conducted in accordance with University Graduate General Regulations (1.9 & 1.10).

See SFU information and resources for writing your thesis and preparing for your defence.

FHS provides all MSc students with an MSc thesis completion guideline.  Also, see the option to write a manuscript based thesis in the FHS.