Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Comprehensive Course (HAD5311)

Students achieve candidacy when they have completed all coursework, including HAD5311.  All PhD students must achieve candidacy by the end of the third year of registration (MSc-PhD transfer and PhD direct entry students must achieve candidacy by the end of the fourth year of registration).  See degree requirements for more details. 

The comprehensive course consists of 2 distinct components:

A. the seminar series and
B. the comprehensives paper & presentation. 

Both must be completed to complete the course and achieve candidacy. These 2 components can be completed asynchronously.

A. Seminar Series

  1. Purpose
    Each seminar will be led by a recognized leader in the field of clinical epidemiology, who will focus the discussion on the history and philosophy of the area of research of focus within clinical epidemiology, and/or perform informal “mentoring” of the students about developing a successful clinical research career.
  2. Requirements
    • Students will attend four 1/2 day seminars, for a total of 16 hours. 
    • Students are expected to begin attending sessions once their PhD transfer has been approved and will be enrolled in the course on ROSI by the Graduate Assistant.
    • Although it is recommended that the students complete in a single year, it is possible to complete over more than one year.

B. Comprehensives Paper & Presentation

  1. To ensure the student has acquired sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge (expertise) in their chosen area of clinical research – this implies a thorough understanding of not only research methodology, but the theoretical underpinnings of these methods.
  2. Implementation
    • Together with their supervisor and thesis committee members, each PhD student must select a methodological question or issue on which to focus the comprehensive paper. The paper should have a methodological, theoretical, or conceptual orientation. The topic of the comprehensive paper should be related to the thesis topic but the comprehensive paper is distinct from the thesis and should not be integral to the thesis work. The comprehensive paper should not form a chapter in the thesis; but instead, the comprehensive supplements and augments the body of the thesis. For example, a student who is conducting and analyzing a randomized controlled trial may choose to explore statistical approaches to missing data or methodological approaches to recruitment, as his or her comprehensive work.
    • A 1 to 2 page outline of the proposed comprehensive paper should be approved by the thesis committee and then be submitted to the CEHCR office for approval prior to embarking upon the project. The outline should be signed by the supervisor, committee members, and the student.
    • The student will independently prepare the comprehensive paper. While the student might consult with committee members for advice and clarification, the work must be demonstrably that of the student’s alone. The student and committee are advised to select a target journal before the student starts writing. The paper submitted to the committee should be publication-worthy, meaning it should be fully formatted for publication, should be copy-edited and appropriately formatted, and should be of appropriate length for a submission to the target journal. If a student has not selected a target journal, the instructions for authors for the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology should be followed with a maximum word count of 5000 (
    • The student and committee must schedule a time for the presentation of the comprehensive paper. The student must notify the CEHCR office at least 2 weeks prior to the presentation date. The supervisor must be available for the presentation as well as a majority of the committee members. Committee members who cannot attend must submit written comments, similar to a manuscript review.  Membership in person is preferred but attendance by teleconference or electronic conferencing is acceptable.
    • The student must submit the comprehensive paper to her/his committee for evaluation at least 2 weeks prior to the comprehensive date.
    • The presentation will be scheduled for at least one hour. The student’s presentation should not exceed 20 minutes, similar to that for a PhD defense.  All committee members should take part in questioning the student regarding the work and provide feedback regarding its quality.
    • Based on the consensus of the supervisor and committee members, the student will be assigned a pass/fail grade.The supervisor will be responsible for notifying the CEHR office by letter or email that the student has successfully completed the Comprehensive requirements.In the case where the student is not deemed worthy of a passing grade, the student should be given a clear understanding as to why, and clear instructions as to what modifications and improvements are required in order for a pass to be obtained. A second presentation/review should be undertaken in this situation and should follow the format of the initial review.

Comprehensive Review Topics

Finance Your Degree

At IHPME, we offer a variety of financial supports to help you succeed in our graduate programs.

Connect with Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research (CEHCR)

CEHCR Program Director

Sindhu Johnson
Phone Number: 416-603-6417
Email Address: sindhu.johnson@​

Oversees management of the CEHCR program.

CEHCR Associate Director

Nick Daneman
Email Address: nick.daneman@​

Co-leads the management of the Clinical Epidemiology and Healthcare Research (CEHCR) program.

Graduate Administrator

Zoe Downie-Ross
Phone Number: (416) 946-3486
Email Address: ihpme.grad.admin@​

Coordinates student records, graduate funding, and student-related awards.

Graduate Admissions

Christina Lopez
Email Address: ihpme.admissions@​

Manages admissions and responds to all related inquiries.

Graduate Assistant

Nadia Ismail
Phone Number: (416) 946-4100
Email Address: ihpme.grad.assist@​

Coordinates various graduate initiatives including defences, student events, and graduation.

Program Assistant – CEHCR

Aileen O’Dowd
Email Address:​

Manages the CEHCR courses including course enrolment, grades, and access to Quercus. For admissions inquiries contact

Graduate Placements

Christina Lopez
Phone Number: (416) 978-1108
Email Address: ihpme.placements@​

Coordinates details involving student placement and experiential learning