PhD Program

Program Requirments

Admission requirements 

  1. Master of Science (MSc) from an institution recognized by the Memorial University of NL Senate as described in the MUN Calendar under General Regulations – Qualifications for Admission, 4.1.3 (1). Applicants may come from diverse fields of study, including but not limited to: agricultural sciences, biology, environmental science, earth sciences, ecology and natural resources. 
  2. A cumulative weighted average of at least 75% (MUN grade system equivalent). 
  3. Demonstrated ability for creativity, independent thought, advanced study and independent research. 
  4. To be eligible for admission, applicants shall meet the English Proficiency Requirements described in the MUN Calendar under General Regulations – Qualifications for Admission, 4.1.5, 4.1.6 and 4.1.7
  5. Applications must include a proposal, uploaded to the application portal as an additional document. It should be no longer than 2 pages single-spaced, and should elaborate: 1) rationale and significance of the proposed research project, 2) hypothesis and research objectives (or questions), 3) methodology of the proposed research project.


Transfer from Master to PhD

Students in the MSc (BEAS) or other Memorial University program may request a transfer to the PhD (BEAS) program after a minimum of 12 months in their program of study, and completion of all BEAS (or equivalent) course work requirements with a minimum of an A grade and clear evidence of exceptional research productivity. Final decision for transfer from any Masters program to the PhD program rests with the Dean of the Graduate Studies. Prior to proceeding with a formal application, potential students will be required to contact potential supervisors from within their area of research interest to determine the availability of positions and supervisor interest. If potential supervisors are accepting students, they will instruct the student to prepare a formal application. Potential students must identify a supervisor willing to provide a commitment that a research project and funding are available before an application can be processed.


Program requirements/program of study

Students enrolled in the PhD (BEAS) program will be required to complete:

  1. Issues in Boreal Ecosystems (BEAS 6000), 
  2. Graduate research seminar (BEAS 600A/B),  
  3. Comprehensive examination, 
  4. Research seminar,
  5. and a thesis, 

Students who have completed the course work for the MSc (BEAS) will not be required to re-take these two mandatory courses. However, students may be required to take additional courses in consultation with the student’s thesis supervisory committee to fill the gaps related to the research project.


Evaluation of Graduate Students - General Regulation 

  1. In order to continue in the School of Graduate Studies and in order to qualify for a PhD (BEAS) degree, a candidate shall obtain an A or B grade in each program course. 
  2. When it has been determined, on the basis of consultation with the candidate, the instructors in graduate courses, and the thesis or report Supervisor, that a candidate's work has fallen below a satisfactory level, the Supervisor or the Head of the academic unit may recommend to the Dean that such a candidate be required to withdraw from the program.


Comprehensive examination timeline 

The comprehensive examination will be held upon completion of all coursework, and no later than the seventh semester of the student’s program. 


Comprehensive examination procedure

The examination will be both written and oral. The candidate will be required to prepare a paper on the theoretical background of his or her research project. The comprehensive examination will cover material related to this paper as well as fundamental topics in the context of boreal ecosystems and agriculture. The topic will be assigned by the Examination Committee, which also determines the submission date for the paper, and the date of the examination. The Graduate Officer will communicate the seminar topic and guidelines to the student six weeks, if possible, but not less than four weeks before the examination. This paper will form the basis of a public seminar. The Examination Committee will question the candidate about the paper, the topic and its broader relationship with Boreal Ecosystems and Agricultural Sciences. Candidates will also be required to prepare and present one public seminar (to members of the SSE) on the topic of their thesis during the four-year degree period. Students are required to submit a thesis, present their final thesis to members of the SSE, and satisfactorily defend their thesis in an oral examination following the SSE presentation. The thesis is expected to be an original and substantial contribution to research in the areas of their relevant research project.


Composition of Thesis examination committee

  1. one external examiner (from outside MUN), 
  2. one internal examiner (from a related program within MUN), 
  3. two supervisory committee members, 
  4. and a chair (drawn from BEAS program members who are not members of the supervisory committee).



See General Regulation Theses and Reports, Evaluation of Ph.D. and Psy.D. Theses

All students are required to follow the MUN policy for Integrity in Scholarly Research.

Note: Every candidate in graduate studies shall comply with the General Regulations, the Degree Regulations, and any additional requirements of the appropriate academic unit.



A selection of the following graduate courses will be offered to meet the requirements of candidates, as far as the resources of the Academic unit will allow.

  • BEAS 6000 Issues in Boreal Ecosystems and Agricultural Sciences 
  • BEAS 600A/B Graduate Research Seminar 
  • BEAS 6002 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods for the Natural Sciences 
  • BEAS 6020 Management of Crop Nutrition 
  • BEAS 6021 Organic Farming for Sustainable Agriculture 
  • BEAS 6022 Plant Biochemistry 
  • BEAS 6023 Plant Physiology 
  • BEAS 6030 Chemical Speciation Modeling for Environmental Matrices 
  • BEAS 6031 Soil Functions Soil as a Bioreactor 
  • BEAS 6032 Environmental Soil Physics 
  • BEAS 6033 Soil and Water Conservation 
  • BEAS 6040 Advanced Groundwater Management 
  • BEAS 6041 Applied Hydrology 
  • BEAS 6042 Soil and Groundwater Remediation 
  • BEAS 6050-6150 Special topics in Boreal Ecosystems and Agricultural Sciences


Learning outcomes

Successful completion of our boreal ecosystems and agricultural programs will allow students to demonstrate:

​(BEAS) M.Sc. Program

​(BEAS) PhD Program

​An advanced understanding of the concepts and principles governing boreal ecosystems and agriculture.

​Advanced understanding of the concepts and principles governing natural and impacted boreal ecosystems.

​Advanced professional writing skills to allow conceptualization and development of comprehensive research programs, e.g., critical evaluation of scientific literature, formulating research questions, hypothesis development, selection and evaluation of research protocols and methodology; data collection, handling, analysis and interpretation, and as well as dissemination strategies.

​Advanced research methods, analytical techniques, and communication skills allowing effective dissemination of research through peer reviewed publications and oral and poster based presentations at national and international conferences.

Ability to conduct independent research projects under controlled and field conditions to answer research questions in areas such as agronomy, plant science, climate change, soil science/microbiology and land & water resources.

​An ability to reach out and work with community partners on issues of relevance.

Understanding, and operational knowledge to carry out analytical activities on both laboratory and field equipment relevant to their area of specialization.

​Be capable of planning and executing an independent research program.

Ability to analyse and interpret the factors that can contribute to food security in the context of climate change.

​Relevant knowledge, skills and technologies to understand and investigate issues and develop practical solutions related to management of boreal ecosystems.

​Ability to apply relevant knowledge, skills and technologies to assess issues and offer solutions to applied and environmental problems related to management of boreal ecosystems, including farming.

​Leadership as scholars in academic institutions, research sectors in industry, government, NGOs, or other institutions.


Student Research

We are committed to fostering opportunities for graduate research, specifically in the areas of industry- and community-engaged projects. Research is vital to Grenfell; it demonstrates the broad spectrum of our involvment in the community and beyond.


Career opportunities

Upon completion of our BEAS programs, you'll be equipped with a broad set of skills that will prepare you to work in environmental and agricultural industries and related fields such as:

  • food industry
  • forestry
  • natural resources
  • science education
  • government and NGO agencies