I am applying to some Canadian schools for PhD in Computer Science. I am currently enrolled in a master's in CS program in a school in USA. I work as a research assistant but I will not be presenting a final thesis before degree completion. I saw that most PhD in CS programs in Canada require a thesis based MS. I wanted to know if they make some exceptions to that rule. Will a research assistantship be ample proof of the ability to conduct research?

Here are the unis I am interested in:

Uni of Saskatchewan

Carleton Uni

Uni of Calgary


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    I'm not on an admissions committee but I think that it generally follows many PhD programs look at the whole package incl. references, relevant work experience and the nature of your graduate degree. I also think that over a year of hands-on, documented research experience is a good proof (get a strong reference here, outline your strengths in a statement of purpose through this experience). You do have to contact the admissions office for your institution of choice, however, as requirements vary.
    – CKM
    Jan 18 '16 at 21:19
  • Have you considered asking someone in the departments you are interested in?
    – Tyler
    Jan 22 '16 at 22:24

In my experience this really depends on what the supervisor is looking for in terms of what projects they have in mind. But I have seen people begin a PhD program with no masters degree or undergraduate thesis. It would be particularly beneficial if the research assistantship involved working on research that was a focus of a prospective supervisor. Experience as a research assistant could provide more relevant experience than a masters thesis, particularly if the topic was appropriate.

I would suggest you make contact with prospective supervisors who focus on what you are interested in. Be prepared to let them know why you want to do research and why they should take you on as a student. But don't discredit yourself, it sounds like you have some valuable skills to offer. Enthusiasm to develop and learn goes a long way.

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