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Ryerson Senate approves urban health and building science PhD programs

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By Tim Falco

Ryerson University has approved two new PhD programs: urban health and building science.

In a meeting on Nov. 6, Senate voted in favour of offering the programs at Ryerson.

Both programs have a target start date of September 2019. The university, however, is still waiting for approval from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as well as the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, according to Cory Searcy, the associate dean of programs at Ryerson’s Yeates School of Graduate Studies.

The building science PhD will expand on Ryerson’s existing masters of building science program, while the urban health PhD is a step up in higher education from the masters of nursing.

“For both of these programs, they are very unique, and there are no comparable programs in Ontario or even more broadly, in Canada,” Searcy said.

He added that student interest, as well as societal needs, are factors in the decision-making process of establishing new PhD programs— and the two new programs meet those requirements.

PhD in urban health

Suzanne Fredericks, graduate program director for the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, said the new urban health program will focus on the health of people living in a diverse city centre such as Toronto.

“Other universities don’t have a specific focus on urban health,” Fredericks said. “They have subcategories that will address urban health, but it’s not their primary focus.”

The location of Ryerson’s campus in Toronto’s downtown core and the curriculum’s urban focus will make the program unique on an international scale, she added.

The four-year urban health PhD will accept five students per year.

PhD in building science

The building science program will give students a chance to explore new advancements and initiatives such as environmentally sustainable building in the field.

“[The new program] puts Ryerson University in a valuable and unique leadership position to attract new students, industry partnerships, and research investment,” said Miljana Horvat, associate dean of graduate studies of the engineering and architectural science faculty.​

Two students will be accepted into the four-year program every year.

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