Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctorate of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering degree puts an emphasis on research and culminates with a high-quality thesis. PhD applicants are typically first admitted to the MSc program. They must take a pre-determined number of courses to demonstrate their proficiency before being recommended for the PhD program.

Course requirements depend upon individual circumstances and must be approved by the department. A supervisory committee will recommend courses to be taken to make up for course deficiencies and to support thesis research. All PhD candidates must take a thesis-proposal course and submit a research proposal. The minimum period of residence is two academic years of full-time attendance, but time required to finish the PhD program will vary with each candidate.

The PhD is the highest degree offered by the University of Alberta, and therefore comprises the highest requirements. A typical program for a PhD candidate is as follows:

  • Completion of FGSR and Faculty of Engineering Ethics requirement
  • Graduate-level courses as recommended by the a supervisory committee
    • Students who have not previously obtained an MSc at the University of Alberta are normally expected to take at least six graduate-level courses during the duration of the PhD program. Students holding an MSc degree from a recognized Canadian university may, with the support of their thesis supervisor, receive credit for courses taken during their MSc degree. A majority of these should be graduate-level courses offered by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The remainder of the courses selected may include a graduate-level reading course or 400 level undergraduate courses with approval of the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies. Additional courses may be required and specified by the student's supervisory committee. To be considered for a possible transfer of credits, a request should be made in writing to the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, with the agreement of the supervisory committee members, and during the first year of studies. No transfer of credits will be accepted after one year of registration in the graduate program.
  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 3.3 in coursework
    • Students should be aware that a higher GPA is typically expected. Students who only marginally satisfy the minimum requirements may have difficulties passing the candidacy examination.
  • Completion of FGSR and Faculty of Engineering Professional Development requirement
  • Deliver a graduate seminar on the thesis topic
  • Pass an oral Candidacy Examination within the first two years (see Candidacy Examination, section 204.2.1 (5) of the U of A Calendar)
  • Complete and successfully defend a PhD Thesis
    • This thesis "...must embody the results of original investigations and analyses and be of such quality as to merit publication; furthermore, it must constitute a substantial contribution to the knowledge of the candidate's field of study." (Section 203.11 of the U of A Calendar)