As you pursue your PhD in the Department of Chemical Engineering, you may find the following resources helpful. 

PhD Degree Requirements

Your Doctorate program's degree requirements are dependent upon the term in which you began your program. For a complete list of your degree requirements, consult the archived Graduate Studies Academic Calendar for the term in which you were admitted. If you began this term, consult the current calendar.

If you are studying within Nanotechnology or Water programs, please view the program-specific PhD degree requirements in the appropriate calendar.

The number and type of courses you must take is determined by the type of degree you were admitted with. Those admitted with an MASc, for example, must take three graduate level elective courses, while those admitted without an MASc must take five graduate level elective courses. The course calendar provides more information about the specific course requirements you must meet.

Consult the Courses section of your degree requirements in the appropriate Graduate Studies Academic Calendar for details.


The Department provides tentative course scheduling for the two upcoming terms so you can plan your studies in advance. You can find the current term's course offerings on the Graduate Schedule of Classes

See the Graduate Schedule of Classes and program-specific pages of the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar for Nanotechnology and Water courses.


You are required to attend at least 24 seminars as part of your PhD degree requirements. If you are in a collaborative program, you may have additional requirements. Our Seminar Attendance Milestone page provides information on eligible seminars and the methods used to track your attendance.

Comprehensive Exam

To graduate, you must pass a comprehensive exam, normally taken within 16 months (or four terms) of beginning your program. This exam involves the discussion of a research proposal and focusses on:

  • The suitability of your proposed thesis topic
  • The adequacy of your preparation for completing the proposed research
  • Your knowledge of the fundamental concepts of chemical engineering

In a process unique to the Department of Chemical Engineering, PhD candidates are responsible for coordinating the time and date of their own comprehensive exam. You will coordinate these exam details with your examining committee, including the committee Chair that has been assigned to your exam.

Research Proposal

All PhD students must complete a research proposal which will consist of a double-spaced report of no more than fifty (50) pages including tables, diagrams, references and appendices. The PhD proposal guidelines apply to the final draft of the proposal that is shared with the PhD advisory committee in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Scheduling your CHE PhD Comprehensive Exam

  1. At least five weeks before you would like to complete your exam, contact the Chemical Engineering Department’s Manager of Graduate Studies to be assigned a Chair for your comprehensive exam.
  2. Coordinate the date and time of the comprehensive exam with the examining committee, including the assigned Chair. Contact the Department Secretary to book the location. 

At least four weeks before your exam date,

  1. Submit your completed PhD Comprehensive Examination Form to the Manager of Graduate Studies.
  2. Manager of Graduate Studies Chemical Engineering will create a Calendar Invite, invite all committee members to the event, with the expectation that Student/Supervisor will provide connectivity information for update.
  3. Complete the PhD Comprehensive Registration Form. 
  4. For more information about completing your PhD Comprehensive Exam milestone, the associated requirements and the process for booking your examination, see the Faculty of Engineering’s PhD Comprehensive Exam page.

PhD Thesis and Defence

For more information about the process of preparing for your defence, formatting your thesis and submitting it to UWSpace for approval, visit the thesis page.

The Faculty of Engineering’s PhD degree completion page provides all the information you need to coordinate your thesis submission, apply for graduation, organize your committee and defend your thesis.

In addition to the Faculty of Engineering’s administrative requirements, please register your PhD Defense with the Department.

Note: For as long as the University restricts in-person activity on campus to limit the spread of COVID-19, doctoral students will complete all academic milestones remotely. 

Manager of Graduate Studies Chemical Engineering will create a Calendar Invite, invite all committee members to the event, with the expectation that Student/Supervisor will provide connectivity information for update.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs prepared the following resources to help you successfully complete your PhD defence remotely:

Degree Completion

For complete instructions and timelines for the degree completion process, visit the PhD degree completion page.

The degree completion process takes time. Start planning for this final stage of your degree at least a couple of months in advance.

Final Steps

Once you have completed all of your academic obligations, your final – and very important step is to complete the Department Sign-Off Sheet.