Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Electrical and Computer Engineering - Nanotechnology

The program information below was valid for the fall 2016 term (September 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016). This is the archived version; the most up-to-date program information is available through the current Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.

The Graduate Studies Academic Calendar is updated 3 times per year, at the start of each academic term (January 1, May 1, September 1). Graduate Studies Academic Calendars from previous terms can be found in the archives.

  • Admit term(s) 
    • Fall
    • Winter
    • Spring
  • Delivery mode 
    • On-campus
  • Length of program 
    • The minimum period of registration for the Doctoral degree is four terms after a Master’s degree or equivalent and six terms after an Honours Bachelor's degree or equivalent. The maximum time limit is twelve terms after a Master’s degree or equivalent and eighteen terms after an Honours Bachelor's degree or equivalent. Extensions beyond twelve terms must be approved by the Faculty Graduate Studies Office.
  • Program type 
    • Collaborative
    • Doctoral
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
    • Part-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Minimum requirements 
    • Admission to the program is based upon the student's academic record and evidence of ability to pursue independent research.
    • Normally a Master of Applied Science (MASc) degree from the University of Waterloo or an equivalent degree in engineering, applied science or mathematics from a university of recognized standing with an 83% average.
    • At the time of admission, each student must have a faculty supervisor who has endorsed the recommendation for admission.
  • Application materials 
    • Résumé
    • Supplementary information form
    • Transcript(s)
  • References 
    • Number of references:  3
    • Type of references: 

      at least 2 academic.

  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students who are admitted with an appropriate master’s degree must complete a total of at least 4 courses (0.50 unit weight) including 2 required core courses and 2 elective courses from the list of technical electives, the choice of courses must meet with the approval of the supervisor.
    • Students who are admitted with an appropriate honours bachelor’s degree or who transfer directly from a master’s program to the PhD program must complete a total of at least 7 courses (0.50 unit weight) including 2 required core courses and 5 elective courses from the list of technical electives.
    • Students who have completed their Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) degree in Nanotechnology Engineering or Master’s degree in Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo are not obliged to take the 2 core courses as part of the minimum course requirement. Instead, they can choose all graduate courses from the list of technical electives to meet the total course credit requirement.
    • Nanotechnology core courses:
      • NANO 701 Fundamentals of Nanotechnology (students must complete any 2 of the 0.25 unit weight modules)
      • NANO 702 Nanotechnology Tools (students must complete any 2 of the 0.25 unit weight modules)
    • Technical elective courses:
      • (a) Micro/nano Instruments and Devices
        • BIOL 642 Current topics in Biotechnology
        • CHEM 724 Chemical Instrumentation
        • CHEM 750 Topic 17 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Surface Science and Nanotechnology
        • CHEM 750TXX Nanostructured Materials and Analysis
        • ME 738 Special Topics in Materials: Materials for NEMS and MEMS
        • ME 770 Topics in Heat and Fluid Flow: Micro- and Nano- fluidics
        • ME 780 Special Topics in Mechatronics: MEMS Design and Analysis
        • SYDE 682 Advanced MicroElectroMechanical Systems: Principles, Design & Fabrication
        • SYDE 750 Topic 24 Topics in Systems Modelling: Modelling, Simulation and Design of MEMS
      • (b) Nanoelectronics Design and Fabrication
        • CHEM 750 Topic 11 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Bioelectronics
        • CHEM 750 Topic 19 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Carbon Nanotube Electronics
        • ECE 631 Microelectronic Processing Technology
        • ECE 632 Photovoltaic Energy Conversion
        • ECE 633 Nanoelectronics
        • ECE 634 Organic Electronics
        • ECE 635 Fabrication in the Nanoscale: Principles, Technology, & Applications
        • ECE 636 Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 637 Digital Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 639 Characteristics & Applications of Amorphous Silicon
        • ECE 672 Optoelectronic Devices
        • ECE 676 Quantum Info Processing Devices
        • ECE 677 Quantum Electronics & Photonics
        • ECE 730 Topic 10 Special Topics in Solid State Devices: Advanced Technology for Semiconductor Processing
        • ECE 730 Topic 11 Special Topics in Solid State Devices: Physics and Modeling of Semiconductor Devices
        • ECE 730 Topic 19 Special Topics in Solid State Devices: Magnetism and Spintronics
        • ECE 730T20 Topics in Solid State Devices: Physics of Nanodevices
        • ECE 770T13 Topics in Antenna and Microwave Theory: Quantum Information Devices
        • ME 595 Introduction to MEMS Fabrication
        • ME 596 Topics in Nanotechnology: Introduction to Fabrication & Characterization of Nano-structures
        • PHYS 713 Molecular Physics
        • PHYS 731 Solid State Physics 1
        • PHYS 747 Optical Electronics
      • (c) Nano-biosystems
        • BIOL 608 Advanced Molecular Genetics
        • BIOL 614 Bioinformatics Tools and Techniques
        • BIOL 629 Cell Growth and Differentiation
        • BIOL 642 Current Topics in Biotechnology
        • BIOL 670 Photobiology
        • BIOL 678 Current topics in Neurophysiology
        • CHE 562 Advanced Bioprocess Engineering
        • CHE 660 Principles of Biochemical Engineering
        • CHE 661 Advances in Biochemical Engineering
        • CHE 760 Special Topics in Biochemical Engineering
        • CHE 765 Research Topics in Biochemical Engineering
        • CHEM 730 Proteins and Nucleic Acids
        • CHEM 731T02 Physical Biochemistry
        • CHEM 737 Enzymes
        • PHYS 751 Clinical Applications of Physics in Medicine
        • PHYS 752 Molecular Biophysics
      • (d) Nanomaterials
        • CHE 541 Introduction to Polymer Science and Properties
        • CHE 542 Polymerization and Polymer Properties
        • CHE 612 Interfacial Phenomena
        • CHE 622 Statistics in Engineering
        • CHE 640 Principles of Polymer Science (cross-listed with CHEM 770)
        • CHE 641 Physical Properties of Polymers (cross-listed with CHEM 771)
        • CHE 740 Special Topics in Polymer Science and Engineering
        • CHE 745 Research Topics in Polymer Science and Engineering
        • CHE 750 Special Topics in Materials Science: Thin Film Fabrications & Mechanical Properties
        • CHE 755 Research Topics in Electrochemical Engineering, Interfacial Engineering & Material Science
        • CHEM 710T12 Structure and Function of Supramolecular Materials
        • CHEM 710T15 Advanced Solid State Chemistry: Ion, Electron and Molecular Transport
        • CHEM 710 Topic 17 Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry: Nanostructured Materials and Integrative Chemistry
        • CHEM 713 Chemistry of Inorganic Solid State Materials
        • CHEM 750 Topic 17 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Surface Science and Nanotechnology
        • ME 632 Experimental Methods in Materials Engineering
        • ME 738 Special Topics in Materials: Materials for NEMS and MEMS
        • ME 738 Topics in Materials Science: Nanostructured and Amorphous Materials
        • ME 738 Topic 8 Special Topics in Materials: Introductory and Advanced Nanomechanics
        • PHYS 701 Quantum Mechanics 1
        • PHYS 704 Statistical Physics 1
        • PHYS 706 Electromagnetic Theory
        • PHYS 773 Special Topics
    • The faculty supervisor will consider the level and adequacy of each student's preparation in drawing up the candidate's program. It is expected that candidates will maintain a 78% minimum cumulative average in their course work. To obtain credit, an individual course must be passed with at least 75%.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination I and PhD Comprehensive Examination II
    • The background comprehensive examination and the comprehensive proposal examination are conducted by the Department for each candidate.
    • The first exam, the Background Comprehensive Examination, will be held before the end of the third term (fourth term if from an incomplete MASc). The main objective of this examination is to satisfy the Department that the candidate has a broad knowledge of their field and a thorough technical background to pursue their research; the candidate will be questioned on their background preparation.
    • The second exam, the Comprehensive Proposal Examination, will be held no later than the student's sixth term and only after the Background Comprehensive Examination has been successfully completed. The main objective of this examination is to examine and approve the thesis proposal.
    • The result of these examinations is the identification of an Advisory Committee which has examined and approved the candidate's background and thesis proposal and is willing to assist the supervisor with the subsequent research program. The validity of the comprehensive examination expires after three years.
    • Students who do not complete either Comprehensive Exam by the stated deadline, or fail either exam in its entirety, will be required to withdraw from the program.
  • Nanotechnology Seminar
    • This seminar is a forum for student presentation of research results or proposals. The range of topics that will be addressed in the seminar crosses all areas of research in the collaborative program. Each student is required to present at least 1 Nanotechnology research seminar over the course of the degree. The Nanotechnology Seminar may simultaneously count towards the PhD Seminar requirement of the ECE Department.
  • PhD Seminar
    • The aim of the PhD seminar is to allow students to gain experience in preparing and presenting their work. The seminar is to be held no later than the end of the third year after the initial registration in the program. The seminar must be attended by the student’s supervisor and their Advisory Committee. Other Faculty members and PhD and MASc students may also be in attendance. Since this is not intended to be an examination, the seminar presentation and the feedback communication, would be regarded as satisfying the seminar credit requirements.
    • Students who do not complete the PhD Seminar by the stated deadline will be required to withdraw from the program.
  • PhD Thesis
    • The primary objective of the program is the accomplishment of independent and original research work and reporting thereon in a research thesis.
    • The requirements for the PhD degree are completed when the student successfully defends their thesis before an Examination Committee. This committee should consist of the supervisor, three other members of the University (at least one of whom should be from outside the Department) and an external examiner. Faculty from other Departments who hold cross appointments in the Department are counted as departmental members in defining examining committees.