The program information below is valid for the spring 2019 term (May 1, 2019 - August 31, 2019).

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.

Graduate research fields

  • Antennas, Microwaves and Wave Optics
  • Biomedical
  • Circuits and Systems Including Computer - Aided Design
  • Communications and Information Systems
  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Software
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI)
  • Power and Energy Systems
  • Quantum Information
  • Silicon Devices and Integrated Circuits
  • Systems and Control
  • Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI)
  • Wireless Communication
  • 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 
    • 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 
    • The coursework associated with the program is intended to provide a foundation for advanced learning in the chosen field of research. A minimum of 4 courses (0.50 unit weight per course) is required for a PhD student holding a MASc degree or equivalent (7 0.50 unit weight courses from a Bachelor program). At least 2 of the courses must be from the list of approved core courses (updated by the Department annually) in one of the approved areas of specialization as specified in the student's letter of admission, unless this course requirement has already been achieved during a University of Waterloo Electrical and Computer Engineering MASc program. The remaining 2 courses may be taken from outside of the Department but must be from the faculties of Engineering, Math, and/or Science (unless otherwise approved). All PhD students are required to take a minimum of 2 ECE courses toward their degree requirements. Core courses may count towards this 2 course minimum. The choice of courses must meet with the approval of the supervisor. 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%.
    • Core courses:
      • Antennas, Microwaves, and Wave Optics
        • ECE 642 Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design
        • ECE 671 Microwave and RF Engineering
        • ECE 672 Optoelectronic Devices
        • ECE 675 Radiation and Propagation of Electromagnetic Fields
        • ECE 676 (QIC 750) Quantum Information Processing Devices
        • ECE 677 (QIC 885) Quantum Electronics and Photonics
      • Biomedical
        • ECE 601 Foundations of Biology in Engineering
        • ECE 608 Quantitative Methods in Biomedical Engineering
      • Circuits and Systems
        • ECE 636 Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 637 Digital Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 642 Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design
        • ECE 671 Microwave and RF Engineering
      • Communications and Information Systems
        • ECE 602 Introduction to Optimization or CO 602 Fundamentals of Optimization
        • ECE 603 Statistical Signal Processing
        • ECE 604 Stochastic Processes
        • ECE 610 Broadband Communication Networks
        • ECE 611 Digital Communications
        • ECE 612 Information Theory
      • Computer Hardware
        • ECE 606 Algorithm Design
        • ECE 621 Computer Organization
        • ECE 627 Register-transfer-level Digital Systems
        • ECE 637 Digital Integrated Circuits
      • Computer Software
        • ECE 606 Algorithm Design and Analysis
        • ECE 650 Methods and Tools for Software Engineering
        • ECE 652 Methods and Principles of Safety-critical Embedded Software
        • ECE 653 Software Testing, Quality Assurance and Maintenance
        • ECE 654 Software Reliability Engineering
        • ECE 656 Database Systems
      • Nanotechnology
        • ECE 630 Physics and Models of Semiconductor Devices
        • ECE 633 Nanoelectronics
        • ECE 634 Organic Electronics
        • ECE 635 Fabrication in the Nanoscale: Principles, Technology and Applications
        • ECE 672 Optoelectronic Devices
      • PAMI - Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
        • ECE 606 Algorithm Design and Analysis
        • ECE 613 Image Processing and Visual Communication
        • ECE 657 Tools of Intelligent Systems Design
        • ECE 657A Data and Knowledge Modelling and Analysis
        • ECE 659 Intelligent Sensors and Sensor Networks
      • Power and Energy Systems
        • ECE 662 Power Systems Analysis and Control
        • ECE 663 Energy Processing
        • ECE 665 High Voltage Engineering Applications
        • ECE 666 Power Systems Operation
        • ECE 668 Distribution System Engineering
      • Quantum Information
        • QIC 710 Quantum Information Processing
        • ECE 677(QIC 885) Quantum Electronics and Photonics
        • ECE 676 (QIC750) Quantum Information Processing Devices
      • Silicon Devices and Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 630 Physics and Models of Semiconductor Devices
        • ECE 631 Microelectronic Processing Technology
        • ECE 634 Organic Electronics
        • ECE 636 Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 642 Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design
        • ECE 671 Microwave and RF Engineering
        • ECE 672 Optoelectronic Devices
      • Systems and Controls
        • ECE 602 (CO 602) Introduction to Optimization
        • ECE 604 (STAT 901) Stochastic Processes
        • ECE 682 Multivariable Control Systems
        • ECE 686 Filtering and Control of Stochastic Linear Systems
        • ECE 688 Nonlinear Systems
      • VLSI - Very Large Scale Integration
        • ECE 636 Advanced Analog Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 637 Digital Integrated Circuits
        • ECE 642 Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design
        • ECE 671 Microwave and RF Engineering
      • Wireless Communication
        • ECE 602 Introduction to Optimization
        • ECE 603 Statistical Signal Processing
        • ECE 604 Stochastic Processes
        • ECE 610 Broadband Communication Networks
        • ECE 611 Digital Communications
        • ECE 612 Information Theory
  • Link(s) to courses
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination I and PhD Comprehensive Examination II
    • Students are required to meet the University-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements outlined in the “Minimum requirements for the PhD degree” section of the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (GSAC), with certain noted differences that are specific to the Faculty of Engineering Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements:
      • Comprehensive examination purpose: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
      • Who Chairs an examination: Students must follow the Faculty of Engineering Chair guidelines whereby the Chair is normally selected from outside of the student’s home department.
      • Format / Content: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements but with additional information provided in the Faculty of Engineering Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements.
      • Academic integrity: Consistent with University-level minimum requirements.
    • In addition to the University-level and Faculty-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements, students in the PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering program are also required to meet the following requirements:
      • Students must complete the Background Comprehensive Examination and the Comprehensive Proposal Examination which 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 Examination by the stated deadline, or fail either exam on their second attempt, will be required to withdraw from the program.
      • The Background Comprehensive Examination Committee does not include the supervisor(s) and must consist of three members of the University, one of whom must be from ECE and two of whom can be internal or external to ECE (but within the University of Waterloo). The Proposal Comprehensive Examination Committee must consist of the  supervisor(s) plus three members of the University, two of whom must be from ECE and one of whom must be external to ECE (but within the University of Waterloo). It is the supervisor’s responsibility to form each of these committees.
    • Detailed procedures are available in the “PhD comprehensive examination process” section of the Electrical and Computer Engineering website.
  • PhD Seminar
    • The aim of the 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 (ninth term) 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.