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

The program information below is valid for the winter 2024 term (January 1, 2024 - April 30, 2024).

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 an overall standing equivalent to 80% in either a relevant thesis-based Master’s degree or a University of Waterloo Master of Engineering (MEng) degree that includes a completed ECE 699A Master of Engineering Project 1 course.
    • 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 NANO 600 Introduction to Nanotechnology, 1 nanotechnology core course and 2 elective courses, the choice of courses must meet with the approval of the supervisor. The electives taken by a student should, however, be from within the Faculties of Engineering, Science or Mathematics.
    • 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 NANO 600 Introduction to Nanotechnology, 1 nanotechnology core course and 5 elective courses.
    • 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 can not take NANO 600 as part of the minimum course requirement. Instead, they can choose 1 course from the list of nanotechnology core courses to meet the total course credit requirement.
    • Nanotechnology core courses:
      • NANO 601 Characterization of Nanomaterials
      • NANO 602 Structure and Spectroscopy of Nanoscale Materials
      • NANO 603 Nanocomposites
      • NANO 604 Nanomechanics and Molecular Dynamics Simulations
      • NANO 605/SYDE 683 Design of MEMS & NEMS
      • NANO 606/SYDE 682 Advanced MicroElectroMechanical Systems: Physics, Design & Fabrication
    • 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
    • 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 - Nanotechnology 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.
  • 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.