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

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.

  • 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 admitted to the program with a non-Quantum Information MASc degree must complete a total of at least 5 half credit courses (0.50 unit weight):
      • 3 core courses:
        • QIC 710 Quantum Information Processing
        • QIC 750/ECE 676 Implementation of Quantum Information Processing
        • QIC 885/ECE 677 Quantum Electronics & Photonics
      • 1 additional QIC course:
        • QIC 820 Theory of Quantum Information
        • QIC 823 Quantum Algorithms
        • QIC 845 Open Quantum Systems (AMATH 876)
        • QIC 880 Nanoelectronics for Quantum Information Processing
        • QIC 890 Topics in Quantum Information
        • QIC 891 Topics in Quantum Information
        • QIC 895 Topics in Quantum Information
      • 1 of the following electives:
        • ECE 633 Nanoelectronics
        • ECE 635 Fabrication of Nanoscale: Techniques & Applications
        • ECE 671 Microwave and RF Engineering
        • ECE 730 Special Topics in Solid State Devices (19 Magnetism and Spintronics, 20 Physics of Nanodevices)
    • Students admitted to the program with a MASc in Electrical and Computer Engineering - Quantum Information degree from the University of Waterloo must complete a total of at least 4 half credit courses (0.50 unit weight).
      • At least 2 of the required 4 half credit courses must be taken from the approved ECE list below:
        • ECE 633 Nanoelectronics
        • ECE 635 Fabrication of Nanoscale: Techniques & Applications
        • ECE 671 Microwave and RF Engineering
        • ECE 730 Special Topics in Solid State Devices (19 Magnetism and Spintronics, 20 Physics of Nanodevices)
      • At least 1 of the required 4 half credit courses must be a QIC course (note: core courses QIC 710, QIC 750, and QIC 885 will have been met in the previous MASc in Electrical and Computer Engineering - Quantum Information program):
        • QIC 820 Theory of Quantum Information
        • QIC 823 Quantum Algorithms
        • QIC 845 Open Quantum Systems (AMATH 876)
        • QIC 880 Nanoelectronics for Quantum Information Processing
        • QIC 890 Topics in Quantum Information
        • QIC 891 Topics in Quantum Information
        • QIC 895 Topics in Quantum Information
      • The 4th course may be selected from either of the above lists.
    • Students admitted to the program with an incomplete Master’s or Honours Bachelor's degree must complete a total of at least 8 half credit courses (0.50 unit weight):
      • 3 core courses:
        • QIC 710 Quantum Information Processing
        • QIC 750/ECE 676 Implementation of Quantum Information Processing
        • QIC 885/ECE 677 Quantum Electronics & Photonics
      • 1 additional QIC course:
        • QIC 820 Theory of Quantum Information
        • QIC 823 Quantum Algorithms
        • QIC 845 Open Quantum Systems (AMATH 876)
        • QIC 880 Nanoelectronics for Quantum Information Processing
        • QIC 890 Topics in Quantum Information
        • QIC 891 Topics in Quantum Information
        • QIC 895 Topics in Quantum Information
      • 1 of the following electives:
        • ECE 612 - Information Theory
        • ECE 604 - Stochastic Process
        • ECE 672 - Optoelectronics
        • ECE 720-T2 - Cryptographic Computation
      • 3 of the following electives:
        • ECE 633 Nanoelectronics
        • ECE 635 Fabrication of Nanoscale: Techniques & Applications
        • ECE 671 Microwave and RF Engineering
        • ECE 730 Special Topics in Solid State Devices (19 Magnetism and Spintronics, 20 Physics of Nanodevices)
    • 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%.
  • 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 - Quantum Information 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 Quantum Information Seminar
    • Students must fulfill a PhD Quantum Information Seminar milestone (scheduled with the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC)) consisting of 1 IQC seminar, the Quantum Information seminar may simultaneously count towards the PhD Seminar requirement of the ECE Department.
  • PhD Seminar
    • The aim of the PhD Seminar (scheduled with the ECE Department) 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
    • Students must complete an original research thesis in Quantum Information and an oral defense.
    • 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.
    • A list of approved Quantum Information thesis supervisors is available on the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering website.