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
  • Program type 
    • Collaborative
    • Doctoral
    • Research
  • Registration option(s) 
    • Full-time
    • Part-time
  • Study option(s) 
  • Minimum requirements 
    • Normally a Master's degree in Physics, with at least a 75% standing.
    • Students with an undergraduate degree in Physics may apply for admission directly to the PhD program. Successful applicants will have an outstanding academic record, breadth of knowledge in physics, and strong letters of recommendation.
  • Application materials 
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Physics subject test scores for all students who have completed their post-secondary education outside of Canada.
    • Supplementary information form
    • Transcript(s)
  • References 
    • Number of references:  3
    • Type of references: 

      academic

  • English language proficiency (ELP) (if applicable)

    Thesis option:

  • Graduate Academic Integrity Module (Graduate AIM)
  • Courses 
    • Students must complete 2 half credit courses (0.50 unit weight).
    • 3 of the core courses, including 2 required Nanotechnology core courses and 1 of PHYS 701, PHYS 704 or PHYS 706, or their equivalent must be taken by the completion of the first year of the PhD program. These courses may have been taken during the MSc program.
    • Courses taken during the MSc program, in excess of those required may be allowed for PhD credit. The extra courses must be identified prior to admission.
    • Students admitted with an appropriate honours bachelor’s degree or who transfer directly from a masters program to the PhD program must complete 6 half credit courses (0.50 unit weight) including 2 required Nanotechnology core courses, 1 of PHYS 701, PHYS 704 or PHYS 706, or their equivalent and 3 courses from the list of technical electives.
    • Nanotechnology core courses:
      • NANO 701 Fundamentals of Nanotechnology
      • NANO 702 Nanotechnology Tools
    • Core courses are designed to provide the base knowledge and skill set required to prepare students for more specialized courses and to conduct interdisciplinary nanoscale research.
    • Students who have completed their Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) degree in Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo will not be required to take the 2 core courses. Instead, they can choose additional graduate courses from the list of technical electives.
    • Technical elective courses:
      • (a) Micro/nano Instruments and Devices
        • BIOL 642 Current topics in Biotechnology
        • CHEM 720 Topic 13 Selected Topics in Analytical Chemistry: Biosensors and Nanotechnology
        • CHEM 750 Topic 17 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Surface Science and Nanotechnology
        • CHEM 750 Topic 23 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Processes at Micro-Nano Scales
        • CHEM 750 Topic 27 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Nanotechniques
        • ME 738 Special Topics in Materials: Materials for NEMS and MEMS
        • ME 760 Special Topics in Thermal Engineering
        • ME 780 Special Topics in Mechatronics
        • 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
        • CHE 620 Applied Engineering Mathematics
        • CHEM 750 Topic 11 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Bioelectronics
        • CHEM 750 Topic 19 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Carbon Nanotube Electronics
        • ECE 630 Physics and Models of Semiconductor Devices
        • 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 Information Processing Devices
        • ECE 677 Quantum Electronics and 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 730 Topic 26 Special Topics in Solid State Devices: MBE and Quantum Nano Devices
        • ECE 730 Topic 28 Special Topics in Solid State Devices: Physics of Nanoscale Devices
        • ECE 730 Topic 29 Special Topics in Solid State Devices: Computational Nanoelectronics
        • ECE 770 Topic 18 Special Topics in Antenna and Microwave Theory: Nanoelectronics for QIP
        • ECE 770 Topic 21 Special Topics in Antenna and Microwave Theory: Quantum Optics & Nanophotonics
        • 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 622 Statistics in Engineering
        • CHE 660 Principles of Biochemical Engineering
        • CHE 760 Special Topics in Biochemical Engineering
        • CHE 765 Research Topics in Biochemical Engineering
        • CHEM 737 Enzymes
        • ECE 730 Topic 25 Special Topics in Solid State Devices: Microfluidic & Nanobiotech Systems
        • PHYS 751 Clinical Applications of Physics in Medicine
        • PHYS 752 Molecular Biophysics
      • (d) Nanomaterials
        • CHE 610 Theory and Application of Transport Phenomena
        • CHE 612 Interfacial Phenomena
        • CHE 622 Statistics in Engineering
        • CHE 630 Chemical Reactor Analysis
        • CHE 640 Principles of Polymer Science
        • 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 710 Topic 17 Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry: Nanostructured Materials and Integrative Chemistry
        • CHEM 713 Chemistry of Inorganic Solid State Materials
        • CHEM 720 Topic 14 Selected Topics in Analytical Chemistry: Nanomaterials for Energy Conversion and Clean Environment
        • CHEM 750 Topic 17 Selected Topics in Physical Chemistry: Surface Science and Nanotechnology
        • CHEM 770 Principles of Polymer Science
        • CHEM 773 Topic 11 Selected Topics in Polymer Chemistry: Synthesis, Self-assembly and Materials Application of Inorganic Polymers

        • CHEM 773 Topic 14 Selected Topics in Polymer Chemistry: Living Polymerization Techniques

        • CHEM 773 Topic XX Selected Topics in Polymer Chemistry: Noncovalent Interactions & Supramolecular Chemistry

        • ME 632 Experimental Methods in Materials Engineering
        • ME 738 Special Topics in Materials: Materials for NEMS and MEMS
        • 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
    • No undergraduate course in Physics may be taken for credit.
    • An average of at least 70% must be obtained in the required courses. A minimum grade of 65% is required for a pass in each course. No more than 2 courses, of the first 4 taken, can have averages of less than 70%. If a student does not meet these minimum grade requirements, or receives a failing grade in any course, the student may be required to withdraw from the program.
    • In exceptional circumstances course requirements may be waived with the approval of the Director of the program, Physics and Astronomy Graduate Officer, and Associate Dean of Science for Graduate Studies.
    • Note: The student's committee may still require more courses dependent on the student's background.
  • Link(s) to courses
  • Academic Integrity Workshop
    • This is a milestone requirement for all full-time students. Part-time students are not required to complete this workshop. This is a mandatory workshop on academic integrity and intellectual property which will be offered to all new incoming graduate students within the Faculty of Science during the first term of each Fall and Winter.
    • Note: students will be required to complete both the Academic Integrity Module as a required course along with the Academic Integrity Workshop milestone. The Module will appear on the student's transcript as a course. The Workshop will appear on the student's transcript as a milestone.
  • Nanotechnology Seminar
    • This Nanotechnology Seminar is a forum for student presentation of research results or proposals. Invited speakers from academia and industry will also present results of research from time to time. 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 one research seminar. To receive credit, students are required to attend at least eight seminars other than their own before completing their program.
    • The seminar is graded on a Credit/Non-Credit basis.
  • PhD Comprehensive Examination
    • 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).
    • In addition to the University-level PhD Comprehensive Examination minimum requirements, students in the PhD in Physics - Nanotechnology program are also required to follow the requirements outlined below:
      • The examination will assess the student's knowledge of the fundamentals and applications of the physics closely related to the thesis topic. 
      • A student’s comprehensive exam includes both written and oral components. These components are evaluated by an examining committee constituted for a given student. The examining committee will consist of at least three expert examiners, in accordance with university guidelines. The nonvoting Chair will normally be the program Director or their designate. The Associate Director from the University of Guelph or his/her designate may attend the exam either as an expert examiner or a non-expert examiner.
      • The student’s advisory committee will meet formally with the student during the first year of the PhD program. From this meeting, a list of three areas of physics deemed necessary background for the thesis topic will result and be recorded on the Committee meeting form along with the names of three expert examiners. At the committee meeting, the committee members will specify the level of knowledge expected in each area (eg at the level of the original research literature, review articles or graduate level textbooks). Examiners are encouraged to give to the student explicit examples of references which illustrate the level and knowledge expected.
      • Once the exam date has been scheduled, each of the three expert members of the committee with knowledge of the designated areas, will be asked to set 3 exam questions, each requiring approximately 10 minutes to answer. Along with their questions, the expert examiners will also submit an outline of the answers they expect for their respective questions; this will not only ensure that the questions are of the right length but will also be of help to the non-expert committee member(s) during the exam. Sufficient collaboration should occur among expert examiners to avoid excessive duplication of exam questions.
      • The Chair of the exam (Director or his/her designate) will vet and approve the questions and may request edits to remove overlaps or improve the clarity of questions and/or solutions. All examiners will proofread the final exam. The oral exam is intended to be approximately 90 minutes long but may run longer, if necessary. All questions will normally be covered.
      • The student will have access to the exam in an examination room for up to two hours with a calculator and paper provided to them (if the student so desires) prior to the start of the formal oral examination period. No books or other aids are permitted.
      • In the oral portion of the exam, the student may choose the first question for which he/she will present a solution; the exam will then proceed in the established question order from question 1). Solutions to questions will be presented to the examination committee one at a time without interruption. The examination committee will ask questions and/or provide feedback only after the student has completed his/her presentation of a given question. The student will be assessed separately on the presentation and discussion components of each question and a combined grade will also be recorded by each examiner.
      • The candidate will leave the room while the committee discusses the grades given. The most recent report of the advisory committee and the student's grades in graduate courses will be available to the committee for its deliberations after the examination is finished. Discussion of the candidate's responses to individual questions is expected before arriving at a final recommendation on the outcome of the exam. The result is communicated verbally to the candidate once the decision has been made and is followed by written confirmation, usually within 24 hours.
      • In the case of a conditional pass, the conditions specified may be aimed at improving a weakness in understanding of one or more of the three areas of the exam.
      • Since the oral portion of the exam immediately follows the written part and involves a presentation by the candidate of the written responses to questions, suspected violations of academic integrity during the written exam should be reported to the Chair of the exam who will normally allow the oral portion of the exam to proceed and the potential academic integrity violation will be vetted after the completion of the exam.
  • PhD Thesis
    • An acceptable thesis on an advanced research topic must be submitted. The topic of the thesis and the quality of the research will be such as to merit publication in reputable scholarly media. Detailed specifications of the format of the thesis are available from the appropriate Graduate Office.
    • Acceptance of the thesis requires satisfactory completion of a Final Oral Examination.
  • Other requirements 
    • Supervisory Committee meetings: it is required that the student meet formally with their Supervisory Committee within the first six months of registration. Subsequently, the supervisory committee is expected to meet with the student at least twice per year. While one meeting in a year must be a formal one, the other meeting may be held informally. In the former case, the student is expected to provide a written report to the Committee and defend it orally. In the latter case, the meeting may simply take the form of a brief discussion of the student's academic progress but, apart from the student and supervisor, it must involve at least one other member of the Committee. The student will be required to take a Qualifying Examination, normally during the first year of the program; in any case, it must be passed no later than the final semester of the residency requirement. The examination will ascertain the student's knowledge of the fundamentals and applications of the physics closely related to the thesis topic. An assessment of the student's ability in research will be a factor in determining the examination result.