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Computer Science - PhD at Waterloo

Program information

Department/School David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science 
Faculty Faculty of Mathematics
Admit term(s)

Fall (September - December)

Winter (January - April)

Spring (May - August)

Application and document submission deadline(s)

December 1 (for admission in September of the following year)

June 1 (for admission in January of the following year)

October 1 (for admission in May of the following year)

Delivery mode On-campus
Program type Doctoral, Research
Length of program 48 months (full-time)
Registration option(s) Full-time, Part-time
Study option(s) Thesis

Research fields - Graduate research fields are used to better define a student's research concentration

Algorithms and Complexity

Artificial Intelligence


Computer Algebra and Symbolic Computation

Computer Graphics

Cryptography, Security and Privacy


Formal Methods

Health Informatics

Human-Computer Interaction

Information Retrieval

Machine Learning

Programming Languages

Quantum Computing

Scientific Computing

Software Engineering

Systems and Networking

Watch the How to apply to Waterloo graduate studies video

What does it take to get in?

Minimum admission requirements

  • A Master's degree in Computer Science with a 78% average.
  • Student with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science may apply for admission directly to the PhD program. Successful applicants will have an outstanding academic record, breadth of knowledge in computer science, and strong letters of recommendation.
  • PhD applicants may be admitted into the Master of Mathematics (MMath) program. Like all MMath students, they will have the option to transfer into the PhD program before completing the master's thesis if their performance warrants.


  • Review the finding a supervisor resources
  • Applicants do not need to have a confirmed supervisor before applying. If offered admission, a supervisor will be assigned at that time 

Application materials

  • Resume
  • Supplementary information form (SIF)
    • The SIF contains questions specific to your program, typically about why you want to enrol and your experience in that field. Review the application documents web page for more information about this requirement
    • If a statement or letter is required by your program, review the writing your personal statement resources for helpful tips and tricks on completion
  • Transcript(s)

  • References
    • Three references are required; at least two academic
  • Proof of English language proficiency, if applicable
    • TOEFL 93 (writing 22, speaking 22), IELTS 6.5 (writing 6.0, speaking 6.5)

How much will it cost?

What can you expect at Waterloo?

    This program page is effective September 2023; it will be updated annually. Any changes to the program page following this date will be indicated with a notation. 

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