PhD Program

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Admission Requirements and Procedures 

A candidate to be considered for entrance into the PhD program must meet the admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and must have a research Master’s degree in engineering from Dalhousie University or other recognized university, or a Master of Science degree or its equivalent from a recognized university and acceptable to the Faculty of Engineering.

A candidate for admission to the graduate program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy should have a superior academic record and previous training or experience which indicates that the candidate should be able to carry out independent research.

Candidates must also be recommended for admission by a faculty member in order for their application to proceed. It is noted that a recommendation for admission is not a formal acceptance.

Doctoral candidates are not admitted without appropriate funding sufficient to support the student and the intended program of research.

Admission from Master’s Degree
A candidate registered in a MASc Degree in the department may be transferred to a PhD Degree on the recommendation of their supervisory committee, according to the Regulations of the Faculty of Engineering. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Faculty of Engineering Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) and transmitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.


Academic Regulations
All doctoral programs are developed under the regulations and procedures of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (see Faculty of Graduate Studies Regulations) and each program must be approved by the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Program Requirements
A PhD graduate program consists of a minimum of 12 credit hours, a comprehensive exam and a thesis. No undergraduate courses are allowed for credit in a PhD program.

Granting of credits to a student’s program of studies for courses taken prior to commencement of the program requires the recommendation of the department and approval of the Faculty of Engineering Graduate Studies Committee. A request for this transfer of credits must be made to the department either before the student’s first registration in the program or in their first term in the program.

Supervisor and Supervisory Committee
The Supervisory Committee will consist of the thesis/project supervisor (and co-supervisor), at least one other member of the department, and at least one other member from outside the department with special interests in the proposed area of study. The supervisor will be the chair of the Supervisory Committee.

Thesis Subject Matter and Supervision
The thesis shall consist of an original investigation or design carried out under the immediate supervision of a member of the Faculty of Engineering who is also a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Thesis Requirement
A candidate will be required, as a major part of the program, to submit a satisfactory thesis embodying the results of original scholarship and independent research. See Faculty of Graduate Studies Regulations for information pertaining to doctoral theses.

Examination Requirements
All courses required to meet the degree requirements are considered essential courses and will be so designated by the Supervisory Committee. Essential courses can include any required undergraduate or prerequisite courses. Any courses taken in excess of the requirements are subject to approval by the supervisor. These courses will appear on the student’s transcript as regular courses.

A PhD degree candidate must pass all graduate level courses with a grade of at least B- and cannot carry a course failure. Graduate students are not eligible to write supplementary examinations. Transfer credits from other universities will be considered on a case by case basis.

PhD candidates are also required to pass a comprehensive examination which normally take place within the fourth study term.

As well, all PhD degree candidates must pass an oral examination of their thesis project after it has been submitted in satisfactory form, and in accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Regulations.

In addition to meeting the grade requirements, failure to maintain an acceptable academic standing will result in a student being asked to withdraw from the program. Failure to achieve the minimum mark as noted above shall be considered grounds for dismissal.

Comprehensive Examination
The Supervisory Committee shall be responsible for conducting the comprehensive examinations.
The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to ensure that the candidate has a thorough understanding of the chosen field of study as a whole, has attained knowledge to an adequate level in the discipline and evaluate their suitability to begin Ph.D. level thesis research.

The comprehensive examination consists of at least two written examinations and an oral examination conducted to meet the above objective. The comprehensive examination shall normally be started within the fourth session of study from first registration. A student shall be given at least three months notice of the examination. The topics and results of the examination will be conveyed to PhD Candidate Home Department’s Graduate Coordinator on the prescribed form and will indicate “pass”, “fail”, or “re-examination”. The results to be added to the student’s transcript.

Recommendation of the examining committee to re-examine shall only be permitted if the failure was marginal. Re-examination of marginal students must be carried out within six months of the initial examination. Students requiring re-examination shall not necessarily be required to rewrite both written examinations. Students given the opportunity to rewrite shall only be permitted to rewrite once.

Students receiving a recommendation of “fail” will be academically dismissed from the program (see FGS regulations about dismissal).

Time and Residence Requirements
A student is required to register each term to maintain eligibility to continue their program of studies. See Faculty of Graduate Studies Regulations for policies regarding residency requirements and the maximum length of time for degree completion and extensions.


Procedures and Guidelines for PhD These Defences
An Examining Committee is appointed in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies procedures prior to the formal submission of the thesis. The Examining Committee consists of the Supervisory Committee and an external examiner recommended to FGS by the Supervisory Committee. The External Examiner will be approached and appointed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies according to the Faculty’s procedures.

A copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at least six weeks prior to the date of the oral defence. The copy will be sent to the External Examiner. The copy must be accompanied by the appropriate form. The oral presentation and examination will not be scheduled until the following requirements for the student’s program of studies have been met:
i) Course work completed;
ii) The graduate seminar requirement completed;
iii) Comprehensive examination passed;
iv) Examining Committee established;
v) A written report has been received by the Faculty of Graduate Studies from the external examiner.