Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Admission Requirements

Candidates must satisfy the admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. A candidate to be considered to the Doctoral (PhD) in Electrical Engineering thesis program must have obtained a research Master’s Degree in engineering from Dalhousie University or any other recognized university, or a Master of Science Degree or its equivalent from a recognized university, acceptable to the Faculty of Engineering (in which case, a candidate may be required to take extra subjects to provide a suitable engineering background).

An application 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 do independent research.
Doctoral candidates are not admitted without appropriate funding to support the student and the program of research.

A candidate registered for a MASc degree may be transferred to a Doctoral Degree on the recommendation of his/her department, according to the Regulations of the Faculty of Engineering. 

Program Requirements

A Doctoral program is research or thesis based and requires the student to complete a minnimum of 4 courses (12 credit hours), the graduate research seminar requirement, written and oral comprehensive exams, and a research thesis selected upon the advice of the thesis supervisor. No undergraduate courses may be taken as part of the 12 credit hour requirement.

Students transferring from the MASc to the PhD program will normally have to also complete the required number of courses in the PhD program they are transferrring into, in addition to the courses already taken as a MASc student.

The Doctoral dissertation is expected to contain original research and many of the PhD candidates are also expected to publish their work in peer-reviewed journals.

Examination Requirement

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 reuqired undergradudate 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.

All PhD degree candidates must pass all graduate level courses with a grade of at least B. Graduate students are allowed to repeat only one course during their program in the Faculty of Engineering. Graduate students are not eligible to write supplementary examinations. Transfer credits from other universities will be considered on a case by case basis.

At least three-quarters (75%) of the total course requirement must be taken at the University, and at least half (50%) of the total course requirement must be taken in the department.

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

The student is required to deliver seminars according to the regulations of the Faculty of Engineering. The seminar requirement involves attending, and participating in, all Graduate Seminars held at the department throughout the duration of the student's residency period, as well as making at least two seminar presentations. The Graduate Coordinator is responsible for organizing the Graduate Seminars, and for deciding whether a student has met the requirement.

PhD candidates are also required to pass comprehensive examinations which normally take place within the fourth study term. The Supervisory Committee shall be responsible for conducting the comprehensive examinations. The purpose of these examinations are to ensure that the student has a thorough understanding of the fundamentals in the student’s area of study and that the student has attained knowledge to an adequate level in the discipline. The comprehensive examination consists of at least two written examination papers and an oral examination conducted to meet the above objective. The written papers are to be set and assessed by examiners recommended by the Supervisory committee. The comprehensive examination shall normally be completed 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 the Engineering Graduate Studies Coordinator on the prescribed form and will indicate “pass”, “fail”, or “re-examination”. Recommendation of the examining committee to re-examine shall only be permitted if the failure was marginal. Students receiving a recommendation of “fail” shall be required to withdraw from the program by the Registrar’s office. 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.

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.The thesis shall consist of an original investigation or design carried out under the immediate supervision of a supervisory committee in accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies Regulations. 

As well, all PhD degree candidates must pass an oral examination of the thesis project after it has been submitted in satisfactory form. The oral defence and examination shall be carried out according to Faculty of Graduate Studies procedures.

Time Requirements 

A candidate for a PhD degree will be required to spend at least thirty-six months' full time work on course work and the thesis. Credit for one calendar year may be granted for a Master’s degree or its equivalent. All students are required to register each session to maintain eligibility to continue a program of studies. The normal time to complete this program is between three and four years (36 and 48 months).