Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements 

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 or science from Dalhousie University or any other recognized university, or an equivalent degree from a recognized university, acceptable to the Faculty of Engineering; or
  • Acceptance for registration as a candidate for a research Master’s degree at Dalhousie University. 

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 capable of carrying out independent research. Candidates must also be recommended for admission by a faculty member in the Program in order for their application to proceed.  Please note a recommendation for admission is not a formal acceptance.

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

Admission from Master’s Degree 
A candidate registered in a MASc or MSc 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 of course work, the graduate seminar, the comprehensive exam and the thesis. However, students may apply for Advanced Placement or Transfer Credit to receive credit for courses completed during a previous Master’s Degree, thereby reducing their required credits to no less than 6. No undergraduate courses are allowed for credit in a Doctoral Degree program.

Admission from Master’s Degree
After transfer from a Master of Applied Science or Master of Science degree, candidates must complete not less than 6 credit hours of course-work and the graduate seminar. These courses will be selected in consultation with the research supervisor and the supervisory committee.

Graduate Seminar
The seminar requirement involves attending, and participating in, all Graduate Seminars held in the department throughout the duration of the student’s residency period, as well as delivering at least two seminar presentations.  

Supervisor and Supervisory Committee
The Department is to ensure that supervisors are assigned to students as a prerequisite to admission. If the supervisor is not a full-time member of the Department, a co-supervisor will be appointed from the Department. The Supervisory Committee will consist of the thesis supervisor (and co-supervisor), at least one other member of the department, and at least one other member from outside the department with expertise 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. Failure to achieve the minimum mark shall be considered grounds for dismissal. Transfer credits from other universities will be considered on a case by case basis. In addition, PhD candidates are required to pass a comprehensive examination which normally takes place within the fourth study term. Finally, 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. 

Comprehensive Examination
The Supervisory Committee is responsible for conducting the comprehensive examination. The purposes of the comprehensive examination are to assess the candidate’s understanding of the chosen field of study as a whole and to evaluate their suitability to begin Ph.D. level research. The comprehensive examination consists of at least two written examinations and an oral examination conducted to meet the above objectives. The comprehensive examination shall normally be initiated within the fourth term of study. 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 Departmental Graduate Coordinator on the prescribed form and will indicate “pass”, “fail”, or “re-examination”. The results are 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 in a 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 Faculty 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.