Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PhD)

Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Electrical and Computer Engineering Program is for students interested in pursuing advanced studies and research in Biomedical Technologies, Communications Systems, Computer and Software Systems, Energy Systems, or Micro and Nano Technologies. Applicants to the program must have a high scholastic standing and must have demonstrated an aptitude for research to be admitted to the Ph.D. program, as the program is designed to develop the ability for independent research.

Electrical and Computer Engineers develop computing systems, from chip architecture to mobile applications, to communications protocols as well as the energy systems to allow these devices and all other electrical systems to function. The discipline has a huge impact on society because it helps to design the systems we use in everything from health to finance to safety.

In this program students can choose to contribute to research on technologies very close to or already in the market or technologies that are in the early stages of research such as quantum computing or carbon nanotubes.

What makes the program unique?

Electrical and Computer Engineering is one of the largest graduate programs at The University of British Columbia with over 75 faculty members and 400 students. All of our faculty members lead distinguished research programs. The faculty members also collaborate with colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Science as well as with industry leaders. These collaborations allow our students to work beside world-leaders in their area of interest. Our students use cutting-edge technologies at The University of British Columbia’s many research facilities and centres of excellence as well as in the field.

 

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Engineering
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Applied Science

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.

Program Enquiries

If you have reviewed the information on this program page and understand the requirements for this program, you may send an enquiry

Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications. 

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

100
22
21
22
21
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?
No

Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree requirements

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must have a course and thesis-based Master's degree and references must include a detailed letter from the thesis supervisor. Applicants who have completed a course-based only Master's program are not generally eligible for the Ph.D. program. Applicants who have completed a degree by research only may have to complete a year of additional coursework as part of their Ph.D. program.

Other Requirements

All applicants are welcome to submit a GRE score, and while GRE scores are not mandatory, international students are strongly recommended to submit them. Please ask GRE to submit their examination report to UBC using the institution code 0965 (UBC). Applicants who have recently (within 5 years) completed a degree in one of the following countries do not need to submit a language score: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and the English-speaking countries of the West Indies. Other applicants, including Canadians, who have completed their most recent degree in other countries must submit a current TOEFL or IELTS (academic, not general) score. Unless you have completed a degree from one of the countries mentioned above within the past 5 years of your application, we require an official, current language score and will not waive this requirement. Our department does not consider conditional admission in the case of pending English language training.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Application Notes

Applicants are required to upload to their application a PDF version of their Official Transcripts from each post-secondary institution (college, university, etc) that they have attended, showing both sides of the transcript document to include the university grading scale.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2019
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 January 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 February 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 February 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 January 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 February 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 February 2020

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 June 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 June 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2020

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 31 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 31 January 2021

Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

UBC has launched Canada's first Blockchain training pathway for graduate students. The Graduate Pathway on Blockchain and Decentralized Trust Technologies will be a 12-credit non-degree training program that augments existing Master's and Phd programs. Additional funding may be available for students as part of the Blockchain pathway.

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.

Career Outcomes

211 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 200 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (9)
British Columbia Institute of Technology (3)
Langara College (2)
University of Tehran (2)
University of California - San Diego (2)
Chinese Academy of Science (2)
University of Calgary (2)
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (2)
Qatar University (2)
University of Alberta
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Amazon (6)
Intel Corporation (5)
Qualcomm (4)
Microsoft (4)
BC Hydro (4)
BC Cancer Agency (3)
Point Grey Research (3)
BroadbandTV Corp. (3)
AMD (2)
Fortinet Technologies Inc. (2)
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Software Development Engineer (7)
Engineer (6)
Research Scientist (4)
Research Engineer (4)
Senior Consultant (3)
Senior Engineer (3)
Embedded Software Engineer (3)
Director (3)
Chief Executive Officer (3)
Software Developer (3)
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

The Doctoral program in Electrical and Computer Engineering prepares students for employment directly after completing the degree or to pursue further a career in research at a public institution. Some of our recent graduates are now working with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, Samsung, D-wave, BC Hydro, Bell Mobility, Sierra Wireless, PMC-Sierra, TELUS, Bank of Montreal, BC Children’s Hospital, The Government of Canada, Drobo, Siemens Canada, Celestica, Cisco, Alpha Technologies, etc. Many of our M.A.Sc. graduates have also gone on to pursue their Ph.D. with us at UBC. Some graduates have completed their PhDs at institutions such as Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Some of our graduate students have also founded companies; a recent example is Veridae that was acquired by Tektronix.

Alumni on Success

Michel AlSharidah

Job Title
Assistant Professor
Employer
Public Authority for Applied Education and Training

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20182017201620152014
Applications246267172161145
Offers4250394752
New registrations2337353532
Total enrolment182186188199218

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 78.13% based on 160 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 124 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 2.33 years and the maximum time is 8.66 years with an average of 5.10 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 22 March 2019]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Thursday, 30 January 2020 - 12:30pm - Room 203

May Bashir Siksik
Design Space Exploration in Ion Channels Using Finite Grained Brownian Dynamics

Tuesday, 11 February 2020 - 12:30pm - 418, MacLeod Building, 2356 Main Mall

Bo Fang
Approaches for Building Error Resilient Applications

Friday, 21 February 2020 - 9:30am - 4018, Fred Kaiser Building, 2332 Main Mall

Han Yun
Silicon Photonic Components using Sub-wavelength Gratings and Other Periodic Structures

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Aamodt, Tor (computer architecture, optimizing compilers, Computer architecture, Microarchitecture and programming models for energy efficient computer accelerators)
  • Abolmaesumi, Purang (Biomedical Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Medical Imaging, Biomedical Engineering, Ultrasound Imaging, Image Guided Surgery, Cancer Imaging, Computer Assisted Interventions, Surgical Robotics)
  • Beznosov, Konstantin (usable security and privacy, mobile security and privacy, computer security and privacy, online social networks security and privacy)
  • Bhargava, Vijay (Green communications, cognitive and cooperative wireless systems, MIMO-OFDM systems, cross-layer analysis)
  • Chen, Yu Christine (modeling, analysis, and control of electric power systems.)
  • Cheung, Karen (Biomedical Technologies, microfluidics, Tissue Engineering, biosensors, additive manufacturing, organ-on-chip, BioMEMS, neural interfaces)
  • Chrostowski, Lukas (Optics and Photonics, Micro and Nanoelectronics, Nanotechnologies, Manufacturing Processes, silicon photonics, biosensors, biophotonics, quantum computing, optoelectronics, photonics, optics, semiconductor lasers)
  • Cretu, Edmond (Clean Energy,Microsystems, adaptive MEMS, micro-instrumentation, nonlinear signal processing, BioMEMS ultrasound imaging)
  • Dumont, Guy A (biomedical engineering; automatic drug delivery; mobile health; global health; anesthesia; physiological monitoring;, Adaptive control, predictive control, control of distributed parameters systems, advanced process control, applications of wavelet analysis, biomedical applications of control, pulp and paper process control)
  • Dunford, William (Electrical power conversion, electric vehicles, alternative enery and sustainable development, DC systems with load and battery management., Clean Energy, power conversion, ranging from utility to microelectronic applications)
  • Fedorova, Alexandra (design of system software: the software that manages the hardware and decides how to allocate its resources to applications; building better performance tools.)
  • Fels, S Sidney (Human computer interaction, human 3D biomechanical modeling, speech synthesis, medical applications of modeling, computer vision, interactive arts and music)
  • Garbi, Rafeef (Biomedical Technologies, Imaging, Artificial Intelligence, Medical Image Computing, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, image analysis, Biomedical Engineering, Deep Learning)
  • Gopalakrishnan, Sathish (computer and software systems, real-time and embedded computing (computer systems as part of the real world); cyber-physical systems, Real-time systems, distributed systems, resource management)
  • Ivanov, Andre (microelectronics; integrated circuits, computer chip design, smart grid, engineering curriculum, Computer and Software Systems, Emerging Micro/Nano Technologies)
  • Jaeger, Nicolas A (Integrated-optics, fiber-optics, optical sensors, optical measurement of voltage and current in power substations, ultrahigh-speed electro-optic modulators, ultrahigh-speed measurement techniques)
  • Jatskevich, Juri (Power and energy systems, smart energy grids, power electronic systems and converter circuits, electrical machines and drives, controls, electromagnetic transients, computer modeling and simulation, distributed and parallel simulation)
  • Kruchten, Philippe (software, software design, software development, engineering design, entrepreneurship, project management, profession, licensing, Architecture of large-scale, software-intensive systems Software development processes Software project management)
  • Lampe, Lutz (Communication Systems, Wireless Communications, Mobile Communications, , Communication and information theory, Smart Grid, Grid diagnostics, Ultra-wideband (UWB), Wireless sensor networks, Localization and tracking, RFID, Cognitive radio, Power line communications, Compressed sensing, Machine Learning)
  • Lemieux, Guy (vector processors, parallel programming, programmable logic devices (PLDs, FPGAs), computer architecture, computer arithmetic, custom computing hardware, computer engineering, Programmable logic and computing systems, multiprocessor and computer architecture)
  • Leung, Cyril (Wireless communications, cellular systems, multihop mobile networks)
  • Leung, Victor C (Telecommunication Systems, Telecommunication networks, Computer Systems)
  • Lis, Mieszko (Computer and Software Systems)
  • Madden, John (Functional and Intelligent Materials, artificial muscle, wearables, smart materials, electronic skin, supercapacitors, electrochemical devices, medical devices)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Tayler Hicklin Hetherington
    "Dr. Hetherington's research focused on improving performance and energy efficiency in datacenters. He proposed novel software and hardware systems, demonstrating the potential for a broader scope of important applications to benefit from efficient graphics processing units. His work can help reduce the environmental impacts of datacenters." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Md. Zoheb Hassan
    "Dr. Hassan developed several adaptive transmission schemes that can simultaneously improve the throughput and provide latency guarantee for delay-sensitive traffic in the terrestrial free space optical communication systems. These transmission schemes can substantially improve the performance of fifth-generation fixed wireless access and backhaul networks." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Ramy Essam Attia Hussein
    "Dr. Hussein developed methods to help people who suffer from epilepsy. These methods analyze the brain data of the patient to determine whether a person is experiencing a seizure or whether a seizure is imminent. This knowledge is used to warn patients of upcoming seizures so they stop unsafe activities and better regulate their medication intake." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Mengye Cai
    "Implantable electronic devices have been evolving at a rapid pace. Dr. Cai investigated several design techniques and various systems in developing the radio system to meet the stringent size and power requirements of miniaturized biomedical implantable devices. This work contributes to next generation diagnostics and therapeutics." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Mirza Saquib us Sarwar
    "Dr. Sarwar developed flexible sensors that can detect pressure, light touch and proximity. Such sensors can detect the slippage of an object and can help equip robots to conduct dextrous manipulations such as cracking an egg. In addition to applications in flexible cell phones, the sensors are able to mimic human skin for use in robotics and prosthetics." (November 2019)
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2019
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 January 2020
International Applicant Deadline
31 January 2020

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 June 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 June 2020

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.