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

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Program Enquiries

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

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.

Requirements

TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement

100
22
21
22
21

IELTS Overall Score Requirement

7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?

No

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.

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: 15 January 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2020
Referee Deadline: 31 January 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2020
Referee Deadline: 31 January 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.

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$104.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,665.26$2,925.58
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$4,995.78$8,776.74
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$930.14 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (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

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 - 12:30pm - Room 200

Tahsin Arafat Reza
Pattern Matching in Massive Metadata Graphs at Scale

Monday, 2 December 2019 - 12:30pm - 418, MacLeod Building, 2356 Main Mall

Jiayue Cai
ROI-based Brain Functional Connectivity Using fMRI: Regional Signal Representation, Modelling and Analysis

Friday, 6 December 2019 - 4:00pm - 2202, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, 6250 Applied Science Lane, Vancouver

Tongxin Shu
Energy Efficient Schemes in a Mobile Sensor Network with Application in Automated Monitoring of Water Quality

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.

  • Michelson, David (wireless communications, Propagation and channel modeling, low profile antenna design, wireless communication system performance, EMI/EMC)
  • Mirabbasi, Shahriar (Analog and mixed-signal intergrated circuits and systems design, intergrated circuit design with an emphasis on high-speed data communication and signal processing applications)
  • Nasiopoulos, Panos (Interactive multimedia (eg, iDTV, DVD), video broadcasting and streaming, multimedia middleware, video indexing and retrieval, digital video watermarking, next generation video and audio processing and compression)
  • Nojeh, Alireza (Nanostructures (esp based on carbon nanotubes), controlled nanofabrication, electron emission phenomena, electron microscopy, modeling and simulation of nanoscale systems)
  • Ordonez, Martin (Energy systems, renewable energy, wind power, solar power, battery systems, fuel cells, electric vehicles, smart grid. )
  • Pattabiraman, Karthik (Software Reliability, Computer Security, Fault-tolerant computing, Software Security, Computer System Reliability, Computer Failures, Safety-critical computer systems, software failures, software faults, hardware faults, hardware failures )
  • Ripeanu, Matei (Computer Systems, Distributed Systems, High Performance Computing, Storage Systems, Data Analytics , Graph Analytics , Social Networks)
  • Rohling, Robert (Medical Imaging, Medical Information Systems, Robotics, Interventional Ultrasound, 3D Imaging, Spatial Compounding, Robotic System Calibration, Elastography, BioMEMS, Biomedical Engineering, Medical imaging and information systems, robetics, ultrasound imaging in 2D and 3D, biomedical technologies)
  • Rubin, Julia (Computer Systems, Software (Tools), Computer Science and Statistics, software engineering, security and privacy, energy-efficiency , developer productivity , mobile and cloud-native software)
  • Salcudean, Septimiu (Biomedical technologies, Haptic interfaces, teleoperation and simulators, medical robotics, imaging and interfaces, optimization-based design, prostate cancer)
  • Servati, Peyman (Energy Systems, Emerging Micro/Nano Technologies)
  • Shekhar, Sudip (Chip design, radio communication, mobile communication, data links, integrated circuits, photonics, CMOS, wireless, electronics, Internet of Things. )
  • Stoeber, Boris (Microelectromechanical Systems, MEMS, Microfluidics, Sensor Technology, Biomedical Microdevices, Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS), Microflow Phenomena, Sensor technology, Integrated microsystems for biomedical applications and for environmental control)
  • Takahata, Kenichi (Biomedical Technologies, Emerging Micro/Nano Technologies)
  • Tang, Shuo (Biophotonics, biomedical optics, optical tissue imaging instrumentation, optical coherence tomography, multiphoton microscopy)
  • Turner, Robin (Biomedical Technologies)
  • Walus, Konrad (Nanoelectronic devices and circuits, quantum-dot cellular automata, single-electron transistors, quantum mechanical simulations)
  • Wang, Zhen (Signal processing theory and applications, bioinformatics)
  • Wilton, Steven (Integrated Circuits, Computer Architecture, Computer Hardware, Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, Computer-Aided Design Algorithms, High-Level Synthesis)
  • Wong, Vincent (Telecommunication networks, Computer Systems, Network Analysis (Information), wireless networks, communication systems, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile computing, Internet, smart grid, energy systems, machine learning, protocol design)
  • Yedlin, Matthew (earthquakes, nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear weapons, flipped classroom pedagogy, geophysics, digital signal processing, electroencephalography )

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Cesar Lopez
    "Dr. Lopez studied the real time simulation of complex systems, focussing on disaster response scenarios. He explored critical infrastructure interdependencies, machine learning, and parallel processing and was able to test over hundreds of scenarios within a couple of minutes. This research provides first responders with a tool to help them save lives." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Saeedeh Ebrahimi Takalloo
    "Dr. Ebrahimi developed a reproducible fabrication process for polymeric fast actuators, created a web-based tool for modeling and design optimization of these devices, and successfully encapsulated them using a flexible polymer. Her work paves the way to employ these devices in real applications, such as robotics and micro-machines." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Bader Naim Alahmad
    "Safety is a primary issue of driverless cars. Dr. Alahmad advanced new mathematical models and cost effective methods to enable both safety integrity and timing predictability for real-time computer systems. His work will continue to advance safety in emergent intelligent systems that are becoming ubiquitous in our daily lives." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Guanpeng Li
    "Dr. Li focused on building fault-tolerant software in commodity computer systems. He proposed an analytical model to guide developers to improve the resilience of their applications at low cost. His technique allows people to continue enjoying fast computers without sacrificing their reliability." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Chinmaya Mahapatra
    "Dr. Mahapatra completed his doctoral studies in the field of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research concentrated on developing energy-efficient and secure models for the Internet-of-Everything systems. His findings will help the vendors as well as consumers save energy and cost while maintaining high quality of service." (May 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
15 January 2020
International Applicant Deadline
15 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
 

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