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.

 

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Meet a Representative

UBC Grad School Info Session

Date: Thursday, 05 August 2021
Time: 17:00 to 18:00

Description

In this session we’ll provide a high-level overview of graduate study, graduate school at UBC, and the application process. This is not a program specific event. The session will cover:

  • Why graduate study? – advice on what to consider if you are considering graduate school.
  • Differences between undergraduate and graduate study.
  • Explanation of the different types of graduate programs at UBC.
  • What makes UBC a great place to study at the graduate level.
  • How to search UBC’s over 300 different graduate program options.
  • Overview of the graduate school application process.
  • Next steps on learning more and beginning a grad school application

Who is this webinar for?

This webinar is for anyone who is thinking about studying at the graduate level. It’s for those who’d like to learn more about UBC and gain insight into what it’s like to study at UBC. This webinar is also helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about what is involved in a graduate school application.

Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

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.

1) Check Eligibility

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. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

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:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

Other Test Scores

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, course and other requirements

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.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 31 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 31 January 2022

January 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 June 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 June 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 June 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 June 2022

3) Prepare Application

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.

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.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Faculty members will review applications based on research interests and availability of student positions during the application/evaluation process.

Citizenship Verification

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

4) Apply Online

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

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,052.34 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,126.20 (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.

Financial Support

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.

Program Funding Packages

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 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 $22,000 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.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 101 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research/academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $30,847.
  • 52 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 52 students was $6,043.
  • 75 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 75 students was $18,698.
  • 96 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 96 students was $11,663.
  • 12 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 12 students was $23,278.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their 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.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

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.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20202019201820172016
Applications221195246267172
Offers5338425039
New registrations3324233735
Total enrolment176175182186188

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 77.16% based on 162 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 103 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 1.66 years and the maximum time is 8.66 years with an average of 5.11 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 April 2021]. 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: 29 October 2020].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Tuesday, 3 August 2021 - 9:00am

Arman Zaribafiyan
Hybrid Quantum Computing - On the Role of Classical Computing in Scaling Up Quantum Computing

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 - 1:00pm

Artemij Voskobojnikov
Towards Understanding and Improving the Crypto-Asset User Experience

Tuesday, 14 September 2021 - 12:30pm

Matthew Man Hien Fong
Instructors' and Students' Needs for Next Generation Video in Education

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2012 Dr. Bayaki designed and evaluated the performance of novel free-space optical (FSO) telecommunication systems. With the increasing demand for applications in need of high data rates, Dr. Bayaki's research will contribute to the next generation of communication systems.
2012 Dr. Nouri studied the design of high-speed radio transceivers. She investigated ways to reduce the noise emitting from electronic circuits, known as oscillators, used in those transceivers. It is expected that simulations used in this study will assist in the production of more power-efficient components for high-security radio transmission equipment.
2012 Dr. Chiniforoosh has developed a methodology for dynamic average-value modeling and efficient computer simulation of advanced high power electronic converters that enable transformation of the present power systems into the future smart energy grid.
2011 Dr. Kashani examined the use of 3D sensors to improve safety on large mining excavators, and developed a new computer program for capturing 3D images in outdoor scenes. His patented work significantly improves the accuracy of 3D images over the existing methods in the industry. His research has many applications in robotics, the movie and the gaming industries.
2011 Dr. Alam conducted a challenging study on a tiny structure called Carbon nanotube. He researched how electron, an elementary particle of matters, interacts with nanotubes and changes its properties. His findings will contribute to the development of advanced electronic devices and better imaging tools for understanding microscopic structures.
2011 Dr. Shah-Mansouri studied protocol design for wireless sensor networks. Wireless sensor networks are communication networks consisting of small and inexpensive wireless devices used for home automation and disaster management. Using mathematical tools like optimization theory, Dr. Shah-Mansouri developed algorithms aiming to prolong the lifetime of such networks.
2011 Dr. Leung formulated several models for the cardiovascular system, and developed corresponding identification methods. She subsequently applied her models and methods to minimally-invasive monitoring of the heart's output in post-surgical infants in the intensive care unit and non-invasive measurement of the arterial pulse wave velocity in children.
2011 Dr. Musavi developed highly-efficient cost effective battery chargers for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These new chargers result in increased performance efficiency, lower charge time and decreased utility costs. Dr. Musavi's developments have important implications for the future emergence and acceptance of electric vehicle technologies.
2011 Dr. Chin investigated generic microchips, such as those used in smartphones and other electronic devices. His research into the specialized computer software used to program the chips led to the discovery of methods to make that software run faster and more efficiently. His findings will result in cost savings and can benefit the electronics industry.
2011 Dr. Grant invented a programmable logic chip consisting of thousands of processors, and a new method for transforming circuits into software for this chip. His method is up to 250 times faster than existing tools. This significantly reduces design costs and improves the time-to-market for new electronic products.

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Further Information

Electrical and Computer Engineering provides advanced study and research for graduates of electrical or computer engineering, engineering physics, physics, computer science or other related subjects. Facilities are provided for research in: communications and signal processing; computers and computer applications; digital system design, VLSI design and software engineering; electromagnetics; power systems and power electronics; solid state devices; microelectronics, nanoelectronics and optoelectronics; robotics and telerobotics; and systems and control.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-HA
 
 

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2022

January 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 June 2022
International Applicant Deadline
01 June 2022
 
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.

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