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.

 

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Program Enquiries

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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

January 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 June 2021
Transcript Deadline: 30 June 2021
Referee Deadline: 30 June 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 June 2021
Transcript Deadline: 30 June 2021
Referee Deadline: 30 June 2021

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)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (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.

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

Wednesday, 7 July 2021 - 9:00am

Melika Shahriari
Iterative Learning Control for Beam Loading Cancellation in Electron Linear Accelerators

Monday, 12 July 2021 - 12:30pm

Ahmed Elhamy Mostafa
Resource Allocation Algorithms and Preamble Design for Massive IoT Systems

Wednesday, 21 July 2021 - 3:00pm

Naga Raghavendra Surya Va Koppisetti
Machine Learning Algorithms for Intruder Signal Detection and Device Localization in Wireless Radio Frequency Systems

Tuesday, 3 August 2021 - 9:00am

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

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
2009 Dr. Wrinch developed an inexpensive protective sensor for alternative energy power sources to prevent electrical shock and fire. This sensor works with installations of small to medium sized three phase electricity generators. The sensor is called an anti-islanding detector.
2009 Dr Sheikhaei studied the circuit techniques for speed and power improvement of analog-to-digital converters, a ubiquitous block in communication systems. Using current mode logic and pipelining as well as reformulating the conventional encoding function, he achieved more than 2 times improvement in power as compared to the state-of-the-art designs.
2009 Dr. Pillutla looked at ways to improve the performance of wireless networks. He used novel techniques to improve energy efficiency and channel usage of general wireless networks.
2008 Dr. Mohsenian presented several simple, robust, and optimal resource management schemes for wireless access networks. Different from most of the previous heuristic design schemes in the literature, the algorithms in this thesis are designed within the unified analytical framework of network utility maximization, a concept borrowed from microeconomics.
2008 Dr. Khabbazian designed and developed new reliable protocols for wireless ad hoc networks, the main communication option in scenarios where having a communication infrastructure is not practical or the existing infrastructure has been destroyed by for example a natural disaster such as earthquake or hurricane.
2008 Dr Hennessey developed techniques for improving eye-gaze tracking and the ability to determine where one is looking in 3D space. The methods developed provide a novel means for human computer interaction, and may help to improve the quality of life of the disabled who use eye-gaze for communication.
2008 Dr. Ali addressed the problem of cross-layer scheduling and radio resource allocation in cellular wireless networks. He argues that combining information available in different layers of the network for resource allocation decisions improves the system performance.
2008 Dr. Hallschmid developed statistical methodologies for automatically customizing processors for low-power portable electronics. These methodologies can be used to build faster, more cost-effective and more energy-efficient portable electronics for industries ranging from health and communications to entertainment.
2008 Dr Chen developed inexpensive backup solutions for computer networks. These solutions successfully maintain service quality in case of failures, thereby dramatically improving user experience on the Internet.
2008 Dr. Alimadadi investigated a number of clock energy recycling techniques to improve the overall power dissipation of high-performance logic circuits. Those recycling methods might be used in many high-performance chip designs, to lower power and save energy.

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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
 

Apply Now

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

January 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 June 2021
International Applicant Deadline
15 June 2021

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
 

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