Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering (PhD)

Overview

The thesis-based Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Mechanical Engineering is an advanced research-based degree. The program offers students an opportunity to work at the highest level of research, under the supervision of a faculty member. Students complete their candidacy examination within 18 months and complete their doctoral dissertation research within three to four years. It is normal department practice to initially register students in the M.A.Sc. program, and to transfer them to the Ph.D. program upon completion of the M.A.Sc. (or earlier if recommended by the supervising faculty member).

Students taking their Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering can select one of four research areas: Design and Applied Mechanics, Mechatronics and Manufacturing, Thermofluids or Biomedical Engineering.*

*The Department of Applied Science also offers a full Biomedical Engineering (BMEG) program. Students in the BMEG program will achieve a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

What makes the program unique?

With eight Research Chairs and almost every research faculty member holding a least one NSERC grant, we have one of the most active research programs in Canada and consistently produce industry and academic leaders.

UBC is ranked in the World’s Top 40 Universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Institute of Higher Education and our Mechanical Engineering professors are recognized nationally and inter­nationally as leaders in their fields.

We offer affordable, competitive tuition fees and extend a number of scholarships, awards, top-ups to external awards, entrance fellowships, Research Assistantships (RA's) and Teaching Assistantships (TA's) to our students.

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Program Enquiries

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Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

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: 93

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

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 optional.

2) Meet Deadlines

January 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 September 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 September 2021
Referee Deadline: 08 September 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 September 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 September 2021
Referee Deadline: 08 September 2021

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 Mechanical 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.

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.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 60 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 $29,191.
  • 30 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 30 students was $7,039.
  • 44 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 44 students was $18,361.
  • 60 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 60 students was $11,029.
  • 4 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 4 students was $17,667.

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

87 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 78 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 (4)
King Saud University (2)
University of Saskatchewan (2)
University of Adelaide
UNIKA Atma Jaya
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
University of Tehran
Abu Dhabi University
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Ohio University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Pratt & Whitney Canada (3)
Coanda Research and Development Corporation (3)
Westport Innovations (3)
FPInnovations (2)
Candu Energy Inc. (2)
BMT WBM
PARC Inc.
Paperra
Vanmok Innovative Engineering Solutions
WK Investment Network
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Senior Mechanical Engineer (4)
Project Engineer (2)
Scientist (2)
Manager (2)
Senior Piping Engineer (2)
Research Engineer (2)
Principal Scientist
Research Scientist
Business Development Manager
Director
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 graduates of the Ph.D. program find employment at academic institutions and in high-level research and development positions in industry and other institutions. Recent Ph.D. alumni have gone on to work as tenure-track professors in major Canadian and US universities. Others have been employed as research scientists, project managers and team leaders in high-tech startups or S&P 500 companies.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical 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
Applications8911210411489
Offers1828232416
New registrations1317181814
Total enrolment8983777775

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 83.33% based on 54 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 49 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 1.66 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 5.25 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].

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.

  • Altintas, Yusuf (Virtual Machining, Computer Control of Manufacturing Systems, CAD/CAM, CNC Design, High Speed Feed Drive Control, Real Time Interpolation and Trajectory Generation for Machine Tools, Adaptive Control, Sensor Fused Intelligent Machining, Metal Cutting Mechanics, Chatter Vibrations in Machining, Piezo -Actuator Based Precision Machining, High Speed Milling, Optimal Machining of Aerospace Parts, Dies and Molds, Automation, Precision Engineering, Electro Mechanical Systems, Modeling and Analysis of Machining Processes, Mechanics, dynamics and control of micro-machining operations)
  • Bacca, Mattia (Mechanical engineering; Medical and biomedical engineering; Adhesion and fracture; Biophysics; Soft materials; Solid Mechanics)
  • Bushe, William Kendal (Numerical modelling and mechanical characterisation; Automotive combustion and fuel engineering (including alternative and renewable fuels); Hypersonic propulsion and hypersonic aerodynamics; Aerospace engineering, n.e.c.; Numerical Simulation of Turbulent Combustion; Reacting Flows; Energy Conversion Systems; clean energy)
  • Chiao, Mu (MEMS, Micro Sensors, Micro Actuators, BioMEMS, Nanotechnology, Bioengineering, Electronic Packaging, Nanoscience, Energy sources for micro-electro-mechanical systems)
  • Elfring, Gwynn (Theoretical Fluid Mechanics, Complex Fluids, Cell Biomechanics, Capillary Phenomena, Applied Mathematics )
  • Feng, Steve (Mechanical engineering; Modelization and Simulation; Software (Tools); Machining and Assembling; Milling; Prototyping; 3D Laser Scanning; 3D Printing; Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM); Geometric Modeling; Machining Simulation; Multi-Axis CNC Machining)
  • Frigaard, Ian (Fluid mechanics (visco-plastic fluids))
  • Giang, Amanda (Atmospheric sciences; Mechanical engineering; Natural environment sciences; Atmospheric Pollutants; Chemical Pollutants; Climate Changes and Impacts; Public Policies; Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection)
  • Grecov, Dana (Rheology, Rheometry, Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, Computational Fluid Mechanics, Liquid Crystals, Biolubricants, Lubricants, Journal Bearings, Multi-Phase Flow, Synovial Joints, Synovial Fluid, Arthrithis, Liquid crystals and nanomaterials, Biofluid Mechanics)
  • Green, Sheldon (Fluid Mechanics; Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms; building ventilation; railroads; papermaking)
  • Hodgson, Antony (Bioengineering, Biomechanics, Medical or Surgical Robotics, Medical Engineering, Electoral Reform, Single Transferable Vote, STV, Citizens’ Assembly, Fair Voting )
  • Jaiman, Rajeev (Mechanical engineering; Bluff-body flows and flow-induced vibration; Computational methods and numerical analysis; Data-driven computing; Flow control and drag reduction; Fluid-structure interaction; Model order reduction; Multiphase Flows)
  • Jelovica, Jasmin (Civil engineering; Mechanical engineering; Finite element analysis; Metals and Alloys; Production and Process Optimization; Sandwich structures; Solid Mechanics; Stress Analysis; Structural optimization; Ultimate, fatigue and impact strength; Welding and joining of metals)
  • Jin, Xiao Liang (Mechanical engineering; Manufacturing Processes; Solid Mechanics; Machining Mechanics and Dynamics; Manufacturing Processes for Advanced Materials; Material Characterization; Surface Integrity; Vibration Assisted Machining)
  • Kirchen, Patrick (Thermochemical Energy Conversion, Combustion, Internal Combustion Engines, Ion Transport Membranes, Emissions, Fuel Injection )
  • Ma, Hongshen (Microfluidics; Instrumentation; Cell Sorting; Cell Biomechanics; Circulating Tumor Cells; Malaria and Red Blood Cell Deformability; Single Cell Technologies; Cell Migration and Chemotaxis)
  • Mérida, Walter (Clean energy, Electrochemical energy conversion, Thermodynamics, Low carbon fuels, Fuel cells and hydrogen)
  • Nagamune, Ryozo (Systems control and automation; Manufacturing engineering; control engineering; data-driven modeling and control; robust and linear parameter-varying control; modeling and control of floating offshore wind turbines and wind farms; modeling and control of COVID-19 outbreak; modeling and control of solar themal systems; control of automotive engines; optimization)
  • Noh, Minkyun (Mechanical engineering; Mechatronics; Control System; Electric and Electronic Systems; Servo-Control; robotics and automation; Instruments; Machinery; Sensors and Devices; Actuators; Bearingless motors; Control; Electric machines and drives; Instrumentation; Magnetic bearings; Magnetic levitation; Mechatronic system design; Precision engineering; Robotics; sensors)
  • Ollivier-Gooch, Carl (Mechanical engineering; Numerical analysis; Fluid mechanics; Computer Sciences and Mathematical Tools; Algorithm Development for Computational Fluid Dynamics; Applied Aerodynamics; Error and Stability Analysis for Unstructured Mesh Methods; Unstructured Mesh Generation)
  • Olson, James (Application of Physics and Fluid Mechanics to Problems Associated with the Pulp and Paper Industry, Mechanical Energy Reduction in Mechanical Pulping)
  • Oxland, Thomas (Spinal Cord Injury, Aging Spine, Orthopaedic Implants)
  • Phani, Srikantha (Dynamics of multiscale materials, structures and devices, Applied Mechanics, Micromechanics)
  • Ponga de la Torre, Mauricio (Spallation in Metals; Sub-linear scaling methods for calculating crystal defects using DFT; )

Pages

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
2021 Dr. Heikkinen developed a laser-based method for remotely tracking microscopic motions of objects and structures. His technique can measure motions much less than the diameter of a human hair at distances of several tens of meters. His method has great potential for safely assessing the integrity of structures located in hazardous environments.
2021 Dr. Lim developed Selective Catalytic Reduction Controllers for diesel engines using gain-scheduling and preview control techniques to minimize nitrogen oxides and ammonia. He conducted simulation tests using experimentally obtained data, and demonstrated improved control performance under model parameter uncertainty and sensor noise.
2021 Dr. De Graaf developed a computer code that models turbulent combustion to provide reliable predictions of pollutant emissions at a low computational cost. The new tool simulated jet flames in three different configurations, demonstrating its flexibility and potential usefulness for the aerospace industry.
2021 Dr. Cherom Kheirabadi's research involved developing mathematical models and control algorithms that allow offshore wind turbines to influence aerodynamic patterns and extract more energy from the wind. These methods raise wind farm efficiencies by 20%, thus making clean energy technology more competitive against fossil fuel-based sources.
2021 Harmful soot emissions from combustion engines are sensitive to conditions inside the cylinder. Dr. Kheirkhah developed a fast-response method for characterizing the cycle-resolved variation of soot concentration and correlated this with combustion energy, demonstrating the possibility of mitigating emissions by controlling combustion variability.
2020 Dr. Talebian developed a comprehensive cost optimization model to design a hydrogen fueling supply chain for British Columbia. Her work is the first contribution in assessing the incentive effectiveness and emissions mitigation policies for the accelerated adoption of low-carbon hydrogen in the transportation sector.
2020 Dr. Falch developed methods to optimize the design of multidisciplinary mechatronic products, considering both qualitative and quantitative design criteria. This work will help designers to develop more accurate, reliable, esthetically appealing, and cost effective mechatronic products for use in industrial and engineering applications.
2020 One of the important technical challenges of heavy viscous oils concerns cost-effective transportation. Dr. Sarmadi used theoretical and computational methods to investigate a novel triple-layer core-annular lubricated pipeline flow. Her study established a novel method for the stable and efficient transport of highly viscous oils.
2020 Dr. Gao's research investigated the use of ultrasonic vibration-assisted cutting in milling and drilling applications. He developed a novel ultrasonic vibration tool holder and a corresponding sensorless control system. This research will benefit the manufacturing industry in machining advanced material such as composites and titanium alloys.
2020 Dr. Lee developed a novel method to isolate and sequence RNA from specific single cells identified by imaging. He subsequently applied his method to sequence rare immune cell events and showed diverging decisions being made by single cells within a population. This novel method will improve our understanding of how immune cells fight disease.

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Further Information

Specialization

Fields of research in Mechanical Engineering include: acoustics; aerodynamics and fluid mechanics; automatic controls; robotics and industrial automation; energy conversion, combustion, thermodynamics and heat transfer; vibrations and space dynamics; solid mechanics; bioengineering and biomechanics; design and manufacturing processes; industrial engineering, fuel cells, micro-electromechanical systems, mechatronics, and CAD; and naval architecture.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-P8

Classification

 

Apply Now

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January 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 September 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 September 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.

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