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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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

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 March 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 March 2021
Referee Deadline: 08 March 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 March 2021
Transcript Deadline: 08 March 2021
Referee Deadline: 08 March 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$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$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 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.

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

 20192018201720162015
Applications1121041148977
Offers2823241616
New registrations1718181411
Total enrolment8377777581

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 76.6% based on 47 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 57 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 3.32 years and the maximum time is 7.99 years with an average of 5.24 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: 10 March 2020]. 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].

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
2018 Dr. Forughi developed novel optical measurement methods to quantify moisture content in paper at high spatial and temporal resolution. He used these methods to investigate the effect of different parameters on paper drying, with the goal of improving the energy efficiency of papermaking.
2018 Dr. Yuen studied precision manufacturing machines. He developed novel algorithms to plan the motion, control the precision, and the accuracy for a machine tool that combines a micro-milling machine and magnetically levitated actuator. Results can be used to manufacture high precision parts found in various high tech industries.
2018 Dr. Du investigated the attention and navigation control of a mobile robot for carrying out dynamically challenging tasks involving humans. She made significant contributions in the development of an integrated attention model with self-awareness, and a biology-inspired method of robot planning and obstacle avoidance for a mobile robot.
2018 Dr. Islam developed a novel temperature prediction model for machining of metals. The model sheds light on how heat is generated and distributed on metal cutting tools. His work helps with the designing of metal cutting tools and planning more cost effective manufacturing operations.
2018 Dr. Comak studied the virtual process modeling of turn-milling operations used in aerospace and automotive industries to produce complex engine parts. He developed the novel physics-based mathematical models of the turn-milling process that maximize the productivity of the manufacturing process and accuracy of the machined parts.
2018 Dr. Etrati studied displacement of a fluid in a pipe by another fluid with different properties, to improve primary cementing of oil and gas wells. A successful primary cementing job is crucial to ensure sealing of the wells, and prevent short and long term environmental damage due to leakage from the reservoirs.
2018 Dr. Hosseini developed a criterion for the forming failure of composite materials which challenges a well-known theory accepted since the 1970's. His criterion sheds light on an area of the literature which has been a source of controversy for decades. His model has been successfully validated by the experiments and implemented in commercially available software.
2018 Dr. Pan explored the role that nonverbal cues can play during object handovers between robots and humans. He studied how nonverbal behaviours of both robots and humans can be used to improve the fluency, legibility and efficiency of human-robot handovers. This research illuminates how subtle gestures and cues can enrich human-robot interactions.
2018 Dr. Yan investigated techniques for obtaining accurate, efficient, and robust error estimates in computational simulations of aerodynamic flows. As problems grow ever more complex, these methods can provide guidance on the quality of simulated results and are readily applicable to a vast range of problems that can be simulated numerically.
2017 Dr. Khoshdarregi developed physics-based mathematical models for threading oil pipes. His models help improve the productivity and accuracy of the threading operation and minimize rupture of oil pipes in offshore and land-based oil transportation.

Pages

Further Program 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
 

Apply Now

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

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 March 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 March 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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