Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

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 the below research areas:

  • Applied Solid Mechanics
  • Biomechanics and Medical Devices
  • Computational Engineering
  • Energy & Environment
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Manufacturing Automation & Robotics
  • Mechatronics & Instrumentation
  • Naval Architecture & Marine 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

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
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 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 September 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 September 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 September 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 September 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 September 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 September 2024

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 February 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 March 2025
Referee Deadline: 01 March 2025
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 February 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 March 2025
Referee Deadline: 01 March 2025

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 thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis 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$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 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, 58 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 $36,788.
  • 36 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 36 students was $7,632.
  • 53 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 53 students was $21,011.
  • 10 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 10 students was $960.
  • 58 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 58 students was $11,183.
  • 3 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 3 students was $28,889.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - 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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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 Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator 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

 20232022202120202019
Applications1047411295119
Offers2530221828
New Registrations1320131317
Total Enrolment9898838480

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 95% based on 60 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 35 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 3.42 years and the maximum time is 6.83 years with an average of 5.39 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Wednesday, 17 July 2024 - 9:00am - 2202, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, 6250 Applied Science Lane

Rivkah Gardner-Frolick
Investigating Disparities in Air Pollution Exposure in Canada: From the Local to the National Scale

Research Supervisors

Supervision

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

Instructions regarding thesis 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.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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. Zhao developed methods to design switching gain-scheduled controllers for dynamic systems with significant dynamic variations in their operating range. He subsequently applied the developed methods to engineering systems such as optical image stabilizers and offshore wind turbines, resulting in improved control system performance.
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.

Pages

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

 

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January 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 September 2024
International Applicant Deadline
01 September 2024

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 February 2025
International Applicant Deadline
15 February 2025
 
Supervisor Search
 

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