Engineering Physics - PhD – Faculty of Engineering

Engineering Physics – PhD

Students are required to take courses, complete comprehensive exams, and write and defend a thesis in this PhD program.

4 years
Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (Co-op Available)


Admission requirements

Academic Prerequisites

Master’s Degree (MAsc, MSc, or equivalent) in a related field.

A GPA of A (85 – 89%) is required for direct entry to PhD without an MASc

It is possible to transfer from an MASc to PhD after at least two terms and the successful completion of a transfer exam

Find English language requirements here.

Anticipated Admission Range
B (73 – 76%)
Student working on machine. Hands-on experience.

Program structure

Students with a Master’s degree are required to take two half courses; both must be at the 700 level.  If a student is transferring from the MASc to the PhD without completing the Master’s degree, then the courses completed under the MASc. may be counted towards the PhD. Among these two half courses, one can be a non-technical course with approval of the Associate Chair (Graduate). In addition to the minimum of two half courses, PhD candidates are required to complete the mandatory seminar half course ENG PHYS 702.

The general regulations for the degree Doctor of Philosophy appear earlier in the Calendar. Students with a Master’s degree (from McMaster or elsewhere) are required to take two half courses, both at the 700 level.  Students transferring from the MASc program at McMaster to the Ph.D. program without completing the Master’s degree or students entering the Ph.D. program directly from a Bachelor’s degree without beginning an MASc. must complete a minimum of one additional half course at the 700 level beyond the MASc requirement.  In addition to the aforementioned courses, all PhD candidates are required to have completed the mandatory seminar half course ENG PHYS 702. A minimum grade of B− must be obtained for all courses.  

Doctoral candidates are required to pass a Departmental Comprehensive Examination whose purpose is to ensure that the candidate possesses sufficient knowledge and maturity of approach. The examination format is oral and will test the student’s knowledge and understanding of mathematics, physics, and the engineering sciences. The candidate will normally take the examination within eight months and no later than 20 months following admission to the doctoral program. The Comprehensive Examination includes a provision for second opportunity for assessment should the student fail the first attempt. This second assessment is given in place of any “re-read” of a comprehensive evaluation, which is explicitly excluded from the Student Appeal Procedures. Reporting of examination results will be done in accordance with the Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies.

PhD. students must present a thesis proposal to their Supervisory Committee, normally at the first Supervisory meeting after completion of one term in their program.

The general Regulations for the degree Doctor of Philosophy appear earlier in the Calendar. This program option offers the candidate the potential to conduct all or a portion of their research at their company or research institute of employment.  To be enrolled under the option, the candidate must be a full-time student in the degree program, have previously completed a Masters of Applied Science or its equivalence, and be employed by a company or research institute outside of McMaster continuously until degree completion. A candidate is required to complete the normal course requirements of their enrolled department as well as any milestones, but is exempt from seminar requirements. As a doctoral candidate, they must take the PhD Comprehensive Examination that is designed to test the breadth of knowledge and the ability to synthesize and integrate ideas from within and peripheral to the candidate’s research area. The Comprehensive Examination will normally take place between six and 18 months after the candidate initially registers in the PhD program. A Supervisory Committee monitors the progress of a PhD candidate and determines when the candidate is ready to write the thesis. The student is required to defend the thesis at a Final Oral Examination.

Full-time graduate students admitted to the Master’s and Ph.D. programs in Engineering Physics will receive financial support in the form of a teaching assistantship, a departmental scholarship, and a research scholarship. The minimum level of support varies from year to year. Students who are recipients of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Scholarship or other external/internal scholarships will receive increased levels of support.

Completing your application

A complete application will consist of:

  • Official transcripts
  • Two academic references
  • English language proficiency test results
  • Statement of Interest
    • Tell us which professor you are interested in.
    • Do your homework – tell us which specific project you are interested in and with whom. Do some research in the area, read some of the professor’s papers, and present an interest in a specific project related to the professor’s research. Demonstrate that you have some initiative and provide the professor with some demonstration that you’ve actually read their work and thought about a project that interests you.
    • Why should we hire you? What courses, skills, and experiences do you possess that are relevant to the project. Prove that you have the background to do well in a specific project.
    • Ask any specific questions you may have about the professor’s work, based on what you’ve read in one of their papers or on their website. Show that you are curious about the subject you are proposing to work on for the next few years. 

Admission deadlines

  • For September Admission:
    • Domestic Students Deadline: July 31
    • International/Visa Students Deadline: May 31

  • For January Admission:
    • Domestic Students Deadline: November 30
    • International/Visa Students Deadline: October 31

  • For May Admission:
    • Domestic Students Deadline: March 31
    • International/Visa Students Deadline: February 28

Co-op and Student Life

  • Graduate Co-op

    Master’s and PhD students may complete 4 to 12 months of co-op experience in various types of organizations, including corporations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, startups and research institutions.

    Explore Co-op
  • Engineering Graduate Society

    The EGS actively supports engineering graduate students through events, workshops, bursaries, and collaboration with various campus organizations, focusing on representation, community building, and academic and professional development.

    Visit the EGS site
  • Life in Hamilton

    Hamilton, also known as The Hammer or Steeltown, is a thriving city close to the U.S. border and Toronto, with easy access for students commuting from the Greater Toronto Area via the on-campus GO Bus Terminal.

    Discover Hamilton, ON

How to apply

Understand every step, from applying, to accepting your offer and joining us on campus!

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