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Degree Options:

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (Ph.D. Co-op Optional)

Engineering Physics

The Ph.D. degree is thesis-based, where students are required to take courses, complete comprehensive exams and write & defend a thesis.

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Future Student Information


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 M.A.Sc. to the Ph.D. without completing the Master's degree, then the courses completed under the M.A.Sc. may be counted towards the Ph.D. 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, Ph.D. candidates are required to complete the mandatory seminar half course ENG PHYS 702.

During their course of study, doctoral candidates will be required to pass a Departmental Comprehensive Examination.

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

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About This Program

Course Requirements

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 M.A.Sc. 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 M.A.Sc. must complete a minimum of one additional half course at the 700 level beyond the M.A.Sc. requirement.  In addition to the aforementioned courses, all Ph.D. 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.  

Comprehensive Examination

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.

Thesis Proposal

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

Industrial Ph.D. Option

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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program. A Supervisory Committee monitors the progress of a Ph.D. 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.


Admission Requirements


  • GPA of B (73 – 76%) and successful completion of an M.A.Sc. program
    • A GPA of A (85 - 89%) is required for direct entry to Ph.D. without an M.A.Sc.
    • It is possible to transfer from an M.A.Sc. to Ph.D. after at least two terms and the successful completion of a transfer exam
  • TOEFL score minimum requirement is 550 paper based, 88 iBT and 213 computer based
  • IELTS minimum is 6.5
  • MELAB - 85 overall
  • CAEL - 70 overall
  • PTE Academic - 70 overall 
  • Interim English Language Proficiency (ELP) Score Policy in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic:
    Duolingo English Proficiency test scores (Effective from March 13, 2020 to October 30, 2021):
    • Duolingo English Test minimum = 120
    • Test report forms must be completed/uploaded before submitting application, if applicable.
    • Test reports are also to be sent to: 
      Graduate Administrative Assistant
      Department of Engineering Physics
      John Hodgins Engineering Building (JHE) A315
      McMaster University
      1280 Main St. W.
      Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4L7
    • The Duolingo scores will be accepted only for the purpose of review by the Graduate Admissions Committee and for making an initial offer to applicants. Enrollment in our graduate programs will be contingent on completing a satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS test. If an applicant is admitted to the program in Engineering Physics, the applicant has to complete a TOEFL or IELTS that meets the standards above no later than 30 days before the start of the admitted term. In the case of failure to clear the TOEFL/IELTS condition 30 days before the term, in additional to all other conditions as stated in the offer letter, the offer will be considered as a declined offer status.
    • Details on The Faculty of Engineering Website here.

Admission Deadlines

  • For September Admission:
    • Domestic Students Deadline: April 30
    • International/Visa Students Deadline: February 28
  • For January Admission:
    • Domestic Students Deadline: November 30
    • International/Visa Students Deadline September 30
  • For May Admission:
    • Domestic Students Deadline: March 31
    • International/Visa Students Deadline: January 31

Please note: McMaster is currently updating its admission application system.  As such, if you come across any errors in your application, or you find you are unable to submit your application, please email and we will contact you.

Admissions Questions? Click Here 

How to Apply

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. 

Please visit the School of Graduate Studies website, for more information and detailed instructions on How to Apply:

Salary Information

Full-time graduate students admitted to the Masters 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.


Areas of Research

Biomedical Engineering

  • Biosensors
  • Biophotonics

Nuclear Engineering and Energy Systems

  • Intense positron beam used to probe defects in materials
  • Investigation of irradiated materials from nuclear power reactors
  • Nuclear safety analysis, nuclear fuel and waste management, nuclear physics

Nanotechnology, Nano- and Micro-Device Engineering

  • Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)
  • photovoltaics
  • organic electronics
  • optoelectronics
  • materials and devices

Photonics Engineering

  • Silicon photonics
  • displays
  • laser applications
  • sensors
  • ultrafast lasers

Smart Systems

  • Smart systems integrate various sensors and actuators to analyze and control a process.


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Thank you for your interest in this program. We would love to provide you with more information about our programs. 

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