Doctor of Philosophy
Program Description
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is a researchbased program leading to the production of a research thesis. Doctoral research at UTIAS is expected to be internationally recognized for its originality, rigour, and importance. Supervised by a faculty member, students select a research topic, develop a plan to address the topic, and implement this plan, leading to a major research thesis and contributions to the academic literature. This is the pinnacle of academic achievement, and holders of the PhD are well prepared for academic positions and leadership roles in industrial research and development.
Applicants may enter the PhD program via one of two routes: 1) following completion of an MASc degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or chemistry; 2) transfer from the University of Toronto MASc program. The program can also be taken on a flexibletime basis.
PhD Program
Minimum Admission Requirements

Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy UTIAS’s additional admission requirements stated below.

An MASc degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or chemistry and demonstrated ability to perform advanced research.
Program Requirements

Students must maintain fulltime, continuous registration for every session, including the Summer session, until all degree requirements are completed.

Students starting with an MASc degree must spend a minimum of two years in the PhD program.

Students with an MASc in a discipline relevant to the field of PhD study are expected to complete the PhD program in less than four years.


Coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 2.0 fullcourse equivalents (FCEs) (four half courses) in Years 1 and 2.

All courses must be technical.

At least half of the required FCEs must be courses offered at UTIAS.

Students must achieve at least a B– average to be in good academic standing. Failure in any course taken for credit may result in termination of the student's candidacy.

Students deemed to have insufficient background may be required to complete supplementary coursework in addition to the required 2.0 FCEs.


Students must complete the noncredit course JDE1000H Ethics in Research (0.0 FCE) (a halfday workshop).

Students must attend a total of 24 approved seminars.

Students undertake a program of research under the guidance of a Doctoral Examination Committee (DEC), which includes the student's supervisor and two other UTIAS professors. The DEC shall:

Ascertain the suitability of the student for advanced research

Assess the thesis topic

Conduct formal reviews of the student’s thesis progress at least once per year; unsatisfactory progress may result in the termination of the student’s registration)

Determine whether a student qualifies as a candidate for the PhD degree at the second DEC meeting (qualifying DEC), approximately 1.5 years after program start

Provide the first assessment of the PhD thesis.


Students must complete a thesis based upon research carried out during the period of registration for the PhD degree.

Students must present the thesis work at a seminar at the UTIAS Departmental Doctoral Seminar (DDS).

Students must defend the thesis at the Doctoral Final Oral Examination pursuant to the SGS Degree Regulations.

Students must prepare at least one formal manuscript for publication in a refereed journal or refereed conference proceedings.

Students have the option of completing an emphasis in Aerial Robotics; Robotics; Sustainable Aviation; or Sustainable Energy as part of their degree program. Please see details in the Aerospace Science and Engineering MASc, MEng, PhD Emphases section.
Program Length
4 years
Time Limit
6 years
PhD Program (Transfer)
Transfer Requirements

Students who have achieved excellent performance in the MASc program at UTIAS at the end of Year 1 are recommended to transfer directly into the PhD program under the same supervisor. Approval for transfer is based on the student’s research ability, research progress during Year 1, and academic standing.
Program Requirements

Students must maintain fulltime, continuous registration for every session, including the Summer session, until all degree requirements are completed.

Students transferring directly from the MASc program must spend a minimum of three years in the program from the date of initial MASc registration.

Students are expected to complete the PhD program in less than five years.


Coursework. Students must complete a total of 3.5 fullcourse equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

2.5 FCEs already completed during the MASc program.

A minimum of 1.0 FCE (two half courses) in the PhD program.

At least half of the required FCEs must be courses offered at UTIAS.

Students must achieve at least a B– average to be in good academic standing. Failure in any course taken for credit may result in termination of the student's registration.

All required courses must be completed in the first two years of the program, starting from the initial registration in the MASc program.


Students must complete the noncredit course JDE1000H Ethics in Research (0.0 FCE) (a halfday workshop).

Students must attend a total of 24 approved seminars.

Students undertake a program of research under the guidance of a Doctoral Examination Committee (DEC), which includes the student's supervisor and two other UTIAS professors. The DEC shall:

Ascertain the suitability of the student for advanced research

Assess the thesis topic

Conduct formal reviews of the student’s thesis progress at least once per year; unsatisfactory progress may result in the termination of the student’s registration

Determine whether a student qualifies as a candidate for the PhD degree at the second DEC meeting (qualifying DEC), approximately 1.5 years after program start

Provide the first assessment of the PhD thesis.


Students must present the thesis work at the UTIAS Departmental Doctoral Seminar (DDS).

Students must defend the thesis at the Doctoral Final Oral Examination pursuant to the SGS Degree Regulations.

Students must prepare at least one formal manuscript for publication in a refereed journal or refereed conference proceedings.

Students have the option of completing an emphasis in Aerial Robotics; Robotics; Sustainable Aviation; or Sustainable Energy as part of their degree program. Please see details in the Aerospace Science and Engineering MASc, MEng, PhD Emphases section.
Program Length
5 years
Time Limit
7 years
PhD Program (DirectEntry)
Minimum Admission Requirements

Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy UTIAS’s additional admission requirements stated below.

Applicants must have a fouryear undergraduate degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or chemistry.

Applicants are expected to have achieved grades averaging the equivalent of a University of Toronto A– or better in their last full year of study.
Program Requirements

Students must maintain fulltime, continuous registration for every session, including the Summer session, until all degree requirements are completed.

Students must spend a minimum of three years in the directentry PhD program.

Students are expected to complete the directentry PhD program in less than five years.


Coursework. Students must complete a total of 3.5 fullcourse equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

At least half of the required FCEs must be courses with AER or ROB designators.

Students must achieve at least a B– average to be in good academic standing. Failure in any course taken for credit may result in termination of the student's candidacy.

All required courses must be completed in the first two years of the program.

All courses must be technical.


Students must complete the noncredit course JDE1000H Ethics in Research (0.0 FCE) (a halfday workshop).

Students must attend a total of 24 approved seminars.

Students must undertake a program of research under the guidance of a Doctoral Examination Committee (DEC), which includes the student's supervisor and two other UTIAS professors. The DEC shall:

Ascertain the suitability of the student for advanced research

Assess the thesis topic

Conduct formal reviews of the student’s thesis progress at least once per year; unsatisfactory progress may result in the termination of the student’s registration)

Determine whether a student qualifies as a candidate for the PhD degree at the second DEC meeting (qualifying DEC), approximately 1.5 years after program start

Provide the first assessment of the PhD thesis.


Students must present the thesis work at a seminar at the UTIAS Departmental Doctoral Seminar (DDS).

Students must defend the thesis at the Doctoral Final Oral Examination pursuant to the SGS Degree Regulations.

Students must prepare at least one formal manuscript for publication in a refereed journal or refereed conference proceedings.

Students have the option of completing an emphasis in Aerial Robotics; Robotics; Sustainable Aviation; or Sustainable Energy as part of their degree program. Please see details in the Aerospace Science and Engineering MASc, MEng, PhD Emphases section.
Program Length
5 years
Time Limit
7 years
PhD Program (FlexibleTime)
Minimum Admission Requirements

Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy UTIAS’s additional admission requirements stated below.

An MASc degree in engineering, mathematics, physics, or chemistry and demonstrated ability to perform advanced research.
Program Requirements

Students must maintain fulltime, continuous registration for the first four years of study. Parttime registration is expected for the remaining period of study within the normal length.

Students starting with an MASc degree must spend a minimum of two years in the PhD program.

Students with an MASc in a discipline relevant to the field of PhD study are expected to complete the PhD program in less than six years.


Coursework. Students must complete a minimum of 2.0 fullcourse equivalents (FCEs) (four half courses) in Years 1 and 2 as follows:

All courses must be technical.

At least half of the required FCEs must be courses offered at UTIAS.

Students must achieve at least a B– average to be in good academic standing. Failure in any course taken for credit may result in termination of the student's candidacy.

Students deemed to have insufficient background may be required to complete supplementary coursework in addition to the required 2.0 FCEs.


Students must complete the noncredit course JDE1000H Ethics in Research (0.0 FCE) (a halfday workshop).

Students must attend a total of 24 approved seminars.

Students undertake a program of research under the guidance of a Doctoral Examination Committee (DEC), which includes the student's supervisor and two other UTIAS professors. The DEC shall:

Ascertain the suitability of the student for advanced research

Assess the thesis topic

Conduct formal reviews of the student’s thesis progress at least once per year; unsatisfactory progress may result in the termination of the student’s registration)

Determine whether a student qualifies as a candidate for the PhD degree at the second DEC meeting (qualifying DEC), approximately 24 months after program start

Provide the first assessment of the PhD thesis.


Students must complete a thesis based upon research carried out during the period of registration for the PhD degree.

Students must present the thesis work at a seminar at the UTIAS Departmental Doctoral Seminar (DDS).

Students must defend the thesis at the Doctoral Final Oral Examination pursuant to the SGS Degree Regulations.

Students must prepare at least one formal manuscript for publication in a refereed journal or refereed conference proceedings.

Students have the option of completing an emphasis in Aerial Robotics; Robotics; Sustainable Aviation; or Sustainable Energy as part of their degree program. Please see details in the Aerospace Science and Engineering MASc, MEng, PhD Emphases section.
Program Length
6 years
Time Limit
8 years