MSE: Materials Science and Engineering PhD

​Doctor of Philosophy​

Program Description

Pursuing a PhD degree, the most advanced research degree in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, can be a stepping stone to an academic career or to an industrial career which would benefit from in-depth applied research and research skills. Under the guidance of an accomplished supervisor, PhD students engage in original research that contributes to a variety of fields of study. Four years of PhD study allowing students to collaborate with local and international colleagues culminates in a written thesis which is presented orally and evaluated by experts. This is a degree program for outstanding students.

Applicants may enter the PhD program via one of two routes: 1) following successful completion of an MASc degree; 2) transfer from the University of Toronto MASc program to continue work that was begun at that level.


PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)'s additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Students are normally expected to have completed a master's-level program before entering the PhD program.

  • Very strong MASc students may apply to transfer to the PhD program after completing one year of the MASc program. Regulations governing such transfers are available in the MSE Graduate Studies office. A student who is permitted such a transfer must complete the PhD Graduate Research Seminar, plus one more graduate-level c​ourse (0.5 full-course equivalent [FCE]), in addition to the four courses (2.0 FCEs) already completed in the MASc program.

  • For students whose primary language is not English, the department requires a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the following minimum scores:

    • ​​paper-based TOEFL: minimum score of 580 and 4 on the Test of Written English (TWE)

    • Internet-based TOEFL: minimum score of 93/120 and 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

Program Requirements

  • The primary subject in a program will be extractive and process metallurgy, physical metallurgy, or materials science.

  • Coursework. The program of study normally includes 2.0 FCEs (four half courses), including the weekly PhD Graduate Research Seminar, and a thesis.

  • Normally, the coursework selected includes:

    • The PhD Graduate Research Seminar (0.5 FCE), which is a half-year course ;

    • Three half courses (1.5 FCEs), at least one of which must be chosen from the list of MSE graduate course offerings.

    • The departmental seminar comprises a minimum of two seminars presented to the academic staff and students of MSE.

  • A general Qualifying Examination must be scheduled and taken within 12 months of initial registration. In case of failure, one further attempt within three months is allowed, no later than within 15 months of initial registration. No further attempts are permitted.

  • The Qualifying Examination consists of:

    • ​​​A report (25 to 30 pages) of research to date, in the form of a dossier.

    • A presentation (20 to 25 minutes) summarizing research, with particular emphasis on providing a critical assessment of the literature in the field, a central hypothesis of thesis, proposed methodology, and recent experimental progress.

    • An oral examination, immediately following the presentation, by the Qualifying Examination committee who will ask the candidate questions pertaining to either the presented material, or related questions in materials science. The student is expected to have a working-level knowledge of the fundamentals of materials science as it pertains to the proposed area of research, and on a broader basis, at the level of a second-year undergraduate student in Materials Science.

    • All required coursework, Graduate Seminar excepted, must be completed in order to take this examination.

  • Note: students wishing to bypass (transfer) to PhD, no later than 12 months after initial registration in MASc, must also fulfil these Qualifying Examination requirements.

  • The required thesis is based upon research work carried out in the department in the areas of extractive and process metallurgy, physical metallurgy, or materials science.

  • Students have the option of completing an emphasis in Sustainable Energy​ as part of their degree program. Please see details in the Materials Science and Engineering MASc, MEng, PhD Emphases section.

Program Length

4 years full-time; 5 years transfer-from-master's

Time Limit

6 years full-time; 7 years transfer-from-master's