Doctor of Philosophy

General Information

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the School of Engineering Science is a research program in which primary emphasis is on the thesis, rather than course work, is more exploratory than the Master of Applied Science (MASc) program, and covers a greater range of study.

Students in PhD program take courses and complete a thesis to fulfill the program requirements towards the degree.

Program Requirements

Please refer to the Calendar for the program requirements. 

Please note that your degree requirements follow the calendar of your term of admission. For previous program calendar terms, please visit Academic Calendar Archive.



In MASc program and PhD program, a supervisory committee must be established. The minimum composition for the supervisory committee consists of

  • A supervisor, or two (2) co-supervisors*
  • At least one committee member** 

* A co-supervision arrangement may be created when two individuals exercise the degree of supervision and support of a supervisor. When a co-supervision arrangement is created, all documentation must be approved by both co-supervisors. Appointment as co-supervisor recognizes a significant contribution of time, expertise or financial resources. The supervision of the student remains a joint responsibility of the co-supervisors. See more on GGR 1.6.5.

**The committee member must be a faculty member, adjunct professor or research associate at Simon Fraser University. A suitably qualified individual may be eligible to serve as an additional committee member (i.e. you must have an internal committee member to include an external committee member)

MASc students should appoint their supervisory committee no later than their second term. To declare the committee, see Forms and Resources page


Graduate Progress Report (GPR)

The student’s progress will be reviewed at least once every 12 months by the student's supervisory committee. At each annual review, the student presents a summary of his/her work to date. Students not making satisfactory progress in their research topics, or failing to demonstrate satisfactory knowledge and understanding of recent publications in their general area of research, may be required to withdraw as per section 1.8.2 Review of Unsatisfactory Progress of the graduate general regulations.


Thesis Defence

When your thesis is nearly completed, discuss with your supervisor on organizing a defence. Students will need to defend their thesis to graduate. Visit the Thesis and Defence page to learn the process of scheduling a defence. 


PhD Qualifying Exam

ENSC 880 PhD Qualifying Examination (0) is a written thesis proposal is to be submitted to the Supervisory Committee and presented orally no earlier than two weeks after submission. The proposal's defence will be judged according to the feasibility and scientific merits of the proposed research, and demonstration of a sophisticated understanding of general material in the student's major area of research. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. 

Students should complete their qualifying exam by their 6th term. Process of enrolling to ENSC 880 can be found on Forms and Resources page.


Directed Studies

PhD students can take Directed Studies course twice and count towards program requirements; or at most one Directed Studies if completing Industrial Internship.

ENSC 891/892 are elective courses. Students interested in learning a specific engineering area that the School does not offered as a course should approach ENSC faculty members with matching interests.  Availability of the courses may depend on faculty member's interests and schedule, as well as student's prior academic performance. Students who find a faculty member willing to be their Directed Studies supervisor should register for the course ENSC 891.892-3 Directed Studies I/II. 

Information of enrolling to Directed Studies can be found on the Forms and Resources page


Industrial Internship

The industrial internship is considered a course and will be charged at the per unit rate for the program. Approval of supervisor is required prior to applying for, and accepting an internship. More information can be found on the Industrial Internship page


Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in 12 terms.



The PhD program is a regular program, students pay a specified tuition per term regardless the number of units they are enrolled in. The current tuition fee can be found at (under Regular Programs - Faculty of Applied Sciences).


International Students

International PhD students with a study permit should register in at least one course with one or more units to maintain full-time status.


Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the graduate general regulations (residence, course work, academic progress, supervision, research competence requirement, completion time, and degree completion), as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled, as shown above.