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School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering | Faculty of Applied Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Fall 2020

Mechatronic Systems Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering is a program intended for those who wish to develop advanced independent research skills. Candidates with strong aptitude for research and exceptional quantitative, analytical, and design skills pursue a research-intensive program leading to a substantial contribution to knowledge in multidisciplinary areas including mechanical and electrical engineering.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. For admission to the doctor of philosophy (PhD) in mechatronic systems engineering program, a student must have a master's degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, mechatronics engineering or a related field, and have submitted evidence of capability to undertake substantial original research.

Program Requirements

This program consists of course work, a qualifying examination, and a thesis for a minimum of 21 units. Students may take additional courses to correct any deficiencies in their background upon approval of their supervisor. If the subject matter of a listed course has been previously completed with graduate credit, the course may not be completed again for credit.

Students must complete one of

ENSC 803 - Writing for Publication (3)

Through discourse analysis and simulation of the publication process, ENSC 803 enables the analysis and refinement of writing processes and written styles when preparing journal articles, oral conference presentations, and poster presentations in professional contexts. Students will write and revise an article suitable for publication in a professional journal, design a poster presentation, and design and deliver an oral conference presentation. Additionally, students will blind review a peer's journal article and will participate in a series of team-based discourse analysis exercises. ENSC 803 will also cover departmental requirements and University regulations related to thesis completion and submission. This course cannot be used as one of the course requirements towards the degree.

MSE 801 - Writing for Engineers (3)

The goal of MSE 801 is to improve the ability of students to successfully complete graduate-level research by equipping and supporting them with knowledge and strategies related to writing in an engineering graduate context. Course content will address strategies related to the writing for publication process, including common writing problems as well as the purpose of and information included in engineering research manuscripts. Course activities will be selected based on an initial assessment of graduate student developmental trajectories and will include exercises to apply relevant strategies to writing processes such as: rhetorical analysis, collaborating with a supervisor, identifying areas for investigation, proposing a writing project, locating relevant primary literature, managing research, organizing disciplinary knowledge through concept maps and developing outlines, iteratively honing writing skills through progressive manuscript drafts, applying rubrics to peer-to peer feedback, and developing oral presentation skills. Assessments will be based on participation in class activities and completion of writing assignments. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Students who have taken ENSC 803 may not take this course for further credit.

and two MSE graduate courses selected in consultation with their supervisor

and two graduate technical courses from FAS or SCI

and to be taken twice

MSE 804 - Graduate Seminar (0)

An opportunity to develop skills in presentation and discussion of research topics in a public setting. Seminars will be conducted on a continuing basis with three interspersed streams: 1) graduate student presentations, 2) internal faculty presentations, and 3) external invited speaker presentations. The preferred timing is close to and before scheduled thesis defence dates and close to their thesis proposal (PhD students only). Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

and a qualifying exam

MSE 890 - PhD Qualifying Examination (0)

The candidacy exam enables the Supervisory Committee and the School to determine if the student is properly prepared to embark on the proposed research program. Upon admission to the PhD program, each student must enroll in this course each semester. A SATISFACTORY grade is granted once the student submits a written research proposal and successfully defends it during an oral presentation before her/his supervisory committee. The candidacy exam must be completed after 6 terms enrollment. Under special circumstances, and subject to approval by the Supervisory and Graduate Program committees, a student who does not pass the exam (UNSATISFACTORY grade) may be given a second chance by enrolling in MSE 890 one more time. This course is a prerequisite for MSE 899 (PhD Thesis). Prerequisite: PhD Students in the School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE).

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD

and a thesis

MSE 899 - PhD Thesis (6)

Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: MSE 890.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements within four years.

Other Information

Transfer to PhD from Master in Applied Science

Proceeding to a PhD program without completing a master's degree is discouraged. However, a student may be transferred when all of the following conditions have been met which are above the minimum university requirements:

  • The application for a transfer is submitted within the first six terms of the MASc program at SFU;
  • All the MASc coursework requirements have been completed with a CGPA of 3.67/4.33 or better;
  • A recommendation by the student's supervisor indicates demonstrated potential for outstanding research;
  • The student's supervisory committee and the graduate program committee approve.

Annual Progress Review

The student's progress will be reviewed at least once every 12 months by the supervisory committee. At each annual review, the student presents a summary of his/her work to date, with the second review normally being the research proposal defence as described in the section for Qualifying Examination (see above). 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, or failing to have their revised research proposal approved by their supervisory committee within 24 months of admission, may be required to withdraw from the program as per section 1.8.2 Review of Unsatisfactory Progress of the Graduate General Regulations.

Optional Industrial Internship

Students in the PhD program may complete an optional internship course of paid practical experience in an appropriate industrial setting to complement their academic studies. The internship will appear on the student's transcript, but does not count towards the student's CGPA and course requirements for the degree. Students require a pre-approval from both their supervisor and the graduate program chair in order to apply for the internship.

Qualifying Exam

To qualify, the student will submit a brief written research proposal and defend it orally to his/her supervisory committee within the first 24 months of admission. 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. This level of understanding is associated with senior undergraduate and first year graduate course material. The possible outcomes of the qualifying examination are the following: Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory. A student with an unsatisfactory grade may be permitted to take the exam a second time. A student with an outcome of unsatisfactory for a second time is required to withdraw from the program.


Students define and undertake original research, the results of which are reported in a thesis. An examining committee is formed as defined in Graduate General Regulation 1.9.3. The supervisor will be a Mechatronic Systems Engineering faculty member approved by the graduate program committee.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.