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School of Sustainable Energy Engineering | Faculty of Applied Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2023

Sustainable Energy Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy

The doctor of philosophy (PhD) in sustainable energy engineering (SEE), offered through the Faculty of Applied Sciences, is a research-intensive program that has a primary emphasis on the PhD thesis.

The program aims to offer a unique ecosystem for advanced research in sustainable energy engineering. Through training in formal coursework and hands-on research, SEE graduates will be capable of working with integrity to invent, improve, design and deploy sustainable clean energy technologies addressing the clean energy needs for now and the future.

Candidates will develop a strong aptitude for research and exceptional quantitative, analytical, and design skills in areas such as sustainable harvesting, conversion, storage, distribution, utilization, transition, and management of energy and environmental resources.

Admission Requirements

Admission is competitive. Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulation 1.3 in the SFU Calendar, and have the following:

  • A master's degree in a related field;
  • Submitted evidence of capability to undertake substantial original research; 
  • Identified a faculty member as a supervisor.

Program Requirements

The PhD program in SEE consist of course work and a thesis for a minimum of 24 units. Those who lack the necessary background knowledge may, at the discretion of the supervisor or the supervisory committee, be asked to complete additional courses beyond the program requirements in order to broaden the students' preparation for undertaking thesis work.

Students must complete

SEE 897 - PhD Research Seminar (0)

Presentation and discussion of research topics, publication and presentation formats. A focus is building a community of sustainability scholars. PhD students must enroll in SEE 897 every term in which they are enrolled, until all program requirements have been met. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 We 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
SRYE 4016, Surrey

and a minimum six units of course work selected in consultation with the supervisor

and a Qualifying Exam

SEE 890 - PhD Qualifying Exam (0)

PhD Qualifying Exam. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Corequisite: SEE 897.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD

and a thesis

SEE 899 - PhD Thesis (18)

PhD Thesis. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: SEE 890. Corequisite: SEE 897.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 TBD
G200 TBD

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in 4-5 years.

Other Information

Transfer from the Master's Program to the PhD Program

Proceeding to a PhD program without completing a master's degree is discouraged. However, a student may be admitted after at least 12 months in the master of applied science (MASc) program if all non-thesis requirements have been completed with a 3.67 or better cumulative grade point average (CGPA), outstanding potential for research has been shown, and approval of the student's supervisory committee, graduate program committee and senate graduate studies committee has been given.

Course Work

If the subject matter of a course has been previously completed with graduate credit, the course may not be completed again for credit. Course alternatives can be substituted with the approval of the student’s supervisory committee.

Qualifying Examination

The student will submit a written research proposal and defend it orally to their supervisory committee within the first 24 months of admission. The student should register for the SEE PhD Qualifying Exam in the term in which the research proposal is to be defended. 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.

The possible outcomes of the qualifying examination are "satisfactory", "satisfactory with concern", and "unsatisfactory". A student with "satisfactory with concern" will be required to re-submit the research proposal and defend it for the second and final time within six months and/or to complete more courses. Failing the qualifying examination will trigger an unsatisfactory progress report which may require program withdrawal as per Graduate General Regulation 1.8.2.


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.

Annual Progress

The student's progress will be reviewed every 12 months by a supervisory committee of two or more faculty members. At each annual review, the student presents a summary of their 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, or failing to have their revised research proposal approved by the supervisory committee within 24 months of admission, may receive "unsatisfactory" on their progress review and be required to withdraw as per GGR 1.8.2 Review of Unsatisfactory Progress.

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.