Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Within the department of Mechanical Engineering at Dalhousie University, candidate can apply to a degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Material Engineering

The Doctor of Philosophy is primarily a research degree and requires a thesis-based research master’s degree for admission.  It usually requires four courses, completion of the departmental gradate seminar requirements, a comprehensive examination and an original research thesis.  The thesis must be significant and original contribution to the discipline and should include significant material of publishable quality.

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to any of the graduate programs in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

In order to be considered for admission by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, an applicant must first be selected by a potential supervisor (faculty member) in the department.  Each faculty member in the department is given the opportunity to review the files of applicants interested in this faculty member’s research or expertise area.  If the faculty member has research position openings and/or projects and/or funding available, she or he might opt to select an applicant to potentially work under her or his supervision (or co-supervision).  Once selected, all the applicants must be confirmed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Registrar’s office before acceptance is granted. 

In view of this, it is strongly suggested that potential graduate applicants (MEng, MASc and PhD) contact one or more potential supervisors (faculty members), specifically those in areas of similar interest, both expertise and research, well before submitting an application to begin the conversation, and see if those potential supervisors have the projects, funding, availability and the interest in being a potential supervisor. 

Applicants who are potentially eligible to NSERC scholarships, Killam Scholarships and NSGS scholarships should also contact their potential supervisor and the department once the potential supervisor as clearly stated interest.  Deadlines for all those scholarships are between October and January.         

Program requirements

The PhD degree requires four graduate level courses.

All courses required to meet the degree requirements are considered essential courses and will be so designated by the supervisory committee.  Any courses taken in excess of the requirements are subject to approval by the supervisor.  These courses will appear on the student’s transcript as regular courses. 

A PhD degree candidate must pass all graduate level courses with a grade of at least B.  Graduate students are allowed to repeat only one course during their programme.  Graduate students are not eligible to write supplementary examinations.  Transfer credits from other university will be considered on a case by case basis.

PhD candidates are also required to pass a minimum of two written and one oral comprehensive examinations which normally take place before the end of the second year of study.  Students who receive a “fail” on the comprehensive examination will be asked to withdraw.

All PhD candidates must pass an oral examination of her/his thesis project after it has been submitted in satisfactory form, and in accordance with the faculty of Graduate Studies regulations.

In addition to meeting the grade requirements, failure to maintain an acceptable academic standing will result in a student being removed from the programme.  Failure to achieve the minimum mark as noted above shall be considered ground for dismissal.

Length of program

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) typically takes about four years to complete.

Seminar requirement

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) typically takes approximately four years to complete.

Seminar requirement

The purpose of the graduate seminar is to provide graduate students with exposure to a variety of research projects and activities in order to enrich their academic experience.  The seminar also provides the department members with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with all the graduate students within the department and learn about each student’s research activities.  Finally, the seminar provides student with an opportunity to develop skills in presentation and discussion of research topics in a public forum.  The seminar is run as a one-day research conference every April.

PhD candidates are required to complete at least two seminar presentations during the duration of the residency period, while attending every year while registered in the program.

Admission requirements

  • Thesis-based research Master’s degree from a recognized college or university
  • Minimum entrance GPA of 3.0/4.3 (equivalent to a B at Dalhousie University)
  • Two sealed official copies of transcripts from all previous degrees (graduate and undergraduate) from all institution attended.  This includes exchange program and any courses taken outside of your home universities.
  • Two letters of reference submitted either electronically or by mail.
  • A full curriculum vitae (CV) highlighting personal academics, work and research history, publications, awards, scholarships and extra-curricular activities. 
  • A statement of research interest, not exceeding two pages, explaining their research interests, possible research topics, and ideally listing potential supervisors the applicant has already talked to and obtained positive feedback from. 
  • English proficiency minimums:
  • Instruction in English or
  • TOEFL – 580 (paper based) or 237 (computer based) or
  • IELTS – overall band of 7.0

The Faculty of Graduate Studies sets the minimum admission standards that are required for entry into graduate programs.

Application forms can be found under Dalhousie admissions for graduate studies.


Contact information

Subject Code: MECH
Tel: 902-494-1288
Address: Faculty of Engineering, Graduate Studies & Research Office, Sexton Campus, 1360 Barrington Street,
Halifax, NS, Canada, B3J 2X4
Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Robert Bauer