Ph.D. Program

Time To Completion: 12 terms (4 years)

Funding Information

Eligible research-based students currently receive and have previously received a minimum of $13,000 plus tuition annually (excludes ancillary fees) through research grants, contracts, scholarships and teaching assistantships. Currently and previously, following the completion of the PhD Comprehensive exam, PhD funding will be and was increased to $14,000 annually. Starting Fall 2023, PhD students will receive a minimum of $17,000 plus tuition anually (excludes ancillary fees) through research grants, contracts, scholarships and teaching assistantships. Starting Fall 2023, following the completion of the PhD Comprehensive exam, PhD funding will be increased to $18,000 annually. To maintain fundable status, students must sustain an average of 78% at Western. For information about the cost of living and educational expenses while at Western, please visit our Financial Planning page.

Students are encouraged to review all opportunities available and apply to those for which you are eligible. 

Ph.D. Program Requirements

  • 8 graduate courses
    • Only technical courses can be counted toward the degree requirements - professional development or non-technical courses would be considered outside the course requirements.
    • Undergraduate courses can be taken as an audit with supervisory approval. Any undergraduate course taken would be above & beyond the degree requirement and will not be considered towards the degree.
    • Students may request course credit exemption in accordace with the Faculty of Engineering Graduate Course Exepmtion Policy. All requests are subject to approval. Please contact the ECE Graduate Program Coordinator for more information.
  •  Effective September 1, 2019 - Completion of the Research Communications Module during the first year of the PhD Program
    • This module will be offered every Summer term. Students who begin the program on September 1, 2019 will be able to complete the module during Summer 2020. 
  • Direct Entry PhD Candidates must complete 8 graduate courses, up to 2 may be exempt with permission from the Graduate Program Chair. 
  • Successful completion of the PhD Comprehensive Examination
    • 1st attemt at completion must be made during the 4th term of enrollment in the PhD program
    • Direct Entry PhD - 1st attempt must be made during the 6th term of enrollment
  • Complete 2 seminar sessions over the course of degree
  • Successful presentation, defense, and submission of a research thesis (Thesis Defense Timeline)
  • Students enrolled in the PhD program MUST register in every term from initial registration until all degree requirements are complete.  If unable to register, the student may apply for a Leave of Absence

Ph.D. Course Offerings

**All courses & schedules may be subject to change. Please regularly check this page for the most up to date information**  Western Buildings & Abbreviations 

Summer 2024

Course Title Instructor
ECE 9200L Software Engineering for Human-Computer Interface Design R. Eagleson
ECE 9400 Flexible AC Transmission Systems FACTS R. Varma

Fall 2023

Course Title Instructor
ECE 9201 Digital Image Processing H. Ladak
ECE 9403 High Frequency Power Converters G. Moschopolous
ECE 9408 Modelling Power Systems for Protection, Control, and Transient Studies

 

H. Maleki

ECE 9506 Linear Systems and Modern Control Theory L. Brown
ECE 9603 Data Analytics Foundations A. L'Heureux

To see the time and location, please login to the OWL site. 

Winter 2024

Course Title Instructor
ECE 9202 Advanced Image Processing & Analysis Y. Yang
ECE 9203 Random Signals, Adaptive and Kalman Filtering V. Parsa
ECE 9308 Wireless Communications: Design and Simulations X. Wang
ECE 9309 Machine Learning S. Nikan
ECE 9402 Power System Protection F. Badrkhani-Ajaei
ECE 9406 Special Topics in Power: Modeling Transmission Lines in Power Systems A. Dounavis
ECE 9407 Sensor Networks & Embedded Systems J. McLeod
ECE 9513 Robot Control I. Polushin
ECE 9516 Topics in Autonomous Robotics I. Polushin
ECE 9507 Advanced Digital Control M. Kermani
ECE 9609 Introduction to Hacking A. Essex
ECE 9360 Convex Optimization for Engineering and Science F. Fang

Course Enrollment Deadlines

Fall 2023

**Please note the below deadlines apply to all Fall 2023 courses - regardless of course start date.

September 1, 2023: Fall term officially begins - does not necessarily concide with the beginning of classes.


September 15, 2023: Last Day to ADD a Graduate Course for Fall term. Last Day to Drop a graduate course online. *this is also the last day to SWAP courses. This add date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Fall term, regardless of the course start date.


September 30, 2023: Last Day to declare an AUDIT for a Fall course.


September 30, 2023:Last Day to DROP a Fall graduate course without it appearing on the transcript. All forms must be received by the end of business hours. This drop date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Fall term, regardless of the course start date.


October 31, 2023: Last Day to DROP a Fall graduate course and receive a 'Withdrawn' on the transcript - after this date a 'Fail' will be assigned. All forms must be received by the end of business hours. This drop date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Fall term, regardless of the course start date.

Winter 2024

**Please note the below deadlines apply to all Winter 2024 courses - regardless of course start date.

January 1, 2024: Winter term officially begins - does not necessarily concide with the beginning of classes.


Janaury 15, 2024: Last Day to ADD a Graduate Course for Winter term. Last Day to Drop a graduate course online. *this is also the last day to SWAP courses. This add date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Winter term, regardless of the course start date.


January 30, 2024: Last Day to declare an AUDIT for a Winter course.


January 30, 2024: Last Day to DROP a Winter graduate course without it appearing on your transcript. All forms must be received by the end of business hours. This drop date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Winter term, regardless of the course start date.


February 28, 2024: Last Day to DROP a Winter graduate course receive a 'Withdrawn' on the transcript - after this date a 'Fail' will be assigned. All forms must be received by the end of business hours. This drop date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Winter term, regardless of the course start date.

Summer 2024

**Please note the below deadlines apply to all Summer 2024 courses - regardless of course start date.

May 1, 2024: Summer term officially begins - does not necessarily concide with the beginning of classes.


May 15, 2024: Last Day to ADD a Graduate Course for Summer term. Last Day to Drop a graduate course online. *This is also the last day to SWAP courses. This add date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Summer term, regardless of the course start date.


May 31, 2024: Last Day to declare an AUDIT for a Summer course.


May 31, 2024: Last Day to DROP a Summer graduate course without it appearing on the transcript. All forms must be received by the end of business hours. This drop date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Summer term, regardless of the course start date.


June 30, 2024: Last Day to DROP a Summer graduate course receive a 'Withdrawn' on the transcript - after this date a 'Fail' will be assigned. All forms must be received by the end of business hours. This drop date applies to ALL courses being offered in the Summer term, regardless of the course start date.


Ph.D. Program Information

PhD Forms

Course Enrollment Forms


Request Forms


Other Forms

Ph.D. Annual Progress Report

SGPS requires that student’s progress be evaluated annually by the student’s Advisory Committee.  The Advisory Committee shall consist of the supervisor(s) and two members.  At least one of the members should be from the same area of research as the student.  Each member must have at least non-core SGPS membership status.  For PhD students, the Annual Progress Report needs to be submitted by March 31st.

A Progress Report should normally be submitted following a Face-to-Face Advisory Committee meeting.  However, the meeting may be substituted by a Review-via-Report format, if the supervisor(s) proposes, and the student and Advisory Committee agree to.

Face-to-Face meetings must be held under the following conditions:

  • If the student, supervisor and/or a member of the Advisory Committee, or the Graduate Chair requests a Face-to-Face meeting
  • When student cannot complete their thesis requirements within the normal 12 term period, each and every Progress Report, starting from the 12th term, must be done through a Face-to-Face meeting, so that the Committee can closely monitor the progress.
  • If any significant issue has been raised in the last Progress Report which imposed a condition, the following Progress Report must be done by a Face-to-Face meeting.

At any time and under any condition, if the student, supervisor, Graduate Chair and/or a member of the Advisory Committee, requests a review meeting, the supervisor must arrange such a meeting within 3 weeks of the request. Such a meeting must be a Face-to-Face meeting and a Progress Report must be completed.

Important Dates:

  • Parts I & II of the PhD Annual Progress report must be completed by the student by March 30th (or the following Monday if March 31th falls on a weekend).
  • Part III of the PhD Annual Progress report must be completed by the supervisor by April 30th.
  • Part IV of the PhD Annual Progress report must be completed by the Advisory Committee by June 15th.

For More Information Please review the Annual Progress Review Document.

Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam

The main purpose of the PhD comprehensive examination is to:

  1. Assess the suitability of the candidate for graduate work at the doctoral level,
  2. Identify areas of weakness (if any) of the candidate in his/her discipline and field of specialization,
  3. Evaluate the scope of the proposed research for suitability and feasibility.

 The exam will focus primarily on (1) the research topic and related background knowledge, and (2) the research proposal.

Failure to pass the examination may result in a requirement to withdraw from the program. The exam may have one of three outcomes: (a) Pass without condition, (b) Pass with conditions (to be satisfied for continued registration), or (c) Fail.

A student who fails the first attempt at the comprehensive examination may be required to withdraw or may be granted permission to attempt the examination again within a period of three months. A student who has passed with conditions but fails to satisfy the conditions shall be required to withdraw.

Completion Timeline:

  • Students are required to attempt their comprehensive exam by the end of their 4th term since the first registration in the Ph.D. program.
  • Student who are granted permission to re-attempt the examination must pass the comprehensive exam successfully (with no conditions) before the end of the 5th term of the Ph.D. study.
  • Course work must be completed before the comprehensive exam, otherwise special approval required from the Associate Chair (Graduate).

 

Direct Entry Ph.D.: In the case of Direct Entry PhD, the comprehensive exam must take place by the 6th term of enrollment.

MESc to PhD Transfers: In the case of a transfer from the MESc to PhD program, the PhD Comprehensive Examination must take place by the 6th term of initial registration in the MESc program.

The Committee

  • The examination committee should be proposed by the student’s advisor at least three weeks before the date of the oral examination. 
  • The advisor in consultation with the examination committee will specify at least two subject areas related to the fundamental aspects of the proposed research. 
  • A Ph.D. comprehensive examination committee shall normally consist of at least three members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (at least 1 of whom should not be from the advisory committee and at least 1 who should be a regular ECE member) and a chair appointed by the graduate coordinator.
  • The examining committee shall be formed at least 3 weeks before the proposed examination date and approved by the associate chair (Graduate), who will ensure that each committee has sufficient members who are knowledgeable of the subject area of the student’s research project. The chief advisor may be a member of the examining committee but not the chair.

The Proposal

  • The research proposal must be limited to 20 pages (including figures, tables, and references).
  • The report should be formatted with 1.5 line spacing and a 12 pt font.
  • The research proposal must include the following sections/information (but not limited):
    • Literature Review: Discuss the literature relevant to the proposal, placing the proposed research in the context of the latest development in the field of research. Strengths and weaknesses of previous research must be emphasized.
    • Discussion/Methodology: The student must describe the methods/proposed approaches and research tools that the student will be using in his/her research. Sufficient details must be provided to allow the committee members to assess the feasibility of the proposed research. Any progress or findings made to date must be included.
    • Proposal: Summary of the proposed research and timetable describing the research milestones/deliverables with expected start and end dates.
    • Significance: A statement that highlights the anticipated significance of the proposed research
  • The proposal must be submitted to the committee at least 10 days before the exam date. 

The Presentation

  • During the oral examination, the candidate must make a short oral presentation (limited to 30 minutes) on the research project at the beginning of the examination
  • This will be followed by questions to the candidate from each member of the committee.
  • The oral examination is closed

The Results

  • The results of the examination shall be stated as: 
    • The candidate 'Passed without conditions'
    • The candidate 'Passed with specific conditions' listed on their report. (Successful completion of the conditions by the due date assigned is required to Pass. Failure to meet conditions or the deadline for conditions would be considered a Fail. In this case the student will either be required to attempt a 2nd examination or withdraw from the program.) 
    • The candidate has 'Failed' the Comprehensive Exam
      • In the event of a failed exam the committee may recommend a re-examination attempt or the committee may recommend the candidate transfers to the MESc program. The second examination attempt must take place within three (3) months of the first exam.
      • If the candidate Fails the 2nd attempt they may be required to withdraw from the program (the candidate may be allowed to transfer to the MESc program)

Failure to Complete the Comprehensive Exam

If the comprehensive exam is not completed before the end of 5th term, the student’s academic record will be sealed. The student’s PhD advisory committee shall meet and submit a report to the graduate committee during the first two weeks of the 6th term. The student’s file will be discussed at the graduate committee. The graduate committee may request to withdraw the student from the program. The examination committee should be proposed by the student’s advisor at least three weeks before the date of the oral examination. The advisor in consultation with the examination committee will specify at least two subject areas related to the fundamental aspects of the proposed research. These subject areas must be included in the PhD comprehensive examination submission form.

For more information please review: 

Thesis Exam Information

Please see  the SGPS Thesis Guide for information on formatting, timelines, preliminary submission, exam requirements and final submission. 

PhD Own Your Future - Professional Development Program

The Own Your Future doctoral professional development program creates career-ready graduates with the Power Skills necessary to excel in their studies and achieve their future goals. Assess your own strengths and opportunities for growth and focus on what you want to get out of your time here at Western.

How to Participate?

https://www.uwo.ca/ownyourfuture/

Support

Request for Academic Consideration

If, on medical or compassionate or other legitimate grounds, you are unable to meet your academic responsibilities, i.e., unable to write term tests, quizzes, project reports or final examinations or complete other required components of the course (e.g. project(s), presentation(s), case studies, or any other activity assigned as required by the course instructor), then you can request for accommodation.

To request accommodation, complete the Request for Academic Consideration Form and submit it along with the supporting documents via Kuali, to the Associate Dean (Graduate) Office. The accommodation request must be submitted either in advance or no later than one week after the date of course activity for which the accommodation is sought.

You should understand that academic accommodation will not be granted automatically on request. You must demonstrate that there are compelling medical or compassionate or other legitimate grounds that can be documented before academic accommodation will be considered.

The Associate Dean’s Office will review the accommodation request and convey the decision to the student and copy, Course Instructor and the Graduate Office of student’s home department. Note that the confidential information related to the accommodation is not shared with the Instructor and the Departmental Graduate Office.

If the accommodation request is approved, the Course Instructor has to convey the accommodation arrangement to the student and provide a copy to the Departmental Graduate Office.

Link to the Academic Consideration Form

To learn more about Academic Accommodation

Career Development

Western Engineering's Career Services

The Western Engineering Career Services team supports the Faculty of Engineering in its goal of providing the best student experience through experiential learning opportunities. Students have the opportunity to participate in Co-op which ensures a seamless transition from student life to employment and their career. Western Engineering offers both an undergraduate and graduate co-op program to its students. Co-op provides students with the opportunity to apply classroom learning in the workplace through hands-on experience, while building a professional network and earning a salary. In addition, research shows that participating in a co-op work term has a positive impact on students' grades when they return to their studies.

Western Engineering's Career Services engage students in self-discovery and assist them with career planning, career exploration, and career development to help meet their career goals. Our team offers one-to-one virtual or in-person career appointments where students can get support on resume building, and interview skills, as well as a wide variety of career-focused workshops throughout the academic year.

SGPS Career Development

Western University offers a variety of excellent resources for you to invest in your personal and professional growth. The Career Development site is a central resource that lists all professional development resources available to graduate students, including online modules and discipline-specific resources.

Writing Support Center

The Writing Support Centre is now offering both in-person and online services to help you meet the expectations of graduate level writing.

Location
Room 4100, Western Student Services Building
London, Ontario, Canada
N6A 3K7

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
9:30am - 4:30pm

Contact Information
Phone: 519-661-3655
Email: wsc@uwo.ca

Accessible Education

Accessible Education provides supports and services to students with disabilities at Western, in all programs and faculties.

Location
Accessible Education is located on the 4th floor of the Western Student Services Building (WSSB). WSSB is on the west side of campus between the University Community Centre (UCC) and the Weldon Library. 

Contact Information
phone: (519) 661-2147
email: aew@uwo.ca 

Human Rights Office

Western’s Human Rights Office (HRO) provides information on the University’s discrimination and harassment policies and other human rights-related issues. They are here to help you, whether you are a student, staff or faculty member. They are dedicated to making Western a safe, respectful and supportive environment for all members of the University community.

Location
Room 2319, Sommerville House, N6A 3K7

Contact Information
phone: 519-661-3334
email: humanrights@uwo.ca

Office of the Ombudsperson

The Office of the Ombudsperson provides a safe, confidential environment in which students can discuss a University-related problem or concern. They work with students to help identify the root of the problem and create strategies for resolving it. In situations where there is no further recourse, they may investigate or review a decision and may recommend a remedy. However, the recommendations of the Ombudsperson are not binding. 

For quick questions regarding any university-related problems, feel free to call or email the Ombudsperson's office. If you are emailing or completing an online appointment request, please be sure to tell them whether you are a graduate or undergraduate student and what you wish to discuss. This information will be kept confidential, but helps Ombuds staff prepare for the meeting.

For more in-depth issues, the Ombudsperson recommends you Schedule an Appointment online.

Location
Western Student Services
Room 3135, Third Floor
Western University
Main Campus

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30am - 4:30pm

Contact Information
phone: (519) 661-3573
email: ombuds@uwo.ca

Scholastic Integrity

Graduate Students in the ECE Department are expected to meet and uphold Western University's standards of Academic Integrity. 

For the complete policy and regulations see: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_grad.pdf