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Nuclear Engineering, PhD


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General information


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nuclear Engineering encompasses the nuclear power industry from fuel manufacture to radioactive waste disposal, and the many and varied applications of radiation in industrial and medical disciplines with a strong emphasis on health physics. Typical workplace activities include fundamental and applied research, design and development of new equipment, systems and procedures, maintenance and modifications, commissioning and decommissioning of equipment and complete facilities, operation, analysis and regulatory affairs.

The PhD in Nuclear Engineering comprises the following two fields:

  • Nuclear Power and Energy Applications
  • Radiological and Health Physics

The main objective of the PhD program is to prepare graduates for a career that includes research and/or teaching in academia or industry; leadership positions that require problem solving skills with highly specialized knowledge, often in interdisciplinary fields; and the management of finances, projects and people. Graduates of the program are expected to be able to conduct independent research. Graduates of the program will be able to work in research labs in both industry and government or as academics in universities.

Admission requirements


In addition to the general admissions requirements for graduate studies, applicants must meet the following specific requirements.

The minimum admission requirement for the PhD program is completion of an MASc-level degree in engineering from a Canadian university or its equivalent from a recognized institution.

Prior to being accepted into the program, PhD applicants must also find a professor who specializes in their desired area of research and who is willing to act as a supervisor.

Under exceptional circumstances, MASc students may transfer directly to the PhD program after completing one academic year in the MASc program if the following conditions are met:

  1. Completion of a full master’s program of course work (five courses worth a total of 15 credits) with at least an A average.
  2. Strong evidence of research ability.
  3. Approval of the direct transfer by the thesis supervisor(s) and the supervisory committee. The transfer must also be approved by the graduate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies. The faculty will usually require up to 12 additional credits of course work in the PhD program. See the university’s policy on transferring from a thesis-based master’s to a PhD program  for additional information.

Part-time studies


To facilitate access to all potential students, part-time studies are permitted.

Degree requirements


Students in the PhD program must complete four courses worth a total of 12 credits and a dissertation worth 40 credits ( NUCL 6001G - PhD Thesis ). In general, the PhD dissertation involves intensive research and requires determination and enthusiasm to deliver a new contribution to the field of study. The duration of the PhD program is normally three to four years and financial support for the student must be secured.

In addition to the four courses and dissertation, the student must successfully complete NUCL 6002G - Workshop and Professional Development  and NUCL 6003G - Doctoral Seminar . These are graded on a pass/ fail basis. Full-time students must register for NUCL 6003G  in each year of study, in each semester it is offered. Part-time students must register for NUCL 6003G  in each year of study, for one semester.  Courses in other graduate programs at the university may be taken provided students have not taken similar courses during their undergraduate or master’s degrees and the courses are approved by the graduate program director.

Students who transfer directly from a MASc program into the PhD program must complete nine courses worth a total of 27 credits and a dissertation worth 40 credits ( NUCL 6001G - PhD Thesis  . In addition to the nine courses, the students must successfully complete NUCL 6002G - Workshop and Professional Development  and NUCL 6003G - Doctoral Seminar  (according to the requirements above).

Within 18 months of entry into the PhD program, students must prepare a written research proposal and pass an oral candidacy exam ( NUCL 6000G - PhD Candidacy Exam  ). PhD students must also successfully defend their dissertation in front of an examination committee.

Additional requirements

Students must take at least half of their graduate courses from the list of NUCL 5000- or NUCL 6000-level graduate courses. Students may not take undergraduate courses for credit.  Courses that are not listed but offered by other faculties at the university can only be taken for credit if first approved by the graduate program director. Courses offered by other universities can only be taken for credit if approved by the graduate program director.

Courses are offered on the basis of demand with the expectation that courses will be offered at a minimum of once every two years.

Course listing


Core nuclear graduate courses


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