Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Engineering

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Applied Science

Program Description

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Engineering

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Applied Science

The department has a strong research record and is particularly proud of its mix of fundamental research coupled with industrial relevance and interaction. The department offers opportunities for study in the fields of casting and solidification of metals, ceramic processes and properties, corrosion, composite material processing and properties, hydrometallurgy and electrorefining, physical metallurgy, pyrometallurgy, remelting processes, thermomechanical processing and environmental processing.

What makes the program unique?

The Department of Materials Engineering at UBC (MTRL) is one of the top-rated materials programs in North America with activities spanning our internationally-leading program in hydrometallurgy to our leading-edge research and teaching in sustainability, nanomaterials, biomaterials, and composites.

Why UBC?


The University of British Columbia now ranks solidly within the world’s top 35 universities, according to surveys of more than 1,000 institutions. The Materials Engineering Department contributes to this ranking as a world leader in Materials Process Engineering. Our Department belongs to a distinct group of units at UBC that enjoy an exceptional level of research grants and contracts and our strong performance is due to the outstanding quality of our graduates and faculty members. There are five Research Chair holders in the Department: Frank Ko – Canada Research Chair in Nanofibrous Materials, Rizhi Wang – Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials, David Dreisinger – Hydrometallurgy Chair, Warren Poole – Rio Tinto Alcan Chair in Materials Process Engineering and Matthias Militzer – Dofasco Chair in Advanced Steel Processing.


Materials research in the Department emphasizes the development of new processes and process models primarily for novel materials in the transportation sector and biomaterials for medical applications. The Department fosters a strong interaction with industry through their Industrial Research Chairs. Industrially oriented research is combined with fundamental studies to advance understanding of the microstructure mechanisms and resulting properties.


Materials research in the Department aims at providing materials process solutions of societal magnitude including lightweight materials for the transportation sector, cleaner and greener metallurgical processes, engineered materials to replace or repair injured body parts. For example, Professor Dixon from the Hydrometallurgy Group has developed Galvanox – a new process with the potential to become the method of choice to extract ore in the 21st century. Under the auspices of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Professors Militzer and Poole have developed a hot strip mill model (HSMM) for advanced high strength steels – the model is at the core of the commercial Integ-HSMM software package that is now used worldwide by the steel industry. Professors Poursartip and Fernlund are the co-founders of CMT – a spin-off company for process simulation to manufacturing composite parts that are e.g. used in Boeing’s new 787 aircraft.


Many of the Department’s laboratories and offices for graduate students are located in the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL) – an interdisciplinary facility on campus that brings together materials researchers from Physics, Chemistry, Materials, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Having a common home for materials research has promoted cross-disciplinary projects and provides graduate students with an interdisciplinary environment that offers unique opportunities in their training program to become graduates who will be in high demand worldwide for employment in academia and industry.

Research Facilities

Research Centres are Advanced Materials Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL), Centre for Metallurgical Process Engineering, Clean Energy Research Centre, Electron Microscope Laboratory, MagNet - Magnesium Network.

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Asselin, Edouard (Hydrometallurgy (including leaching, electrometallurgy and residue characterization), Electrochemistry (including high-temperature electrochemistry and sensors))
  • Cockcroft, Steven (Clean Energy Research, Physical phenomena in non-ferrous casting, hot tearing, Optimization of industrial casting processes, Mathematical modeling)
  • Dixon, David (Fixed-bed leaching)
  • Dreisinger, David (Hydrometallurgy industry, iron, copper)
  • Fernlund, Goran (Polymer matrix composites, Biomaterials, Adhesive bonding)
  • Ko, Frank (Textile Structural Composites)
  • Liu, Wenying (Use of seawater in heap leaching; Release of selenium and associated toxic elements from mine waste materials; Heap leach modeling)
  • Maijer, Daan (Heat Transfer, Fluid Flow, Stress, Microstructure Materials processing models employed for process control)
  • Militzer, Matthias (Multi-scale modeling of microstructure evolution, Physical metallurgy of advanced high strength steels)
  • Poole, Warren (Advanced aluminum alloys, High strengths, high formable steels, Metal matrix composites, Microstructure/property models)
  • Poursartip, Anoshiravan (Polymer matrix composite materials)
  • Sinclair, Chadwick (Predicting the correlation between the structure of alloys, at the microstructural and atomic scale, and their mechanical behavior)
  • Tafaghodi, Leili (Sustainable high-temperature materials processing; Synthesis and refining of high-quality metals and alloys; Thermodynamics; Mineral processing)
  • Troczynski, Tom (ceramics, coatings, biomaterials, refractories, fracture, Medical applications, Processing, microstructure and properties of ceramics)
  • Wang, Rizhi (Biomaterials, biomechanics Also, the structure and formation processes of biologically formed materials (eg seashells, silk, teeth) and applies the mechanisms to the design and processing of novel materials)
  • Xia, Guangrui (Group IV semiconductors in microelectronics; Si-compatible lasers; 2D semiconductors; 3D integration of ICS; Raman spectroscopy )

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Ryan N Huizing
    "Dr. Huizing completed research on polymeric membranes. He developed novel high-performance materials for the selective separation of water vapor from the air. His work resulted in several granted patents and the materials developed have immediate applications in the field of building ventilation energy recovery and other vapor transport applications." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed Gadala
    "Dr. Gadala examined how modern high-strength, low-alloy pipeline steels corrode and degrade in underground service conditions. He subsequently developed advanced numerical models to simulate pipeline corrosion control and structural integrity. This research enhances the safety and reliability of both existing and future energy pipeline infrastructure." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Tasawar Javed
    "Dr. Tasawar studied the hydrometallurgical process, by which metals are leached from ore. He established a clear understanding of the key process variables responsible for the metal loss to the iron precipitation product. His findings offer a simple way to reduce metal loss in copper hydrometallurgy." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Jennifer Madeleine Reichert
    "Dr. Reichert studied the microstructures of high-strength steels. She developed tools to help predict the mechanical properties of critical structural parts. Findings from her research will be used to establish structure-property relationships for commercial line pipe steel." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Jun Ou
    "Dr. Ou investigated the melting of solids in liquid titanium during electron beam processing. His work has helped us to understand the melting of aluminum-rich materials during the processing of titanium alloys. This knowledge is critically important to the structure and safety of aerospace products." (May 2016)

Sample Thesis Submissions

  • Structure and properties of lignin-based composite carbon nanofibres
  • Crystallization and thermo-viscoelastic modeling of polymer composites
  • Gas transport and void evolution in composite prepregs
  • Corrosion behavior of API X100 steel in near-neutral pH bicarbonate environments: experimental and modeling studies
  • The production and crystallization of amorphous Fe-C alloys
  • Modeling of thermal stress cycling in refractory materials
  • Mechanical activation of ultramafic mine waste materials for enhanced mineral carbonation
  • Iron precipitation and associated metal loss from simulated process solutions
  • Calcium phosphate silicate cement for risedronate drug delivery
  • Structure and properties of complex transformation products in Nb/Mo microalloyed steels
  • Base doping profile control for SiGe PNP HBTs
  • Development of a numerical optimization methodology for the aluminum alloy wheel casting process
  • Examination of deformation in magnesium using instrumented spherical indentation
  • Development of Pb-MnO? composite anodes for electrowinning application: electrochemical and corrosion evaluations
  • Dynamic process simulation of zinc electrowinning

Career Outcomes

52 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; for 7 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 44 graduates:


  • University of British Columbia (3)
  • McMaster University (2)
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Tehran
  • Mewar University
  • Southwest Jiaotong University
  • Northeastern University (Shenyang, China)
  • Queen's University
  • University of California - Santa Barbara
  • University of Calgary


  • Novelis Inc. (3)
  • Aperam
  • Influitive
  • BioInspire Technologies
  • Stream-Flo Industries
  • Niroo Research Institute
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • ArcelorMittal
  • Dana Canada Corporation


  • Research Scientist (3)
  • Research Engineer (2)
  • Hydrometallurgical Engineer
  • Research Professional
  • Improvement Facilitator
  • Orthopaedic Engineer / Cleanroom Engineer
  • Principal Technology Development Engineer
  • Faculty Member
  • CFD / FEA Specialist
  • Project Manager


You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC Ph.D. graduates on


This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.




  • ibT Reading 22
  • ibT Writing 21
  • ibT Listening 22
  • ibT Speaking 21



  • IELTS Reading 6.0
  • IELTS Writing 6.0
  • IELTS Listening 6.0
  • IELTS Speaking 6.0

Cost & Fees

  • International students: CAD $8,435.94 per year
  • Canadian students: CAD $4,801.80 per year

Quick Facts

  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
  • Subject: Engineering
  • Mode of delivery: On campus
  • Registration options: Full-time
  • Specialization: Materials Engineering
  • Program Components: Dissertation
  • Faculty: Faculty of Applied Science
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 14, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
36 - 48 months
Full time
4,802 CAD
$4,801.80 Tuition per year for Canadian Citizens, Permanent Residents, Refugee, Diplomat; $8,435.94 Tuition per year for International students
Canada - Vancouver, British Columbia
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
Canada - Vancouver, British Columbia
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info