Doctor of Philosophy in Theoretical and Computational Science


Program Description


The Ph.D. program is a four-year program. The format for the degree consists of coursework and a thesis. The student must pass a written and an oral comprehensive examination within the first two years of the program.

The thesis is the most significant component of work towards the degree and involves original research. The first step for any prospective student is to select a potential supervisor and in consultation with the supervisor, organize a research plan including a possible thesis topic, before admission to the program. Faculty research interests are a critical factor in this preliminary decision.

The department is attempting to expand and strengthen its research activities and graduate students will play an important role in this endeavor. Almost all faculty members in the department receive external or internal funding to support their research programs.

Graduate degrees traditionally have been awarded for the successful completion of a satisfactory thesis. The thesis route expresses the fundamental tradition of academic scholarship. It also relates to the University's undergraduate programs, because the creation of a thesis in any discipline calls for a range of skills which are central to the liberal education tradition, including analysis and synthesis of ideas, empirical investigations, the construction and articulation of arguments, and writing skills.

Because of the nature of the Ph.D. program, the thesis forms the central requirement of the program. The thesis will be written under the direction of a supervisor or supervisors. Consequently, it is necessary for a candidate to establish contact with potential supervisors prior to application for admission. Candidates seeking potential supervisors should contact either the relevant academic department or the School of Graduate Studies.

Faculty research expertise

The Department of Mathematics has faculty members who conduct research in the following fields:

  • Algebra
  • Analysis
  • Combinatorics
  • Logic
  • Number Theory, and
  • Statistics.

The research strengths of the department include Number Theory and Combinatorics.

Facilities and research centers/institutions

Our department became a member of PIMS (the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences) in 2012. PIMS was created in 1996 by the community of mathematical scientists in Alberta and British Columbia and subsequently extended to both Washington State, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. It is a multi-million dollar venture, with various universities being awarded funding for projects, conferences, speakers, post-doctoral positions, graduate scholarships, etc.

The mandate of PIMS is to promote research in and applications of the mathematical sciences, to facilitate the training of highly qualified personnel, to enrich public awareness of and education in the mathematical sciences, and to create mathematical partnerships with similar organizations in other countries (with a particular focus on the Pacific Rim). PIMS funds Collaborative Research Groups, Post-Doctoral Fellowships, and individual events on a competitive basis.

There are many benefits of having membership in PIMS. Each year the department has two post-doctoral fellows in-house, sponsored by PIMS. Several financial awards have been granted to faculty and graduate students in the department.

Program benefits and learning outcomes

Benefits of the program and potential learning outcomes and skills/knowledge that students will acquire while completing the program:

The mathematics program will allow you to develop a variety of mathematical skills, such as: dealing with abstract concepts, analyzing and solving problems, constructing mathematical arguments, analyzing and interpreting data, finding patterns and drawing conclusions, applying mathematical theories to physical theories, and using the mathematical software. You will also learn to present arguments and conclusions with accuracy and clarity, organize your work and time effectively, as well as build on your critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills.

Relevant educational background

Examples of relevant educational backgrounds /courses pertinent for admission consideration to this program:

Students with an MSc in mathematics with a strong GPA should be well-prepared to enter the Ph.D. program.

Finding a Supervisor

Students are required to secure a potential supervisor prior to submitting an application for this program.


  • Applied mathematics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biophysics
  • Computational and theoretical chemistry
  • Computer science
  • Geophysics
  • Mathematical biology
  • Nanoscience
  • Pure mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Theoretical physics

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

The University of Lethbridge was built on a commitment to students and the student experience, small classes and the liberal arts. Those founding principles are still at the forefront of what we do. T ... Read More

The University of Lethbridge was built on a commitment to students and the student experience, small classes and the liberal arts. Those founding principles are still at the forefront of what we do. Today the U of L is respected around the globe and is recognized as a research-intensive, comprehensive university. Read less