Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Meet Tom Lardner, PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering

“I first came to Western University to complete my Master’s in 2009 for the opportunity to work with my supervisor and mentor, Dr. K.Y. Lo. I came back to do my PhD in 2013 because of the great experience I had during my Master’s degree, and I had the ability to work with great people on interesting research. My wife and I also love the lifestyle we have in the city of London.”

Supervisor: Dr. M. Hesham Hamed El Naggar

Describe your research in 100 words or less.
I am trying to provide updated design tools for more efficient construction of underground structures in the swelling rock of southern Ontario – as I tell my family: I study big holes in the ground.

Where’s your favourite place on campus to work?
I’ve greatly enjoyed my office. I have been incredibly lucky to have a small office that I’ve shared with a variety of excellent people. The ability to bounce ideas off of my peers is such an important aspect of learning and growing. I also like to walk when I’m wrestling with a difficult problem, and am very happy that the campus is so beautiful, especially by the river in the summer.

What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive and be successful?
The freedom to dive into a topic with the full support of my supervisor.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Two things: For engineering in particular, get some industry experience. It will really open your eyes about the topics you cover in graduate level courses. The second is that you should get to know your supervisor before you commit to research with her/him. You will be spending a lot of time and energy working with that person, so you need to know you can work well together.

Have you worked as a TA or RA?
I have worked as a TA for several years, and it has been a great experience. It is a whole different level of knowledge required to teach than to just practice a subject.

What are you most passionate about?
I am a geotechnical engineer, and I am very passionate about it. It is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions and I am so happy that I can be a part of it.

What one thing would you like people to know about you?
If you ask me for my help, and really put effort into your work, I will work as hard as I can for you.

What do you do in your spare time?
I have a pregnant wife, a two-year-old, and a dog, I work part time and I’m doing my PhD research, so I don’t have huge amounts of free time. When I do have time alone, I’m a huge fan of dumb action movies and B-List movies. I also love playing board games and card games.

Program Websites


Program Contact

Kristen Edwards (civilgrad@uwo.ca)
Graduate Affairs Coordinator

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Western University
Spencer Engineering Building Rm 3010
London, Ontario N6A 3K7

t. 519-850-2943
f. 519-661-3942

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is a thesis based Doctoral research degree. This program is offered to applicants who hold a Master's Degree in a related field.

Times to Completion

  • 12 Terms (4 years)

Curriculum Options

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Details

  • Eligible research-based students will receive a minimum of $12,000 plus tuition (excludes ancillary fees) through research grants, contracts, scholarships and teaching assistantships. To maintain fundable status, students must sustain an average of 78% at Western.

Applicants (domestic and international) are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships:

Admission Requirements

  • Admission average is the North American A- (78%).
  • Applicant should have a Bachelors degree in Engineering, or similar program.

Additional Requirements

  • Acceptance into the PhD degree program is dependent on the acceptance of a faculty advisor. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find a faculty advisor. For information about our faculty members, please visit CEE Faculty.

Test Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable score is 86, with no individual score below 20 for the internet based version; 213 for the standard electronic version; or 550 for the paper and pencil version, although some programs require a higher minimum score. [Western's TOEFL ID is 0984].
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) of the British Council. The minimum acceptable score is 6 out of 9, with no minimum score below 6.0. The IELTS is offered in 6 test centres in the US and 3 in Canada.
  • The Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) of the University of Michigan. Students must have at least 80 on each of the sections and an overall score of at least 85. Arrangements to write MELAB may be made online.
  • <;i>The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL Assessment). The minimum acceptable score is 60. The CAEL Assessment is offered in several countries throughout the world as well as Canada.
  • Western English Language Centre Western's English Language Centre allows academically eligible students interested in pursuing a graduate degree at Western the opportunity to receive a conditional offer of admission to graduate studies without successful completion of an English language proficiency test. The condition is that the student must, in lieu of such a test, successfully complete Western English Language Centre's program. For more information, please visit http://englishlanguage.uwo.ca/.
  • CultureWorks. The requirement is successful completion of the High-Advanced level.Click here for information regarding a conditional offer of admission, pending CultureWorks completion.
  • Fanshawe College’s ESL Program. The requirement is graduation from Level 5, Advanced Academic Preparation, with a minimum 80% in all components.

Application Deadline(s)

Domestic Applicants:

  • July 1 - Fall Term
  • November 1 - Winter Term
  • March 1 - Summer Term

International Applicants:

  • April 15 - Fall Term
  • August 15 - Winter Term
  • December 15 - Summer Term