Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Meet Craig Langford, PhD candidate in Mechanical and Materials Engineering

“My graduate program allows me to work on a problem that I am passionate about. There is a lot more freedom for abstract thought and self-directed projects that isn’t available in industry.”

Supervisor: Dr. Andy (Xueliang) Sun

Why did you come to Western for your graduate degree?
I came to Western for a summer internship during my undergraduate degree, and found it very interesting. After working in several other research groups, I knew that this was the place for me to pursue my graduate studies.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Students should make sure that they are going into a graduate program they are passionate about, as well as practical. Dedicating a large part of your life to something with little pay is not an easy task. Knowing you’re working on something that will make an impact, and something that will greatly improve your career path, is fundamental for your graduate studies.

Describe your research in 100 words or less.
My research is focused on addressing key issues found with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to allow their use in electric vehicles. For these technologies to overtake gasoline and diesel they must be safer, more reusable, and have longer charge times. My work focuses on prolonging the life-time and improving the safety via ultra-thin coatings on the active materials. These ultra-thin coatings on the surface of the active materials can have a huge impact on a lithium-ion battery as many reactions occur at these surfaces.

Where’s your favourite place on campus to work?
I love working in the laboratory. There are many advanced technologies in our lab, and having full access to those is very exciting to me.

Have you worked as a TA or RA?
I have TA’d a total of 10 classes. This is very beneficial in helping understand how to simplify topics and explain them. It has had a large impact in helping me easily explain my research to others.

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy puzzles and have developed a number of mobile puzzle games.

What is your “dream” career?
My dream career would be to work at the forefront of research in a National Laboratory for new technologies to address climate change.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Joanna Blom (
Graduate Coordinator

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Western University
Spencer Engineering Building Rm 3002
London, Ontario N6A 5B9

t. 519 850-2939
f. 519-661-3020

The Mechanical Engineering profession covers a very wide spectrum from nano-scale to industrial-scale and includes engines, robots, bio-mechanical and environmentally “green” systems.

The thesis-based Graduate Research Program, leading to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, provides cutting edge research opportunities to students using state-of-the-art experimental or computational research facilities under the close supervision of a faculty member(s). The Department has research strengths in diverse areas addressing present day challenges, as well as developing technologies for the future.

The Own Your Future doctoral professional development program will help you become a career-ready graduate with the skills necessary to excel in your studies and achieve your future goals. By participating in the program, you will assess your own strengths and opportunities for growth, choose what skills you want to enhance during your time at Western, and learn how to articulate the skills you gained in your degree to optimize your future career opportunities. To learn more, visit

Program Length

  • 12 Terms (Full-time studies)
  • 18-24 Terms (Flex-time studies)

Program Design

  • Full-time study and flex-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee schedules (per term) are posted on the Office of the Registrar's website at

Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

Use this helpful tool to estimate how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and other necessities for a 12-month (three term) academic year.

Admission Requirements

  • Successful completion of a engineering master’s degree from an accredited university; Students with a similar degree from another discipline may be admitted on a case by case basis, with approval from the Associate Chair (Graduate Research Programs).
  • Achieved at least a 78% average in the master's degree.
  • Acceptance by a faculty member to serve as the thesis supervisor.

Additional Requirements

  • Other factors such as publication record and/or industrial experience may also be beneficial.

English Language Proficiency

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 Academic) of the British Council. The minimum acceptable score is 6.5 out of 9, with no individual score below 6. The IELTS is offered in 6 test centres in the US and 3 in Canada.
  • <;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
  • Fanshawe College’s ESL Program. The requirement is graduation from Level 10, English for Academic Purposes, with a minimum 80% in all components.

Application Deadline

Domestic Applicants:

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

International Applicants:

  • February 1 - Fall Term
  • June 1 - Winter Term
  • October 1 - Summer Term

Applications are processed on a rolling basis. We do not process an application until it is complete and all required documents are received. Therefore we cannot guarantee consideration for the term requested if documentation is received after the deadline date. In such a case, the application will be considered for the next available term.

Fields of Research

  • Automation Technologies and Systems
  • Biomechanics
  • Materials and Solid Mechanics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Micro and Nano Systems
  • Thermofluids