Link to the University of Waterloo home page
Coding and Signal Transmission (CST) Laboratory

Attention: Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a preliminary application in CST Lab's Preliminary Application System (CST-PAS).

Coding and Signal Transmission Laboratory enjoys a very stimulating environment due to the presence of exceptional students. The lab director is also honored to receive a large number of inquires from perspective students who express interest to join the team. As a result, the process of accepting new students is very selective. In spite of this, new students with exceptional talents are always welcome. The most common criteria for accepting new students are (in the order of priority):

a-Rank in MASc university entrance exam (if such an examination exists in the country of origin)
b-Rank in BSc university entrance exam (if such an examination exists in the country of origin)
c-Quality of the university and rank/average in MASc studies
d-Quality of the university and rank/average in BSc studies
e-Rank in other academic competitions or evidence of achievement
g-Letters of reference
h-Previous non-academic work experience
i-Statement of purpose

(Note: Other groups within E&CE department may have totally different criteria.)

Thesis topics are mostly a mixture of theory and practice (using a theoretical approach to solve problems which are in one way or other of practical interest and value). The thesis work usually rely on mathematical tools and is suitable for students with high analytical abilities and enthusiasm in conducting fundamental research. Evidence of such talents and capabilities will count a lot.

In addition, students who are interested to work on industrial research projects are welcome to apply and are seriously considered (note: students usually need to be landed immigrant or Canadian citizen to be eligible for the type of financial support available for such projects).

To become a student in CST Lab you need to follow the procedure for applying to the E&CE department of the University of Waterloo ( It will be also very beneficial to first send an e-mail to with a short description of your background. If a potential match is observed, the applicant will be contacted and may be invited for a phone interview. In general, it will be useful if you include a phone number and a proper time to reach you.

If you are interested to join the CST lab, you need to indicate A. K. Khandani as the suggested supervisor in one of the two application forms in the specified location. If you have established contact through e-mail ( prior to applying, you will be usually given some tips about sending the application package such that it is received and processed quickly.

You can direct your further inquires about the admission process or check the status of your application by sending e-mail to Ms. Wendy Gauthier ( She is an extremely kind lady, but she is very busy, so please keep this in mind and please be very efficient with her time. It will be helpful if you cc in any such e-mail exchanges.

After your file is complete, it will be evaluated and possibly recommended to the department for admission. Following this step, the applicant will be sent a letter of offer from the E&CE department which states the details of the offer (including the financial support). If you are interested in the offer, you need to sign the letter (indicating you are accepting the conditions of the offer) and send it back. To speed up the process, you may fax the letter directly to A. K. Khandani (at 519-888-4338) or scan and e-mail it to:

After your signed copy of the letter of offer is received by the department, you will be recommended to the university graduate office for admission and in due time a "permit to register" will be sent to you by the university graduate office. For international students, this final "permit to register" is needed to apply for visa (the departmental letter of offer is usually not accepted for immigration purposes, however, the details can be checked with immigration authorities). After you have received your visa, it will be very wise to plan to be in Waterloo at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester.

Once you are accepted, if you request, you will be assigned to one of the graduate students in the lab to answer your questions about living in Waterloo, and help you with your housing and other similar matters related to your initial settlement in Waterloo (prior and/or upon your arrival). This is a service you are expected to pay back to a future student after you are well settled.

Interested applicants are encouraged to submit a preliminary application in CST Lab's Preliminary Application System (CST-PAS).

(Q) What if an applicant has missed the deadline, or the mark in the English test is not high enough, or has some other problems?

(A) In the case of mutual interest, your case may be discussed with the department to ask for their help in solving the problem. Please note that although the department authorities are very co-operative and do their best to help the faculty members to attract the students they want, they may not be able to help if the situation is too complicated.

(Q) What about financial support?

(A) You will receive financial support from three sources:

  • RA (paid to students with no government scholarship) at 16,500$/year which is the standard amount across the department (offered by the CST lab). This amount may increase gradually up to about 20,000$/year depending on the needs (for example depending on the marriage status and family size) and/or performance.
  • TA which can potentially be up to three TAs per year and each TA is about 3,800$ (offered by the department).
  • Additional support from department which varies from student to student and can be up to 5,000$/year (amount is decided by the department graduate office and NOT by the CST lab). A sizeable extra funding is also provided for students who hold an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) scholarship.
  • FOE (Faculty of Engineering Award) which is an award for overall excellence in the amount of 1,000$/semester. Each student is eligible to receive up to 5 FOEs in the period of studies (the CST students usually receive all the 5).

The sum of the above is usually more than sufficient to afford a comfortable student life.

(Q) What if the TOEFL does not take place in your country?

(A) The university accepts some other alternative standard examinations (for example MELAB or IELTS) as a replacement.

(Q) What about applicants with a masters degree in a different area?

(A) Applicants who have a masters degree in communications are usually preferred, however, if there is evidence of exceptional achievements, students with a masters degree in relevant area (e.g., Control, Electronics, Bio-medical Engineering, etc) are also seriously considered.