The Department of Zoology at UBC is internationally renowned for its research in a variety of modern biological sciences, including ecology, evolution, physiology, neurobiology, cell biology and development. The department has many strong interdisciplinary connections between different areas of research.
Cell and Developmental Biology: molecular and genetic bases of development and cellular function
Comparative Physiology: aspects of animal physiology from a comparative perspective, particularly those mechanisms underlying adaptive responses to environmental constraints
Ecology: blends field ecology and natural history with ecological theory and conservation biology
Evolution: encompasses evolutionary ecology, evolutionary genetics, conservation genetics, theory, and systematics
Oceanographers investigate both fundamental and applied problems relating to the physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and geology of the sea, often working across traditional academic disciplines. Research carried out both independently and in collaboration with federal government laboratories occurs in many different oceanographic regimes, including coastal BC fjords, the inland sea of the Strait of Georgia, open ocean regions of the Subarctic Pacific, and many other locations, including the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. The types of problems that can be studied include fundamental questions about the flow of stratified fluids at scales ranging from tens of meters to thousands of kilometers, applied research in estuaries, coastal, and deep-ocean processes, general ocean circulation and climate change issues, marine chemistry, geochemistry, and biogeochemistry, natural product chemistry, marine viruses, fisheries oceanography, plankton ecology and physiology, and primary production of the sea. The Department is well equipped to carry out research in the field (using either its own boat or larger vessels in the oceanographic fleet), at the laboratory bench, and in the numerical heart of a computer. Most problems involve aspects of all three.
Students in Oceanography may select courses, depending on their interest, from the following areas of specialization:
Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge by taking courses outside their area of specialization. Courses related to Oceanography are also offered in the Departments of Botany, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Geography, Physics and Astronomy, and Zoology.
The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Integrated Water Management is designed for engineers and environmental science graduates who want to develop and lead advanced and sustainable water management initiatives. Participants of the program will learn how to apply physical, chemical and biological unit operations and processes to water resources, and will become conversant with regulatory and environmental frameworks.
Water is a strategic resource, and access to clean and secure water is essential for human wellbeing. Demand for better water systems has resulted in the pressing need for people with the technical skills to develop practical solutions in areas that include water treatment, monitoring tools, information technologies, efficient water use and reuse, and novel biotechnologies.
The combination of technical expertise and leadership courses will help you to develop innovative solutions, manage teams and direct projects — a skill set that is highly relevant in today’s business environment. Graduates of this MEL degree will be able to apply the complex tool set of technical and leadership knowledge acquired in the program to a wide variety of private sector, institutional and government organizations involved with water use, treatment, research and protection.
The MEL is a 12-month degree starting in January. While 70 per cent of your Integrated Water Management courses will focus on your technical specialization, the remaining 30 per cent are leadership development courses that will enhance your business, communication and people skills. Delivery of the management and leadership courses are in partnership with UBC's Sauder School of Business. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about the MEL in Integrated Water Management.
It only takes 12 months to complete the program and get an MEL degree. Starting in January, in the Integrated Water Management program, you will:
MEL students are required to have professional experience before starting the program. That means you will be part of a mature student cohort with a variety of professional and career experiences to draw on when you collaborate on projects with one another. Access to this diversity of knowledge and experience is essential to your development.
Read some of our alumni stories on our website to find out how our graduates have gone on to excel their careers with their UBC MEL in Integrated Water Management degree.
Our graduates will be in high demand locally, nationally and internationally by employers in industry and government seeking professionals who can develop and deliver sustainable water management initiatives. Read some of our alumni stories on our website to find out how our graduates have gone on to excel their careers with their UBC MEL in Integrated Water Management degree. Graduates of the program started in positions, such as Environmental EIT, Environmental Specialist, President & CEO.
Applied Animal Biology offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in animal physiology, behaviour, welfare, and management of livestock, aquaculture, and wildlife species. Graduate training in applied animal biology normally involves a combination of courses in both basic and applied sciences, with research leading to a thesis or dissertation. Students are expected to publish their research results in relevant leading international refereed journals. Coursework selected in consultation with the student's supervisory committee includes graduate courses in areas relevant to each student's research.
The program is enriched through collaboration with colleagues in other UBC graduate programs such as Zoology, and with agencies such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
On-campus teaching and research facilities are located in the MacMillan Building. Off-campus research facilities available to students include: the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz; shared research facilities at Fisheries and Oceans Canada at West Vancouver; and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The UBC Animal Welfare Program is one of the largest and most respected programs in the world in the field of animal welfare science. Since its inception in 1997, the Program’s research has led to improvements in the lives of animals in British Columbia and around the world. The mission of the program is to improve the welfare and humane care of animals in agriculture, research, companionship and other areas through active efforts in research, education and public outreach. For additional information view the UBC Animal Welfare website.
Graduates of the Applied Animal Biology program have pursued academic positions at universities or colleges, research positions at universities and government institutions, consultant positions, or careers in animal-related fields including veterinary medicine, the animal feed manufacturing industry, wildlife rehabilitation, and others.
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is home to more than thirty well-funded research groups, offering opportunities for research that is fundamental in advancing basic science and at the same time provides knowledge that is being translated to help tackle human diseases. The graduate programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology therefore provide advanced research-based education with the goal of preparing students for a career in academic, industrial or professional positions in British Columbia and beyond.
The Department offers MSc and PhD degree programs, with the option to transfer into the PhD track during the second year. Enrollment in the two programs combined has been steadlily increasing over the last 5 years from about 65 to 84 grads. The requirements for formal course credits are usually completed within the first two academic terms. Course topics include laboratory techniques, nucleic acids, membrane structure and function, cellular regulation, protein chemistry and molecular biology. Additional options include bioinformatics, genome analysis, cell growth and differentiation, bacterial pathogenesis and immuno-genetics. The balance of the program is research intensive and assessed by examination of a dissertation.
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has a rich history and on-going record of exceptional academic and research excellence. The Department was home to Nobel Laureate, Michael Smith and his legacy is sustained through involvement of a number of our professors with the Michael Smith Laboratories and the closely-associated Centre for High Throughput Biology. The majority of our research laboratories are located in the Life Sciences Institute, the largest multidisciplinary research hub at UBC. Key features of our research and graduate programs are that they are set up to enable top-notch work, with the very best facilities and with opportunities for collaboration with researchers from a range of disciplines. Research groups in the Life Sciences Institute include those with a focus on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, bacterial and viral diseases, chemical biology, blood research, molecular epigenetics and others. We encourage you to visit the Department website to check out the specific research interests and achievements of the professors in the Department. A number of our professors have developed and maintain major and cutting-edge equipment that underpins research using macromolecular crystallography, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, high-throughput imaging and a range of spectroscopic techniques for macromolecular analysis.
The Department provides tuition benefits to more than half of all students and scholarships to assist with travel to meetings. The Department makes every effort to enable students to gain teaching experience through teaching assistantships, mostly to support teaching in undergraduate laboratory and lecture courses and for which further stipend support is achieved. Overall, the average support package for graduate students exceeds $27,000 per annum.
During the past year we undertook a detailed survey of all graduates who completed their graduate programs in the period from 2003-2014. Of the total of 138 graduates, we have tracked the career progress of more than 120 so far. Of this total, 35 have completed further training in graduate and postdoctoral positions, 20 have entered a professional program (mostly in Law or Medicine), 11 have progressed to a tenure-stream faculty position and 32 have full-time research positions in academia (8), industry (21) or government departments (3). Others have established careers in technical writing or management and the most recent cohort (13) are still at a very early stage of career development. Although we need to continue to track and refine our understanding of career outcomes, it is very clear that our programs enable our graduates to achieve career success in a number of academic, professional and commercial areas.
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary program that combines the application of computer technology to the management and analysis of biological data. The result is that computers are being used to organize data generated from experiments into databases, develop new algorithms and software, and use this software for the interpretation and analysis of the data into meaningful biological information. For the past ten years, our M.Sc. program has been training students to organize, visualize, analyze and interpret biological data. Students have access to world renowned bioinformaticians at the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the BC Cancer Agency, and have exposure to the latest technologies to develop their skills.
Strategic Program Objectives:
The Bioinformatics M.Sc. program integrates academic centres in computer science, statistics, molecular biology, and biotechnology, with translational groups at hospitals and at the clinical interface. The innovative partnership among the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the BC Cancer Agency allows students access to top experts in the field of bioinformatics, exposure to original research and opportunities to complete significant practical work on real bioinformatics problems. Internships allow student mobility between Canadian and international universities, institutions and industries to further enhance collaborations among Canadian high-technology research groups in both the private and public sectors. Students have done research in various locations over the years such as the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and Mexico, Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Moscow, European Bioinformatics Institute at Cambridge, National University of Singapore and the National Institute of Genetics in Japan.
Students who secure an NSERC-CREATE scholarship will undertake a 3-4 month internship that may be local, within Canada or at an international University or Institution.
Bioinformatics faculty are spread throughout the UBC campus, as well as off-campus at the BC Cancer Research Centre or hospital research labs and Institutions.
As biological data sets increase exponentially in both size and complexity, bioinformatics tools have central importance in fields and industries ranging from environmental management, forestry, aquaculture, and bio-fuels to personalized medicine, drug development, preventative medicine and gene therapy. Individuals who can analyze and interpret large data sets or "big data" are highly sought after by both public and private sector employers. Academic positions are also available at universities and research institutions, for those who continue their studies toward a PhD degree in Bioinformatics. Recent graduates have taken positions at local research institutions and biotechnology companies, a gaming company in California, a computer software company in Japan, and a chemical company in Montreal. Those looking to further their academic career have entered medical school, or are pursuing a PhD degrees in Australia, Cambridge, Oxford, and locally at UBC and SFU.
The Botany Department is one of the largest and strongest plant-focused departments in North America with roots extending back to the founding of UBC in 1915. Our departmental community of more than 260 consists of 40 full-time faculty members, several part-time faculty or associates, about 100 graduate students, numerous post-doctoral fellows and research associates, laboratory technicians, and a support staff of secretarial, equipment, herbarium, stores, workshop and greenhouse personnel. Our graduate students are expected to make influential contributions to scientific discovery and discourse, engage in formal and informal teaching and mentoring, and progress to careers in academia, industry, government and non-governmental organizations. The Botany Grad Student Association forms an active group, organizing talks, study sessions, field trips and a variety of social activities. Recent Botany graduates have gone on to prestigious postdoctoral and teaching/research positions in Canada, the USA and abroad (England, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, France, Sweden).
The Botany Department offers unparalleled opportunities for research and teaching/learning with faculty members at the leading-edge of their disciplines. Specializations within Botany range from molecular genetics to climate change impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Collaborations between Botany faculty and other departments including Zoology, Chemistry, Forestry, Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Michael Smith Laboratories, bring a rich array of potential topic areas for research to Botany graduate students. State-of-the-art facilities for bio-imaging, as well as a world-class herbarium and access to living collections in the Canadian Centre for the Culture of Microorganisms, add to the overall uniqueness of the Botany program.
Botany is the branch of biology that involves the study of the structure, evolution, properties and biochemical processes of all forms of plant life, including algae, fungi, ferns and trees. Also included within its scope are plant classification and the study of plant diseases, as well as the interactions of plants with people and the environment. A degree in Botany is well-suited to meet the challenges posed by biodiversity loss and impacts of climate change. Positions for people with botany backgrounds are usually in educational institutions, government and environmental organizations, and in the biotechnology industry including companies seeking new drugs and medicines, and useful genes for improvement of crop plants.
The graduate program in Cell and Developmental Biology offers M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees to students undertaking advanced study and research in cell and developmental biology. The program is flexible and is designed to accommodate the diverse backgrounds of students and the broad nature of research in cell and developmental biology.
The program's courses provide a thorough understanding of the scientific fundamentals and methodologies of contemporary cell and developmental biology. All students also undertake original and significant research from the start of their studies. With nearly 50 faculty members engaged in cutting-edge research in cell and developmental biology, a wide range of research topics is available to students.
The program also aims to enhance linkages and facilitate research interactions between the larger community of cell and developmental biologists in British Columbia by acting as a common forum for scholarly exchange in cell and developmental biology through its student-led seminar series, research retreats and other activities.
The Program is administered through the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), Canada's largest Institute for life science research which houses over 80 laboratories conducting internationally recognized research in areas such as cell and molecular biology, cancer biology, diabetes and microbiology & immunology.
Program faculty and students also conduct research at hospital-based research Institutes and Centres, including the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Biomedical Research Centre, the Centre for Brain Health, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics,and the Centre for Macular Research. All of these Institutes and Centres offer highly collaborative research environments and provide outstanding facilities and resources to the ~ 70 graduate students who call the program home.
Given the number of researchers associated with the program and their varied Departmental and Faculty affiliations, the potential range of research topics available to students in the Program is very large.
Minimum level of financial support for M.Sc. and Ph.D. students of $22,000 per year, with top-ups for students who receive scholarships.
Our graduates are well-prepared and highly competitive for the next step in their careers, whether in academia or in other sectors (e.g. biotechnology, health care, government, business, finance) where an in-depth knowledge of modern cell and developmental biology is required.
As one of the world's leading Chemistry Departments, we create an exceptional research and learning environment for advancing and sharing knowledge that emphasizes excellence, equity and sustainability. Research areas include:
Outstanding facilities and resources accommodate more than 500 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty that call the Department of Chemistry home. The Department has one of the most comfortable and up-to-date research spaces in North America, and offers MSc and PhD degrees - both degrees require graduate courses and research work reported in a thesis.
Courses offered in the Chemistry Department cover a wide range of subject matter, from synthetic organic chemistry to chemical physics and theory.
The department is one of the most well equipped research facilities along the west coast and is fortunate to be located in a breathtaking locale that includes ocean, mountains and mild climate.
Applicants who are interested in nanomaterials synthesis, characterization and application, and nanoscience instrumentation may consider the NanoMat program that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities. Applicants who are interested in the production, preparation, and application of nuclear isotopes for science and medicine may consider the IsoSiM program. Applicants who are interested in quantum materials may consider the QuEST program.
Experimental Medicine is the study of the pathogenesis and treatment of disease. Modern experimental medicine represents a rapidly growing body of knowledge involving the determination of diseases processes and the development of appropriate therapies.
The Experimental Medicine Program is intended for individuals seeking a career in research. The Department of Medicine offers opportunities and facilities for advanced studies in experimental medicine, leading toward the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. Members of the Department direct research programs in a wide range of basic and clinically relevant areas. There are a variety of special interest areas of national and international stature. Specialties within the Experimental Medicine Program include: Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Hematology, Infectious Diseases, Medical Immunology, Medical Oncology, Molecular Biology, Nephrology, Neurology and Respiratory Medicine.
Students may work with investigators located on the main campus of the University of B.C., or they may work in laboratories located off campus (Vancouver General Hospital, Jack Bell Research Centre, Terry Fox Laboratory, St. Paul's Hospital, Biomedical Research Centre, BC Children's Hospital).
The Master of Sustainable Forest Management (MSFM) is a 9-month, course-based master’s program that prepares students for careers as forestry professionals and sets the stage for life-long learning. The program begins in August and consists of field-work experience as well as course work, with students completing graduation requirements the following April. Students in the MSFM program come from various backgrounds with bachelor degrees in ecology, physical geography, environmental sciences, forestry or allied disciplines.
The MSFM provides advanced study in natural resource stewardship. Program components include: tree and stand dynamics, forest to landscape: structure and function, forest management, economics and administration of forestry, leadership skills, communication and critical reasoning, information acquisition and analysis, professionalism and ethics.
The MSFM is accredited by the Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board (CFAB). This enables graduates to apply to become Registered Professional Foresters (RPF) with member agencies of the Canadian Federation of Professional Foresters Associations (CFPFA), including the Association of BC Forest Professionals.
The MSFM program is also accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). MSFM graduates meet the education requirements for the SAF Certified Forester® credential, as well as the education requirements for those US states in which foresters are required to be licensed or registered. Individual states may have additional experience and licensing exam requirements.
The MSFM curriculum is accredited by the Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board, and by the Society of American Foresters. With real world experience and hands-on projects, graduates of the MSFM program are well positioned for employment. After graduation, you will know how to design and implement site and landscape level plans that integrate the environmental, social and economic components of sustainability. Graduates are now employed in both the public and private sector, primarily in Western Canada. Read about recent graduates who have gained employment directly after finishing the program; some students received offers before the end of the program.
Over the past decade, advances in genomic medicine and genetic technology have been dramatic. Genetic counsellors have an integral role to play in helping patients and other healthcare professionals understand the options, benefits and limitations of this rapidly changing landscape. Established in 1996, the University of British Columbia’s Genetic Counselling Program is dedicated to equipping the next generation of genetic counsellors with the skills, knowledge and mindset to flourish as part of an inter-disciplinary team and work across a broad range of health care settings and specialties. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling, graduates are eligible for certification and/or licensure across North America.
Based in the heart of Vancouver at Children's and Women's Health Centre of British Columbia, the tertiary care provider for clinical medical genetics services, UBC's Genetic Counselling Program is one of only five programs in Canada, and the largest.
The program balances strong academic grounding and direct clinical experiences with independent research, preparing graduates for the dynamic field of genetic counselling.
With only six students accepted into the program every year, students receive close mentorship and one-on-one support from award-winning faculty in the Department of Medical Genetics.
Program curriculum and learning opportunities are constantly evolving to equip students with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed and adapt to advances in the field of genomic medicine.
Students have the opportunity to gain a specialized skillset and work toward a genetic counselling degree with diverse clinical placements including prenatal, pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, neurology and psychiatric genetics.
Starting in the first week, students learn through a combination of direct classroom and hands-on experience working with genetic counselors, medical geneticists and other health care professionals.
Through collaboration with the College of Health Disciplines, UBC's Genetic Counselling program also offers students a number of inter-professional health education experiences, including:
Our graduates have gone on to pursue stimulating careers in genomic research, private industry, public and private clinical services, as well as policy development.
Many of our alumni and faculty have become international leaders in the field, including President of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC) and the National Society of Genetic Counsellors (NSGC), as well as board members on the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC), CAGC, and NSGC.
The Genome Science and Technology graduate program is a trans-disciplinary program that combines genomic research with leading-edge technology development in genome sciences for students pursing an M.Sc. or Ph.D. This program is intended to accommodate the diverse background of students and the broad nature of genomic research in human, animal, plant, microbes, and viruses.
Our goal is to be among the top 10 graduate programs in genome sciences & technology in North America.
The M.Sc. program in Genome Science and Technology (GSAT) incorporates an innovative rotation program that allows students to access multiple highly skilled research faculty during their graduate program. These rotation opportunities allow students to learn the latest advances in genomic sciences and high through-put technologies. Rotations also allow valuable relationships to form for future collaborative opportunities.
The GSAT program has collaborative associations with both the Centre for High Through-put Technology and the Michael Smith Laboratories. Faculty members associated with the program have diverse backgrounds in genomics and proteomics, bio-engineering, systems biology, chemical biology,device and instrumentation development and engineering.
Graduates find career opportunities in both the private and public sector involving genomic and proteomic technology development. Employers from biotechnology companies and government institutions all seek graduates from the GSAT program. Opportunities in academia can be furthered by continuing towards a Ph.D. in Genome Science and Technology.
Recent graduates have taken positions at local biotechnology companies, or found work as research technicians both in British Columbia and the USA. Those looking to further their academic career have entered medical school, or are pursuing a PhD degree in Israel, and Europe.
The Interdisciplinary Oncology program (IOP) is a graduate program designed to appeal to a broad range of students interested in cancer research. IOP offers advanced study and research in a variety of fields relating to oncology. Those fields include: molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biophysics, bioinformatics, pharmaceutical sciences, radiological sciences, immunology, molecular pathology, sociobehavioral studies, epidemiology and health economics. The goal of the program is to provide graduate students from diverse backgrounds, with an education in a number of disciplines relating to oncology, and to provide training opportunities for intensive training in specialized aspects of cancer research. For more than ten years, the program has been training the next generation of cancer research leaders.
IOP integrates the diverse areas of oncology by offering two required courses which provide an interdisciplinary perspective on oncology in a form that is accessible to students from diverse backgrounds. The elective courses provide intensive training in one or more subjects specific to the student's research, and also gives the student an opportunity to gain expertise in other disciplines that have potential for synergy with their primary specialization. Students have access to clinicians and university faculty through the world-renowned BC Cancer Agency, to get a practical perspective on oncology treatments and outcomes. An innovative rotation course is a unique option for students to gain hands-on experience by rotating through specialty laboratories and by shadowing clinicians.
Once students are enrolled in the program, they will have an opportunity to design a program that allows for rotations through other IOP faculty's labs to gain insight into other research areas other than their specific supervisor's research.
Most IOP supervisors reside off-campus at the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital or other hospital-related buildings.
Graduates have a wide range of options from working in government institutions to academia to biotechnology and bio-pharm companies. Those looking to further their academic career have entered medical school or are pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Canada and abroad.
The Master of Kinesiology (MKin) is a non-thesis (course-based) degree with potential areas of study, including Socio-Managerial, Natural/Physical Science, Behavioural Science and Coaching Science. The most popular stream is Coaching Science. No research is involved. This is the main difference between the MKin and MA/MSc programs. The Coaching Science program contains approximately 18-20 graduate students each year, and the average time to completion is 1 year (30-credit program). For more than 20 years, our program has supported the coaching careers of many different sport coaches by enhancing not only their theoretical development but also their practical growth: our internship program allows the students to exploit their coaching philosophy and challenge their skills.
The Coaching Science stream in the MKin program is extremely diverse with more than 30% of graduate students coming from many different countries. This international, collaborative environment fosters the exploration of best practices and encourages the students to seek personal growth through interaction and discussion. We are a small enough cohort that students and faculty are able to enjoy regular one-on-one contact. Additionally, the programs’ flexibility leverages on the wide selection of seminar-based courses and independent directed studies. Lastly, the various streams offer the graduate student the opportunity to enhance their expertise in the interdisciplinary nature of kinesiology.
The MKIN Coaching Science program prepares students for employment in coaching at various levels (high school, club, varsity, strength and conditioning) or in some specific cases to pursue further studies in a PhD program. Recent graduates have taken positions as head or assistant coaches in varsity programs, community programs, and the private sector as strength and conditioning coaches. Those looking to pursue further academics in Kinesiology-related fields have gone to Australia, the UK or the USA. Graduates from this program with teaching certifications, have also become Director of Athletics in their respective institutions.