Doctoral Citations for Graduation

Doctoral students are the University's top students, earning the highest degree bestowed by UBC and contributing to the institution and the world through their research. In recognition of the accomplishments of doctoral graduates, UBC has instituted the reading of doctoral citations during graduation ceremonies. We offer the following overview of citations, but more detailed guidance will be provided to candidates, should it be required.

What is a doctoral citation?

The citations for graduation differ from the scholarly abstracts that are presented at a conference to specialists in your field. Your graduation citation must be written in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it:

  • aim to summarize the nature of your independent research
  • provide a high-level overview of the study
  • state the significance of your work
  • say who will benefit from the findings
  • avoid jargon
  • avoid being too general
    • rather than saying, "my research contributes to...," tell the audience what that contribution is
    • rather than "my research has implications for...," tell the audience what those implications are.

The citation must be a maximum of 350 characters, including spaces. Remember that the citation should be a dignified statement that represents your contribution: it is read aloud as you cross the stage during your graduation ceremony. The title of your dissertation is not read aloud. The citation may also be used as a short summary of your dissertation for other purposes.

How/when do I submit my citation?

If you are a doctoral candidate, you should submit a citation when you apply to graduate. The online application form in SSC has a guideline for writing a clear citation, with a limit of 350 characters, including spaces. Your submission will be reviewed by the citation co-ordinator who may suggest changes before final approval. If you are submitting a late application for graduation, please email your citation directly to:

Who writes the doctoral citation?

As a graduating doctoral candidate, you are responsible for writing your citation, although you may wish to show it to your supervisor before uploading it to the SSC.  However, if the supervisor is not available, the citation should be uploaded for review and can be shown to the supervisor after editing and approval. It is important to write a clear citation, so that people in the audience can understand the nature of your research and appreciate its contribution to society, even though they have no specialized knowledge of your field or its technical terms. For this reason, citations are subject to editing for clarity.

Even if you are not attending your graduation ceremony, we ask that you submit a citation to document your academic contributions as a UBC graduate student.

Doctoral Citation Archive

After graduation, the citations are uploaded to our website as a lasting tribute to your work:

Examples of citations:

We thank the following graduates for their permission to quote their citations.  These citations are examples of clear and well-written overviews that avoid confusing, technical language, focus on what might interest the audience at graduation, and occasionally use humour, where appropriate.

Jarrod Blinch

Dr. Blinch studied how the brain processes the coordinated movements of both arms. He found that these movements are represented in the brain as a single action, and not independent actions for each arm. This knowledge will aid in the design of user-friendly interfaces, and help develop therapies for people who have difficulties with coordination.

Felipe Garcia Ramos

Is the motion of raindrops on a window predictable? Vancouver's drizzle might suggest it is. Nonetheless Dr. Garcia Ramos characterized a class of predictable mathematical models, concluding that predictable behaviour is not common. In a chaotic world, he believes human progress should focus on adaptability more than control of environment.

Jinguang Hu

Dr. Hu has shown how the complex enzymes produced by mushrooms and fungi can break down the cellulose found in woods and plants. Cellulose is the world's most common form of sugar and it can be used to make biofuels. Dr. Hu (or Who) plans to continue exploring the universe in his time-travelling police box, the Tardis, powered by renewable biofuels!

Anna Lee Harrison

Mitigation of greenhouse gas-fuelled climate change is a challenge requiring many approaches. Dr. Harrison’s research demonstrated that the reaction of certain industrial wastes with carbon dioxide could help offset industrial greenhouse gas emissions. This research also provided insight into the response of natural processes to climate change.

Ivana Horacek

Dr. Horacek studied central European art from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. She examined the fusion between art and knowledge, as imbued in artefacts that were collected and exchanged as gifts by monarchs of that period. Her research brings forward the socio-political agency of works of art and how they mattered to people who exchanged them.

Hassan Sharifi

Dr. Sharifi’s doctoral studies focussed on the flow of gas through off-shore pipelines. He developed a method of evaluating the performance of water-soluble additives that improve gas flow and prevent blockages. His findings contribute to energy management, and address global warming and environmental threats, through improved gas transmission.

Hsi Chun Wang

Dr. Wang studied the causes of an autoimmune hair loss disease called alopecia areata. He discovered the triggers of the immune attack leading to hair loss, linked the disease with heart tissue damage, and created a new disease model. His research advanced our understanding of the development and adverse outcomes of alopecia areata.

Juliana Eca Negreiros

Dr. Negreiros studied behaviours associated with neurological problems in youth with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. Results showed that youth with OCD had difficulty with planning and other daily behaviour. This study helps to increase awareness of potential thinking difficulties in OCD, and informs prevention and intervention strategies.

Lifang Zhao

Dr. Zhao investigated the production of the waxy layer on plant surfaces that protects them against water loss, UV light, pathogens and insects. Her work resulted in the discovery of a novel mechanism that controls the expression of genes involved in the formation of this protective layer. Her results may have important agricultural applications.

Luc Fotsing Fondjo

Dr. Fotsing examined the concept of culture in the contemporary African novel. His analysis demonstrates that there is a mixture of local and global cultures in fictional books written by African authors. It is therefore difficult to refer to that literature as if it had one single identity. This research challenges assumptions about African writing.