At UBC Science, outstanding scientists and students strive to unravel the principles that underlie our universe - from the subatomic to the macroscopic, from pure mathematics to biotechnology, from ecosystems to galactic systems. Through the breadth and depth of our academic endeavours and the calibre of the people who make up our community, we take pride in discovering new scientific knowledge and preparing Canada’s and the world’s next generation of scientists.

A diverse range of highly ranked programs

With access to master’s and doctoral degrees through nine departments and 350 research groups, our graduate students work with world-class faculty to explore the basic sciences, and to pursue interdisciplinary and applied research across departments and units. UBC’s research excellence in environmental science, math, physics, plant and animal science, computer science, geology and biology is consistently rated best in Canada by international and national ranking agencies.

Committed to outstanding graduate training

UBC Science houses a wide range of prestigious NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience and related industry programs: from atmospheric aerosols to high-throughput biology, from biodiversity research and ecosystems services to plant cell wall biosynthesis, from quantum science and new materials to applied geochemistry. The options for enriched graduate training in industry related fields are almost endless.

World-class research infrastructure

Our affiliated institutes and centres include UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories, Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, Biodiversity Research Centre, Life Sciences Institute, Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, Mineral Deposit Research Unit, and TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.

Top research talent

UBC Science boasts more than 50 Canada Research Chairs, 12 fellows of the Royal Society of London, and has been home to two Nobel Laureates. Our graduate students have won 15 prestigious Vanier Scholarships.

A diverse, supportive community of scholars

UBC Science is committed to excellence, collaboration and inclusion. Women account for 41 per cent of the Faculty's graduate enrollments, and the percentage of international students has increased to 50 per cent over the past decade.

To nurture an exceptional scientific learning and research environment for the people of British Columbia, Canada, and the world.

Research Centres

Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology

Computational Sciences and Mathematics

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences

Genomics and Biological Sciences

Human-Computer Interaction

Life Sciences

Chemistry and Materials Science



Research Facilities

Designed to inspire collaboration and creativity across disciplines, the new Earth Sciences Building (ESB) lies at the heart of the science precinct on UBC’s Vancouver Campus. The $75 million facility is home to Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Statistics, the Pacific Institute of the Mathematical Sciences, and the dean’s office of the Faculty of Science. ESB’s updated teaching facilities will help Canada meet the challenges of a transforming and growing resource sector. Just as importantly, the researchers and students working and learning in the new facility will offer a valuable flow of well-trained talent, new ideas, and fresh professional perspectives to industry.

Research Highlights

Receiving more than $120 million in annual research funding, UBC Science faculty members conduct top-tier research in the life, physical, earth and computational sciences. Their discoveries help build our understanding of natural laws—driving insights into sustainability, biodiversity, human health, nanoscience and new materials, probability, artificial intelligence, exoplanets and a wide range of other areas.

UBC Science boasts 50 Canada Research Chairs and 10 fellows of the Royal Society of London, and has been home to two Nobel Laureates. 

Graduate Degree Programs

Recent Publications

This is an incomplete sample of recent publications in chronological order by UBC faculty members with a primary appointment in the Faculty of Science.


Recent Thesis Submissions

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation Program
2009 Dr. Chong used molecular chemistry to develop completely new porous materials for emerging applications. He demonstrated that these new materialsy can be used for the remediation of contaminated water and for storing hydrogen as an alternative energy source. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2009 Dr. Hanna developed a new instrument for determining the chemical composition of particulate matter in urban air pollution. Her research provided insight into several fundamental processes important in the chemical analysis of atmospheric aerosol particles. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2009 Dr. Zhu examined how a coastal diatom species copes with changing light intensity. She found that unique members of the light-harvesting family of proteins are regulated differently from the other members of this superfamily and are involved in photoprotection during long term high light stress. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2009 Dr Shieh used gauge/gravity duality correspondence to study strongly coupled systems in high-energy and condensed-matter physics. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2009 Dr. Chen examined the design of pollution monitoring systems for the detection of contaminants in surface water and groundwater. He identified key factors affecting the probabilities of detecting contaminants, and was the first to use comprehensive modeling approaches to evaluate monitoring networks in a highly complex watershed system. His research provides important guidelines for practice in the design of contaminant monitoring networks. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
2009 Dr.Guan examined the Landau-Lifshitz and Dirac equations arising in quantum physics - both of which which relate to the motion of charged particles. She refined the current understanding of these two equations, proved global existence and blow up results for Landau-Lifshitz flow, and showed the Dirac standing wave solutions are unstable. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2009 Dr. Pan studied structures of two systems - the fusion peptide from the tick-borne encephalitis virus and nanocrystalline cellulose films. His studies on the fusion peptide assist us in understanding the fusion mechanism of enveloped viruses. He also found parameters which enable one to manipulate the nematic structure and crystallinity of nanocrystalline cellulose films. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2009 Dr. Henderson investigated the application of potassium permanganate for the treatment of groundwater contaminated by industrial solvents. A computer program was developed and employed to assess contaminant treatment, and to identify the processes most important to the effectiveness of this technology. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
2009 Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, but the exact causes of disease development and progression are poorly understood. A series of small molecule drugs was designed and synthesised to bind metals and quench free radicals in the brain, contributing a number of new compounds to the pool of potential Alzheimer's therapeutics. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2009 Dr. MacDonald explored the role of infection and inflammation in the human diseases, cystic fibrosis and chronic granulomatous disease. She explored how certain bacteria interfere with immunologic defenses and why the bacteria are so virulent. Her thesis contributes to our understanding of human vs. bacterial interactions, particularly in compromised hosts. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)