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 Tsui studied high-energy cosmic rays penetrating deep underground at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. This work yielded powerful independent evidence that neutrinos have mass, thus shedding light on the fundamental interactions of these elementary particles. Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy (PhD)
2009 Dr. Valdez has studied the role of a host-resistant gene in the response to Salmonella infection. She showed that this gene plays a key role in boosting the speed and efficacy of immune response to Salmonella, and this determines whether the host will survive or succumb to the infection. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2009 Dr. Lai's research focused on the function of a protein, CD45, which is found exclusively on blood cells, including stem cells. Her work unveiled a new role for this protein in the early development of white blood cells. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2009 Dr. Cheng developed an image reconstruction protocol which improves the quantification accuracy and accelerates the image formation task for dynamic brain imaging in high resolution positron emission tomography (PET). PET is a functional imaging modality used clinically and in research to investigate various diseases and treatment efficacy. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2009 Dr Jones took a unique approach to the conservation biology of critically endangered leatherback turtles by rearing leatherbacks from 45g hatchlings to 45kg juveniles at UBC. The data attained on age-at-maturity and resource requirements aid in our understanding of the impacts of human activities in the decline of leatherback populations. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2009 Dr Harrington extended the scope of problems in Statistics where the clustering algorithm Linear Grouping Analysis can be applied. In the first instance, the linearity condition was relaxed by transforming data into an appropriate infinitely dimensional domain. He subsequently adapted an existing paradigm of data compression to be applicable to clustering and other robust methods. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2009 Dr Nodwell found a way to make a new type of anticancer molecule that was originally isolated from a sponge from the oceans off of Papua New Guinea. This complex molecule, called "ceratamine A" shows great potential as an anticancer therapeutic and is currently being evaluated for its suitability as a drug. The new chemical structure of this molecule provides a possible different route to cancer therapy, expanding the currently known list of anicancer drugs. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2009 Monte Carlo methods have become the standard tool to solve many problems in statistics and scientific computing. Dr. Holenstein developed a novel Monte Carlo methodology for efficient sampling from high-dimensional distributions. The methods are demonstrated on problems in statistics, biology, chemistry, and finance. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2009 Dr. Backer laid the theoretical foundation for algorithms that steer car-like robots in order to avoid obstacles. His work improves prior results in that it is more general, is more efficient, and provides explicit performance guarantees. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2009 Dr. Andronescu has developed the best available thermodynamic models of RNA structure formation. To do this, she has leveraged rigorous optimization techniques to make new inferences from large RNA databases. Her models are being adopted by RNA structure prediction web servers world-wide, and are of great value to molecular biologists. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)