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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
2011 Dr. Golbeck developed techniques for efficient implementation of programming languages that support modern software modularization mechanisms. Such programming languages can be implemented within existing infrastructure and can be as efficient as traditional programming languages. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2011 Dr. Lau contributed to the description of some solids whose anomalous properties remain unexplained by established theories. New insights into the oxide high-temperature superconductors were gained by a new model and a new numerical approach which allowed commodity processors to solve several problems previously unsolvable even with supercomputers. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2011 Dr. Blachford showed that sexual reproduction gains an evolutionary advantage by dampening the good and bad luck had by individuals. He also explained why small mammals diminish their lifetime reproduction during and after a population crash, and how this strategy can be cued from activity of neighbours rather than from the actual mortality agents. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2011 Dr. Vergara examined the function and development of the vocalizations of beluga whales. She identified signals that are important for maintaining contact between mothers and their calves, and evaluated the role of vocal learning in repertoire acquisition. Her study helped identify continuity in vocal communication processes across species. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2011 Dr Lam synthesized and characterized several non-natural DNA monomers that were subsequently used for the enzyme-mediated synthesis of modified DNA. The modified DNA was then used to discover DNA enzymes for therapeutic and sensor applications. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2011 Dr. Sears produced a new taxonomic treatment for a complex group of closely related plants in the Sunflower family. By synthesizing classical and contemporary methods of plant systematics, he re-evaluated the taxonomic limits of, and discovered new species in the North American Crepis agamic complex. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2011 Dr. Nobre Silva studied the isotopic compositions of basalts from two major hotspot tracks, Hawaii and Ninetyeast Ridge in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, respectively. By carefullly preparing the samples, her analysis was able to identify distinct mantle components intrinsic to their deep mantle sources. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
2011 Dr. Roberts developed platinum-based materials that undergo reversible changes in their physical properties by shining light on them. These light-switchable materials have potential use as semiconductors in organic electronics. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2011 Dr. Wang developed multiple imputation methods that have applications to the problem of missing data in multivariate one-sided tests in medical, pharmaceutical and sample survey studies. He applied these methods to studies of mental distress and HIV dynamics. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2011 Dr. Zeng studied the biological and molecular functions of MAP kinase cascades in plant development. Her work has expanded the understanding of the regulatory network in controlling plant root architecture and pollen formation. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)