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
2010 Dr. Kunz investigated the optical and electronic properties of functional conducting polymers, including the discovery of reversible amplification of fluorescence quenching using molecular switches. This research facilitates the development of organic based sensor materials. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2010 Dr. Morin studied symmetric mathematical functions and their relationships. He discovered a family of staircase diagrams he could use to predict precisely when subtraction produces a positive sum of Schur functions. His findings will be used in the fields of representation theory and algebraic geometry. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2010 Dr. Carr worked on the isolation and structure elucidation of novel biologically active compounds from marine organisms. In addition, he synthesized analogs of these compounds with the goal of discovering compounds that can be used to treat various diseases. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2010 Dr. Saadaoui studied magnetism at the surface of cuprate superconductors using depth-controlled nuclear magnetic resonance (Beta-NMR) technique. These studies have detected the existence of small disordered magnetic fields a few nanometers above the surface of these superconductors, and have also shown the effect of disorder on the arrangement of magnetic flux lines inside the superconductor. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2010 Dr. Leung found interactions between two systems that regulate gene transfer in bacteria. She also identified growth conditions that affect the expression of these regulatory systems and gene transfer. These studies contribute to our understanding of how bacteria respond to changes in environmental conditions with appropriate modifications to gene expression. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2010 Dr. Beran developed techniques for discrimination of unexploded ordnance from metallic clutter using geophysical data. He showed how parameters of a physical model can be estimated from observed electromagnetic data, and how these parameters can be used to make discrimination decisions. These methods improved the efficacy and reduced the costs of environmental remediation of military munitions. Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics (PhD)
2010 Dr. Zhu developed an effective approach to obtain robust a-posteriori error estimates for discontinuous Galerkin methods for convection-diffusion problems. He applied this technique to derive a robust h-adaptive and hp-adaptive algorithm on isotropically and anisotropically refined meshes. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2010 Dr. Ahrens studied the depletion of tuna and billfish stocks globally using more suitable methods than had previously been used. He concluded that the losses were less severe than commonly believed, although many stocks are overexploited. A combination of fishing effort reduction and large spatial closures would maintain stocks at optimal levels and improve fishery value. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2010 Dr. Sheriff examined the signature of fear in prey with respect to being attacked and/or killed by their predators. His research showed the fear of being killed varies with predation risk, and how it causes a decline in female reproduction and is passed onto offspring. Ultimately this may result in the inability of a population to recover even after a stressor has been removed. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2010 Dr. Jong investigated rare divalent carbon compounds and combined them with transition metals to form catalyst precursors. This work contributes to the development of future catalysts that will be applied for the conversion of organic substrates into industrially useful products. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)