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
2019 If automation is inevitable, one must either fear it or embrace it; Dr. Christy believes the latter. His research focuses on bringing automation to the pulp and paper industry. He developed a spectroscopic method to predict product quality based on in-process pulp, and deployed it in a pilot plant. His goal is a full-scale mill implementation. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Chang studied vine copulas, a hierarchical graphic tool used in statistics and probability distributions. He found that vine copulas relax the restrictive assumptions in classical multivariate Gaussian elliptical dependence. This work can be applied to machine learning and used in real-world data sets such as stock indices and weather. Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics (PhD)
2019 A controlled CD4+ T cell response is essential for protective immunity against influenza. Dr. Fonseca showed that CD4+ T cells are modulated by the infection-induced cytokine IL-27 and dynamic histone modifications during infection. Her work provides insight into the mechanisms that balance effective immunity and immunopathology during disease. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Arman made several contributions to the area of compressed sensing. He proposed a new class of matrices, generalized a method of quantization, and showed the classical bounds on one of the main features of deterministic matrices in compressed sensing can be improved. Compressed sensing is used in signal processing, statistics and computer science. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Scribner demonstrated the effect of contamination on the mineralogy of the Rau pegmatite group. Her research provides strong evidence that contamination has a more prominent influence on the chemical signature of pegmatites than previously recognized. She also developed a validated assessment to measure learning gains in mineralogy courses. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
2019 Dr. Lewis developed gels using nanoparticles made from wood. The gels are water-filled, soft materials that can change their properties in a controllable way. These new materials have potential applications in environmental remediation, tissue engineering, and energy storage. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Sun used a model of the cystic fibrosis lung to study how bacteria use motility to adapt to these kinds of environments. She studied a new form of bacterial motility known as surfing and found that it contributes to virulence and antibiotic resistance regulated by complex genetic networks. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Patton analyzed the concentration of rare earth elements in marine sediment and constructed a numerical model of those elements in pore water.This research explores how these elements are cycled between sediment and pore water and questions the validity of previous interpretations of these elements as a water mass tracer preserved through time. Doctor of Philosophy in Oceanography (PhD)
2019 In our global battle against drug-resistant superbugs, there is a limited arsenal of antibiotics. Dr. Behroozian discovered broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities in a natural clay from Kisameet Bay, British Columbia, and clarified the active principal components and modes of action. Her contributions may lead to development of novel treatments. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Leigh considered two enumerative problems in geometry that are motivated by mathematical physics. In the first he developed a new theory for counting a special type of object. In the second he provided an explicit computation involving a string-theoretic space called the "banana threefold". Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)