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
2020 Dr. Thompson examined modern bacteria from an iron-rich lake to address questions about the growth and interactions of microbial communities in the global oceans three billion years ago. Ancestors of these modern bacteria likely supported life for over a billion years by fueling the production of a warming climate under the faint early Sun. Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Hernandez Torres studied two probabilistic models that emulate phenomena in physics and biology. She focused on understanding the behaviour of these models at a large-scale. Her results add to our mathematical understanding of the relation between microscopic and macroscopic descriptions of natural processes within probability theory. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Durney used mathematical and biophysical modelling to show how the individual and collective motion of cells cause a variety of mechanical behaviors of tissues during development. His work provides understanding to the mechanisms that are responsible for the correct development of form during organ development. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Liaw explored machine learning from the lens of theoretical computer science. He developed new algorithms with strong theoretical guarantees for online decision making and distribution learning. His contributions may be applied to develop learning algorithms with improved error guarantees while requiring sufficiently less data. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Wang studied baroclinic critical layers, thin layers in fluids with pronounced wave amplitudes. His research theoretically revealed the evolution of the critical layers and the potential mechanism through which they replicate. These discoveries advance our understanding of transition to turbulence in ocean, atmosphere and astrophysical disks. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Booth showed how the molecules that give cannabis its psychoactive properties and unique aromas are produced in the flowers of the plant. Her research aims to explain why cannabis types differ in their aromas. Her results expand our knowledge of metabolism in cannabis, a plant of growing economic importance, and the properties of its products. Doctor of Philosophy in Genome Science and Technology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Arsenault's research focused on the design and examination of new shape-shifting molecules. The absorption or emission colours are dependent on the molecule's shape, and can be tuned by changing the surrounding solvent. Her research will impact applications using stimuli-responsive molecules, such as water-sensing dyes for biomedical imaging. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Persaud synthesized analogs of clionamine B, compounds which remove Mycobacterium tuberculosis from human cells, making them attractive compounds for developing new drugs to treat TB. Dr. Persaud also made compounds to identify the site where clionamine B binds in cells, which is an important part in the drug development process. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Chan's research considered problems with certain mathematical structures known as tableaux. He proved results which relate to enumerative and structural aspects of these problems. His work could aid in understanding inherently complex problems relating to tableaux and in establishing connections between different areas in combinatorics. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Gilbert showed that rising Arctic water temperatures can limit Arctic char heart function and exercise performance in a manner that may impair their ability to migrate. Arctic char, a type of salmon, are culturally and economically invaluable in the Canadian North and such information will aid in evidence-based management efforts. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)