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. Yeo examined the fundamental chemistry of early and late transition metal complexes. She studied the reactivity of early transition metal dinitrogen complexes and synthesized novel late transition metal complexes, exploring the capability of these chemical systems to provide insight for future advances in synthetic chemistry. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Chen studied numerical algorithms for stiff elastodynamic simulation, a key procedure in computer graphics applications. He developed models for natural physical movements that would maintain stability and produce lively simulations at a lower cost. This work will improve the efficiency and accuracy for physically-based computer simulation. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Xu's research explored the interactions between light and new synthetic molecules. These interactions include chemical changes such as photochromism or physical changes such as thermally activated delayed fluorescence and phosphorescence. This work will impact applications such as super-resolution imaging and display technology. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. McMillan developed and applied sophisticated geochemical approaches to stakeholder- and Indigenous-led investigations of archaeological biominerals and mineraloids, encompassing a large span of human history on two continents. The resulting techniques and data provided key information for addressing modern questions about the human journey. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
2020 Dr. Hao investigated Ti-catalyzed hydroamination, a powerful tool in the synthesis of various nitrogen-containing compounds. He used this complex to transform simple starting materials into complex nitrogen containing products, which can be used in new chemical reactions to make important commercial products like drugs and herbicides. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2020 Dr. Kunimoto discovered 17 new planets outside of the Solar System, including one that may be considered potentially habitable. She also analyzed her planet catalogue to reveal important information about planet formation and evolution theories. Her results indicate that there may be as many as one Earth-like planet for every five Sun-like stars. Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy (PhD)
2020 Dr. Wang investigated the genomic mechanisms of speciation, the process in which one lineage becomes more than one. She found that genetic underpinning of plumage coloration and mitonuclear coevolution were targets of selection in a Pacific Northwest warbler species complex. This research sheds light on the mechanisms that lead to biodiversity. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Wong studied membrane contact sites, locations in cells where membranes come together to share material and information. He discovered that a protein holding two membranes together also brings in other proteins that shuttle lipids between the two membranes. These studies provide fundamental insight into how cells use contact sites to survive. Doctor of Philosophy in Genome Science and Technology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Sajadi investigated the electronic properties of 2D topological insulators (TIs), a new class of materials with distinct electronic properties, and studied the interplay of 2D TIs with another exotic phase of matter: superconductivity. This work enhances our understanding of 2D TIs, and will pave the way towards topological quantum computing. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Mitchell worked to develop new data quality control and survey design methodologies specifically tailored for electrical and electromagnetic surveys collected in tunnel-based environments. These methodologies improve our ability to image the regions surrounding tunnels to mitigate hazards and map mineralized zones. Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics (PhD)