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 40 per cent of the Faculty's graduate enrollments, and the percentage of international students has increased to 48 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

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 Dr. Li studied chemical reactions that can be performed in a photoelectrochemical or electrochemical cell. Reactions are driven by sunlight and electricity to make fuels and valuable chemicals. His research provides a promising means to store solar electricity into useful chemicals. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Meents characterized plant Golgi during secondary cell wall formation, helping to explain how many essential molecules are made in the cell. Dr. Meents also employed education research to compare different teaching techniques in cell biology classes, leading to significant improvement in problem solving instruction in courses at UBC. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Dr. Gilmour completed his doctoral studies in the field of Chemistry. He investigated new catalytic methods to functionalize polymeric materials, for example to allow them to self-heal or bio-degrade. This work may contribute to the replacement of traditional plastics with advanced materials that are sustainably produced. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Martinez-Covarrubias developed compression algorithms for very large databases of high-dimensional vectors. The compressed database can be used to speed up search using a variety of similarity measures. These algorithms can be used in image search engines, recommender systems, or machine learning algorithms. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Ruocco developed a new analytical model for exploring the effects of quantum coherence in macroscopic systems. He found that in certain photosynthetic systems, quantum mechanics can play a significant role in facilitating highly efficient energy transfer. Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Belley studied how the gemstones sapphire, spinel, and lapis lazuli formed on Baffin Island. He identified key metamorphic and geochemical factors that lead to gemstone genesis, and their relation to large-scale geologic processes. His findings contribute to our understanding of gem deposits and informs exploration strategies. Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
2019 Dr. Sola explored how modifications of carbohydrates influence plant cell wall function. He discovered a novel mechanism that reinforces the connections between the walls of adjacent cells. His results provide insight into how plants can provide strength in specialized tissues. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Dr. Sherbo studied ways to perform common chemical transformations by using renewable electricity. Utilizing a specially designed reactor, she explored how to perform hydrogenation reactions with electricity and water rather than with pressurized hydrogen gas. This method decreases the energy, and carbon intensity of these routine reactions. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 Dr. Vaswani designed data-driven algorithms for better decision-making under partial or incomplete information. These algorithms have wide-ranging applications from designing better clinical trials to computational advertising and marketing in social networks. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Wathen worked on the development of new and efficient numerical solution techniques for large-scale multi-physics problems arising from fluid dynamics and electromagnetics. These problems appear in many applications from industry to geophysics and thus the development of models and simulations is of great importance. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)