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. Fenneman revised the taxonomy of two genera of plants in the sunflower family, and developed novel criteria for the defining of these species in British Columbia. These developments will help to better understand the biodiversity of the province, and provide a stronger framework for species conservation. Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
2019 Dr. Liu studied the free-surface flow of non-Newtonian fluids under gravity. His research provides insights in the dynamics of visco-plastic dambreak problems in different contexts. His results can be applied in many industrial and natural processes ranging from cementing to glacier movement. Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Zhang mapped global seahorse populations to reveal distribution and threat patterns for these data-poor marine fishes. He discovered which seahorses are threatened and what the major threats are. This work will help prioritize urgently needed conservation plans, inform fishery policies and support the establishment of marine protected areas. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Zhu studied the optimal mapping problem: finding a bijective function between two topologically equivalent or inequivalent shapes. He developed several mapping algorithms that play crucial roles in many computer graphic applications such as planar embedding of curved surface, mesh deformation, and elastic simulations. Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Hawkshaw explored the interaction of salmon and fisheries. He developed models to balance catch and escapement, estimate run timing, and manage fisheries based on in-season data. This research will inform better management of salmon fisheries. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Mittelholz explored the magnetic field environment of Mars, addressing the crustal, ionospheric and magnetospheric fields from satellite data. Her work also addressed the longevity of the ancient dynamo field, a constraint on Mars' early thermal evolution. Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Irish researched the concentrations, properties and sources of particles that catalyse the formation of ice crystals in clouds in the Arctic. The results from this research will be used in numerical models for predicting future climate in this region. Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
2019 The ongoing loss of mountain glaciers influences sea level rise and the supply of freshwater to communities and ecosystems. Through observations in the mountains of British Columbia, Dr. Fitzpatrick examined the atmospheric conditions affecting melt rates, and developed methods to better understand the response of glaciers in a changing climate. Doctor of Philosophy in Atmospheric Science (PhD)
2019 DNA sequencing machines read the A, C, G, and T nucleotides that compose chromosomes, but they read only short snippets of DNA and make errors. Dr. Jackman developed tools to reconstruct the true genome sequence from imperfect DNA sequencing reads. He used these tools to assemble the western red cedar genome, which is four times larger than the human genome. Doctor of Philosophy in Bioinformatics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Kleynhans studied how species evolve to environmental change when interacting with other species. She found that species interactions alter the probability of persistence and trajectory of evolution. Findings show that overall, the community in which a species lives profoundly influences how it evolves to climate change. Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)