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

Research Supervisors in Faculty

Name Academic Unit(s) Research Interests
Eberhardt, Erik Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences landslides, rockslides, tunnelling, mining, rock mechanics, geotechnical engineering, Rock Mechanics & Rock Engineering
Edelstein-Keshet, Leah Department of Mathematics Mathematics, Modelization and Simulation, Cell Signaling, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Differential Equation, cell polarity, cell migration, developmental and cellular biology, swarming and aggregation, Rho GTPases
Eltis, Lindsay Department of Microbiology & Immunology Microbiology, Enzymes and Proteins, Metabolism (Living Organisms), Bacterial catabolism of steroids and lignin, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, biocatalyst development
Evans, William Department of Computer Science Algorithms, Theoretical Computer Science, Computer Sciences and Mathematical Tools, theoretical computer science, computational geometry, graph drawing, program compression
Fast, Naomi Department of Botany Genomics, single-celled organisms
Feeley, Michael Department of Computer Science Distributed systems, operating systems, workstation and pc clusters
Feldman, Joel Department of Mathematics Mathematical Analysis, Constructive Quantum Field Theory
Fernandez, Rachel Department of Microbiology & Immunology Bordetella pertusis, whooping cough, lipopolysaccharide
Finlay, B Brett Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Department of Microbiology & Immunology Infectious agents, bacteria, microbial infections and how humans react to it
Folk, Joshua Department of Physics & Astronomy Quantum devices, Majorana fermions , Strongly correlated electronics, Topological phenomena, Fractional quantum Hall effect, Vanderwaals heterostructures
Francois, Roger Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Marine Geochemistry, Climate Change
Franz, Marcel Department of Physics & Astronomy Condensed matter theory
Fraser, Ailana Department of Mathematics Differential Geometry, Geometric Analysis
Friedlander, Michael Department of Computer Science, Department of Mathematics numerical optimization, numerical linear algebra, scientific computing, Scientific computing
Friedman, Joel Department of Computer Science Computer Science Theory, Algebraic Graph Theory, Combinatorics
Froese, Richard Gerd Department of Mathematics Mathematics, Mathematical Physics, quantum mechanics, spectral theory, scattering theory
Fryzuk, Michael Department of Chemistry energy; fuel cells; hydrogeny economy; nitrogen fixation, Metal, energy
Fu, Hu Department of Computer Science
Garcia, Ronald Department of Computer Science programming language semantics, design, and implementation, including language support for library-centric and modular software development, generic and generative programming, and domain specific languages and libraries.
Gates, Derek Department of Chemistry Inorganic chemistry, materials science, polymer chemistry, catalysis
Gay, Colin Department of Physics & Astronomy Experimental subatomic physics, Beyond Standard Model physics, Extra dimensions
Gaynor, Erin Department of Microbiology & Immunology Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, foodborne human pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni
Germain, Rachel Department of Zoology
Ghioca, Dragos Department of Mathematics Drinfeld modules, isotrivial semiabelian varieties, Lehmer inequality
Ghoussoub, Nassif Department of Mathematics Mathematical sciences, R&Ed policies, developing science in Africa, Non-linear analysis and partial differential equations


Graduate Student Profiles

Xunyu Liang

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD)
Dark matter in form of the axion quark nuggets

Amelia Hesketh

Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
Potential impacts of ocean acidification on the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas
Thomas Kostelnik, PhD student

Thomas Kostelnik

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
Chelator Development for Radiopharmaceuticals

Erika Gavenus

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
Coastal resource access and social-ecological systems as they relate to community health

Caitlin Pritchard

Master of Science in Microbiology and Immunology (MSc)
The role of cytoskeletal dynamics and organization in mast cell activation

John Driscoll

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
Fisheries and food security
UBC graduate student Joseph Zsombor-Pindera

Joseph Zsombor-Pindera

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
Exploring the electronic structure and reactivity of transition metal complexes of redox non-innocent ligands through spectroscopy and computational chemistry

Alumni on Success

Peter Caravan

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD) [1997]
Job Title
Co-Director, Institute for Innovation in Imaging and Associate Professor of Radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Michael Hoff

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD) [2012]
Job Title
Assistant Professor
University of Washington

Sherry Zhao

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD) [2014]
Job Title
Director, Business Development

Costanza Casiraghi

Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD) [2012]
Job Title
Pre-clinical Scientist
Chiesi Group

Glen Hearns

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD) [2010]
Job Title
Self Employed
Self Employed

Jean Michel Lauzon

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD) [2013]
Job Title
Product Manager

Bruce MacKay

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD) [2004]
Job Title
Principal Chemist and Client Support Manager
Schlumberger Technology Corporation

Recent Thesis Submissions