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
Leyton-Brown, Kevin Department of Computer Science Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Theoretical Computer Science, Resource Allocation, Computer Science and Statistics, Machine learning, Game theory, Auction theory, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms
Li, Xin Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Botany Molecules in plants, plants defence against pathogen infection, plant genes
Li, Yue-Xian Department of Mathematics Calcium signalling in neuroendocrine cells Fertilization calcium waves in oocytes
Li, Hongbin Department of Chemistry Biophysical chemistry, biomaterials, single molecule studies, biological, atomic force, polymer chemistry
Lister, Alison Department of Physics & Astronomy Elementary Particles, Large Hadron Collier (LHC), ATLAS experiment, Search for physics beyond the standard model, top quarks, Dark Matter, Detector development
Little, James Department of Computer Science Artificial intelligence, computational vision, geographic information systems, robotics
Loewen, Philip Department of Mathematics Mathematics, Calculus of Variations
Macdonald, Colin Department of Mathematics List of publications; The Closest Point Method: a new method for PDEs on surfaces; Time-stepping for PDEs: constructing Runge-Kutta methods, strong-stability-preserving methods (visit the SSP Site); WENO spatial discretizations; The Predicted Sequential Regularization Method; List of talks and presentations.
MacFarlane, Andrew Department of Chemistry Chemical physics, Electronic and magnetic properties of crystalline solids, especially strongly correlated materials such as the cuprate high temperature superconductors
MacLachlan, Mark Department of Chemistry Nanomaterials, Supramolecules and Autoassembling, Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds, Biomaterials, Basic Materials, Supramolecular Chemistry, Nanomaterials, Biomaterials, Cellulose nanocrystals, Chitin, Materials Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry
MacLean, Karon Department of Computer Science Information Systems, human-computer interaction, haptic interfaces, human-robot interaction, design of user interfaces
Maddison, Wayne Department of Zoology, Department of Botany Arachnology, Biodiversity, Spiders, Phylogenetic Theory and Programming
Madison, Kirk Department of Physics & Astronomy Condensed matter, atomic, molecular and optical physics
Maldonado, Maite Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences Phytoplankton Trace Metal Physiology
Mank, Judith Department of Zoology
Marcus, Brian Harry Department of Mathematics Coding and information theory, symbolic dynamics, ergodic theory and dynamical systems
Marshall, Katie Department of Zoology
Martin, Gregory Department of Mathematics Number theory, Diophantine Approximation and Classical Analysis
Martone, Patrick Department of Botany Protist, Plants, Physiology, Taxonomy and Systematics, Ecology and Quality of the Environment, Evolution and Phylogenesis, Biomaterials, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Phycology, Macroalgae, Evolution, Biomechanics, Intertidal Zone, Ecology
Marziali, Andre Department of Physics & Astronomy Teaching methods, pedagogy, Robotics in education, Nanotechnology, Engineering Physics, Genomics, Biophysics, Genomics Technologies
Matsuuchi, Linda Department of Zoology Cell signaling of specific membrane receptors, combining aspects of Cell Biology, Immunology , Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Matthews, Jaymie Mark Department of Physics & Astronomy Stellar seismology, stellar structure and evolution, exoplanets, magnetic peculiar stars, photometry and spectroscopy, space astronomy
Matthews, Philip Department of Zoology respiratory adaptations of animals, primarily insects
Matthews, Benjamin Department of Zoology
Mattison, Thomas Department of Physics & Astronomy Subatomic physics, Particle & Nuclear Physics, Applied Physics


Graduate Student Profiles

Amelia Hesketh

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

Eric Bowes

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
Rational Catalyst Design: Towards Methane Functionalization

Yasha Pushak

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)
Automated algorithm configuration for solving large-scale computational problems

Kate Smith

Doctor of Philosophy in Geological Sciences (PhD)
Pb isotopic and trace element signatures in honey: Environmental proxy for pollutant source-tracking

Alexa Tanner

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
Natural hazard risk in context: Examining contextual factors that influence risk perceptions and associated decisions

Raphael Roccor

Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
Spinning Straw into Golden Liquids – Making High-value Oils from Biomass Residues

Eric Press

Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)
Modular optic flow processing during natural locomotion

Kelsey Huus

Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
Gut microbiota in malnutrition and enteric disease

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
Senior Director, Strategic Accounts & Business Development

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

Costanza Casiraghi

Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD) [2012]
Job Title
Senior Scientist
Chiesi Pharmaceuticals

Bruce MacKay

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

Recent Thesis Submissions