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
Matthews, Philip Department of Zoology respiratory adaptations of animals, primarily insects
Matthews, Jaymie Mark Department of Physics & Astronomy Stellar seismology, stellar structure and evolution, exoplanets, magnetic peculiar stars, photometry and spectroscopy, space astronomy
Mattison, Thomas Department of Physics & Astronomy Subatomic physics, Particle & Nuclear Physics, Applied Physics
Mayer, Ulrich Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences hydrogeology, low-temperature geochemistry, groundwater contamination, groundwater remediation, mine waste management
McAllister, Murdoch Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Statistical methods for fisheries risk assessment, estimation, decision analysis and management strategy evaluation
McDougall, Scott Department of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences
McGrenere, Joanna Department of Computer Science human-computer interaction, personalized user interfaces, universal usability, interactive technologies for older users and people with cognitive disorders, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), computer science
McIver, Jess Department of Physics & Astronomy
McKenna, Janis Department of Physics & Astronomy Experimental Particle Physics
Mehrkhodavandi, Parisa Department of Chemistry Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds, Polymers, Chemical Synthesis and Catalysis, Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry and Characterization, Catalysis, Green Chemistry, Bioproducts, Bio-based polymers
Michal, Carl Department of Physics & Astronomy Nuclear magnetic resonance, biological and energy storage materials
Michaletz, Sean Department of Botany
Milner, Valery Department of Physics & Astronomy Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics; Ultrafast Quantum Coherent Control; Ultrafast Spectroscopy
Mitchell, Ian Department of Computer Science safety critical systems, assistive technology (mobility), robotics, scientific computing, cyber-physical systems, Mathematical software, computational science and engineering, hybrid and cyber-physical systems, verification and validation, reproducible research, level set methods, robotic path, planning
Mizumoto, Kota Department of Zoology Cell and Developmental Biology
Moerman, Donald Department of Zoology Formation and function of muscle
Mohn, William Department of Microbiology & Immunology pollutant biodegradation, pollutant bioremediation, biological treatment of forest industry effluents and wastes, microbial ecology, environmental biotechnology, forest soil microbial ecology, tuberculosis, microbial genomics, Microbial ecology
Momose, Takamasa Department of Chemistry Spectroscopy, Chemical physics
Mostafavi, Sara Department of Statistics machine/statistical learning applied to disease genetics
Munzner, Tamara Department of Computer Science Computer Systems, visualization, information visualization, visual analytics, data science
Murphy, Michael Department of Microbiology & Immunology Microbiology, Functional and Structural Proteomics, Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms, Microbial metal metabolism, Bacterial pathogenesis, Alternatives to antibiotics
Murphy, Gail Department of Computer Science Software Development, software engineering, software evolution, software design, knowledge worker productivity
Murugan, Mathav Department of Mathematics
Nagata, K Wayne Department of Mathematics Nonlinear dynamics and applied partial differential equations
Ng, Raymond Tak-yan Department of Computer Science Data mining and analysis, health informatics, text summarization, text mining


Graduate Student Profiles

Xunyu Liang

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

Poushali Maji

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
Air quality, climate and developmental implications of energy policies in India

Thomas Malig

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)
The Development and Application of an Automated Reaction Monitoring Prototype to Elucidate Catalytic Reaction Mechanisms

Brian Chan

Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)
Combinatorics of Tableaux

Zhongshou Wu

Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)
Identification and Analysis of Immune Regulating E3 Ligases and Their Ubiquitination Substrates
Vincent Ricciardi

Vinny Ricciardi

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
Examining the food security, climate resilience, and equity implications of farm size

Graham McDowell

Doctor of Philosophy in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (PhD)
Socio-Ecological Adaptation to Hydrological Change in High Mountains

Kate Smith

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

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

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
Pre-clinical Scientist
Chiesi Group

Bruce MacKay

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

Recent Thesis Submissions