Master of Science in Cell and Developmental Biology (MSc)
The graduate program in Cell and Developmental Biology offers M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees to students undertaking advanced study and research in cell and developmental biology. The program is flexible and is designed to accommodate the diverse backgrounds of students and the broad nature of research in cell and developmental biology.
The program's courses provide a thorough understanding of the scientific fundamentals and methodologies of contemporary cell and developmental biology. All students also undertake original and significant research from the start of their studies. With nearly 50 faculty members engaged in cutting-edge research in cell and developmental biology, a wide range of research topics is available to students.
The program also aims to enhance linkages and facilitate research interactions between the larger community of cell and developmental biologists in British Columbia by acting as a common forum for scholarly exchange in cell and developmental biology through its student-led seminar series, research retreats and other activities.
What makes the program unique?
The Program is administered through the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), Canada's largest Institute for life science research which houses over 80 laboratories conducting internationally recognized research in areas such as cell and molecular biology, cancer biology, diabetes and microbiology & immunology.
Program faculty and students also conduct research at hospital-based research Institutes and Centres, including the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Biomedical Research Centre, the Centre for Brain Health, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics,and the Centre for Macular Research. All of these Institutes and Centres offer highly collaborative research environments and provide outstanding facilities and resources to the ~ 70 graduate students who call the program home.
Given the number of researchers associated with the program and their varied Departmental and Faculty affiliations, the potential range of research topics available to students in the Program is very large.
Minimum level of financial support for M.Sc. and Ph.D. students of $25,000 per year, with top-ups for students who receive scholarships.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
Acceptance into the Program is dependent upon a prospective student getting written agreement from a Faculty member that he/she will be their Research Supervisor.
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 100
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
2) Meet Deadlines
May 2022 Intake
Application Open Date31 May 2021
September 2022 Intake
Application Open Date30 September 2021
May 2023 Intake
Application Open Date31 May 2022
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Science in Cell and Developmental Biology (MSc)
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,052.34 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,126.20 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
Research Supervisors must commit to supporting you financially during the course of your training. The minimum level of financial support is $25,000 per year, for a minimum of 2 years. As a general rule, financial support continues to the completion of your degree, so long as performance is satisfactory and you remain in good academic standing. Students are expected to pay tuition from their stipend.
Financial support is in the form of a minimum funding package which can be made up from several sources – usually a combination of a Scholarship/Award, a Teaching Assistantship (from teaching duties as a graduate student, to a maximum of two 0.5 TAships per year) and a Research Assistantship (paid from a Supervisor’s research funds). There are no citizenship requirements for Teaching or Research Assistantships.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Science in Cell and Developmental Biology (MSc). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
This program has a graduation rate of 89.29% based on 28 students admitted between 2010 - 2013. Based on 17 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 1.66 years and the maximum time is 4.00 years with an average of 2.56 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 22 April 2021]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 October 2020].
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Accili, Eric (molecular mechanisms responsible for cellular pacemaking behavior )
Allan, Douglas (Nervous system)
Auld, Vanessa (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Zoology; Cell; Cell Biology; Development; Developmental Genetics; epithelia; Genetics; glia; in vivo imaging; Molecular Genetics; nervous system; Neurogenesis and Gliogenesis; permeability barriers)
Bamji, Shernaz (Medical and biomedical engineering; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; neurodevelopmental disease; primary neuronal cultures; synapse biology; transgenic mouse models)
Beristain, Alexander Guillermo (Healthy Starts; cellular and molecular processes that direct trophoblast cell biology in early placental development; Examining the A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase (ADAM) family in trophoblast biology; Examining the effects of obesity-associated inflammation on the maternal-fetal interface; Identifying gene expression differences in subpopulations of trophoblasts in normal and pathological pregnancies )
Cembrowski, Mark Steven (Molecular neuroscience; Mathematical modelling and simulation; Mechanisms of memory in the brain; Anxiety; Big Data; Bioinformatics; Cell types; Computation; CRISPR-Cas9; Fear; Genetics; modeling; Neural circuits; neuroscience; Neuroscience of memory; PTSD; RNAseq)
Conibear, Elizabeth (Genetic medicine; Genomics; Health counselling; Cell Signaling and Cancer; Enzymes and Proteins; Genomics and Proteomics; Membranes; Molecular Genetics; Neurodegenerative diseases; Parkinson's disease; Protein Palmitoylation; Vesicle Trafficking)
Coombs, Daniel (Mathematics and statistics; Cell Signaling and Infectious and Immune Diseases; Cell biophysics; Disease models; Epidemiology; Immune cell signalling; Mathematical biology; Mathematics)
Edelstein-Keshet, Leah (Bioinformatics; Mathematics and statistics; Medical and biomedical engineering; Cell signaling; Cell Signaling and Cancer; cell polarity, cell migration, developmental and cellular biology; Differential Equation; Mathematics; Modelization and Simulation; Rho GTPases; swarming and aggregation)
Gold, Michael (understanding cell signaling, morphology, trafficking, and effector function of immune cells and tumour cells)
Gordon, Michael (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Zoology; Chemosensation; Drosophila; Feeding; Gustation; Neural circuits; Neuronal Systems; neuroscience; Sensory systems; Taste)
Haas, Kurt (Medical and biomedical engineering; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Autism; Brain Circuit Development; Dendritogenesis; Epilepsy; Genetics of Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases; Neurodevelopmental disorders; Neurological diseases; Neuronal Communication and Neurotransmission; Neuronal Computation; Neuronal Modeling; Neuronal Systems; Neuronal and Synaptic Activity; Plasticity / Neuronal Regeneration; Synaptic Plasticity)
Hakkinen, Lari (Dentistry and oral health; Cell signaling; Cell therapy; Cell to cell communication; Connective Tissue; Extracellular matrix; Fibroblasts, MSC; Oral mucosa and skin; Tissue regeneration; Wound Healing)
Hoffman, Bradford (Understanding how the genes critical to endocrine pancreas development, as well as ?-cell function and proliferation are regulated is essential for the development of novel strategies for the production of insulin-secreting cells, and for improving the efficacy of available transplantable material. )
Hoodless, Pamela (Bioinformatics; Genetic medicine; Genomics; Medical and biomedical engineering; Developmental Genetics; Embryology; Embryonic Development; Epigenetics; Heart Valve / Valvular Diseases; Heart valve formation; Liver; Liver development; Stem Cells and Organogenesis; transcriptional regulation)
Johnson, James (diabetes, hormones, cell biology, signal transduction, apoptosis or programmed cell death, heart failure, heart disease, calcium signalling, pancreatic cancer, obesity, longevity, imaging, Causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes at a molecular level discovery of genes and associated gene networks linked to diabetes risk and by known risk factors that predispose individuals to diabetes)
Kieffer, Tim (Diabetes)
Kopp, Janel (Genomics; Modeling cancer; Pancreas; Pancreatic cancer; Pancreatic development)
Lange, Philipp (Bioinformatics; Genomics; Pathology (except oral pathology); Cell Signaling and Cancer; mass spectrometry; pediatric cancer; personalized medicine; post translational protein modification; Proteomics)
Lansdorp, Peter (Genetic medicine; Application of single cell Strand-seq in precision medicine; Applied Genetics; cellular aging; Cellular Degeneration; Cellular Division; Complex Trait Genetics; DNA replication, epigenetics and stem cells; Gene Regulation and Expression; Genetic Diseases; Stem Cells and Organogenesis; telomeres; Telomeres, genomic instability, aging and cancer)
Li, Xin (Molecules in plants, plants defence against pathogen infection, plant genes)
Lim, Chinten James (Cell Signaling and Cancer; Leukemia; Immunotherapy; Chemotherapy; tumour cell biology; mechanisms of drug resistance; integrin cell adhesion and migration; tumour microenvironment; pediatric oncology)
Loewen, Christopher (Membranes and Organelles; Lipid Signalling; Lipid Traffic; Membrane Contact Sites; Genetic Networks; Systems Biology; Super Resolution Microscopy; Cell polarity; Endoplasmic Reticulum; Golgi; Membrane Diffusion Barriers; Cell Biology; Autism; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); Cancer Cell Metabolism)
Luciani, Dan (Diabetes; Cell Signaling; Apoptosis; Imaging; Pancreatic beta-cell function and failure; Mitochondrial physiology; Lysosomal physiology; Cell calcium signalling; Cell stress signalling; Mechanisms of cell death; autophagy; fluorescence microscopy)
Lynn, Francis (Diabetes; ß-cell development; ß-cell biology; Human pluripotent stem cells; CRISPR/Cas; transcriptional regulation)
Sample Thesis Submissions
Cell and Developmental Biology courses provide a thorough understanding of the scientific fundamentals and methodologies of contemporary cell and developmental biology.