Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Oncology (MSc)
The Interdisciplinary Oncology Program (IOP) is a graduate program designed to appeal to a broad range of students interested in cancer research. IOP offers advanced study and research in a variety of fields relating to oncology, including: molecular and cellular biology, tumour microenvironment, molecular pathology, tumour immunology, biophysics, metastasis, genetics, genetics, bioinformatics, pharmaceutical sciences, radiological sciences, sociobehavioral studies, epidemiology and health economics. The goal of the program is to provide graduate students from diverse backgrounds, with an education in a number of oncology-related disciplines and to provide intensive training opportunities in specialized aspects of cancer research. The IOP has been training the next generation of cancer research leaders since 2001.
What makes the program unique?
The IOP integrates diverse areas of oncology research by offering two required courses that provide an interdisciplinary perspective of oncology in a form that is accessible to students from diverse backgrounds. In addition to these required courses, IOP students have the freedom to take several elective courses that provide intensive training in one or more subject areas specific to the student's research area, while also giving an opportunity to gain expertise in disciplines that have potential synergy with their primary specialization. An innovative rotation course is a unique option for students to gain hands-on experience by rotating through specialty laboratories. Students have access to UBC Faculty members, scientists, and clinicians through the world-renowned BC Cancer to gain a practical perspective on oncology treatments and outcomes.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
Students must secure a supervisor before they can be admitted into the program. As well, they must meet the minimum admission requirements set out by Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies at UBC.
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.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
Prior Degree Requirements
A B.Sc is the minimum requirement.
CV, Official transcripts, three letters of reference, Official English exam scores (if required)
2) Meet Deadlines
January 2023 Intake
Application Open Date31 March 2022
May 2023 Intake
Application Open Date31 March 2022
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date31 March 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 Interdisciplinary Oncology (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.
Once students are enrolled in the IOP, they will have an opportunity to design a training program that allows for interdisciplinary course selection, intensive research training in a particular area of interest, and potential research rotations through other IOP faculty member's labs to gain insight into research areas outside their specific supervisor's research.
The majority of IOP supervisors have research programs located off-campus at the BC Cancer Research Institute, the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, or other hospital-related research buildings. IOP supervisors can also be found on the UBC-Vancouver campus or at BC Cancer facilities in Victoria and Prince George.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,767.18||$3,104.64|
|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)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (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
The mandatory minimum stipend for a full time IOP MSc graduate student (Canadian or international) is $24,300 per year. This stipend may be derived from competitive scholarships and/or from the Supervisor’s research funding. Admission to the IOP requires a commitment from the Supervisor to ensure the student will be supported to the minimum funding level for the duration of their studies. Students are not permitted to self-fund their graduate program.
Students must pay tuition from their stipend, with the tuition amount depending on whether the student is domestic or international (see above).
The minimum duration of the annual stipend is normally 2.5 years for an MSc student. If the student has not completed their program requirements after 2.5 years, continued funding is at the discretion of the Supervisor and will depend on satisfactory academic and research progress in consultation with the student’s Supervisory Committee. The Supervisor must inform the student in writing at least six months prior to the end-date of the student's stipend (copied to the IOP office). Termination of funding for other justifiable reasons must be approved by a majority of the IOP Executive Committee.
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 Interdisciplinary Oncology (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 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.
Schaeffer, David (Clinical oncology; Pathology (except oral pathology); Bioinformatics; cancer genetics; Cancer biology; Genomic rearrangements; genomics; Pancreas; Pathology; patient derived models)
Schaffer, Paul (Positron Emission Tomography Imaging)
Schrader, Kasmintan (Genomics & Bioinformatics, Clinical Genetics, Genetic Counselling and Ethics & Policy)
Schultz, Kirk (Pediatric Cancer Blood and Marrow Transplantation Transplantation immunology Graft-versus-Host Disease Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Aplastic Anemia Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Oncology, immune system, childhood leukemia, blood and marrow transplatation, tumour immunology)
So, Alan (study of development of novel therapeutics for bladder cancer and determination of the functional role of GLI1/2 in the progression of prostate cancer to its lethal stage of androgen independence; discovery and development of novel agents to treat bladder cancer as well as development of the mechanisms of treatment resistance in renal cell carcinoma.)
Sorensen, Poul (Childhood cancer cells, genomic science )
Steidl, Christian (Cancer; Molecular Pathology & Cell Biology, Genetics, genomics proteomics and related approaches)
Stirling, Peter (Clinical oncology; Genetic medicine; Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms; Cancer; cancer genetics; Cell; DNA repair; Genome Instability; Genotoxins; Molecular Genetics; Stress responses)
Takei, Fumio (Molecular immunology, cancer, cell-cell interactions)
Thorne, Sally (Clinical oncology; Nursing; cancer care; chronic illness; Medical assistance in dying)
Wang, Yuzhuo (Clinical oncology; Prostate Cancer; Modeling and Targeting the Development of Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer)
Weng, Andrew (Molecular biology )
Xu, Zhaoming (Nutrients, Zinc, growth, and growth regulation, Regulatory role of zinc in apoptosis, Zinc and breast cancer)
Zeng, Haishan (Family practice, dermatology)
Zoubeidi, Amina (Drug resistance in prostate cancer, androgen receptor activity, phenotypic plasticity, enzalutamide)
Sample Thesis Submissions
Interdisciplinary Oncology offers advanced study and research in a variety of fields relating to oncology. The focus on interdisciplinarity is accomplished through a breadth of coverage in the following disciplines: molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biophysics, bioinformatics, pharmaceutical sciences, radiological sciences, immunology, socio-behavioural studies, and epidemiology.