Master of Science in Medical Genetics (MSc)

Overview

The UBC Department of Medical Genetics is an inspiring and productive community of scholars of genetics and genomics; an outstanding provider of knowledge, technical expertise, and compassionate care for our patients. The Department is composed of dozens of faculty members at the forefront of their fields who use cutting edge genetic, epigenetic, genomic, and bioinformatic methodologies to gain insight into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative and neurological disorders, and other genetic diseases. Research is highly interactive and often involves local, national, and international collaborations which further enrich the research experience.

Individual labs conduct clinical and/or translational research and basic experimental research engaging a wide variety of approaches including the use of model organisms such as mice, flies (D. melanogaster), worms (C. elegans), and yeast (S. cerevisiae).

What makes the program unique?

The mission of the Department of Medical Genetics is to pursue basic and clinical research for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of genetic disease. Our goal is to be a world leader in the research, clinical practice and teaching of Genetic Medicine.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

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. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

Transcripts

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.

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:

100
24
26
24
24
7.5
7.0
7.0
7.0
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.

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.

Supervision

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 Medical Genetics (MSc)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Document Requirements

The application form lists all document requirements. Applicants upload legible PDFs of their OFFICIAL transcripts and degree certificates to their application. (Unofficial / web transcripts are not acceptable.) Include one copy of the grading key (often printed on the back of transcripts).

Three references are required. Check with your referees to be sure that they are able to submit their references before the deadline which is two weeks after the admissions application closes.

Applicants must ensure that their application is complete by the deadline. An incomplete application will not be reviewed.

Prerequisites / Course Requirements

Mandatory advanced-level courses in Genetics and/or genomics.

Strongly recommended: advanced-level courses in one or more of the following:
- Biochemistry
- Molecular Biology
- Biostatistics (Statistics)
- Bioinformatics (i.e. MICB 405 or equivalent)

Additional criteria:
- Relevant laboratory research experience
- Excellent references with assessment of research expertise and aptitude

Note: Medical doctors (MBBS) generally have not taken upper level genetics courses, etc. and are therefore not competitive for this program.

Other Requirements

Relevant laboratory research experience; excellent references with assessment of applicant's research expertise and aptitude.
Grade Point Average (GPA) – international degrees: Check your COUNTRY of education (https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/minim...) for minimum GPA and length of degree program to determine if your credentials meet UBC admission requirements. GPA calculation is based on the final, overall standing (grade) achieved in the last completed degree. Final standing is determined from your school's grading system.

GPA calculation of Canadian degrees is based on all upper level courses taken in the most recent, full time degree.

Additional criteria: Applicants must have relevant, independent laboratory research experience.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Research Information

Research Focus

Research in the Department of Medical Genetics covers the study of human genetics with areas of focus in mammalian development, regulation of gene expression, genetic diseases due to single gene or complex inheritance, birth defects, reproduction, cancer, immunology, genomics, bioinformatics, ethics and population health.

Research Areas of Expertise:
- Cancer Genetics & Genomics
- Clinical Genetics, Genetic Counselling, Ethics & Policy
- Developmental Genetics & Birth Defects
- DNA Repair & Genome Stability
- Epigenetics, Epigenomics & Gene Regulation
- Genetic Epidemiology & Population Genetics
- Genomics & Bioinformatics
- Immunogenetics
- Neuroscience & Neurodegenerative Disease Genetics
- Pharmacogenomics
- Proteomics
- Stem Cells & Gene Therapy

Program Components

Medical Genetics Rotation Program

MSc and PhD applicants who have applied for the September-start, and who are highest ranked by the Medical Genetics Admissions Committee, will be offered the opportunity to join the Medical Genetics Rotation Program. The four top-ranked applicants offered these positions will also receive one-year Rotation Program Awards.

Rotation Program students rotate through three different laboratories before choosing a final, thesis lab. Rotations are for nine-weeks each, from September to April. The Rotation Program is open to Canadians, Permanent Residents of Canada, and international applicants.

Research Facilities

Medical Genetics graduate student training takes place at multiple state-of-the-art facilities, representing a diverse collection of training environments. These include several centres on the UBC Point Grey Campus (e.g. Life Sciences Centre, Brain Research Centre, Michael Smith Laboratories) and off-campus (e.g Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics,Terry Fox Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency). Available research services and facilities include: animal modeling, biobanking, bioanalyzer, bioinformatics, DNA sequencing, flow cytometry, genotyping and gene expression, histology and imaging, transgenic facility, support to perform biostatistics, clinical trials, data management and access to health research and evaluation services.

Application Notes

SEPTEMBER-start applicants (MSc & PhD) may apply for admission before they receive the commitment of a research supervisor. The Medical Genetics Admissions Committee reviews and ranks all applications completed by the deadline. Applicants deemed as 'admissible' will be notified by email and advised that they must finalize the commitment of a supervisor prior to receiving an admissions offer from UBC. Deadline for supervisor commitment is June 1st.

JANUARY-START APPLICANTS: There is no January-start available to MSc applicants.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 March 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 April 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 April 2020
Referee Deadline: 30 April 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 April 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 April 2020
Referee Deadline: 30 April 2020

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 December 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2021
Transcript Deadline: 01 February 2021
Referee Deadline: 01 February 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2021
Transcript Deadline: 01 February 2021
Referee Deadline: 01 February 2021

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

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

Stipend Amount and Duration

The recommended minimum yearly stipend for a full time Medical Genetics thesis-based graduate student (Canadian and international) is:

  • MSc; and PhD (pre-advancement to candidacy): $24,300
  • PhD (post-advancement to candidacy): $27,000

The student pays tuition from their stipend (the amount of tuition depends on whether the student is domestic or international as well as time spent in their graduate program). This stipend may come from an independent studentship award and/or from the Research Supervisor's research grant. Admission to the Medical Genetics Graduate Program normally includes a commitment from the Supervisor to ensure that each student is supported to the recommended funding level. Exceptions to this policy may be granted under unusual circumstances. Financial support from personal resources is not acceptable as “funding” for incoming students in the Medical Genetics Graduate Program.

The duration of the annual stipend is normally two years for a MSc student and four years for a PhD student. After the two-year MSc and four-year PhD point, continued funding is at the discretion of the Supervisor. The Supervisor should inform their student in writing (with a copy to the Medical Genetics Graduate Program office) at least six months prior to the end-date of the student's stipend.

Funding depends both on satisfactory academic and research progress, as determined by the Student’s Advisory Committee, and on the Research Supervisor's continued grant support. Termination of funding for other justifiable reasons must be approved by a majority of the Medical Genetics Graduate Advisory Committee.

University and External Awards

Medical Genetics Graduate Program students receive funding from many sources; not all students will receive the same amount. Graduate students receive a minimum stipend from their supervisor. Additionally, if a student wins an award, their supervisor will top up their stipend.

See the Medical Genetics website for more information about awards available to eligible registered students:

National Science & Engineering Council (NSERC) & Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR); UBC Affiliated Fellowships; Medical Genetics Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF); International Tuition Award (ITA). Students may also qualify for building-specific and research-specific awards.

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 and Research Assistantships

Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.

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.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

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.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Options

The MSc program in Medical Genetics is a research-based, thesis-based program which generally takes two - three years to complete. Graduates find employment in the public and private sector, and also pursue further studies in the field of Medical Genetics. Following is a brief sample of occupations that our graduates are pursuing:

Training:

  • Genetic Counselling
  • Medical Doctor
  • Clinical Genetics Technology

Industry / Clinical Careers:

  • Molecular Diagnostic Technologist
  • Research Associate
  • Data Management Coordinator
  • Research Program Manager
  • Online Marketing Coordinator
  • Scientific Sales Representative
  • Research and Development Scientist

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Master of Science in Medical Genetics (MSc). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications8162424337
Offers121191010
New registrations10108107
Total enrolment3425232721

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 75% based on 28 students admitted between 2009 - 2012. Based on 16 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 1.66 years and the maximum time is 5.33 years with an average of 2.94 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. 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: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

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.

  • Aparicio, Samuel (Breast cancer, genome sequencing )
  • Arbour, Laura (northern and aboriginal health issues as they pertain to genetics)
  • Austin, Jehannine (Genetics, genomics, genetic counseling, psychiatric illness, mental illness, mental health, psychiatry, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, postpartum depression, perinatal mental health, Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia)
  • Birol, Inanc (bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, transcriptome analysis, next generation sequencing, cancer, Bioinformatics, sequence assembly, transcriptomics, gene regulation networks, high throughput informatics for big data)
  • Brinkman, Ryan (Bioinformatics, flow cytometry, high throughput data analysis, data standars, GvHD biomarker identification, cluster identification)
  • Brooks-Wilson, Angela (human genetics, cancer genetics, cancer families, longevity, Super seniors, genetic susceptibility)
  • Brown, Carolyn Janet (Gene Regulation and Expression, Chromosomes: Structure / Organization, Applied Genetics, Epigenetic control of gene expression, X-chromosome inactivation, Long non-coding RNAs, XIST RNA, Genes escaping X-chromosome inactivation, DNA methylation)
  • Brunham, Liam (Genetic Diseases, Cardiovascular Diseases, Lipid Disorders, Stem Cells and Organogenesis, Lipids, Genetics, Pharmacogenomics)
  • Burgess, Michael (Genetics and Ethics, Ethics and Health, Applied Ethics, Individual and Collective Ethics, Participatory research, Public deliberation, Health Policy, Science Policy, Deliberative Democracy)
  • Carleton, Bruce (Pharmacogenomics, Adverse drug reactions (ADRs), Drug safety and effectiveness, Clinical pharmacology, Pharmacovigilance)
  • Clarke, Lorne (Lysosomal storage disease, disorders or sulfate transport, mucopolysaccharidosis, phenylketonuria)
  • Conibear, Elizabeth (Molecular Genetics, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Genomics and Proteomics, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Membranes, Enzymes and Proteins, Parkinson's Disease, Protein Palmitoylation, Vesicle Trafficking)
  • Dennis, Jessica (Complex Trait Genetics, Genetics of Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases, Epidemiology, Mental Health and Psychopathology in Children and Youth, Bioinformatics, genetic epidemiology, statistical genetics, Precision Health, Electronic health records, Administrative health data, Machine Learning)
  • Eaves, Constance Jean (Normal and leukemic stem cells, normal and malignant breast stem cells)
  • Friedman, Jan Marshall (Genetics and Heredity, Developmental Genetics, Genomics, Application of whole genome sequencing to diagnose genetic disease, Clinical genomics, Neurofibromatosis, Birth defects epidemiology)
  • Gibson, William (Genetic Diseases, Chromosomes: Structure / Organization, Epigenetics)
  • Goldowitz, Daniel (Genetic basis of brain disease, neurobiology of autism, Huntingtong's gene, mouse/mice epigenetics, gene regulatory network)
  • Hayden, Michael (Genetic Diseases, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Huntington disease, Disease progression, Diabetes, Neurodegenerative disorders, Gene Therapy, Drug development)
  • Hieter, Philip (Molecular biology of eukaryotic chromosome transmission )
  • Holt, Robert (Immunogenetics, Metagenomics - Infectious agents in Cancer, Cancer Genomes, Neurobiology, DNA Sequencing)
  • Hoodless, Pamela (Embryonic Development, Genomics, Heart Valve / Valvular Diseases, Liver, Stem Cells and Organogenesis, Developmental Genetics, Embryology, transcriptional regulation, Epigenetics, Heart valve formation, Liver development)
  • Huntsman, David (hereditary cancer, molecular pathology, cancer biomarkers, Pancreas centre)
  • Jefferies, Wilfred Arthur (Iron transport molecules)
  • Jiang, Xiaoyan (Cancer Genetics, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Leukemia, Cancer Diagnosis and Detection, Cell Therapy of Cancer, Immunotherapy, Basic and translational leukemia research, Leukemic stem cell biology, Gene regulation, Drug resistance, Proteomics)
  • Jones, Steven J (Bioinformatics, genome science, mutations, cancer progression)

Pages

Further Program Information

Specialization

Faculty in Medical Genetics are at the forefront of their fields employing cutting edge genetic, epigenetic, genomic and bioinformatic methodologies to gain insight into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative and neurological disorders, and other genetic diseases.

Areas of research Include:

  • Cancer Genetics & Genomics
  • Clinical Genetics, Genetic Counselling and Ethics & Policy
  • Developmental Genetics
  • DNA Repair & Genome Stability
  • Epigenetics, Epigenomics & Gene Regulation
  • Genetic Epidemiology & Population Genetics
  • Genomics & Bioinformatics
  • Immunogenetics
  • Neurogenetics & Neurodegenerative Disease Genetics
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Proteomics
  • Stem Cells & Gene Therapy

Program Website

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGMMSC-P9
 
 

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 March 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 April 2020
International Applicant Deadline
15 April 2020

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 December 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 February 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 February 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

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