Master of Science in Medical Genetics (MSc)
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.
Contact the program
Meet a UBC representative
UBC Graduate School Information SessionDate: Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Time: 11:00 to 12:00
Join Kelli Kadokawa and Shane Moore from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Office for this online webinar. They will provide an overview of UBC and our graduate programs, as well as application advice and more!Register
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
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.
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:
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:
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 Medical Genetics (MSc)
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:
- Molecular Biology
- Biostatistics (Statistics)
- Bioinformatics (i.e. MICB 405 or equivalent)
- 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.
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.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
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
- Neuroscience & Neurodegenerative Disease Genetics
- Stem Cells & Gene Therapy
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.
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.
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 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 Date15 March 2020
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date01 December 2020
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|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)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (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
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 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 Medical Genetics (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.
Kobor, Michael (Epigenetics, Social Epigenetics, molecular biology, Chromatin Biology)
Langlois, Sylvie (Studies of genotype/phenotype correlations in single gene disorders; Validations of genomic tools for the study of mental retardation and prenatal screening for aneuploidy; Outcome studies related to prenatal genetic screening)
Lansdorp, Peter (Cellular Division, Cellular Aging, Stem Cells and Organogenesis, Applied Genetics, Complex Trait Genetics, Gene Regulation and Expression, Genetic Diseases, Cellular Degeneration, Telomeres, DNA replication, epigenetics and stem cells, Telomeres, genomic instability, aging and cancer, Application of single cell Strand-seq in precision medicine)
Leavitt, Blair (Neurodegenerative Diseases, Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Ataxia, Huntington disease, Neurogenetics, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Frontotemporal Dementia, Mouse models of disease, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Gene regulation, Experimental Therapeutics, Gene Silencing and Gene Editing, Gene Therapy, Medical Genetics)
Lefebvre, Louis (Developmental Genetics, Gene Regulation and Expression, Genomics, Molecular Genetics, Transgenic Model, Embryonic Development, mouse developmental genetics, developmental epigenetics, genomic imprinting, placental biology, germ cell biology)
Lorincz, Matthew (Developmental Genetics, Genomics, Epigenetics, chromatin, Development, Epigenomics, Gene regulation)
Mager, Dixie (Gene regulation, epigenetic instability in cancer, effects of transposable elements in normal and malignant cells, control of immune system genes, bioinformations)
Marra, Marco (Genomics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Genetics, Cancer Genetics, Genes, Genetic Mapping, Cancer biology, Epigenomics, Genetics)
McMaster, W Robert (Molecular Immunology)
McNagny, Kelly Marshall (Cancer of the Reproductive System, Cell Therapy of Cancer, Breast Cancer, Crohn's Disease, Allergies, Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases, Immune System, Immunotherapy, Immune Mediators: Cytokines and Chemokines, Embryonic Development, Stem Cells, Immunology, Inflammation, Mouse models of human disease, Tissue degeneration/regeneration, Cancer, innate immune response, kidney function)
Morin, Gregg (Proteomics, protein-protein interactions, protein isoform function, alternative splicing)
Mostafavi, Sara (machine/statistical learning applied to disease genetics )
Nelson, Brad (Cell Therapy of Cancer, Cancer immunology and immunotherapy, Oncolytic viruses, T cell engineering, Clinical trials, Cell therapies)
Penninger, Josef (Bone Remodeling, Cancer, Cardiovascular Regeneration, Immunopathology, Neurodegenerative diseases, Blood vessel engineering, BH4, Glycoproteomics in cancer, Haploid stem cells, Tissue Engineering)
Robinson, Wendy (Developmental Genetics, Genomics, Reproduction and Growth, DNA and RNA Chips, Bioinformatics, Medical Genetics, Human Development, Epigenetics, miRNA, Preterm Birth, Placenta, Mosaicism, Fetal Growth, DNA methylation, Sex differences)
Ross, Colin (Biomedical Technologies, Gene Therapy, Drug Metabolism, Transgenic Model, Pharmacogenomics, Gene-based therapeutics, Precision Medicine)
Rossi, Fabio (Stem Cell Regenerative Medicine blood, Stem cells, regeneration, gene therapy, control of cell fate)
Sadovnick, Adele (clinical genetic, genetic epidemiological and molecular genetic research)
Schrader, Kasmintan (Genomics & Bioinformatics, Clinical Genetics, Genetic Counselling and Ethics & Policy)
Simpson, Elizabeth (Congenital Anomalies, Eye and Visual System Diseases, Gene therapy for brain and eye diseases, In vivo gene augmentation and genome editing (CRISPR/CAS9), CRISPR, Aniridia, Rare diseases, Congenital blindness, MiniPromoters for restricted expression)
Stirling, Peter (Molecular Genetics, Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms, Cancer Genetics, Cell, Genome Instability, Stress responses, DNA repair, Cancer, Genotoxins)
Taubert, Stefan (Molecular Genetics, Genomics, Genetics of Aging, Metabolism, Stress and Cancer, Stress, Gene Regulation and Expression, Toxin and Toxicant Metabolism, Transcription, Gene regulation, Stress responses, Hypoxia, Aging, Diabetes, C. elegans, Mouse, beta cells)
Van Allen, Margot (Birth defects, their causes, the natural history of the disorders, and how to prevent them )
Van Raamsdonk, Catherine (Cancer Genetics, Developmental Genetics, Molecular Genetics, Human Cancer Genetics, Mouse Genetics and Transgenesis, Melanoma, Oncogenesis, Melanocytes, Pigmentation)
Sample Thesis Submissions
Further Program Information
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
- Neurogenetics & Neurodegenerative Disease Genetics
- Stem Cells & Gene Therapy