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.
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.
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.
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.
English Language Proficiency
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:
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.
Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)
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:
Prerequisites / Course Requirements
Mandatory advanced-level courses in:
•Genetics and/or genomics.
Strongly recommended: advanced-level courses in one or more of the following -
•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 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.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date01 December 2019
January 2021 Intake
Application Open Date15 March 2020
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date01 December 2020
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.
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.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your 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.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
Tuition / Program Costs
|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.
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.
Vilarino-Guell, Carles (Genetic Diseases, multiple sclerosis, Neuromyelitis optica, Neurological disorders)
Wasserman, Wyeth Bioinformatics, computation analysis of human genome, gene regulation, rare pediatric disorders
Wong, Judy Carcinogenesis, cancer, aging, genetics, chromosome stability, cancer biology, pharmacology, pharmacognetics, human genetics, genomes, DNA, genomics