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The Program is designed to train marine and freshwater scientists to undertake basic and applied research that will help foster healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems and sustainable resource use. Students broaden their interdisciplinary expertise and acquire professional experience in areas including fisheries science, aquatic ecology, environmental physiology, natural resource economics, marine governance, and climate change.

What makes the program unique?

The Program is the only M.Sc. program in BC, indeed in Canada, that offers both 18-credit thesis and 12-credit thesis streams, and is interdisciplinary in providing training in both ocean and freshwater fisheries science.


Program Enquiries

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

Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

Please consult this webpage for full details on how to apply:


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

BA or BSc is required with minimum grade averages set by UBC Gradaute and Postdoctoral Studies.

Document Requirements
  • Three letters of reference. Ideally, the referees should be faculty members who have supervised your studies and/or research directly
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of Intent outlining your research experience, proposed research project (or ideas), and explaining your interest in working with the particular faculty member(s)
  • Scanned copies of up-to-date unofficial transcripts of marks from all post-secondary institutions attended. Mailed official transcripts required to be registered in courses. 
  • English Language Proficiency Exam scores (if required)
Other Requirements

Firm commitment from a faculty member to fund and act as supervisor is required in order to be considered. 

*Students will NOT be admitted to the OCF graduate program unless a faculty member has agreed to accept the student into their laboratory group / research unit.

Meet minimum grade averages set by Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies: B+ range or 76%; at least 12 credits of third or fourth year courses in the A grade range (80% or higher).

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

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 thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Master of Science in Oceans and Fisheries (MSc)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

Please email potential supervisors from our faculty list here: 


Citizenship Verification

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.

Research Information

Research Highlights

The impacts of the Institute’s research on aquatic issues extend far beyond our academic home at UBC. Our research has influenced public policy concerning the management of fisheries, the establishment of marine protected areas, industrial fishing practices, and the economic structure of fisheries. We also undertake a wide variety of educational and public outreach initiatives, in Canada and beyond.

Visit our research impacts page to read about topics and initiatives such as:

  • iSeahorse

  • Toward Sustainable Chinese Medicine

  • UBC’s Blue Whale Project

Research Focus

Our research themes are:

  • Ecology and Biology: From viruses and microbes to phyto-plankton and zooplankton. From seahorses to whales. From freshwater to the high seas. Our researchers cover the world examining species ecology, animal behaviour and movement, and their interactions with humans, as indicators of ecosystem change.

  • Ecosystem Modelling: Ecosystem modelling approaches and tools, such as Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE), decision-support software tools, manage-ment strategy evaluations, dynamic population models and Bayesian statistical methods, species distribution models and habitat modelling, and statistical analyses of fisheries and fisheries ecosystems help us understand the past, present and future of our shared marine resources.

  • Human, Social and Economic Dimensions: Our oceans and freshwater systems are a powerful part of our human conscious-ness. We know that human impacts have, for the most part been destructive; how do we change that so that the marine ecosystems that feed us, employ us, and support us can be sustained in an equitable, restorative, and resilient way.

  • Sustainability and Policy: We only have one Earth: how can we sustain it? Analyzing and predicting climate change impacts, advancing marine conservation, offering mitigation and adaptation solutions, conducting collaborative interdisciplinary research and resource management, and seeking practical solutions in local, regional, and global policy forums.


Program Components

Two choices:

12-credit thesis

For a 12-credit Master’s thesis (FISH 549A), it is expected that a minimum of one chapter of novel research is completed that offers an original contribution. The chapter of novel research must:

address at least one overarching thesis research question,

document well-designed experiments, surveys, or a rigorous data compilation from previous experiments or surveys, and

document analyses of the data obtained within the thesis research that rigorously address the focal thesis research question.

The completed chapter of novel research should also “contain [an] original contribution”.

Students must also complete 18 credits of coursework, including two required courses:

FISH 500 (3)

FISH 520 (6)

Nine (9) additional credits must be taken from three of the six categories listed below.

Ocean and Fisheries Assessment and Scientific Methods, e.g., EOSC 478, FISH 504, FISH 505, FISH 506H, FISH 509, FISH 510, EOSC 573, EOSC 578, EOSC 510.

Ecological, Biological, Economic & Social Studies, e.g., FISH 501, FISH 502, FISH 506G, FISH 508, EOSC 575, RES 510.

Governance & Policy, e.g., FISH 503, FISH 507, RES 586, FISH 520 (if the student is in the 18 credit thesis stream (see above).

Aboriginal Ocean and Fisheries Management, e.g., FISH 506F.

Conservation Science, e.g., BIOL 416, RES 506

Science Communication, e.g., ANTH 478, FRST 544, FRST 545


18-credit thesis

For a 18-credit Master’s thesis (FISH 549B), it is expected that at least two chapters of novel research, each focusing on separate but closely related thesis research questions, which also yield “original contributions“.  Students completing a 18-credit thesis must complete 12 credits of coursework, including one required course:

FISH 500 (3)

Nine (9) additional credits must be taken from three of the six categories listed below.

Categories of elective courses

Ocean and Fisheries Assessment and Scientific Methods, e.g., EOSC 478, EOSC 420, FISH 504, FISH 505, FISH 506H, FISH 506R, FISH 509, FISH 510, EOSC 573, EOSC 578, EOSC 510.

Ecological, Biological, Economic & Social Studies, e.g., FISH 501, FISH 506G, FISH 508, EOSC 575, RES 510, FISH 520

Governance & Policy, e.g., FISH 503, FISH 506I, FISH 507, RES 586, FISH 520

Aboriginal Ocean and Fisheries Management, e.g., FISH 506F, FISH 506I

Conservation Science, e.g., BIOL 416, FISH 506I, RES 506, FISH 520, RES 509/ZOOL 509

Science Communication, e.g., ANTH 478, FRST 544, FRST 545.


Research Facilities

The IOF is housed in the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory (AERL), an $8.9-million facility offering 55,000 square feet for research, collaboration and teaching. A four-storey open atrium connects interdisciplinary research groups throughout the building. Adjacent to the atrium, social spaces promote a sense of community and encourage interaction between students, faculty and staff. Large public rooms on the ground floor provide a welcoming environment for academic and social events. The upper floors house offices, digital laboratories and a variety of meeting spaces, such as the Hakai Node.

Tuition & Financial Support


FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
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)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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

The Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) has a funding policy that guarantees a minimum level of support to all Ocean and Fisheries (OCF) students. The minimum level of support is intended to assist with various aspects of student life including the cost of living and tuition, and may change yearly to account for changes in these costs, see below for the exact amount.

Please consult this page for detailed funding information:

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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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 Estimator

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

Career Options

The Program produces uniquely trained highly qualified personnel with the research capacity and knowledge translation skills necessary for influential careers in academia, industry, government, consulting, and civil society, among others. The graduate students gain exposure to potential future careers and develop professional connections through cooperation and continual interaction with a diverse partner group in industry (e.g., fishermen’s organizations such as the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union), consulting (e.g., LGL Limited), government (e.g., Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), B.C. Ministry of the Environment), and non-governmental organizations (e.g., Suzuki Foundation, Hakai Institute), and through public engagement.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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


New Registrations751193
Total Enrolment263126157

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 19 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 1.02 years and the maximum time is 4.1 years with an average of 2.49 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Research Supervisors


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Master of Science in Oceans and Fisheries (MSc)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

Please email potential supervisors from our faculty list here: 


Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.


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.

  • Auger-Methe, Marie (Fisheries sciences; Statistics; Zoology; Animal movement; Polar ecology; Statistical Ecology)
  • Cheung, Wai Lung (Global change biology; Ecological impacts of climate change; climate change; Marine Ecosystems; sustainability; biodiversity; Interdisciplinary)
  • Christensen, Villy (Fisheries management; Global change biology; Ecosystem function)
  • Donner, Simon (Atmospheric sciences; Oceanography; Other media and communication; Climate Science; climate change impacts; Climate policy; Coastal Ecosystems; Marine Environment; Climate modelling and prediction; Science communication; Net-zero emissions; Coral reefs)
  • Harley, Christopher (Fisheries sciences; Zoology; climate change; community ecology; Ecology and Quality of the Environment; marine algae; marine invertebrates)
  • Hunt, Brian (Marine ecology (including marine ichthyology); Biological oceanography; Biodiversity; Ecosystem function; Ecological impacts of climate change; Community ecology (except invasive species ecology); marine food webs; ecosystem oceanography; plankton dynamics; open ocean; Coastal Ecosystems; climate change impacts on the ocean; salmon ecology; food web nutrition; microplastics; stable isotopes; forage fish; zooplankton; Urban oceans; Thiamine defficiency; Stormwater)
  • McAllister, Murdoch (Statistical methods for fisheries risk assessment, estimation, decision analysis and management strategy evaluation)
  • Pakhomov, Yevhenii (Feeding ecophysiology of aquatic invertebrates and fishes, Antarctic ecology, Antarctic krill biology, Tunicate biology, Fishery ecology, Stable isotope ecology)
  • Pauly, Daniel (World fisheries; Marine life; Global catch; Management of fisheries; Fish growth and ecophysiology)
  • Reid, Andrea (Fisheries sciences; Culturally significant fish and fisheries)
  • Rosen, David (Animal physiology; Physiology, behaviour, and ecology of marine mammals;; Bioenergetics; Nutrition; Conservation physiology)
  • Sumaila, Ussif Rashid (Bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the economics of high and deep seas fisheries)
  • Suttle, Curtis (Bioinformatics; Fisheries sciences; Immunology; Microbiology; Oceanography; Plant biology; Biological Oceanography; Environmental Virology; Marine Environment; Marine Microbiology; Microbial Diversity; Phage; Viral Discovery; Viruses)
  • Trites, Andrew (marine mammals, seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, fisheries competition, population biology, ecology, Marine mamals research centre, biology of marine mammals, population dynamics, bioenergetics, fisheries)
  • Vincent, Amanda (Ecological applications, n.e.c.; Marine ecology (including marine ichthyology); Biodiversity; Natural environment sustainability studies; Natural resource management; Wildlife and habitat management; marine conservation; threatened marine species, especially seahorses and their relatives; bottom trawling and other nonselective fisheries; wildlife trade; marine protected areas; Small-scale fisheries; community-based conservation; citizen/community science; multilateral environmental agreements; .)

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information


Within Oceans and Fisheries marine and freshwater scientists train to undertake basic and applied research that will help foster healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems and sustainable resource use. Students will deepen and broaden their interdisciplinary expertise by acquiring in-depth training in fisheries science, aquatic ecology, environmental physiology, natural resource economics, marine governance, and climate change.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

Supervisor Search

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form.

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