Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences (MSc)
Our research-intensive MSc program offers students the opportunity to conduct outstanding research projects and receive training in a broad range of fields within pharmaceutical sciences. We provide you with exceptional mentors and supervisors, a rigorous learning environment, a customized curriculum plan, and access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to conduct your research.
What makes the program unique?
As a top Pharmaceutical Sciences graduate school in Canada, our faculty and graduate students work at the exciting and ever-expanding precipice of health sciences. We conduct precedent-setting research with real and tangible impact in areas such as discovering and developing new drugs, and improving the quality of patient care and treatment outcomes. The work we do makes a positive impact on people's lives.
As a Pharm Sci graduate student, you will embark upon a journey of academic discovery by working alongside renowned researchers who are at the top of their fields. Right from the onset of the program, you will be welcomed by a vibrant collegial community, receive individualized guidance to shape your customized study plan, and receive mentorship from senior researchers. During the program, you will enrich your knowledge and build your skills set to prepare for careers in academia or industry, while exploring research frontiers in world-class facilities. Our graduates are often highly sought after by the pharmaceutical industry for their expertise in drug discovery and development.
Our MSc program welcomes students from a wide range of disciplines and geography. Students come to us with previous degrees in pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, medicine, biotechnology, biomedical sciences (such as chemistry, biology, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, pharmacology), biomedical or chemical engineering, economics and epidemiology. More than half of our current graduate student body is comprised of students from countries outside of Canada. We offer orientation events to help new students integrate into life here in Vancouver, at UBC and within the Faculty. And our Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student Society (PharGS) will help support you through your educational journey and make you feel right at home.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
To be considered for admission to the Pharm Sci MSc program, we must receive your complete application by January 15th. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
For international Students: This includes the submission of a copy of the offiical TOEFL/IELTS transcript.
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.
2) Meet Deadlines
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 Pharmaceutical Sciences (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.
If you're passionate about health sciences research that makes a difference in patients' lives, then UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences is your place. Innovative, collaborative, impactful and widely recognized, our groundbreaking research is relevant to today's problems.
Some examples of our research include work in the following areas:
- Lipid- and polymer-based drug delivery systems using nanotechnology to enhance cancer therapy
- Developing small molecule inhibitors for disease-relevant targets, with a specific focus on anti-cancer drug discovery
- Gene-delivery treatment of genetic diseases
- Predictive analytics in respiratory diseases
- Causes, risk factors, and biomarkers of neurological disease progression
The MSc is the entry point to countless fields of research and educational opportunities. Whether it’s genomics and individualized therapy, epidemiology, nanomedicine, or pharmacology, we offer options for you to explore and collaborate. Our research themes include:
Molecular & Systems Pharmacology is comprised of areas such as drug metabolism, pharmacokinetic modeling, cancer biology/pharmacology, diabetes, cardiovascular pharmacology, neuroscience/neuropharmacology, receptor pharmacology, and pharmacogenomics. This highly interdisciplinary theme embodies research directed at the interactions of drugs with therapeutic targets, and covers fundamental questions of the molecular and cellular basis of individual variations in response to drugs, mechanisms of drug action and the pathogenesis of diseases. These studies are used to inform and optimize the development and delivery of drug intervention regimes for clinical practice.
Nanomedicine & Chemical Biology applies our expertise in the chemical biology of the fabrication and handling of nanoscopic materials to drug discovery and delivery. Sensing and screening technologies are also an important focus.
Epidemiology and Health Outcomes covers our activities in epidemiological analysis, health outcomes and health economics research seeking solutions for the predictive enhancement of intervention strategies for practical and preventive healthcare. The impact of this work is used to shape policy to optimize the allocation of health care resources as well as defining the efficacy of healthcare interventions and strategy.
For examples of MSc research conducted by our previous graduate students, peruse through the “sample thesis submissions” section of this website.
Opened in 2012, the award-winning Pharmaceutical Sciences building is a quarter-million-square-foot, state-of-the-art learning and research facility in the heart of the UBC campus. Functional, striking and always thrumming with activity, the building is home to cutting-edge equipment, laboratories and research spaces that we make available for use by the scientific public. Our building houses modern, modular labs designed specifically for the type of research intended for the space. Among an array of state-of-the-art scientific equipment, the Faculty houses a modern mass spectrometer facility for pharmacokinetic and drug metabolism studies, and a Sequenom Mass-ARRAY system for genetic studies.
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
Thesis-based MSc students in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences are eligible to receive a stipend, provided they are in good standing and maintain their eligibility as a UBC graduate student. The stipend package normally includes a graduate teaching assistantship, a graduate research assistantship, and/or a scholarship.
The minimum stipend starting in the 2022-2023 academic year will be:
- Domestic MSc student: $30,000 per annum
- International MSc student: $33,200 per annum, which includes an International Tuition Award ($3,200) to each student whose tuition is not paid by an external sponsor)
Please be aware that due to the higher cost of living in Vancouver, students should plan to draw on their personal funds in addition to the stipend.
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 Pharmaceutical Sciences (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.
Cairns, Brian (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); electrophysiology; headache; Neuropharmacology; Oro-Facial Pain; pain; pain mechanisms; peripheral analgesics; sex-related differences; temporomandibular disorders)
Chang, Thomas (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Drug-Metabolizing Enzymes; Cytochrome P450; Gene regulation; Nuclear Receptor; Pharmacology; Chemical Biology)
Collier, Abby (Drugs in children, Drugs in pregnancy, Developmental pharmacology, Drug metabolism, Pharmacokinetics, Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, primarily of the phase II (conjugation) enzymes, focused on pregnancy and pediatrics)
Conklin, Annalijn (Human nutrition and dietetics; Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Chronic Diseases in Elderly; Community Health / Public Health; disease management evaluation; food and nutrition policy; Gender Epidemiology; gender and health equity; Health Policies; healthcare quality improvement; healthy ageing; Indigenous health; Obesity; obesity & CVD risk factors; Professional Practices; Social Determinants of Dietary and Metabolic Disorders; social nutritional epidemiology)
Coughtrie, Michael (Drug metabolizing enzymes)
Cragg, Jacquelyn (Epidemiology (except nutritional and veterinary epidemiology); data science; open science; Causal inference; Drug Effectiveness; Drug Safety; Epidemiology; neuro-epidemiology; Neurological diseases; Spinal cord injury; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS); multiple sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease)
De Vera, Mary (examining how eHealth technologies can support new and existing models of care to improve care delivery and patient outcomes; exploring patients' perspectives and experiences with medication taking and adherence; and evaluating the use and impacts of medications among pregnant women, particularly with inflammatory conditions.)
Frankel, Adam (Other basic medicine and life sciences; Enzymes (including kinetics and mechanisms, and biocatalyst); Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms; Bioactive Molecules; Organic Molecules and Biomolecules; Proteins; arginine methylation; post-translational modifications; Chemical Biology; drug discovery; Target Engagement; Protein Biochemistry; yeast; Amino acids)
Giaever, Guri (Model organisms, human therapeutics, high-throughput cell biology, drug synergy, technologies for understanding relationship between chromatic structure and transcriptional regulation)
Hafeli, Urs (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences, n.e.c.; Radiopharmaceuticals; Radioimmunotherapy; Magnetic Targeting; Targeted Drug Delivery; Novel polymers; Nanoparticles; Microspheres; Microneedles; Bioconjugates)
Harrison, Mark (measurement and valuation of health, health technology and policy assessment, and preferences for healthcare interventions; evaluation/re-evaluation of the type of health care that is provided, the point in the treatment pathway, and the way in which it is delivered)
Hedtrich, Sarah (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Nanotechnologies; Structural Tissue Engineering / Biomaterials; Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases; Skin; New Biomedical Approaches - Alternatives to Animal Testing; Novel therapies for inflammatory and genetic diseases of human epithelia; Tissue Regeneration and Wound Healing; Topical drug delivery and Nanomedicine)
Jarvis-Selinger, Sandra (Education, human learning, development, and instruction, education innovation, konwledge translation, teaching excellence, curriculum design, technology)
Johnson, Kate (Health Outcomes)
Karim, Ehsan (Biostatistical methods; Survey methodology and analysis; Statistical learning; Epidemiology (except nutritional and veterinary epidemiology); Public and population health, n.e.c.; Causal inference; Biostatistics; Statistics; Machine Learning; data science; Survey data analysis; multiple sclerosis)
Kumar, Ujendra (Somatostatin hormone, molecular pharmacology, Somatostatin, , Hormones, somatostatin, locomotor and cognitive function, neurodegenerative diseases, drugs)
Lalji, Fawziah (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Pharmacoepidemiology; Infectious diseases; Vaccination; Antibiotics and Resistance; Tuberculosis)
Li, Shyh-Dar (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); biopharmaceutics; drug delivery; nanomedicine; pharmaceutics)
Loewen, Peter (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Cardiovascular diseases; Arrhythmia; Thrombosis and Embolism; Heart Failure; Pharmacoepidemiology; stroke; Health Care Technologies; Professional Practices; Hematology; decision making; adherence to medication; atrial fibrillation; clinical prediction rules; healthcare communication technologies; hospital pharmacy practice; knowledge translation of evidence to patient care; patient complexiometry; patient decision aids; patient education; pharmacy practice; prediction of stroke and bleeding in atrial fibrillation patients; quality of care, quality drug therapy; Shared decision-making; stroke prevention therapy; use of mobile technology for clinical decision-making)
Lynd, Larry (health economics, orphan drugs, pharmaceutical policy, respiratory medicine, epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, rare diseases )
Maharaj, Anil (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences, n.e.c.; Pharmacometrics; Pharmacokinetics/Pharmacodynamics; Obstetric and Pediatric Pharmacology)
McCormack, James (Knowledge translation and evidence-based practice)
Nislow, Corey (genomics and develops biotechnology tools to address both fundamental and applied biological questions; Parallel genome-wide chemical genomic screens; High throughput cell-based screens; Next Generation Sequencing)
Page, Brent (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Cell Signaling and Cancer; Cancer; Cell signaling; Chemical Biology; Drug development; drug discovery; Medicinal Chemistry; Target Engagement)
Rodrigues, Brian (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Diabetes; Cardiomyopathy; Heart Failure; Energy Metabolism; Cardiovascular metabolism; Endothelial cell - cardiomyocyte crosstalk; Vascular Endothelial Growth factors)
Sample Thesis Submissions
Pharmaceutical Sciences covers research areas of nanomedicine, drug delivery; drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and toxicology; pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics; diabetes, cardiovascular and molecular pharmacology; neuropharmacology; cancer pharmacology; pharmaceutical health outcomes and pharmacotherapeutics; and pharmaceutical education.