Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)

Overview

Applied Animal Biology offers opportunities for advanced study and research leading to a Ph.D. degree in animal physiology, behaviour, welfare, and management of livestock, companion animals, research animals, wildlife species, aquaculture, and on the human-animal relationship.

The program is enriched through collaboration with colleagues in other UBC graduate programs such as Zoology, Population and Public Health, and with agencies such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Dairy Farmers of Canada and other livestock agencies and the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA).

On-campus teaching and research facilities are located in the MacMillan Building. Off-campus research facilities available to students include: the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz; shared research facilities at Fisheries and Oceans Canada at West Vancouver; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the BC SPCA.

What makes the program unique?

UBC is uniquely equipped to offer you a rich and well-rounded graduate degree in Applied Animal Biology. After all, we have been honing our expertise for over a century: The Faculty of Agriculture (now LFS) was one of UBC’s three founding faculties back in 1915, with Animal Husbandry as one of Agriculture’s first four programs. Still today, our MSc and PhD programs benefit from state-of-the-art on-campus teaching and research facilities, as well as off-campus research facilities.

The Applied Animal Biology program is also home to the UBC Animal Welfare Program, the Dairy Education and Research Centre, and a graduate certificate in Aquaculture. The Animal Welfare Program is one of the largest and most respected programs in the world in the field of animal welfare science. Since its inception in 1997, the Program’s research has led to improvements in the lives of animals in British Columbia and around the world. The mission of the program is to improve the welfare and humane care of animals in agriculture, research, companionship and other areas through active efforts in research, education and public outreach. For additional information visit: https://awp.landfood.ubc.ca/

Program Structure

Graduate training at the Ph.D. level in applied animal biology requires that that the student complete a body of research leading to a dissertation. Students are expected to publish their research results in relevant leading international refereed journals. Coursework is not mandatory but if needed is decided upon in consultation with the student's supervisory committee and normally includes graduate courses in areas relevant to each student's research.

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Program Enquiries

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Inside look at graduate school at UBC

Date: Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Time: 09:00 to 10:00

What's grad school really like? Hear first hand from some of our Graduate Student Ambassadors on their experience so far. Ask them questions and hear their top tips for a successful grad school career.

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PhD Funding Opportunities

Date: Tuesday, 06 October 2020
Time: 10:00 to 11:00

Join Dr Julian Dierkes, Associate Dean, Funding, with Kelli Kadokawa and Shane Moore from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as they talk about funding opportunities for PhD's at UBC. Dr Dierkes will provide an overview of the different awards and scholarship available to incoming PhD students as well as providing some tips and advice on applying. We'll also be answering your questions.

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Admission Information & Requirements

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: 90

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

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

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 01 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 01 February 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 01 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 01 February 2020

3) Prepare Application

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.

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 Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

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 Facilities

On-campus facilities include laboratories in the MacMillan Building. Off-campus research facilities available to students include: the UBC Dairy Education and Research Centre in Agassiz; shared research facilities at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at West Vancouver; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; and the BC SPCA. Field research facilities for studies in wildlife rehabilitation are also available.

The Dairy Education and Research Centre is unique in Canada and is one of the largest in the world, providing state-of-the-art research facilities for developing and adapting new technologies relevant to the dairy industry. This facility contains 300 free stalls, a 24-cow milking parlour, office, laboratory and public reception areas. It helps meet the Faculty’s expanding programs in large-animal nutrition, reproduction and behaviour/welfare. The Centre’s scientists also have strong linkages with numerous dairy organizations at the provincial and national level that has, and will continue, to facilitate on farm research. For more information about the centre, visit: https://dairycentre.landfood.ubc.ca/

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$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)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (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

All full-time doctoral students within the AANB program will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.

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.

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 Outcomes

26 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 5 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 20 graduates:


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of Guelph (3)
Ohio State University
Rutgers University
University of Maryland
Metropolitan Autonomous University
University of British Columbia
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Dalhousie University
University of California - Davis
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Animals in Science Policy Institute
Whole Foods Market
Mac's Oysters
Biomere
El Colegio de la Frontera Sur
Shrimp Improvement System
Nevada Center for Reproductive Medicine
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Geneticist
Consultant
Executive Director
Director of Research and Aquaculture Operations
Titular Researcher (Investigador Titular B)
Senior Embryologist
Biologist
Livestock Associate
Scientist, In vivo/In vitro
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Graduates of the Applied Animal Biology program have pursued academic positions at universities or colleges, research positions at universities and government institutions, consultant positions, or careers in animal-related fields including veterinary medicine, the animal feed manufacturing industry, wildlife rehabilitation, non-profit organizations, and others.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Animal Biology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications53266
Offers53244
New registrations31243
Total enrolment1719161512
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.

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.

  • Brar, Gurcharn (Cereal pathology (wheat and barley in particular); Genetics of host-pathogen interactions - disease resistance in crop plants; Resistance breeding; Plant imaging; Fungal biology; Population genetics and genomics; Functional pathogenomics)
  • Cerri, Ronaldo (Animal Reproduction; Animal Production; Agricultural Machinery and Technology; Endocrine Regulation; Biotechnology and Activity monitors; Dairy cattle reproduction; Endometrium-conceptus cross communication; Production medicine in dairy cattle; Estrous cycle physiology in cattle; Inflammation and stress)
  • Farrell, Anthony (Angiogenesis)
  • Fraser, David (Welfare of animals on farms, animal ethics, animal behaviour, Animal welfare, innovations in animal housing and management, practical and cultural dimensions of applying ethics to animal issues)
  • Protopopova, Alexandra (Animal; Community Health / Public Health; rabbit; dog; cat; animal shelter; Animal behaviour; Animal welfare; community initiatives; climate change and pet ownership; cultural differences in human-companion animal relationships; free-ranging dogs; one health)
  • Sargent, Risa (evolutionary ecology; community ecology; Flowering plants; Pollinator-mediated interactions; Floral trait evolution; Herbivory; Biological control)
  • Von Keyserlingk, Marina (animal welfare,  ethics of animal use,  farm animals, dairy cattle welfare, Animal Welfare Behavior, housing and management and how these contribute to animal health and welfare of dairy cattle)
  • Weary, Daniel (Animal welfare, dairy cow, acoustic communication and vocal behavior in wild birds and mammals how vocal and other behaviors can provide us with information about an animal)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2020 Dr. Burnett studied the role of automated activity monitors in the reproductive management of dairy cows. Her findings show the correlation between increased estrous expression and improved fertility. This research demonstrates the importance of estrous expression in breeding decisions and provides alternatives for reducing hormonal interventions.
2020 Dr. Amendola found that inhalation of CO2, commonly used to kill laboratory rats, induces negative emotional states. Her research shows that rats experience anxiety at low CO2 concentrations, and that the onset of these feelings varies between individuals. Her results indicate that CO2 compromises rat welfare even for the least sensitive of rats.
2019 Dr. Smid showed that dairy cows have a partial preference to access various outdoor areas and that outdoor space allowance influences this preference. In addition, she showed a positive influence of an outdoor space on the expression of heat behaviour of dairy cows. These results show the importance of access to the outdoors for dairy cattle.
2019 Dr. Neave investigated how dairy calves and dairy goats cope with common stressful feeding practices on commercial farms. She found that personality traits impact feeding behaviour, feed intake and growth. Her work proposes alternative feeding practices that improve animal welfare by attending to individual needs and promoting natural behaviour.
2019 Dr. Eriksson studied how standing behaviour around calving relates to hoof lesions in dairy cows. She found that both long daily standing time, and long standing bouts were related to a higher risk of these lesions. This knowledge will help farmers to evaluate what management practices can affect the claw health of their animals.
2019 Dr. Stojkov studied the management of vulnerable dairy cows. His findings improve our understanding of how dairy cows are managed once they leave the farm. This will help to guide future research, policy and development of better industry practices.
2019 Dr. Daros studied some of the most common diseases of milk producing cows. Aiming to improve dairy cow's welfare he has revealed some of the factors associated with disease onset that will help guide future disease prevention protocols. Such protocols include better hoof care and nutritional management for indoor and outdoor housed cows.
2019 Dr. MacRae examined facial expression, vocalizations and changes in eye temperature as potential indicators of pain in harbour seals. This work represents some of the first research on pain and pain indicators of the harbour seal. Her research contributes to the welfare of seals by improving understanding of their pain responses.
2018 Dr. Sumner demonstrated that promoting cooperation among dairy farmers and veterinarians can identify shared goals and improve communication across their diverse perspectives in improving calf welfare.
2017 Dr. Robbins examined attitudes towards contentious animal welfare issues. He also experimentally explored how ordinary people understand the concept of animal welfare. His research highlights the vital role social science and philosophy play in the debate about farm animal welfare.

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Further Program Information

Specialization

Applied Animal Biology offers opportunities for advanced study and research in animal physiology, behaviour, welfare, and management of livestock, aquaculture, and wildlife species.

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-AC
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 January 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

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

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