The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program provides advanced, research-based education that will prepare students for a career in academic, industrial, or professional positions in British Columbia and beyond. The Program offers MSc and PhD degrees, with the option to transfer from the MSc into the PhD track during the second year. The bulk of the program is research-intensive and assessed by examination of a dissertation, although students starting in the MSc program are required to take six formal course credits, which are usually completed within the first two academic terms. Course topics include protein structure and function, gene regulation, epigenetics, membrane structure and function, cellular regulation, and bioinformatics. Students also present a departmental research seminar in each year of their program, contribute to peer-reviewed publications, and present their work at local, national, or international meetings.
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is home to more than thirty, highly funded, well-equipped, research groups, that seek to understand the molecular basis of multiples diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, retinal degenerative diseases, bacterial and viral infections, including COVID-19. The Department has a rich history and on-going record of exceptional academic and research excellence. The Department was home to Nobel Laureate, Michael Smith, and current members hold research chairs, Killam awards and are members of the Royal Society of Canada. While the majority of our research laboratories are located in the Life Sciences Institute and Michael Smith Laboratories on the Point Grey Campus, member labs are also found in the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Centre for Brain Health, the Centre for Blood Research, and the Child and Family Health Research Institute. Thus, our program offers trainees a broad range of research topics, world-class mentorship, and diverse training environments. We encourage you to visit the Department website to check out the specific research interests and achievements of the professors in the Department.
The Biochemistry & Molecular Biology program is a rigorous training program consisting of top tier labs. For me, it was the Overall lab that attracted me to this program at UBC. As a high-end lab consisting mostly of post-doctoral fellows and full-time staff with decades of experience, the Overall lab is providing me with a world-class training opportunity that I sought out given my extensive prior research experience.
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.
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:
Overall score requirement: 106
Overall score requirement: 7.5
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 required by some applicants. Please check the program website.
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.
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.
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.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
|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)||$969.17 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,242.00 (check cost calculator)|
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.
Successful applicants to this program will be provided with a base funding package of at least $25,000 for each of the first two years of an MSc or four years of a PhD program. Students awarded major (i.e. greater than $15,000 per year), merit-based (for example: NSERC/CIHR CGSM, NSERC PGSD, or UBC Four-Year Fellowships) awards will receive a minimum of $28,000 per year financial support. PhD students, except those who have their tuition paid by an external sponsor, will additionally receive the Presidents Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award, PAEIPA. Additionally, with the exception of Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship or Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship recipients, tuition for the first four years of a PhD will be covered by either UBC or a BMB Graduate Tuition Award. These minimum support packages can be further supplemented by TAships, and overall, the average support package for graduate students exceeds $30,000 per annum.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
66 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 2 are in non-salaried situations; for 6 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 58 graduates:
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
|2015||Dr. Bean studied the factors that move proteins to the correct places in yeast cells. He discovered a new transport protein and suggested a process by which other proteins are brought to their functional location in our cells. The findings from these studies may improve our understanding of hemophilia, Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease.|
|2015||Dr. Khong characterized a family of agriculturally important viruses called dicistroviruses. Notable members of this family infect shrimps, aphids, and honey bees. Dr. Khong's work sheds light on how these understudied viruses replicate and usurp the host, and evade antiviral defenses. These strategies are conserved across other viral families.|
|2015||Dr. Desjardins investigated the regulation of the Ets1 transcription factor, which controls growth in both normal cells and tumors. Specifically, she uncovered how a flexible part of the Ets1 protein inhibits its ability to bind gene DNA. Her work sheds light on the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating gene expression and cancer development.|
|2015||Dr. Vallejo studied the mechanisms of breast cancer progression. She discovered a new protein complex important for the survival of cancerous cell and for metastasis. Her findings identified a new target for breast cancer therapy.|
|2014||Dr. Leung studied a new drug delivery system for gene therapy, called lipid nano-particles. His research revealed the structure of these nano-particles and explained the mechanism of their formation. This has strong implications in the rational design of nano-medicines aimed at silencing specific genes for treating various diseases, including cancer.|
|2014||Dr. Bernhard studied the regulation of HIV-1 latency. She characterized an important mechanism involved in repression of HIV-1 and identified and characterized small molecules that purge cells latently infected with HIV-1. These findings increase our understanding of how HIV-1 expression is regulated and move us closer to a cure for HIV-1/AIDS.|
|2014||Dr. Williams examined the interactions between the digestive enzyme, human pancreatic alpha-amylase, and various inhibitors, to determine how they reduce the rate of starch digestion. She discovered a new binding motif that blocks substrate access to the enzyme's catalytic site. These studies may lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes and obesity.|
|2014||Dr. Dunn studied the structure of human genes. She developed a method for isolating multi-component particles that are involved in the expression of genes. This tool will allow scientists around the world to better understand and treat a wide variety of human diseases, including various cancers, cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis.|
|2014||Dr. Lau investigated the channels in our cells that release calcium, allowing for the contraction of the heart and muscles. He found that a protein binds to them differently depending on where they are found in our bodies, and he created a 3D model of the channels. These findings help to explain how proteins and mutations may cause disease.|
|2014||Dr. Chan conducted her doctoral research in genetics and molecular biology. She investigated a novel mechanism by which cells respond to environmental factors by modulating the way they interpret genetic information. Her research highlights the role of genetic mutations in the growth of cancer cells.|
Possible areas of research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology include: control of gene expression in eukaryotes and bacteria; structure and function of genes; systems biology; blood proteins; the mechanism of the action of insulin; membrane and membrane protein structure and function; protein trafficking; cell-surface receptors, signal transduction, and cell-growth control; neural and retinal photoreceptor membranes; lipid-based targeted delivery systems; macromolecular crystallography and X-ray diffraction techniques for the characterization of enzymes and protein complexes; metalloprotein structure and function; mechanisms of enzyme activity; mechanism of hemoprotein electron transfer; structural analysis of proteins by nuclear magnetic resonance; mechanisms of multi-drug resistance; and cancer.