Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (PhD)

Overview

The Botany Department is one of the largest and strongest plant-focused departments in North America with roots extending back to the founding of UBC in 1915. Our departmental community of more than 260 consists of 40 full-time faculty members, several part-time faculty or associates, about 100 graduate students, numerous post-doctoral fellows and research associates, laboratory technicians, and a support staff of secretarial, equipment, herbarium, stores, workshop and greenhouse personnel. Our graduate students are expected to make influential contributions to scientific discovery and discourse, engage in formal and informal teaching and mentoring, and progress to careers in academia, industry, government and non-governmental organizations. The Botany Grad Student Association forms an active group, organizing talks, study sessions, field trips and a variety of social activities. Recent Botany graduates have gone on to prestigious postdoctoral and teaching/research positions in Canada, the USA and abroad (England, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, France, Sweden).

What makes the program unique?

The Botany Department offers unparalleled opportunities for research and teaching/learning with faculty members at the leading-edge of their disciplines. Specializations within Botany range from molecular genetics to climate change impacts on marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Collaborations between Botany faculty and other departments including Zoology, Chemistry, Forestry, Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Michael Smith Laboratories, bring a rich array of potential topic areas for research to Botany graduate students. State-of-the-art facilities for bio-imaging, as well as a world-class herbarium and access to living collections in the Canadian Centre for the Culture of Microorganisms, add to the overall uniqueness of the Botany program.

 

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Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

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.

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.

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:

92
22
22
22
22
6.5
6.0
6.0
6.0
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.

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.

This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

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.

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 December 2019
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 July 2020
Transcript Deadline: 05 July 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 July 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 July 2020
Transcript Deadline: 05 July 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 July 2020

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 July 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2021
Transcript Deadline: 05 February 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 February 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2021
Transcript Deadline: 05 February 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 February 2021

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$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)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (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 students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 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. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

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

65 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 5 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 58 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 British Columbia (5)
University of Alberta (3)
University of California - Berkeley (2)
University of Texas at El Paso
Crandall University
University of Melbourne
Seoul National University
University of Toronto
Arizona State University
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
INRA IJPB
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati
BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Canadian Museum of Nature
Enza Zaden
Carnegie Institution for Science
BC Ministry of Environment
Novozymes Inc.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Research Scientist (4)
Postdoctoral Fellow (3)
Director of Operations
Associate
Researcher Plant Physiologist
Provincial Terrestrial Ecosystems Ecologist
Regional Entomologist
Scientist
Scientist II
Scientist and Project Manager
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
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

Botany is the branch of biology that involves the study of the structure, evolution, properties and biochemical processes of all forms of plant life, including algae, fungi, ferns and trees. Also included within its scope are plant classification and the study of plant diseases, as well as the interactions of plants with people and the environment. A degree in Botany is well-suited to meet the challenges posed by biodiversity loss and impacts of climate change. Positions for people with botany backgrounds are usually in educational institutions, government and environmental organizations, and in the biotechnology industry including companies seeking new drugs and medicines, and useful genes for improvement of crop plants.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Botany (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
Applications2627281413
Offers13101193
New registrations871073
Total enrolment6566736673

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 88.89% based on 27 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 32 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 3.66 years and the maximum time is 8.66 years with an average of 5.91 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
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. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. 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 [data updated: 27 October 2019].

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.

  • Adams, Keith (Molecular evolution, genome evolution, and gene expression)
  • Angert, Amy (Biodiversity and Biocomplexity, Biogeography, Ecological and Ecophysiological Processes, evolutionary ecology, population biology, biological responses to climate change, Conservation Biology)
  • Berbee, Mary (Evolution and Phylogenesis, Microorganisms, Taxonomy and Systematics, systematics, molecular phylogenetics, fungi, mycology)
  • Bohlmann, Joerg (plant biochemistry, forestry genomics, forest health, conifers, poplar, bark beetle, mountain pine beetle, natural products, secondary metabolites, terpenes, floral scent, grapevine, Conifer genomics Forest health genomics Mountain pine beetle, fungus, pine interactions and genomics Chemical ecology of conifer, insect interactions)
  • Cronk, Quentin Charles (Comparative genomics, molecular developmental biology and evolutionary biology to study plant form)
  • Davies, Jonathan (Phylogenetics & Biodiversity. Development and application of phylogenetic methods in ecology and conservation biology)
  • Fast, Naomi (Genomics, single-celled organisms)
  • Graham, Sean (Plant phylogenetics, Plant systematics, Plant evolution, Organelles, Phylogenomics, Land plants, Mycoheterotrophs)
  • Haughn, George (Molecular Genetics, Plants, Cellular Differentiation, plant cell wall biology, seed coat differentiation)
  • Jetter, Reinhard (Analytical Chemistry, Plant Ecophysiology, Plant Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics, Biological Chemistry)
  • Keeling, Patrick John (Molecular evolution and cell biology of eukaryotes)
  • Kunst, Ljerka (Seed storage oil production, biosynthesis)
  • Leander, Brian (Evolutionary morphology, Marine invertebrate zoology, Evolutionary protistology, Species discovery, Phylogenetic biology, Comparative organismal biology, Marine biodiversity)
  • Lee, Jae-Hyeok (Molecular Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics, molecular genetics of microalgae for robust biomass production, evolution of developmental mechanisms, cell and molecular biology of cellular differentiation)
  • Li, Xin (Molecules in plants, plants defence against pathogen infection, plant genes)
  • Maddison, Wayne (Arachnology, Biodiversity, Spiders, Phylogenetic Theory and Programming)
  • Martone, Patrick (Protist, Plants, Physiology, Taxonomy and Systematics, Ecology and Quality of the Environment, Evolution and Phylogenesis, Biomaterials, Solid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Phycology, Macroalgae, evolution, biomechanics, Intertidal Zone, Ecology)
  • Michaletz, Sean (Plant physiological ecology, macroecology, fire behavior and effects)
  • Parfrey, Laura (Microbial ecology, microbial diversity, microbiome, protists )
  • Rieseberg, Loren (plant evolutionary biology, adaptation, speciation, crops, weeds, invasive plants)
  • Rosado Rey, Abel (Plasma membrane repair mechanisms in plants)
  • Samuels, Anne Lacey (plant cell biology, plant cell walls)
  • Song, Liang (Plant genomics, Environmental stresses, Seed development, Gene Expression)
  • Suttle, Curtis (Marine Environment, Microbial Diversity, Marine Microbiology, Environmental Virology, Biological Oceanography, Viral Discovery, Viruses, Phage)
  • Tortell, Philippe (Biological / Chemical Oceanography, Climate-active Trace Gases, Primary Productvity, Polar Marine Ecosystems)

Pages

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. Le Renard studied the evolution of fly-speck fungi, microfungi growing on the surfaces of plants and abundant as fossils. He analyzed the evolutionary relationships of living fungi using DNA, compared their anatomy to fossils, and described three new fossils. This comparative work sheds light on the evolution of a very diverse group of fungi.
2020 Dr. Munz examined how plants and algae respond to a lack of nitrogen, a macronutrient that is essential for growth and development. Using the genetics model of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a single-cell green algae, Dr. Munz makes a critical first step toward uncovering the elusive signaling mechanism that responds to cellular nitrogen status.
2020 Dr. Wu studied the signaling transduction pathways in plant immunity. His work revealed novel regulatory mechanisms governing the activation of plant immune receptors, which may contribute to the engineering of broad-spectrum resistance in crops.
2020 Dr. Paudel studied two key aspects of plant-virus interaction: how viruses coerce plants to produce viral products and how the plant defends itself. He identified regions in the viral genome that help in hijacking the host resources. Also, his results showed a variety of host antiviral defenses and highlighted the complexity of the interaction.
2019 Dr. McGee studied the outer protective coat of the seed. He developed the tools and system to be able to modify specific components of the cell wall in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. This work increased our understanding of cell wall structure and function.
2019 Dr. Liu studied plant immunity using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Her studies provide new insights on how plants sense pathogens and regulate defense responses, which help us better understand the complicated plant immune system
2019 Dr. Huang studied how plant immunity is regulated in a small plant called Arabidopsis. He found out that plants use two sets of proteins to oppositely control the synthesis of salicylic acid, a hormone vital for plant immunity. Such knowledge will assist the development of eco-friendly strategies to protect agriculture from plant diseases.
2019 Dr. Nitta studied the regulation of signal transduction that occurs during plant immunity. Her work contributes to help uncover mechanisms which plants use to control the magnitude of defense responses.
2019 Dr. Starko explored how environmental conditions have shaped the evolutionary dynamics and ecological strategies of an important group of marine primary producers. His work spanned multiple spatial and temporal scales from large-scale patterns of evolution through deep time to the development of individual species.
2019 Dr. Meents characterized plant Golgi during secondary cell wall formation, helping to explain how many essential molecules are made in the cell. Dr. Meents also employed education research to compare different teaching techniques in cell biology classes, leading to significant improvement in problem solving instruction in courses at UBC.

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Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Program Information

Specialization

Research in Botany extends from genomics, molecular genetics, biochemistry and physiology of plants and eukaryotic microorganisms (e.g., fungi and protists) through to cytology and development to systematics, ecology, and phytogeography. The broad areas of research possible within the program are cell biology and biochemistry; genomics and genetics, plant molecular biology; plant and algal physiology; terrestrial and marine ecology; biosystematics and evolution; development and ultrastructure; protistology; and mycology.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-C2
 
 

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 December 2019
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 July 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 July 2020

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 July 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 February 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 February 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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