Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Biological Engineering (PhD)

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Program Components
Faculty of Applied Science


Chemical and Chemical & Biological engineers create and develop processes to change raw materials into the products that society depends on; food, chemicals, fuels, energy, metals, pharmaceuticals, paper, plastics, and personal care products. Chemical and process engineers help to manage natural resources, protect the environment, control health and safety procedures, and recycle materials, while developing and managing the processes which make the products we use.

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering was established in 1999 at UBC, and reflects the growing need for engineers in the fields of biotechnology, biomedical and bio-resource engineering. At present there are 24 full-time faculty in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, together with a support staff of 17.

We have established a world-class reputation in several areas of chemical engineering science including fluid-solids contacting, pulp and paper engineering, heat exchanger fouling and, more recently, biotechnology.

The Department is actively engaged in applied research, CHBE faculty-led research provides innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing local and global challenges to industry and society.

  • Energy and Fuels: Sustainable clean energy and fuels supply and use
  • Natural Resources: Managing and maximizing the value of Canada’s forest and fossil carbon reserves
  • Environment: Mitigating climate change/pollution; Clean water and biodiversity security
  • Health: Rising medical costs in the face of aging population; Cancer and other deadly diseases
  • Industry: Increasing pressure from emerging economies

Solutions to the above challenges are inextricably linked to our understanding of complex chemical and biological systems.


Meet a UBC representative

Engineering Graduate School Fair

McGill University (Trottier Building, 2nd Floor Lobby)
Date: Monday, 25 September 2017
Time: 15:00 to 18:00

Engineering Graduate School Fair

Queen's University, Agnes Etherington Art Centre Atrium, 36 University Avenue
Date: Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Time: 15:00 to 18:00

Engineering Graduate School Fair

McMaster University, University Club, 1280 Main Street, Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1
Date: Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Time: 16:30 to 19:00

Engineering Graduate School Fair

University of Waterloo, Engineering 5, Sedra Student Design Centre
Date: Thursday, 28 September 2017
Time: 16:30 to 19:00

Engineering Graduate School Fair

University of Toronto, Stone Lobby, Medical Sciences Building, 1 King’s College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 1A8
Date: Monday, 02 October 2017
Time: 15:00 to 18:00

Engineering Graduate School Fair

University of Alberta, Engineering Teaching and Learning Complex Solarium
Date: Tuesday, 03 October 2017
Time: 16:00 to 19:00

Engineering Graduate School Fair

UBC Fred Kaiser Building (Atrium + Rooms 2020/2030) - 2332 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC
Date: Wednesday, 04 October 2017
Time: 16:00 to 19:00


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Funding Sources

Applicants who are interested in catalysis research with a focus on programs addressing waste generation, environmental compatibility, energy efficiency, and alternative energy sources may consider the SusSyn program that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities. Applicants who are interested in the production, preparation, and application of nuclear isotopes for science and medicine may consider the IsoSiM program. 

Career Outcomes

106 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 8 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 96 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 (10)
McGill University (2)
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (2)
University of Costa Rica
Iran University of Science and Technology
Shandong University
Universiti Malaysia Sabah
Universidad Veracruzana
South University of Science and Technology of China
Daegu University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Coanda Research and Development Corporation (3)
Ballard Power Systems (2)
Honeywell (2)
ZincNyx Energy Solutions, Inc. (2)
NORAM Engineering and Constructors Ltd. (2)
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
TAKREER (Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company)
Wood Group
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Research Engineer (4)
Research Scientist (3)
Scientist (2)
Research and Technology Advisor (2)
Senior Research Scientist (2)
Engineer (2)
Director (2)
Senior Process Research Scientist
Research Engineer, Strategic Technology Planner
Head, Process Modeling & Simulation Section
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
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.

Alumni on Success

Jasna Jankovic

Job Title
Senior Research Scientist
Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,600.60$2,811.98
Tuition per year$4,801.80$8,435.94
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (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. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations1514151317
Total enrolment8591868998

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 35 graduations between 2012 - 2015 the minimum time to completion is 3.66 years and the maximum time is 7.00 years with an average of 4.74 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 12 July 2017]. 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: 8 April 2016].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Tuesday, 24 October 2017 - 4:00pm - Room 200

Magrieta Jeanette Leeuwner Janse van Vuuren
Interfacial Characteristics and Novel and Improved Microporous Layers for PEM Fuel Cells

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.

  • Baldwin, Susan (Bioprocess engineering, bioremediation, biomedical reaction modelling)
  • Berlinguette, Curtis (CO2 conversion and utilization, clean energy , advanced solar cells, electrochromic windows, dynamic windows, hydrogen fuels production, catalysis)
  • Bi, Xiaotao (Biomass and Bioenergy, Multiphase Chemical Reactors, Fluidization, Particle technology, Electrostatics of Powders, Life Cycle Analysis, Green Engineering, Industrial Symbiosis, Fuel Cells Water Management)
  • Ellis, Naoko (chemical engineering; multiphase reactors, CO2 capture, bioenergy, sustainability education and leadership, science outreach, Clean Energy Research Centre, Fluidization and Multiphase Systems, CO2 Mitigation & Capture, Bio-Fuels, Data Analysis)
  • Englezos, Peter (Clathrate (gas) hydrate science, engineering and novel applications , Clathrates-applications: natural gas storage & transport, CO2 capture & storage, water treatment), Thermodynamics of fluids and super-hydrophobic surfaces,, Novel materials from forest bio-resources, High-value papermaking)
  • Feng, James Jingtao (Complex fluids, Biophysics, Mathematical biology)
  • Frostad, John (Emulsions, Foams, Functional Foods, Interfacial Rheology, Interfacial Phenomena, Human Health)
  • Gopaluni, Bhushan (Modelling and experiment design, identification for control)
  • Gyenge, Elod Lajos (Electrochemical engineering, fuel cells, batteries, electrodes)
  • Hatzikiriakos, Savvas (Polymer melt and suspension rheology, food rheology, polymer melt processing, superhydrophobicity, surface science, winter sports expert, ski/skate performance and snow/ice friction. )
  • Haynes, Charles (Protein purification, recombinant proteins, molecular thermodynamics, biocompatible polymers)
  • Kwok, K Ezra (Modelling and control of of chemical and biomedical systems)
  • Lau, Anthony K (Environmental engineering, waste-to-resource recycling, composting, odor control, biohydrogen energy )
  • Lim, Choon Jim (Biomass and fossil fuels, Spouted bed, Gas-particle system hydrodynamics, heat transfer, Hydrogen production)
  • Martinez, Mark (Fluid mechanics, Complex fluids, Flow visualization)
  • Mohseni, Madjid (Water treatment; Ultraviolet (UV), ozone, and Advanced oxidation technologies; Environmental pollution control; bioenergy from waste, Environmental bioprocesses engineering, biofiltration, biological wastewater treatment, advanced oxidation)
  • Piret, James (Biomedical engineering, regenerative medicine Cell-based therapies have the potential to provide improved treatments for major diseases such as cancer and diabetes)
  • Smith, Kevin (Catalysis, biofuels )
  • Taghipour, Fariborz (Solar Fuels, Artificial Photosynthetic Systems, UV Photoreactors, UV-LED Reactors, UV Microplasma, Modeling of Chemical and Biochemical Reactors, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD))
  • Trajano, Heather (pulp, paper, and saw mills could co-produce new, high value bioenergy, biochemicals, and biomaterials with current outputs; make large-scale biorefineries a reality by examining and harnessing the fundamental kinetic and transport phenomena of fractionation and catalysis for maximum economic and environmental benefit.)
  • Wachs, Anthony (Fluid mechanics, Particle-laden flows, Non Newtonian flows, Heat and mass transfer, Numerical simulation, High performance computing, Multi-scale modelling)
  • Wilkinson, David (Electrochemistry, electrocatalysis, electrochemical power sources, advanced electrolysis, , hydrogen production and storage, waste water and drinking water treatment, solar fuels, carbon dioxide conversion, clean and sustainable energy and water)
  • Yadav, Vikramaditya (Biocatalysis, Bioremediation, Bioprocess engineering, Drug delivery, Infectious disease pathogenesis & drug discovery, Green chemistry, Medical biotechnology, Metabolic engineering, Synthetic biology, Tissue engineering; sustainable manufacturing technologies for the production of cleaner fuels and more efficacious pharmaceuticals.)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Ali Hussain Alzaid
    "Dr. Ali investigated the complex process of Canadian crude oil refining. His study highlighted the role of molecular structure and process conditions on gum formation. These results will help find ways to limit catalyst deactivation by gum formation, a major obstacle in oil sands upgrading, and will improve the proficiency of plants in Canada." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Maziar Derakhshandeh
    "Dr. Derakhshandeh worked on improving the processing of various polymers used to fabricate plastic products. He addressed the effect of different molecular structures and processing conditions, making it possible to model and optimize the current polymer processing techniques in order to obtain better quality products such as stronger shopping bags and pipes." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Pooneh Ghasvareh
    "Dr. Ghasvareh investigated the effects of Cobalt particle size on Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, a set of chemical reactions that convert a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons. Her research broadened our knowledge about the stability of Cobalt catalysts and can be applied to synthesize catalysts with a longer lifetime." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Reza Rezaei
    "One in ten people lack access to safe drinking water. Dr. Rezaei studied the effectiveness of photocatalytic processes on the removal of chemical contamination of water supplies and developed a kinetic model for better understanding photocatalytic reactions. His work will improve our ability to provide small and rural communities with safe drinking water." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Melissa Barazandegan
    "Type II diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases affecting at least 285 million people worldwide. Dr. Barazandegan's doctoral studies focused on employing a clinically-relevant physiological model of type II diabetes mellitus to improve the management of blood glucose level and fault detection features suitable for monitoring and control." (May 2017)

Apply Now

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January 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
01 February 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 August 2017
International Applicant Deadline
31 July 2017

May 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
30 April 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 October 2017
International Applicant Deadline
31 October 2017

September 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 December 2017
International Applicant Deadline
31 December 2017

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