Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Biological Engineering (PhD)

Overview

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.

 

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Program Enquiries

If you have reviewed the information on this program page and understand the requirements for this program, you may send an enquiry

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:

90
22
21
22
21
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
31 March 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 July 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 August 2020
Referee Deadline: 31 August 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 July 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 August 2020
Referee Deadline: 31 August 2020

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

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. 

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 and Research Assistantships

Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.

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

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)
DuPont
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 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.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical and Biological Engineering (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
Applications8191778466
Offers122191816
New registrations10821514
Total enrolment7270748591

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 94.29% based on 35 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 50 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 3.32 years and the maximum time is 7.83 years with an average of 5.11 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.

  • Baldwin, Susan (Bioprocess engineering, bioremediation, biomedical reaction modelling)
  • Berlinguette, Curtis (Combinatorial Chemistry, CO2 conversion and utilization, clean energy, advanced solar cells, electrochromic windows, dynamic windows, hydrogen fuels production, catalysis, robotics and automation, machine learning / artificial intelligence)
  • 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)
  • Cao, Yankai (Optimization, Control and Operations Research, Solar and Wind Energy, Artificial Intelligence, Large Scale Optimization)
  • Cranston, Emily (Nanomaterials, Surfaces, Interfaces and Thin Layers, Polymers, Colloidal and Autoassembled Systems, Bio-based materials and nanocellulose, Atomic force microscopy (forces, adhesion, friction, imaging), Colloid and interface science, Polymer chemistry, Cellulose nanocrystals)
  • Ellis, Naoko (Chemical Processes, CO2 capture and utilization, multiphase systems, thermochemical conversion of biomass, Interdisciplinary teaching and learning)
  • 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 (Fluid Mechanics, Complex fluids, Biophysics, Mathematical biology)
  • Frostad, John (Nutriceuticals and Functional Foods, Fluid Mechanics, Emulsions, Foams, Functional Foods, Interfacial Rheology, Interfacial Phenomena, Sensory Analysis, Novel Instrumentation, Physics of Soft Matter, See my website: food.chbe.ubc.ca/opportunities/)
  • 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)
  • 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 (Drinking Water, Chemical Pollutants, Used Water, Clean Technologies, Drinking water quality and treatment, Advanced oxidation, UV based water purification and treatment, Water re-use, Electrochemical water treatment processes)
  • 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 (Fossil Fuels, Biomass (Energy), Chemical Processes, Applied catalysis)
  • Taghipour, Fariborz (Clean Technologies, Solar and Wind Energy, Drinking Water, solar fuels, Artificial Photosynthetic Systems, UV Photoreactors, UV-LED Reactors, UV Microplasma, Modeling of Chemical and Biochemical Reactors, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD))
  • Trajano, Heather (Biomass (Energy), Wood, Pulp and Paper, Biorefining, Biochemicals, Biomass extractives recovery and utilization, catalysis, Hemicellulose, Pretreatment, Kinetics)
  • Upham, David Chester (Energy Transformation and Energy Using, catalysis, Energy, Greenhouse gas mitigation)

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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
2019 Dr. Zacchia studied the production of radioactive material for use in medical scans. Combining knowledge from engineering, chemistry and nuclear physics, he developed new theoretical models to understand radioactivity production. The tools he developed will facilitate new and more efficient medical scans for diagnostics and medical research.
2019 Dr. Hamad studied methane oxidation catalysts to reduce the emissions from natural gas vehicles (NGVs). He developed a new catalyst formulation to minimize the catalysts deactivation by water and sulphur oxides. His results may have improved methane oxidation catalyst formulations for NGV converters to reduce the exhaust gas of unburned methane.
2019 Dr. Tomkovic studied self-responsive polymers. She developed novel self-healing materials with ultra-fast, autonomous recovery of mechanical properties and strong adhesive characteristics. These complex polymeric materials possess reactive functional groups that allow control of their flow and mechanical properties.
2019 Upgrading bio-oil to a viable transport fuel requires de-oxygenation. Dr. Liu developed an inexpensive catalyst for removing oxygen in bio-oil. He examined the catalyst both experimentally and theoretically and found that its performance is comparable to customary metal catalysts used in bio-oil upgrading.
2019 Dr. Nouri investigated advanced materials for renewable energy systems. His thesis uncovered relationships between the microscopic structures of porous materials, and their performance as transport layers for two-phase flow. His findings can improve the design of engineered materials for more efficient hydrogen fuel cells and electrolyzers.
2019 Dr. Yun compared different torrefied wood pellet production configurations, and quantified economic, environmental, and energetic impacts of B.C. wood pellet supply chains to different markets. Findings will assist the pellet industry in improving pellet plant operations, identifying future market opportunities, and seeking government policy support.
2019 Dr. Rubiano developed a mathematical model and simulation of low consistency refining, a process used in the forest products sector to improve the mechanical properties of paper and other natural materials. His experiments have been used to optimize the papermaking process and have demonstrated large industrial energy savings.
2019 Dr. Keshavarzfathy developed a computational model to simulate the performance of ultraviolet light emitting diode (UV-LED) reactors for water treatment. He subsequently applied the model to several UV-LED reactor concepts. His work increases our understanding of the design and optimization of UV-LED reactors.
2019 Dr. Wang spent the past four years developing carbide catalysts using petroleum coke. She combined experimental data and theoretical calculations to study the performance of her catalysts during the hydrotreating process. Her work provides a potential way to turn waste from oil sands refinery into a valuable product.
2019 Dr. Mirvakili's work focused on environmentally benign techniques to fabricate water repellent papers with low gas permeability. She investigated the effect of wood fiber size and drying mechanism on the barrier, optical, and mechanical properties of paper. Such paper is suitable for flexible electronics, paper-fluidics and packaging applications.

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Further Program Information

Chemical and Biological Engineering provides innovative and sustainable solutions to pressing local and global challenges to industry and society, with faculty being engaged in the following broad areas:

  • Biotechnology,
  • Chemical Process Engineering,
  • Energy and Materials,
  • Environmental Engineering.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-D2
 

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January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
31 March 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 July 2020
International Applicant Deadline
31 July 2020
 

Supervisor Search

 

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