Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)

Overview

In the Chemistry department Faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, undergraduates and staff members work cooperatively in a collegial environment to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems related to energy, health and sustainability.

Research areas in the department cover a wide range of subject matter, including applied chemistry, chemical synthesis, biological chemistry, environmental chemistry, chemical analysis, materials chemistry, chemical physics and theoretical chemistry.

What makes the program unique?

All students admitted into our graduate programme will receive a competitive stipend. Tuition fees are paid for all qualifying PhD students, as part of complete multi-year funding packages that also include funding via Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA).

Outstanding facilities and resources accommodate more than 500 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty that call the Department of Chemistry home. The Department has one of the most comfortable and up-to-date research spaces in North America.

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Program Enquiries

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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
23
22
23
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 required by some applicants. Please check the program website.

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 Chemistry (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

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

Research Information

Research Focus

Applicants who are interested in nanomaterials synthesis, characterization and application, and nanoscience instrumentation may consider the NanoMat 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. Applicants who are interested in quantum materials may consider the QuEST program.

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
01 June 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 August 2020
Referee Deadline: 31 August 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 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

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver Ph.D. program in Chemistry will receive a funding package of at least $21,000 for each of the first five years of their program (contingent on satisfactory teaching and research performance). The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.  In addition to this salary, Ph.D. students receive full tuition awards paid for by funds from the Graduate Student Initiative and the Faculty of Science for the first five years of the program.

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

192 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 3 graduates are seeking employment; 5 are in non-salaried situations; for 31 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 153 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 (9)
Harvard University (4)
University of Saskatchewan (2)
University of the Fraser Valley (2)
Simon Fraser University (2)
University of Oklahoma
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NUST)
University of South Australia
Kyushu University
University of Prince Edward Island
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Gilead Sciences (3)
Zymeworks Inc. (2)
Scripps Research Institute (2)
Sciex (2)
Agensys Inc. (2)
Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (2)
Theravance Biopharma Inc. (2)
GlaxoSmithKline (2)
PACEAS Technologies
Clinical Research Institute of Montreal
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Scientist (8)
Research Scientist (7)
Research Associate (3)
Principal Scientist (2)
Director (2)
Lawyer (2)
Investigator (2)
Research Scientist II (2)
Senior Research Scientist (2)
Senior Chemist
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.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (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
Applications219239280183140
Offers4667704464
New registrations2640403425
Total enrolment198211192182163

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 88.89% based on 81 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 85 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 1.66 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 5.81 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.

  • Algar, Russ (Luminescent Materials; Bio/Chemical Sensing; Materials synthesis and biofunctionalization; Understanding the nanoparticle interface; New energy transfer configurations for sensing and imaging; Point-of-care diagnostic devices; Intracellular sensing)
  • Andersen, Raymond (Chemicals produced by marine organisms)
  • 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)
  • Bertram, Allan (Atmosphere (Including Chemical Aspects), Physical and analytical chemistry of atmospheric aerosols)
  • Bizzotto, Dan (Electrochemical Systems, Surface Characterization, Surfaces, Interfaces and Thin Layers, Sensors and Devices, Electrochemical and Fuel Cells, Electrochemistry, interfacial analysis, biosensors, spectroelectrochemistry, electrocatalysis, self assembled monolayers, fluorescence microscopy)
  • Brooks, Donald (microgravity research (space station, etc); diagnostic testing device; Centre for Blood Research; biomaterials, Organic chem, blood research)
  • Brumer, Harry (Biological and Biochemical Mechanisms, Chemical Synthesis and Catalysis, Enzymes, polysaccharides, carbohydrates, biomass, cellulose, plant cell walls, microbiota)
  • Burke, Sarah (Scanning probe microscopy, organic materials, nanoscale materials, surface physics, photovoltaics )
  • Chen, David (Instrumentation)
  • Chou, Keng Chang (Chemical physics)
  • Ciufolini, Marco (organic chemistry, heterocyclic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, organic synthesis, synthetic methodology, natural products, Environmentally responsible preparative reactions)
  • Dake, Gregory (Organic, bioactive, metal as catalyist)
  • Fryzuk, Michael (energy; fuel cells; hydrogeny economy; nitrogen fixation, Metal, energy)
  • Gates, Derek (Inorganic chemistry, materials science, polymer chemistry, catalysis)
  • Grant, Edward (Spectroscopy, molecular electronic structure, Chemical physics)
  • Hein, Jason (discovery, design and study of new organometallic and organocatalytic reactions; investigating complex systems where multiple pathways compete, partitioning the active catalyst among many possible pathways)
  • Hepburn, John (Chemical physics)
  • Huan, Tao (Metabolic measurements, Metabolomics, Cellular Metabolism)
  • Hudson, Zachary (development of new materials to address issues of sustainability in chemistry and materials science)
  • Jetter, Reinhard (Analytical Chemistry, Plant Ecophysiology, Plant Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics, Biological Chemistry)
  • Kennepohl, Pierre (spectroscopy, electronic structure, paramagnetic resonance, X-ray absorption, X-ray emission, sulfur radicals in biology, enzymatic catalysis, transition metal catalysis, Relationship between electronic structure and reactivity in catalytic systems)
  • Krems, Roman (Theoretical chemistry, Molecular Spectroscopy, Dynamics of few- and many-body molecular systems in electromagnetic fields)
  • Li, Hongbin (Biophysical chemistry, biomaterials, single molecule studies, biological, atomic force, polymer chemistry)
  • MacFarlane, Andrew (Chemical physics, Electronic and magnetic properties of crystalline solids, especially strongly correlated materials such as the cuprate high temperature superconductors)
  • MacLachlan, Mark (Nanomaterials, Supramolecules and Autoassembling, Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds, Biomaterials, Basic Materials, Supramolecular Chemistry, Cellulose nanocrystals, Chitin, Materials Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry)

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
2019 Dr. Leung used applied voltages to deposit chemically modified DNA molecules onto gold surfaces. Using electrochemical fluorescence microscopy, she investigated the effect of the gold surface morphology and other conditions on this process. Her research could be used to optimize DNA biosensors that are to be used as medical diagnostic devices.
2019 If automation is inevitable, one must either fear it or embrace it; Dr. Christy believes the latter. His research focuses on bringing automation to the pulp and paper industry. He developed a spectroscopic method to predict product quality based on in-process pulp, and deployed it in a pilot plant. His goal is a full-scale mill implementation.
2019 Dr. Zimmerman designed and synthesized a new ligand scaffold for nickel and palladium complexes. The resulting metal complexes and and their reactivity patterns were studied and what emerged was that the ligand can participate in chemistry at the metal center.
2019 Dr. Cantin studied quantum systems. He showed that certain quasiparticles can be localized by disorder and modeled a tool to study material surfaces. His work improves our understanding of energy transport in materials and gives a foundation for machine learning to solve the inverse scattering problem for surface-sensitive molecular interferometers.
2019 Nuclear medicine is an important field of medicine, shining a light within the human body to facilitate diagnosis and therapy. Dr. Wang developed a new group of chelators based on "oxine" arms which showed a marked improvement from its previous counterpart. This work has significant potential for radiophamaceuticals in nuclear medicine.
2019 Dr. Zhang developed new and efficient synthetic technologies using radical reactions for the production of pharmaceutically relevant molecules, which have either fluorine atoms or nitrogen rings. These technologies are able to address some of the long standing challenges that are present in chemical synthesis for drug discovery.
2019 Dr. Beattie examined how nickel, a sustainable and cheap metal element, can activate carbon-hydrogen bonds, including effects of different reaction variables. His studies inform the inorganic and organic chemical communities on the mechanism of how nickel can be used for sustainable chemical transformations.
2019 Dr. Lewis developed gels using nanoparticles made from wood. The gels are water-filled, soft materials that can change their properties in a controllable way. These new materials have potential applications in environmental remediation, tissue engineering, and energy storage.
2019 Dr. Kovalchik developed computational tools for the analysis of high-resolution mass spectrometry data relating to oil sands process-affected water and cancer biology.
2019 Dr. Abdelmagid conducted his research in the field of chemistry, and his doctoral studies focused on the isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway enzymes. He developed an inhibition strategy for enzymes that are considered potential drug targets for cancer therapy. His novel work may lead to the development of a new class of anti-cancer drugs.

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Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Program Information

Specialization

Chemistry covers a wide range of subject matter, from synthetic organic chemistry to chemical physics and theory, including inorganic, organic, analytical, biological, physical, theoretical, nuclear, environmental, and materials chemistry.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-D6
 

Apply Now

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

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 August 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 August 2020
 

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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