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.

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Science
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Chemistry
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Science

Apply Now

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

English Language Proficiency

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

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?
Highly recommended

Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)

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.

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.

September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2019
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 April 2020
Transcript Deadline: 30 April 2020
Referee Deadline: 30 April 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 March 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 March 2020
Referee Deadline: 31 March 2020

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

Funding Sources

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.

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.

We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your 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.

In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.

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.

Alumni on Success

Peter Caravan

Job Title
Co-Director, Institute for Innovation in Imaging and Associate Professor of Radiology
Employer
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Tracey Stott

Job Title
Lawyer
Employer
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Sherry Zhao

Job Title
Senior Director, Strategic Accounts & Business Development
Employer
Mitacs

Tuition / Program Costs

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.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20182017201620152014
Applications239280183140169
Offers6770446465
New registrations4040342521
Total enrolment211192182163161

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: 22 March 2019]. 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 (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 (Physical and analytical chemistry of atmospheric aerosols)
  • Bizzotto, Dan (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 (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 (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 (Supramolecular Chemistry, Nanomaterials, Biomaterials, Cellulose nanocrystals, Chitin, Materials Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Ashton Christy
    "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." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Amanda Claire Zimmerman
    "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." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Kaylyn Kyra Leung
    "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." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Douglas Dawson Beattie
    "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." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Kevin Andrew Kovalchik
    "Dr. Kovalchik developed computational tools for the analysis of high-resolution mass spectrometry data relating to oil sands process-affected water and cancer biology." (November 2019)

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Program Information

 

Apply Now

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

September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2019
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 April 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 March 2020

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.