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 program 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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Meet a Representative

Faculty of Science Information Session

Date: Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Time: 10:00 to 11:15

UBC’s Faculty of Science is home to an array of outstanding scientists and students who strive to unravel the principles that underlie our universe - from the subatomic to the macroscopic, from pure mathematics to biotechnology, from ecosystems to galactic systems. In this session hosted by Professor Mark MacLachlan, Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Studies, we’ll hear from faculty members and graduate students on some of the exciting research happening within the Faculty of Science. We’ll also take a look at the wide range of graduate programs available, what it's like to be a grad student in Science, and also provide some application advice. Be sure to join us and get an insight into how UBC Science is discovering new scientific knowledge and preparing Canada’s and the world’s next generation of scientists.

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

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. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

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:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 92

Reading

23

Writing

22

Speaking

22

Listening

23

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

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.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 April 2022
Transcript Deadline: 30 April 2022
Referee Deadline: 30 April 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 March 2022
Transcript Deadline: 31 March 2022
Referee Deadline: 31 March 2022

January 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 2022
Transcript Deadline: 31 August 2022
Referee Deadline: 31 August 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 August 2022
Transcript Deadline: 31 August 2022
Referee Deadline: 31 August 2022

3) Prepare Application

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.

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.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Focus

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.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application FeeNo application feeNo application fee
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,052.34 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,126.20 (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 $22,000 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.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 144 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research/academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $28,097.
  • 109 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 109 students was $7,064.
  • 96 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 96 students was $14,098.
  • 143 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 143 students was $9,584.
  • 24 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 24 students was $23,004.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
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

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

 20202019201820172016
Applications246219239280183
Offers5046677044
New registrations2826404034
Total enrolment201198211192182

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 89.29% based on 84 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 83 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 1.66 years and the maximum time is 7.83 years with an average of 5.73 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 April 2021]. 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: 29 October 2020].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 29 October 2021 - 12:30pm - Room D215 || Chemistry || 2036 Main Mall

Duane Hean
Photofunctional Molecular Crystals

Friday, 19 November 2021 - 3:00pm

Alla Pryyma
Methodologies for Synthesis of Transcription Inhibiting Peptides, Amatoxins, and Their Bioconjugates for Targeted Cancer Therapy

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
2017 Dr. Loosley studied organic chemistry. His work investigated the synthesis of complex molecules with potential as cancer pharmaceuticals. This work could ultimately result in new ways to treat various types of cancer.
2017 Dr. Mehr looked at the dynamic nature of atomic connectivity and electron distribution in a family of organic compounds. He showed that the insights gained can be used to design new compounds with unusual and potentially useful properties.
2017 Taking inspiration from poly-iron cofactors found in nature, Dr. Pick synthesized poly-iron coordination complexes and studied their reactivity. He discovered a system that cleaves a nitrogen nitrogen double bond. This work offers insight into what a potential iron-based catalyst for nitrogen functionalization might look like.
2017 Dr. Rawe developed new methods to synthesize phosphorus-containing polymers. He discovered a new class of chemically active polymer that has changing fluorescence properties when exposed to oxygen or gold ions. His research provides evidence that phosphorus-containing polymers may be useful materials to detect specific analytes in low concentrations.
2017 Dr. Desnoyer studied the fundamental reactivity of late transition metal complexes. He examined how metals like nickel and rhodium interact with other molecules to either make or break chemical bonds. His work will be used to develop new, more efficient methods to make more complex products from simple, abundant starting materials.
2017 Dr. Chen designed and studied new ring-shaped molecules with tunable shapes and sizes. These molecules spontaneously stack into organized nanotubes that can be used in microelectronics.
2017 Dr. Reza Tafteh developed novel methods for three-dimensional super-resolution imaging; from cellular surface to interior.
2017 Nanoscopic transport of liquid is critical to many fields of material science and technology. Dr. Liu investigated water and ion transport through carbon nanotubes. He used molecular dynamics to investigate the influence of the water model in simulations. His research helps us understand the mechanism of liquid conduction through nanoscopic channels.
2017 Dr. Lanaro used molecular simulations to observe how crystals form and dissolve in solution. The simulation data was collected and analized to uncover details about the first stages of crystal formation.
2017 In the process of developing and optimizing new chemistry, the understanding of reaction pathways is essential. Dr. Yu studied organic reaction mechanisms using nontraditional methods. She contributed to the field by testing the limits of a new automated method of reaction monitoring, particularly in challenging environments such as the microwave reactor for organic chemistry.

Pages

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further 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

Classification

 

Apply Now

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

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 April 2022
International Applicant Deadline
01 March 2022

January 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 August 2022
International Applicant Deadline
01 August 2022
 
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