Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)

Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

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.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

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

January 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 July 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 August 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 August 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 July 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 August 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 August 2024

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 thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis 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 fee$60.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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 $26,000 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, 131 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 $34,519.
  • 116 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 116 students was $7,213.
  • 123 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 123 students was $12,337.
  • 8 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 8 students was $5,156.
  • 131 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 131 students was $13,384.
  • 17 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 17 students was $21,961.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - 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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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 Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator 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

 20232022202120202019
Applications232478590260229
Offers5047765646
New Registrations2934473226
Total Enrolment200207209191194

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 91% based on 118 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 96 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 4.1 years and the maximum time is 9.22 years with an average of 5.61 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Monday, 27 May 2024 - 9:30am - D213, Chemistry D Block, 2036 Main Mall

Katherine Dawn Krause
Spectroscopy and Surface Chemistry in the Design of Fluorescent Nanomaterials for Biosensing

Tuesday, 18 June 2024 - 9:00am - Room 200

Condurache Matei Vacariu
Synthesis of Tools for Studying the AmpG Pore Protein Involved in Antibiotic Resistance

Tuesday, 25 June 2024 - 12:30pm - D213, Chemistry D Block, 2036 Main Mall

Jerome Sebastian Claveria Lozada
The Development of 18F-Fluorescent-RBF3 PET Tracers, New Radioprosthetic Trifluoroborates, and the Use of Tetrafluoroborate Salts for Organotrifluoroborate Synthesis

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis 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.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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
2014 Dr. Bremner studied the electrical charging and discharging properties of poly-thiophene, a polymer that can store a charge like a battery. His work demonstrated that the introduction of small pores in the polymer increased the rate of discharging of poly-thiophene, an important characteristic for organic batteries.
2014 Dr. Leung discovered two reactions which employ ultraviolet light, for example sunlight, to transfer fluorine atoms to organic molecules. He also discovered a safer source-equivalent of atomic fluorine. These contributions might provide a new and reliable strategy for scientists to synthesize fluorine containing drugs.
2014 Dr. Earl designed new metal-organic frameworks with complex extended structures for energy storage and transport. She explored how the shape of molecules influenced the properties of solid phase polymers. Dr. Earl's findings have implications for applications such as separating industrial gases and full spectrum light emitting diodes.
2014 Dr. Payne developed catalysts based on inexpensive non-toxic metals for the efficient synthesis of nitrogen containing compounds. These studies establish the broad applicability of these approaches and reactivity trends, to guide future developments. The greener methodologies are attractive to the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries.
2014 Dr. Yonson's work generated new metal catalysts for facilitating chemical reactions. These chemical reactions resulted in the formation of carbon-nitrogen or carbon-carbon bonds, which are fundamental to organic chemistry. This research will help inform further development of metal catalysts for use in chemical synthesis.
2014 Dr. Forestieri studied the chemistry of therapeutic compounds found in nature. His achievements included the first synthesis of a new steroid to treat tuberculosis and discovery of a new natural product with potential anti-diabetic properties. These outcomes may enable more effective strategies to combat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and type 2 diabetes.
2014 Dr. Telpoukhovskaia's research was in the field of medicinal inorganic chemistry. She worked on design and synthesis of novel compounds that are able to interact with biologically active copper, iron, and zinc. Furthermore, she tested these compounds in a biological setting to elucidate their potential activity in Alzheimer's disease.
2013 Dr. Lauzon's research focused on the development and understanding of catalysts based on non-toxic, inexpensive transition metals, such as tantalum and zirconium. These catalysts are able to facilitate difficult chemical reactions that were previously inaccessible and have implications in both the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.
2013 Dr. Haga studied how ice forms on particles in the atmosphere. She found that human-caused pollutant coatings on dust particles affect their ice forming properties, and also that ice formation on biological particles might change how they travel in air. These results have implications for climate processes and on the spread of biological diseases.
2013 Dr. Lang studied hydrocarbon aerosols and showed that, at low temperatures, they can form long-lived liquid droplets before freezing. This is important for understanding clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan. Her work provides data for astronomical remote sensing applications and can help to improve Titan's atmospheric models.

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

 
 

January 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 July 2024
International Applicant Deadline
31 July 2024
 
Supervisor Search
 

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