Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science (PhD)


PhD students in the Department of Computer Science may focus their research in the following areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence: computer vision, decision theory/game theory, knowledge representation and reasoning, intelligent user interfaces, machine learning, natural language understanding and generation, robotics and haptics.
  • Computer Graphics: animation, imaging, modeling, rendering, visualization.
  • Data Management and Mining: business intelligence, data integration, genomic analysis, text mining, web databases.
  • Formal Verification and Analysis of Systems: analog, digital and hybrid systems, VLSI, protocols, software.
  • Human Centered Technologies: human computer interaction (HCI), visual, haptic and multimodal interfaces, computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), visual analytics.
  • Networks, Systems, and Security: high performance computing/parallel processing, networking, operating systems and virtualization, security.
  • Scientific Computing: numerical methods and software, differential equations, linear algebra, optimization.
  • Software Engineering and Programming Languages: development tools, foundations of computation, middleware, programming languages, software engineering.
  • Theory: algorithm design and analysis (including empirical), algorithmic game theory, discrete optimization, graph theory, computational geometry

What makes the program unique?

The UBC Department of Computer Science has many contacts in the computing industry. A strong rapport between the industry and research communities is beneficial to both, especially in cases where the department focuses its research to developing real-world applications.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Information Technology
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Computer Science
Program Components
Faculty of Science

Meet a UBC representative

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Thursday, 23 August 2018
Time: 09:00 to 10:00
Join our Graduate Student Ambassadors Samuel Adenyanju (MSc Forestry, Nigeria), Federico Andrade (PhD Public Health, Colombia), Maria Angélica Guerrero (MA Educational Studies, Colombia), Xining (Linda) Yang (PhD Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, China) and Dorine Akwiri (Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Kenya) who will be available to answer questions about their experiences at UBC, including topics such as accommodation, moving to a new city/province/country and settling in, making friends, being an international student, and more. This session is open to participants interested in different programs across all faculties at UBC. Please note that we will not be able to provide answers to questions regarding application or admissions policies or any that involve specific personal information.


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


GRE required?

Not required

Funding Sources

All full-time PhD students will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD program. The funding package consists of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships.  This support is contingent on full-time registration as a UBC Graduate student, satisfactory performance in assigned teaching and research assistantship duties, and good standing with satisfactory progress in your academic performance. CS students are expected to apply for fellowships or scholarship to which they are eligible. 

Career Outcomes

111 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 106 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):

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 (5)
McGill University (3)
University of Waterloo (3)
University of Manitoba (2)
Swansea University
Stanford University
University of Utah
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
University of Saskatchewan
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Google (12)
Microsoft (4)
Amazon (3)
Intel Corporation (3)
Disney (2)
Oracle Labs (2)
IBM (2)
Tasktop Technologies (2)
Tableau (2)
OriGene Technologies Inc.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Research Scientist (5)
Software Engineer (5)
Senior Software Engineer (4)
Chief Technology Officer (3)
Product Manager (3)
Software Development Engineer (2)
Senior Data Scientist (2)
Senior Research Engineer (2)
Advisory Engineer
Senior Research Scientist
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
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

Barry Po

Job Title
Senior Director, Product & Business Development

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (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. 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

New registrations1312696
Total enrolment7678768381

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 77.61% based on 67 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 31 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 4.66 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 6.04 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 9 March 2018]. 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 September 2017].

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.

  • Beschastnikh, Ivan (cloud computing, distributed systems, software engineering, software analysis)
  • Carenini, Giuseppe (Artificial intelligence, user modeling, decision theory, machine learning, social issues in computing, computational linguistics, information visualization)
  • Conati, Cristina (artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, affective computing, personalized interfaces, intelligent user interfaces, intelligent interface agents, virtual agent, user-adapted interaction, computer-assisted education, educational computer games, computers in education, user-adaptive interaction, Artificial intelligence, adaptive interfaces, cognitive systems, user modelling)
  • Condon, Anne (Algorithms, Molecular Programming)
  • Evans, William (Algorithms, Theoretical Computer Science, Computer Sciences and Mathematical Tools, theoretical computer science, computational geometry, graph drawing, program compression)
  • Feeley, Michael (Distributed systems, operating systems, workstation and pc clusters)
  • Friedlander, Michael (numerical optimization, numerical linear algebra, scientific computing, Scientific computing)
  • Friedman, Joel (Computer Science Theory, Algebraic Graph Theory, Combinatorics)
  • Garcia, Ronald (programming language semantics, design, and implementation, including language support for library-centric and modular software development, generic and generative programming, and domain specific languages and libraries. )
  • Greenstreet, Mark (Dynamic systems, formal methods, hybrid systems, differential equations)
  • Greif, Chen (scientific computing, numerical linear algebra, iterative linear solvers, constrained optimization, numerical solution of partial differential equations)
  • Harvey, Nicholas (randomized algorithms, combinatorial optimization, graph sparsification, discrepancy theory and learning theory; algorithmic problems arising in computer networking, including cache analysis, load balancing, data replication, peer-to-peer networks, and network coding.)
  • Heidrich, Wolfgang (computational imaging and display, an emerging research area within visual computing, which combines methods from computer graphics, machine vision, imaging, inverse methods, optics and perception to develop new sensing and display technologies)
  • Holmes, Reid (computer science, software engineering, software testing, software quality, open source software, software development tools, software comprehension, static analysis)
  • Hu, Alan (formal verification, formal methods, model checking, software analysis, post-silicon validation, security, nonce to detect automated mining of profiles)
  • Hutchinson, Norman (Computer Systems, Distributed Systems, File Systems, Virtualization)
  • Kiczales, Gregor (MOOCs, Blended Learning, Flexible Learning, University Strategy for Flexible and Blended Learning, Computer Science Education, Programming Languages, Programming languages, aspect-oriented programming, foundations, reflections and meta programming, software design)
  • Lakshmanan, Laks (data management and data cleaning, data warehousing and OLAP, data and text mining, analytics on big graphs and news, social networks and media, recommender systems)
  • Leyton-Brown, Kevin (Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Theoretical Computer Science, Resource Allocation, Computer Science and Statistics, Machine learning, Game theory, Auction theory)
  • Little, James Joseph (Artificial intelligence, computational vision, geographic information systems, robotics)
  • Mackworth, Alan (vision; robotics, Intelligent systems, programming)
  • MacLean, Karon (Information Systems, human-computer interaction, haptic interfaces, human-robot interaction, design of user interfaces)
  • McGrenere, Joanna (human-computer interaction, personalized user interfaces, universal usability, interactive technologies for older users and people with cognitive disorders, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), computer science)


Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Jean-Sebastien Legare
    "Dr. Legare studied the many privacy concerns associated with using modern cloud services. He has developed novel application design methods to improve the privacy of user data. His methods allow for cloud services that offer verifiable guarantees that user data will, in the long term, remain available, confidential, or anonymous." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Shuochen Su
    "Dr. Su studied end-to-end computational imaging systems using numerical optimization and machine learning. By introducing time-resolved image formation models for color and depth cameras, his algorithms tackled some of the challenges in machine perception. Dr. Su's research opens the door to many exciting directions in computational photography research." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Yifan Peng
    "Dr. Peng studied a variety of computational imaging modalities. He developed lightweight but powerful computational cameras and mix-and-match holographic displays. This research illuminates the insights on incorporating optics and computation algorithms to better record, understand and deliver visual information." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Samad Kardan
    "Dr. Kardan proposed a framework for adding personalized support to educational tools such as interactive computer simulations. It relies on user data and data mining to automatically provide hints to students when they need them. Experimental evaluations show that this framework can make the existing educational tools significantly more effective." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Jake Taylor Wires
    "Dr. Wires investigated software techniques for efficiently processing very large data sets. As part of his research, he built a high-performance storage system that dynamically optimizes how hardware resources are allocated as workload requirements evolve. His work reduces the time and money required to perform data-intensive analysis tasks." (November 2017)

Further Program Information


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