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

Overview

Forestry graduate students learn from a dynamic and diverse group of researchers who educate and communicate how forests and the products that are created from them contribute to the well-being of all living things. The health and sustainability of forests and the people who depend on them underlies everything we do. We are among the best institutions globally in forest-related education and research and are also unique in the breadth of expertise we possess, which allows us to integrate new knowledge across many disciplines.

PhD in Forestry students can be found all over the world; they are important ambassadors for UBC Forestry and demonstrate just how diverse and international in scope the research is that is undertaken in our Faculty. We have approximately 130 doctoral students in any given year, which is about 40% of our total Forestry graduate student population. In addition to being part of the Faculty of Forestry, PhD students are also considered members of one of our three Faculty departments, based on their supervisor's affiliation.

What makes the program unique?

The Faculty of Forestry offers excellent courses and cutting edge research across a spectrum of disciplines related to forestry, and opportunities for interdisciplinary learning. Graduate students work with leading scientists in state-of-the-art facilities within the Forest Sciences Centre and at any of two research forests. 

We are one of the largest graduate units on campus, with over 300 students enrolled in our 7 degree programs. We attract students from around the world, with over 40 countries represented in our community. Given the global nature of modern forestry, the experience our students gain by working with colleagues from around the world is a subtle but effective means of creating the global citizens that UBC aspires to produce.

 

Program Structure

The major requirement for the PhD in Forestry is completion of a research dissertation which meets the requirements of the Faculty of Graduate & Post-doctoral Studies. Advancement to Candidacy must be achieved within 24 months of the start of studies, the requirements of which include a comprehensive examination. Course work is not required for the Forestry PhD, although many doctoral students do complete courses (either for credit or audit) as recommended by their supervisory committee.

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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: 100

Reading

23

Writing

24

Speaking

22

Listening

23

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

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 not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

Students admitted to the Ph.D. degree program normally possess a master's degree in Forestry or a related area, with clear evidence of research ability or potential. Transfer from the master's to the Ph.D. program is permitted under Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies regulations. Exceptional students may be admitted directly to the Ph.D. program from the bachelor's level.

2) Meet Deadlines

May 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 October 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 October 2024
Referee Deadline: 10 October 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 October 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 October 2024
Referee Deadline: 10 October 2024

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 February 2025
Referee Deadline: 10 February 2025
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 February 2025
Referee Deadline: 10 February 2025

January 2026 Intake

Application Open Date
01 February 2025
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 June 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 June 2025
Referee Deadline: 10 June 2025
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 June 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 June 2025
Referee Deadline: 10 June 2025

May 2026 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2025
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 October 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 October 2025
Referee Deadline: 10 October 2025
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 October 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 October 2025
Referee Deadline: 10 October 2025

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 Forestry (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

Securing the interest of a prospective faculty supervisor is a vital step in the PhD, MSc and MASc application process, and interest must be confirmed before you submit the online application. Using the prospective supervisor list at , carefully review faculty members whom you consider to be the best match with your research interests. Make a short-list of prospective supervisors and contact them to see if they are accepting new students. Remember that faculty members receive many inquiries, so generic e-mails may not receive a response. Make your correspondence stand out: tell potential supervisors about your background and interests and how this relates to their research area. As part of your conversation with a prospective supervisor, it is important to discuss funding. UBC Forestry requires that supervisors have a minimum funding package planned for the student prior to an Offer of Admission being issued. Your online application should only be submitted after a prospective supervisor has confirmed to you that they are interested in reviewing your application.

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.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
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

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 94 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 $39,806.
  • 63 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 63 students was $9,903.
  • 73 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 73 students was $20,299.
  • 14 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 14 students was $4,352.
  • 94 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 94 students was $10,715.
  • 17 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 17 students was $31,333.

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

154 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 2 are in non-salaried situations; for 12 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 140 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 (12)
University of California - Davis (2)
University of New Mexico (2)
University of Toronto (2)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2)
University of Waterloo (2)
University of Alabama
Oklahoma State University
Okanagan College
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST)
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
FPInnovations (6)
Government of British Columbia (3)
Government of Canada (3)
United States Forest Service (2)
CONICET (2)
Government of Yukon
Bonar
Security Company
BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Research Scientist (5)
Manager (4)
Researcher (4)
Senior Scientist (3)
Scientist (3)
Director (2)
Consultant (2)
Content Development Manager
Director, Murie Science and Learning Center
President and Owner
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 Forestry (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
Applications5559446337
Offers3133263319
New Registrations2427242916
Total Enrolment157150142132121

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 80% based on 103 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 57 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 3.07 years and the maximum time is 9.27 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 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, 17 June 2024 - 9:00am - Room 200

Dayana Barragan Altamirano
Planning Forests for the Future: Incorporating Multiple Goals in Forest Restoration Initiatives

Thursday, 4 July 2024 - 9:00am - Room 200

Samuel Grubinger
Enhanced Phenotyping of Conifers for Tree Improvement and Climate Adaptation Using Advanced Drone Remote Sensing

Tuesday, 30 July 2024 - 9:00am - Room 200

Anna Helena Schild
Sensor-Based Sorting of Waste Wood Composites and the Use of Composite Particles in Cement-Bonded Wood Composites

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 Forestry (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

Securing the interest of a prospective faculty supervisor is a vital step in the PhD, MSc and MASc application process, and interest must be confirmed before you submit the online application. Using the prospective supervisor list at , carefully review faculty members whom you consider to be the best match with your research interests. Make a short-list of prospective supervisors and contact them to see if they are accepting new students. Remember that faculty members receive many inquiries, so generic e-mails may not receive a response. Make your correspondence stand out: tell potential supervisors about your background and interests and how this relates to their research area. As part of your conversation with a prospective supervisor, it is important to discuss funding. UBC Forestry requires that supervisors have a minimum funding package planned for the student prior to an Offer of Admission being issued. Your online application should only be submitted after a prospective supervisor has confirmed to you that they are interested in reviewing your application.

 
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
2017 Trees are rooted to the spot and evolutionarily adapted to local climates. Dr. MacLachlan found that tree breeding programs increase tree growth and maintain climatic adaptation, without compromising provincial reforestation policies designed to mitigate the effects of climate change, and they help to maintain future timber supplies in western Canada.
2017 Dr. Tomaselli explored different mental models and attitudes about economic growth and the environment among Canadians. A majority of the sampled population supports moving into an economic model based on lower levels of consumption. This research supports the development of political discourses less focused on economic growth as a main goal.
2017 Dr. Rickbeil assessed how changing environmental conditions are affecting barren ground caribou habitat use and movement in the Canadian Arctic.
2017 Dr. Zhang evaluated the seismic performance of a novel mass timber-steel hybrid high-rise system. This research serves as a precursor for developing design guidelines for tall wood-hybrid building systems in seismic regions, and providing appropriate information to increase the acceptance and use of this mass-timber steel hybrid high-rise structural concept.
2017 Wood and plants release inhibitors that prevent enzymes from breaking them down into valuable chemicals. Dr. Zhai developed a feasible way to eliminate these inhibitors and boost the function of enzymes. This work showed how a likely industrial bioconversion process could be enhanced.
2017 Dr. Erickson researched the effects of warming and human activity on forests in Alberta. He found that human activity changed forest fires in a way that may slow tree migrations while reducing understory light. His work was the first to combine dynamic vegetation modeling and machine learning, which may broadly benefit earth systems modeling.
2017 The extent to which tropical forests change after the harvesting of trees is not clear. Dr. Addo-Danso's research showed that the forest structure, biomass and productivity in a tropical forest in Ghana recovered to pre-harvesting levels 54 years after the trees were cut. His findings have important implications for the management of tropical forests.
2017 Dr. Jaung studied certification of forest ecosystem services. His findings show the opportunities and challenges of applying certification to ecosystem services management. His work contributes to analyzing comprehensive management of forest resources.
2017 Dr. Dou studied the use of enzymes to facilitate converting paper pulp into dissolving pulp used to make textiles. She identified optimal conditions for enzymes and increased their potential in dissolving pulp. Her findings have important implications on the production of regenerated cellulose used in man-made fibers such as Tencel.
2017 Dr. Sam-Brew evaluated non-wood residues for particleboard manufacture. Her work demonstrates that low density boards of greater mechanical performance to wood can be produced from flax and hemp residues. This translates to easy handling and processing, along with cost savings on transportation of the final product for panel manufacturers.

Pages

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information

Specialization

Forestry offers advanced study in natural and social science, management, and economic aspects of forestry and wood science, in an interdisciplinary setting.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-KE

Classification

 

Apply Now

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

May 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 October 2024
International Applicant Deadline
01 October 2024

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 February 2025
International Applicant Deadline
01 February 2025

January 2026 Intake

Application Open Date
01 February 2025
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 June 2025
International Applicant Deadline
01 June 2025

May 2026 Intake

Application Open Date
01 June 2025
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 October 2025
International Applicant Deadline
01 October 2025
 
Supervisor Search
 

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