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

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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

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 March 2023
Transcript Deadline: 15 March 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 March 2023
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 March 2023
Transcript Deadline: 15 March 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 March 2023

January 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
01 February 2023
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 July 2023
Transcript Deadline: 15 July 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 July 2023
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 July 2023
Transcript Deadline: 15 July 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 July 2023

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 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$112.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,767.18$3,104.64
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,301.54$9,313.92
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,057.05 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,366.20 (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 PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 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 $22,000 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, 92 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 $37,950.
  • 57 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 57 students was $8,921.
  • 70 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 70 students was $17,633.
  • 91 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 91 students was $14,744.
  • 18 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 18 students was $24,565.

Study Period: Sep 2020 to Aug 2021 - 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

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

 20212020201920182017
Applications4357325033
Offers2632173024
New registrations2429152723
Total enrolment149138124134132

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 63% based on 67 students admitted between 2008 - 2011. Based on 56 graduations between 2017 - 2020 the minimum time to completion is 3.00 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 5.14 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: 7 April 2022]. 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: 19 October 2021].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Thursday, 8 December 2022 - 10:00am

Sarah Elizabeth Dickson-Hoyle
Restor(y)ing Fire Landscapes: Wildfire Recovery, Co-management and Restoration in Secwepemcul'ecw

Tuesday, 13 December 2022 - 10:00am

Hyeone Park
Multifunctionality of Community Gardens and Food Forests in Vancouver, Canada

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
2018 Dr. Ramon-Hidalgo examined the role of social capital and networks at empowering rural communities running ecotourism projects in Ghana. This research highlights the importance of considering ethnic and gender differences as well as the role of agents of change to devise effective practices in community-based natural resources management.
2018 Dr. Grant explored the extent to which violence is used against environmental defenders in Cambodia. Her findings demonstrate that the threat of violence undermines the effectiveness of forest conservation projects but people continue to participate as an act of political resistance.
2018 Dr. Borona investigated how communities can leverage Indigenous Knowledge to better protect their landscapes and livelihoods. She found that land, ecological restoration, and food production are the main avenues where this knowledge is applied. This research illuminates the role of community engagement in ensuring sustainable conservation.
2018 Dr. Cho studied composite nanofibers consisting of renewable materials from trees. This study showed the interaction between lignin and nanocellulose during the different heat treatment stages for carbon fiber production. Her study increases our understanding of using properties from renewable materials to replace petroleum-based carbon fibers.
2018 Dr. Chouaib studied the watershed hydrology in the Eastern United States. She found that the interaction between the climate variability and watershed characteristics are determinant of the flow response. Her analysis suggested a process-based model to quantify the flow. This knowledge solves issues of prediction at ungauged basins.
2017 In response to the common underperformance of smallholder afforestation programs, Dr. Baker developed a novel theory to explain how smallholder farmers make their forestland-use decisions in two regions of Nicaragua. His research provides a basis for improving the design of smallholder afforestation programs for many regions of the world.
2017 Dr. Reyes examined the influence of markets and culture on the use of native forests in Chile. This research helps us to understand how forests are used and why, in the context of a complex socioecological system.
2017 Dr. Shi completed her doctoral studies in the field of wood physics. She focused on water behavior inside the wood cell walls and used water molecules to unlock the cell wall structures. Her findings contribute to a better understanding of water sorption in wood and cell wall nanostructure and subsequent application to wood products in service.
2017 Dr. Gorzelak studied belowground communication through mycorrhizal (or fungal) networks between Douglas-fir trees. She demonstrated that communication signals were preferentially transferred between genetically related, or kin Douglas-fir seedlings. This work suggests that trees may be able to recognize and respond to kin.
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.

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.
 

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 March 2023
International Applicant Deadline
15 March 2023

January 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
01 February 2023
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 July 2023
International Applicant Deadline
15 July 2023
 
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.

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