Doctor of Philosophy in Human Nutrition (PhD)

Overview

The graduate program in Human Nutrition offers opportunities for advanced study and original investigations in basic and applied human nutrition at both the master's and doctoral levels. The curriculum includes coursework and thesis research through laboratory or field work in a variety of areas relevant to human nutrition including nutrient metabolism, diet and disease, nutrition through the life cycle and nutrition behaviours.

Research projects also examine environmental, social, and individual determinants of food choices and eating patterns; this includes better understanding of socio-cultural effects on diet, and the impact living in "food deserts" can have on good health.

International nutrition projects in Cambodia, Zambia, Rwanda, and other countries seek to improve maternal, infant, and child nutrition.

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Health and Medicine
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Human Nutrition
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Program Enquiries

If you have reviewed the information on this program page and understand the requirements for this program, you may send an enquiry

Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

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

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.

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. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

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.

English Language Proficiency

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:

90
22
21
22
21
6.5
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?
Yes

Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)

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 requirements

Applicants for the Ph.D. degree must ordinarily hold a First Class Master's degree in Nutrition with a standing of "A", and a Bachelor's degree with the above academic standing in Nutrition or a related science.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Research Information

Research Focus

Research projects examine environmental, social, and individual determinants of food choices and eating patterns; this includes better understanding of socio-cultural effects on diet, and the impact living in “food deserts” can have on good health.

International nutrition projects in Cambodia, Zambia, Rwanda, and other countries seek to improve maternal, infant, and child nutrition.

Research Facilities

Clinical Nutrition Research Laboratory
Our Clinical Nutrition Laboratory is equipped with an array of state-of-the-art analytical instruments, such as headspace GC-FID, GC-MS, HPLC-DAD, and UHPLC-DAD, etc..

Clinical Research Unit
The Clinical Research Unit is comprised of a reception lounge, clinic rooms, a sample preparation area and a meeting room, that is equipped with an observation mirror and an audio/video system. The room is suitable for conducting small focus group meetings, and behavior and consumer studies.

Vij’s Kitchen & Culinary Laboratory
The Culinary Laboratory is equipped with numerous modern kitchen stations and a demonstration station. The on-site audiovisual system enables filming, videoconferencing, distance education, and live-webcasting.

Sensory Laboratory
The Sensory Laboratory consists of fourteen panelist booths complete with delivery windows and red lighting. The Sensory Lab is connected to the Culinary Laboratory for preparing food samples and a boardroom for panelist training. The Laboratory is ideal for teaching, research and commercial testing.

Application Notes

Before you apply, please make sure you meet/exceed the admission requirements and most importantly have a supervisor confirmed.

Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 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 $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

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.

We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your 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.

In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.

Career Outcomes

8 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 8 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 (4)
University of Victoria
Trinity Western University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences
Ross Memorial Hospital
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Programme Evaluation Lead
Dietitian
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.
Career Options

Graduates of our program have pursued academic positions at universities or colleges, consulting, or careers in health-related fields including medicine, dentistry, and others. Those who were registered dietitians before pursuing graduate study have gone on to senior clinical or administrative positions.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (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.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20182017201620152014
Applications55556
Offers22221
New registrations21211
Total enrolment77898

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 5 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 3.33 years and the maximum time is 6.33 years with an average of 4.83 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 March 2019]. 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: 27 October 2019].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Wednesday, 26 February 2020 - 12:30pm - Room 203

Abeer Mohammad Aljaadi
Riboflavin: Intake, Status, and Relation to Anemia Among Women of Reproductive Age

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.

  • Black, Jennifer (nutrition, public health, food environments, social determinants of health, food banks, school food environments)
  • Conklin, Annalijn (healthy ageing, obesity prevention, diabetes management and evaluation, healthcare quality improvement, implementation science, gender and health equity, nutrition-related policy and outcomes)
  • Devlin, Angela (obesity, children, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, developmental programming)
  • Elango, Rajavel (Protein Nutrition, Maternal-Fetal Nutrition, Childhood Malnutrition, Amino Acid Metabolism, Human Nutrition )
  • Jessri, Mahsa (Nutritional Epidemiology, Public and Population Health, Dietetics, Clinical Epidemiology, Preventive Medicine, Chronic Disease Prevention, Dietary Pattern Modeling, Predictive Analytics, Dietary Assessment)
  • Karakochuk, Crystal Dawn (Maternal and child nutrition, Micronutrients (namely iron, folic acid, and zinc), Biochemical markers of iron status, Determinants and causes of anemia, Inherited blood disorders (sickle cell, thalassemia, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency), International nutrition, Clinical dietetics, Risk-benefit of micronutrient supplementation)
  • Lamers, Yvonne (Nutritional Biochemistry, Micronutrients, Vitamins, Nutritional Biomarker, Pregnancy, Periconceptional folic acid supplementation, Prenatal Supplements, Newborn Screening, Toddler Nutrition, Clinical Chemistry, Maternal and Child Health, Newborn Screening)
  • Murphy, Rachel (Nutrition, Cancer prevention, Obesity, Aging)
  • Stefanska, Barbara (Epigenetics, Cancer epigenetics, Nutritional epigenomics)
  • Xu, Zhaoming (Nutrients, Zinc, growth, and growth regulation, Regulatory role of zinc in apoptosis, Zinc and breast cancer)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Claire Tugault-Lafleur
    "Drawing from national data, Dr. Tugault-Lafle characterised the determinants of diet quality among Canadian children on school days and how diet quality has changed from 2004 to 2015. These findings provide evidence to inform policy debates about the potential roles schools could play to influence the diet of Canadian children." (November 2018)
  • Dr. Alejandra Marcela Wiedeman
    "Dr. Wiedeman focused on the essential dietary nutrient choline. She examined the association between choline intake and plasma levels at different stages of the life cycle. Her findings contribute to our knowledge about human choline nutrition and suggest that current dietary recommendations may be overestimated for infants." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Crystal Dawn Karakochuk
    "Dr. Karakochuk examined whether iron deficiency was a major cause of anemia among women of reproductive age in Cambodia. This research is essential for the design and implementation of effective anemia reduction strategies. Her findings helped to reshape the current policy for iron supplementation among women of reproductive age in Cambodia." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Theresa Helene Schroder
    "Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for healthy growth and brain development, especially during pregnancy and infancy. Dr. Schroder developed a novel method for convenient and minimally invasive diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. This method has been clinically translated and used in newborns here in Vancouver as well as in field studies in Indonesia." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Kyly Christine Whitfield
    "Dr. Whitfield conducted her research in rural Cambodia, where infantile beriberi, a fatal disease in breastfed babies, is common. She showed that mothers consuming fish sauce with added vitamin B1 produced breast milk with higher B1 content, improving the status of their babies. This fish sauce could save babies lives throughout Southeast Asia." (May 2016)
 
 
 

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