Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Oncology (PhD)
The Interdisciplinary Oncology program (IOP) is a graduate program designed to appeal to a broad range of students interested in cancer research. IOP offers advanced study and research in a variety of fields relating to oncology. Those fields include: molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biophysics, bioinformatics, pharmaceutical sciences, radiological sciences, immunology, molecular pathology, sociobehavioral studies, epidemiology and health economics. The goal of the program is to provide graduate students from diverse backgrounds, with an education in a number of disciplines relating to oncology, and to provide training opportunities for intensive training in specialized aspects of cancer research. For more than ten years, the program has been training the next generation of cancer research leaders.
What makes the program unique?
IOP integrates the diverse areas of oncology by offering two required courses which provide an interdisciplinary perspective on oncology in a form that is accessible to students from diverse backgrounds. The elective courses provide intensive training in one or more subjects specific to the student's research, and also gives the student an opportunity to gain expertise in other disciplines that have potential for synergy with their primary specialization. Students have access to clinicians and university faculty through the world-renowned BC Cancer Agency, to get a practical perspective on oncology treatments and outcomes. An innovative rotation course is a unique option for students to gain hands-on experience by rotating through specialty laboratories and by shadowing clinicians.
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
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.
CV, Official transcripts, three letters of reference, Official English exam scores (if required)
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:
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.
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:
Prior degree requirements
A B.Sc is the minimum requirement.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
Most IOP supervisors reside off-campus at the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital or other hospital-related buildings.
Students must secure a supervisor before they can be admitted into the program. As well, they must meet the minimum admission requirements set out by Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies at UBC.
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
May 2020 Intake
Application Open Date20 June 2019
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date21 June 2019
All students who secure a supervisor and who are enrolled in the program will be paid a minimum stipend of $24,300/year.
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.
7 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 0 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 6 graduates:
Sample Employers in Higher EducationQueen's University Belfast
University of Toronto
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationJohnson and Johnson Inc.
Princess Margaret hospital
RepliCel Life Sciences Inc.
BC Cancer Agency
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationSenior Scientist
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|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)|
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.
Completion Rates & Times
Upcoming Doctoral Exams
Tuesday, 11 February 2020 - 9:00am - Room 200
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.
Aparicio, Samuel (Breast cancer, genome sequencing )
Bally, Marcel Bertran (Pancreas centre)
Baumbusch, Jennifer (long-term residential care, family caregiving, Intellectual Disability, nursing care of older adults )
Benard, Francois (Medical isotopes Radioisotopes Nuclear Medicine Cancer Imaging Molecular imaging of cancer Radionuclide therapy, Cancer division, radiology, pancreas centre)
Bennewith, Kevin (Oncology; Molecular Pathology & Cell Biology; Cancer research; Solid tumour microenvironment; Hypoxia; Metastasis research; Pre-metastatic niche; Targeting hypoxic tumour cells in therapy; Radiation biology)
Brooks-Wilson, Angela (human genetics, cancer genetics, cancer families, longevity, Super seniors, genetic susceptibility)
Brown, Carolyn Janet (Gene Regulation and Expression, Chromosomes: Structure / Organization, Applied Genetics, Epigenetic control of gene expression, X-chromosome inactivation, Long non-coding RNAs, XIST RNA, Genes escaping X-chromosome inactivation, DNA methylation)
Burgess, Michael (Genetics and Ethics, Ethics and Health, Applied Ethics, Individual and Collective Ethics, Participatory research, Public deliberation, Health Policy, Science Policy, Deliberative Democracy)
Buttyan, Ralph (Kidneys, Urinary System, Benign Bladder Dysfunctions)
Campbell, Kristin (Breast Cancer, Rehabilitation, Physiology, Quality of Life and Aging, Exercise Physiology, physical function, oncology, Biomarkers)
Cox, Michael (genetic testing, experiences of hereditary risk, social and ethical implications of genetics, interpersonal and family communication, qualitative research, narrative and story, Prostate cancer)
Daugaard, Mads (Cell Signaling and Cancer, Cancer Diagnosis and Detection, Stress and Cancer, Immunotherapy, Cell Therapy of Cancer, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, Cancer biology, glycobiology, DNA damage response pathways, Cancer therapy, Cancer diagnostics, Stress signalling in cancer)
Dedhar, Shoukat (molecular biology, molecular biology as it relates to disease; developing new theraputics for cancer; how brain cells (neurons)make connections, therapeutics for cancer; molecular genetics and cancer; medical research, cancer, inflammatory diseases, cariovascular diseases, Cellular proteins, extracellular martrix, integrins, signal transduction, calreticulin, protein kinase, gene expression, cell differentiation)
Dong, Xuesen (Hormone Dependent Cancers, Prostate Cancer, Endocrine Regulation, Gene Regulation and Expression, Prematurity)
Eaves, Constance Jean (Normal and leukemic stem cells, normal and malignant breast stem cells)
Garnis, Catherine (Cancer biology; Tumor progression; Oral premalignant lesions; Head and neck cancer; RNA biology, microRNAs; Alternative splicing; Biomarkers)
Gleave, Martin (Infectious diseases, interdisciplinary oncology, prostate)
Hieter, Philip (Molecular biology of eukaryotic chromosome transmission )
Hirst, Martin (Carcinogenesis, Leukemia, Cellular Differentiation, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Molecular Genetics, Epigenomics)
Holt, Robert (Immunogenetics, Metagenomics - Infectious agents in Cancer, Cancer Genomes, Neurobiology, DNA Sequencing)
Howard, Fuchsia (health service needs of vulnerable, high-risk survivors of acute life-threatening illness, specifically, cancer survivors and survivors of critical illnesses; hereditary cancer prevention and risk management and psychosocial and ethnocultural factors that shape health and illness experiences)
Huntsman, David (hereditary cancer, molecular pathology, cancer biomarkers, Pancreas centre)
Jiang, Xiaoyan (Cancer Genetics, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Leukemia, Cancer Diagnosis and Detection, Cell Therapy of Cancer, Immunotherapy, Basic and translational leukemia research, Leukemic stem cell biology, Gene regulation, Drug resistance, Proteomics)
Karsan, Aly (Myelodysplatic syndromes, myeloid malignancies, innate immune signaling in vascular hematopoietic function, genomics for clinical diagnostics)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Catherine Steer
"Dr. Steer found that early life stresses induce signals in neonatal lungs which confer enhanced susceptibility to allergic sensitization. Therefore, airway allergen exposure in the early postnatal period leads to heightened responses to allergens later in life. Dr. Steer's results underline the importance of the neonatal period for immune education." (November 2019)
- Dr. Justin James Torres Lardizabal
"Dr. Lardizabal developed a new prostate cancer mouse model that can effectively and efficiently test new drugs and therapies against prostate cancer. His contribution can potentially provide prostate cancer patients with more treatment options by getting proven effective drugs and therapies into clinical trials faster." (November 2019)
- Dr. Daiana Diamantina Becker dos Santos
"Dr. Becker dos Santos discovered that essential genes for human fetal lung development are being reactivated in lung cancer. By exploring the downstream consequences of such reactivation, she identified a novel biomarker for lung cancer aggressiveness and patient outcome." (May 2019)
- Dr. Jamie Simin Emma Yu
"Myxoid liposarcoma is a type of cancer that predominantly affects young adults. Dr. Yu's doctoral studies examined the role of how a mutant protein functions as the main cause of myxoid liposarcoma. Her research uncovered a new function of the mutant protein that can form the basis of future treatment strategies for this disease." (May 2019)
- Dr. Yi-Jye Chern
"Dr. Chern studied the chemotherapy resistance mechanisms in colon cancer. She found that HSP47 proteins promote drug resistance, and the interaction between SPARC and GRP78 proteins enhances the stress level and increases cell death in cancer cells under chemotherapy. Her findings provide insights into overcoming chemoresistance in colon cancer." (May 2019)