Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Oncology (PhD)

Overview

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. 

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Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Meet a Representative

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Tuesday, 07 December 2021
Time: 17:00 to 18:00

Join Shane Moore from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and some of our Graduate Student Ambassadors. In this open session, the team will be answering any questions that you have on grad school at UBC, life in Vancouver, and the application process.

This session is an open Q&A in which we’ll work to answer as many of your questions as possible. Our Graduate Student Ambassadors will be sharing their insight on academic and student life at UBC. 

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Thursday, 09 December 2021
Time: 10:00 to 11:00

Join Shane Moore from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and some of our Graduate Student Ambassadors. In this open session, the team will be answering any questions that you have on grad school at UBC, life in Vancouver, and the application process.

This session is an open Q&A in which we’ll work to answer as many of your questions as possible. Our Graduate Student Ambassadors will be sharing their insight on academic and student life at UBC. 

Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

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.

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

22

Writing

24

Speaking

22

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

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

A B.Sc is the minimum requirement.

Document Requirements

CV, Official transcripts, three letters of reference, Official English exam scores (if required)

2) Meet Deadlines

May 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
11 May 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 30 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 30 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 30 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 30 January 2022

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
11 May 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 March 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 March 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 March 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 March 2022
Transcript Deadline: 15 March 2022
Referee Deadline: 15 March 2022

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

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.

Research Information

Program Components

Once students are enrolled in the program, they will have an opportunity to design a program that allows for rotations through other IOP faculty's labs to gain insight into other research areas other than their specific supervisor's research.

Research Facilities

Most IOP supervisors reside off-campus at the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital or other hospital-related buildings.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,052.34 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,126.20 (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 students who secure a supervisor and who are enrolled in the program will be paid a minimum stipend of $24,300/year.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 28 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 $20,977.
  • 5 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 5 students was $8,049.
  • 9 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 9 students was $19,899.
  • 28 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 28 students was $4,929.
  • 7 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 7 students was $32,857.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - 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

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 Education
Queen's University Belfast
University of Toronto
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Johnson and Johnson Inc.
Princess Margaret hospital
RepliCel Life Sciences Inc.
BC Cancer Agency
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Senior Scientist
Postdoctoral Fellow
Director
Staff Scientist
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 have a wide range of options from working in government institutions to academia to biotechnology and bio-pharm companies. Those looking to further their academic career have are undertaking post-doctoral positions in Canada and abroad.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Oncology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20202019201820172016
Applications13128107
Offers75454
New registrations64454
Total enrolment4542413838

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 70% based on 10 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 15 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 4.00 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 6.17 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 April 2021]. 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 October 2020].

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.

  • 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 (Bioinformatics; Clinical oncology; Genetic medicine; Genomics; cancer families; cancer genetics; genetic susceptibility; human genetics; longevity; Super seniors)
  • Brown, Carolyn Janet (Bioinformatics; Clinical oncology; Genetic medicine; Genomics; Health counselling; Applied Genetics; Chromosomes: Structure / Organization; DNA methylation; Epigenetic control of gene expression; Gene Regulation and Expression; Genes escaping X-chromosome inactivation; Long non-coding RNAs; X-chromosome inactivation; XIST RNA)
  • Campbell, Kristin (Clinical oncology; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Biomarkers; Breast Cancer; Exercise Physiology; oncology; physical function; Physiology; Quality of Life and Aging; rehabilitation)
  • 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 (Clinical oncology; Pathology (except oral pathology); Cancer Diagnosis and Detection; Cancer biology; Cancer diagnostics; Cancer therapy; Cell Signaling and Cancer; Cell Therapy of Cancer; Chemotherapy; DNA damage response pathways; glycobiology; Immunotherapy; Radiotherapy; Stress and Cancer; 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 (Cancer progression and metastasis; Gene and molecular therapy; Endocrine Regulation; RNA splicing and Gene Regulation; Hormone Dependent Cancers; Prostate Cancer; 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)
  • Haase, Kristen (Nursing, n.e.c.; oncology; Older Adults; Geriatric oncology; Health systems research; Mixed Methods Research; Qualitative research; Self-management; E-health)
  • Hieter, Philip (Molecular biology of eukaryotic chromosome transmission )
  • Hirst, Martin (Bioinformatics; Clinical oncology; Genomics; Immunology; Microbiology; Carcinogenesis; Cellular Differentiation; Epigenomics; Leukemia; Molecular Genetics)
  • 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 (Corporate Law; Contracts; Competition Law; legal history)
  • Jiang, Xiaoyan (Cancer drug development and therapeutics; Basic and translational leukemia research; Leukemic stem cell biology; Gene regulation; Drug resistance; Proteomics; Immunotherapy)

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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
2021 Dr. Tortora focused on PPAR-gamma, a protein involved in the biology of bladder cancer. Through gene editing technology, Dr. Tortora identified molecules regulating PPAR-gamma expression and clarified its effects in tumor development, thus potentially opening new possibilities for bladder cancer treatment.
2020 Dr. Chen developed new ways to deliver chemotherapy drugs to leukemic cells. His work involved the use of liposomes, which are nano-carrier vessels that can deliver drugs to cancer cells. Through his work, Dr. Chen was able to improve the effectiveness of conventional chemotherapy drugs and shed new light on the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.
2020 Dr. Jabalee examined the molecular changes that occur during cancer progression. He identified silencing of the SMPD3 gene as a driver of cell motility and demonstrated the presence of morphological alterations in non-cancer cells adjacent to tonsil tumors. This work opens the door to development of novel tests for early tumor detection.
2020 Dr. Mathae discovered the role of an immune cell population in sex bias in asthma prevalence. She also found that these cells migrate from the lung to the liver upon activation, linking the lung and liver immunity. Her work highlights the complexity of the local and systemic immune regulations.
2020 Dr. Wu developed a versatile microscope for noninvasive human skin characterization and diagnosis. This microscope provides information on three-dimensional tissue structure, cellular morphology, micro-volume biochemicals, and dynamic physiology, with a large field of view. It was also demonstrated to be useful for precise laser micro-surgery.
2020 Dr. Zarei studied and implemented machine learning techniques for cancer detection, diagnosis, and prognosis. She developed technology to analyze and detect abnormalities in the cervix, and to classify and grade prostate cancer. Her work will ultimately help to reduce healthcare costs and increase patients' quality of life.
2020 Dr. Colovic studied the use of radioactive amino acids (RAAs) in cancer detection. Using an imaging technique called positron emission tomography, she evaluated several RAAs as probes for imaging biomarkers of altered cancer metabolism. Her research brought the development of fluoroaminosuberic acid or FASu one step closer to clinical use.
2020 Dr. Tian developed an in vivo skin microscopy imaging method to study the behaviour of human skin cells, including damage and repair after solar radiation. This interdisciplinary and translational study helps us to solve biological problems by imaging human skin non-invasively.
2020 Dr. Stewart studied lung cancer genetics, and discovered how recently-discovered genes called non-coding RNAs are altered in order to drive this deadly disease, and may be promising clinical targets. But the most important thing he learned during his PhD...was how to love.
2020 Dr. Hao's doctoral studies focused on how genetics can influence prostate cancer. He identified a gene that may drive the development of treatment-resistant prostate cancer. His work improves our understanding of the mechanism underlying the development of treatment resistance and provides a potential therapeutic target for this lethal disease.

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Further Information

Interdisciplinary Oncology offers advanced study and research in a variety of fields relating to oncology. The focus on interdisciplinarity is accomplished through a breadth of coverage in the following disciplines: molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biophysics, bioinformatics, pharmaceutical sciences, radiological sciences, immunology, socio-behavioural studies, and epidemiology.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-S1

Classification

 

Apply Now

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

May 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
11 May 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
30 January 2022

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
11 May 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 March 2022
International Applicant Deadline
15 March 2022
 
Supervisor Search
 

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