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.
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.
CV, Official transcripts, three letters of reference, Official English exam scores (if required)
TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement
IELTS Overall Score Requirement
Supervisor commitment required prior to application?
Prior degree requirements
A B.Sc is the minimum requirement.
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.
July 2019 Intake
Application Open Date02 November 2018
September 2019 Intake
Application Open Date25 September 2018
All students who secure a supervisor and who are enrolled in the program will be paid a minimum stipend of $24,300/year.
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||$1,665.26||$2,925.58|
|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)||$930.14 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,884.10 (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
Friday, 17 May 2019 - 12:30pm - Diamond Family Theatre, BC Cancer Research Centre, 675 West 10th Ave, Vancouver, V5Z 1L3
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 (Philosophy and social sciences, ethics and social policy in the areas of genomics, genetics and biotechnology (health, agriculture and environment))
Buttyan, Ralph (Kidneys, Urinary System, Benign Bladder Dysfunctions)
Campbell, Kristin (Exercise, cancer prevention, cancer rehabilitation, cancer survivorship, physical activity, biomarkers, energy balance, obesity )
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, Immunotherapy)
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)
Guns, Emma (pharmacology, ADMET, drug discovery, mass spectrometry, natural products, cancer cell biology, steroidogenesis in oncology, hormone receptor targeting and pathway analysis (pharmacodynamics), extracellular vesicles in cancer cell communication)
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)
Jia, William Wei-Guo (Brain tumour, Oncolytic virotherapy, Virus mediated genetherapy, Degenerative neurological diseases, Drug discovery from natural products, neurosurgery)
Jiang, Xiaoyan (Cancer Genetics, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Leukemia, Cancer Diagnosis and Detection, Basic and translational leukemia research, Leukemic stem cell biology , Gene regulation , Drug resistance , Proteomics)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Stephen Yiu Chuen Choi
"Dr. Choi proposed a new hypothesis suggesting that altered cancer metabolism and secretion of lactic acid dampens the anticancer immune response. His work helps us better understand the role of lactic acid in multiple cancer-promoting processes and could lead to an effective treatment strategy for advanced prostate cancer and other malignancies." (May 2018)
- Dr. Elizabeth Christene Halvorsen
"Immunotherapy represents a powerful and elegant method to harness the body's natural defence system to treat cancer. Dr. Halvorsen examined mechanisms to enhance the ability of the immune system to identify and eliminate cancer cells. Her work resulted in the discovery of a novel method to reduce the spread of cancer by increasing anti-tumour immunity using a drug repurposed from the HIV field." (May 2018)
- Dr. Hanna Claire McGregor
"Dr. McGregor showed that laser light can illuminate early malignant changes in lung tissue. Through the development of a novel medical device and clinical trial, Dr. McGregor found that adding laser Raman Spectroscopy into routine clinical procedures can help improve early lung cancer detection." (May 2018)
- Dr. Sifeng Qu
"Dr. Qu's study focussed on currently incurable advanced prostate cancer. Using a state-of-the-art cancer model he showed that anticancer activity of first line chemotherapy can be markedly boosted with the drug Aneustat without increasing toxicity. This drug combination may lead to improved clinical treatment of advanced prostate cancer." (May 2018)
- Dr. James Stuart Michael Lawson
"Dr. Lawson studied small RNAs within the blood as an early screening system for lung cancer. His work has provided evidence that a panel of select small RNAs in the blood could be used as an indicator for the presence of lung cancer. Dr. Lawson's findings could be utilized to detect lung cancer earlier and more accurately than current methods." (May 2018)