Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)

Overview

Mathematicians use theoretical and computational methods to solve a wide range of problems from the most abstract to the very applied. UBC's mathematics graduate students work in many branches of pure and applied mathematics. The PhD program trains students to operate as research mathematicians. The focus of the program is on substantial mathematical research leading to the PhD dissertation. Students also develop their skills in presenting and teaching mathematics and its applications.

What makes the program unique?

UBC has one of the largest and most vigorous departments of mathematics in Canada. Our faculty routinely win national and international awards for their research and teaching achievements. We have an engaged and sociable cohort of graduate students who are essential members of a broad selection of active research groups. Each group holds a variety of seminars and events that allow graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visitors and faculty to enjoy regular interaction.

UBC is the headquarters for the Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences (PIMS). PIMS hosts a plethora of mathematical events such as conferences and summer schools, greatly enriching the scientific environment in the quantitative sciences at UBC. Our mathematics students are also regular participants at the nearby Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery. Finally, our Institute for Applied Mathematics provides options for interdisciplinary studies for PhD students who wish to work in applied and computational mathematics.

 

Program Enquiries

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

Meet a UBC representative

Aligning your Graduate Program and Career Goals

Date: Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Time: 11:00 to 12:00

Join Danielle Barkley, Educator and Career & Professional Development Advisor at UBC's Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, and Shane Moore, Marketing and Recruitment Manager. They'll be talking about aligning your graduate program with your career goals. They'll also be providing an overview of the wide range of career and professional development opportunities and support available at UBC. This session will be helpful to those still thinking about which graduate program is right for them, as well as applicants who know their program of study and want to better understand the support and guidance available at UBC.

Register

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

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

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.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2021

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 Mathematics (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

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$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.

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 Mathematics program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,256 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.

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

88 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 19 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 68 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 Oregon (3)
University of British Columbia (2)
University of Notre Dame (2)
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (2)
University of Manitoba (2)
University of Kansas (2)
Harvard University (2)
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (2)
Autonomous University of Yucatan
King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Google (3)
Sanoma B.V.
Centre for Human Drug Research
Futurice GmbH
Contact Energy Ltd.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)
Contextual Genomics
MDA Corp.
Amazon
Facebook
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Data Scientist (3)
Software Engineer (2)
Actuarial Analyst
Lead Software Creator
Quantitative Analyst
Senior Analyst
Applied Research Mathematician
Education Specialist
Programmer
Senior Software Engineer
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

A great majority of our PhD graduates move on to postdoctoral fellowships and faculty positions at universities and research institutes in North America and around the world. However, a significant fraction of students move into careers in industry. Students considering non-academic careers are encouraged to complete an industrial internship (for instance through the Mitacs Accelerate program - headquartered at UBC) during their studies.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications11114213811093
Offers2227251521
New registrations179141412
Total enrolment7268727370

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 77.55% based on 49 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 50 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 1.99 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 4.78 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: 10 March 2020]. 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].

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.

  • Adem, Alejandro (Cohomology of finite groups, orbifolds, stringy topology, algebra, sporadic simple group, group actions, arithmetic groups, K-theory, homotopy theory, spaces of homomorphisms)
  • Angel, Omer (Probability theory, percolation, random graphs, random walks, particle processes, scaling limits)
  • Anstee, Richard (Discrete Mathematics, Extremal Set Theory, Graph Theory, Matching Theory)
  • Bachmann, Sven (Mathematical Analysis, Quantum Phenomena, Mathematical physics, Quantum statistical physics, Topological states of matter)
  • Balmforth, Neil (Fluid mechanics, nonlinear dynamics and applied partial differential equations)
  • Behrend, Kai (Moduli spaces, Gromov-Witten invariants, string theory, Donaldson-Thomas invariants, Euler characteristics, categorification)
  • Bennett, Michael (Number Theory, Diophantine Approximation and Classical Analysis)
  • Bryan, Jim (Quantum invariants)
  • Cautis, Sabin (Geometry)
  • Chau, Albert (Differential Geometry and Partial Differential Equations)
  • Chen, Jingyi (Differential geometry , partial differential equations)
  • Colliander, James (hamiltonian dynamical systems; partial differential equations; harmonic analysis)
  • Coombs, Daniel (Cell Signaling and Infectious and Immune Diseases, Mathematics, Epidemiology, Mathematical biology, Cell biophysics, Immune cell signalling, Disease models)
  • Cytrynbaum, Eric (Bacterial cell division, Microtubule and cellular organization, Wave propagation in excitable media)
  • Dao Duc, Khanh (combine mathematical,computational and statistical tools to study fundamental biological processes, regulation and determinants of gene expression and translation)
  • Doebeli, Michael Walter (Mathematical ecology and evolution, evolution of diversity, adaptive speciation, evolution of cooperation, game theory, experimental evolution in microorganisms)
  • Edelstein-Keshet, Leah (Mathematics, Modelization and Simulation, Cell Signaling, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Differential Equation, cell polarity, cell migration, developmental and cellular biology, swarming and aggregation, Rho GTPases)
  • Feng, James Jingtao (Fluid Mechanics, Complex fluids, Biophysics, Mathematical biology)
  • Fraser, Ailana (Differential Geometry, Geometric Analysis)
  • Friedlander, Michael (numerical optimization, numerical linear algebra, scientific computing, Scientific computing)
  • Frigaard, Ian (Fluid mechanics (visco-plastic fluids))
  • Froese, Richard Gerd (Mathematics, Mathematical physics, quantum mechanics, spectral theory, scattering theory)
  • Ghioca, Dragos (Drinfeld modules, isotrivial semiabelian varieties, Lehmer inequality)
  • Ghoussoub, Nassif (Mathematical sciences, R&Ed policies, developing science in Africa, Non-linear analysis and partial differential equations)
  • Gordon, Julia Yulia (Representation theory of p-adic groups and motivic integration; Trace Formula and its applications)

Pages

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
2020 Dr. Shukla's research explored the complicated nature of algebraic structures, focusing on two measures of complexity: essential dimension and the number of generators of an algebra. This research contributes to our understanding of objects with highly complex symmetries that frequently arise in mathematics.
2020 Dr. Gherga investigated an infinite family of equations whose solutions admit deep mathematical applications in elliptic curves and elliptic curve cryptography. In her work, she helped to develop the theory and implementation of an efficient algorithm to fully resolve these equations.
2020 How natural is the link between topology and properties of materials? The first part of Dr. Sheinbaum Frank's thesis fills a gap in the classification of materials using a method that studies shapes using algebra, known as K-theory. What makes quantum mechanics weird? A new connection between K-theory and contextuality is presented in part 2.
2019 Dr. Arman made several contributions to the area of compressed sensing. He proposed a new class of matrices, generalized a method of quantization, and showed the classical bounds on one of the main features of deterministic matrices in compressed sensing can be improved. Compressed sensing is used in signal processing, statistics and computer science.
2019 Dr. Leigh considered two enumerative problems in geometry that are motivated by mathematical physics. In the first he developed a new theory for counting a special type of object. In the second he provided an explicit computation involving a string-theoretic space called the "banana threefold".
2019 Dr. Kwon examined the existence and ill-posedness for partial differential equations describing the motion of fluid when the given data is rough. The construction of the various type of flows with desired properties gives a deeper understanding of the behavior of fluid flows.
2019 Dr. Hsu constructed a categorical action of the shifted q=0 affine algebra on the derived categories of coherent sheaves on partial flag varieties. Then he applied this action to obtain an action of the q=0 affine Hecke algebra on the derived categories of coherent sheaves on the full flag variety.
2019 Dr. Charette studied pattern formations on evolving surfaces. He provided new findings on the bifurcations of reaction-diffusion systems and developed a numerical method to demonstrate his findings using the Closest Point Method. His work can be extended to many other evolving domain problems.
2019 Dr. Carlquist developed a method to map experimental measurements onto mathematical models that describe how a system changes in time and space. Applying his method, he unravelled the mechanism underlying dynamic pattern formation in the E. coli Min system, one of the simplest biological systems known to demonstrate diverse complex dynamic behaviour.
2019 Dr. Liu studied the free-surface flow of non-Newtonian fluids under gravity. His research provides insights in the dynamics of visco-plastic dambreak problems in different contexts. His results can be applied in many industrial and natural processes ranging from cementing to glacier movement.

Pages

Further Program Information

Specialization

Mathematicians use theoretical and computational methods to solve a wide range of problems from the most abstract to the very applied. UBC's mathematics graduate students work in many branches of pure and applied mathematics.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-PO
 
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 December 2020
International Applicant Deadline
31 December 2020
 

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.

Curious about UBC for grad school?

Our community of scholars is one of the world’s finest, committed to discovering and sharing knowledge, and to tackling the challenges that face our world.