Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics (PhD)


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 Representative

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Time: 17:00 to 18:00

Join Kelli Kadokawa and Shane Moore from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and some of our 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.

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Time: 08:30 to 09:30

Join Kelli Kadokawa and Shane Moore from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and some of our 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.

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









IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0









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.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application


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.


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


FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (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.
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
Senior Software Engineer
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
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

New registrations179141412
Total enrolment7268727370

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 75.86% based on 58 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 38 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 3.00 years and the maximum time is 8.00 years with an average of 5.15 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
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: 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.

  • 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 (Mathematics and statistics; 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 (Mathematics and statistics; Geometry)
  • Chau, Albert (Differential Geometry and Partial Differential Equations)
  • Chen, Jingyi (Algebraic and differential geometry; Differential Geometry, Partial Differential Equations)
  • Colliander, James (hamiltonian dynamical systems; partial differential equations; harmonic analysis)
  • Coombs, Daniel (Mathematics and statistics; Cell Signaling and Infectious and Immune Diseases; Cell biophysics; Disease models; Epidemiology; Immune cell signalling; Mathematical biology; Mathematics)
  • Cytrynbaum, Eric (Bacterial cell division, Microtubule and cellular organization, Wave propagation in excitable media)
  • Dao Duc, Khanh (Genomics; Mathematics and statistics; 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 (Bioinformatics; Mathematics and statistics; Medical and biomedical engineering; Cell signaling; Cell Signaling and Cancer; cell polarity, cell migration, developmental and cellular biology; Differential Equation; Mathematics; Modelization and Simulation; Rho GTPases; swarming and aggregation)
  • Feng, James Jingtao (Chemical engineering; Mathematics and statistics; Biophysics; Complex fluids; Fluid mechanics; 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 and statistics; Mathematics; Mathematical physics; quantum mechanics; scattering theory; spectral 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)


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. Gonzalez Anaya's research is concerned with the complexity of geometric spaces arising as solutions to polynomial equations. His work contributes to our understanding of how the process of deforming their shape can sometimes result in new geometric objects having significantly more intricate geometric properties.
2020 Dr. Hughes studied mathematical models for random spatial populations which arise in a variety of settings, including ecology. His work focused on fractal properties of the population densities. This research sheds light on how these populations, and other important stochastic models, are locally distributed in space.
2020 Dr. Zhou studied nonlinear partial differential equations with an emphasis on phenomena where solutions become unbounded. By developing new gluing methods, he rigorously constructed solutions to equations arising from different contexts such as geometry and mathematical physics. This research gives a deeper understanding of singularity formation.
2020 Dr. Hernandez Torres studied two probabilistic models that emulate phenomena in physics and biology. She focused on understanding the behaviour of these models at a large-scale. Her results add to our mathematical understanding of the relation between microscopic and macroscopic descriptions of natural processes within probability theory.
2020 Dr. Durney used mathematical and biophysical modelling to show how the individual and collective motion of cells cause a variety of mechanical behaviors of tissues during development. His work provides understanding to the mechanisms that are responsible for the correct development of form during organ development.
2020 Dr. Wang studied baroclinic critical layers, thin layers in fluids with pronounced wave amplitudes. His research theoretically revealed the evolution of the critical layers and the potential mechanism through which they replicate. These discoveries advance our understanding of transition to turbulence in ocean, atmosphere and astrophysical disks.
2020 Dr. Chan's research considered problems with certain mathematical structures known as tableaux. He proved results which relate to enumerative and structural aspects of these problems. His work could aid in understanding inherently complex problems relating to tableaux and in establishing connections between different areas in combinatorics.
2020 Dr. Bowles investigated an axiomatic framework for problems concerning optimal ways to transport a distribution into another. In his work, he focused on an associated class of non-linear operators and developed their invariant properties. This research contributes to our understanding of common structures that persists across such problems.
2020 Dr. Qiu used computer simulations to explain the motion of drops made from a magnetic liquid, and developed a general computational method to study liquid crystals with a free surface. His research helps understand the physics of complex fluids under surface tension, and design new materials for many possible applications, such as medical care.
2020 Dr. Martinez-Dibene laid the foundations for the uniform spanning forest model with uniform drift in one coordinate. He studied basic statistics such as the number of visits to a point as well as the geometry of the resulting forest. This helps understanding better the models of random forests in graphs which have applications in the design of networks.


Further Information


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

Supervisor Search

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