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.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Program Components
Faculty of Science

Meet a UBC representative

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Thursday, 26 July 2018
Time: 12:30 to 13:30
Join our Graduate Student Ambassadors Samuel Adenyanju (MSc Forestry, Nigeria), Federico Andrade (PhD Public Health, Colombia), Maria Angélica Guerrero (MA Educational Studies, Colombia), Xining (Linda) Yang (PhD Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, China) and Dorine Akwiri (Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs, Kenya) who will be available to answer questions about their experiences at UBC, including topics such as accommodation, moving to a new city/province/country and settling in, making friends, being an international student, and more. This session is open to participants interested in different programs across all faculties at UBC. Please note that we will not be able to provide answers to questions regarding application or admissions policies or any that involve specific personal information.


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Funding Sources

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.

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.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (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. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations1414121216
Total enrolment7273707877

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 74.6% based on 63 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 53 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 1.99 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 4.66 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: 9 March 2018]. 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 September 2017].

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)
  • Barlow, Martin (Graphs, interacting particle systems, diffusions, heat kernel estimates)
  • 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)
  • Doebeli, Michael Walter (Mathematical ecology and evolution, evolution of diversity, adaptive speciation, evolution of cooperation, game theory, experimental evolution in microorganisms)
  • Feldman, Joel (Mathematical Analysis, Constructive Quantum Field Theory)
  • 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)
  • Friedman, Joel (Computer Science Theory, Algebraic Graph Theory, Combinatorics)
  • 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)


Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Robert Fraser
    "Dr. Fraser studied harmonic analysis and geometric measure theory. He considered questions involving packing families of surfaces into zero-volume sets and locating patterns of points in these sets. This research connects the study of fractal sets in Euclidean spaces with the study of fractal sets in other spaces." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Xinyu Liu
    "Dr. Liu develped a theory of intertwining distributions on algebraic groups. He applied the theory to study intertwining operators between smooth parabolic inductions of real reductive algebraic groups. His study also gives explicit decription of local behaviour of intertwining operators." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Shirin Boroushaki
    "Dr. Boroushaki developed new methods for constructing solutions to stochastic differential equations. These equations are used to model population dynamics in biology, demonstrate evolution of a fluid velocity and turbulence in physics, and model stock prices and risky assets in finance." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Niki Myrto Mavraki
    "Dr. Mavraki studied Diophantine Geometry, a subject with a rich history. Her work uses insights from the young field of arithmetic dynamics, which studies number-theoretic questions arising from the iteration of self-maps. Findings involve small points in families of elliptic curves and generalize earlier results in the literature." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Alessandro Marinelli
    "Dr. Marinelli completed the first proof of strong (p,p)-unboundedness for the maximal directional Hilbert transform operator in all dimensions and for the range 1

Further Program Information


September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 December 2018
International Applicant Deadline
31 December 2018

Program Information

Application Enquiries

Supervisor Search


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