The Microbiology and Immunology programme involves immune cells, bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Students can investigate the ecology, evolution and environments of micro-organisms, the diseases they cause, the microbiome and its influence on the immune system and our health, immunity and disease. We are seeking solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance; designing new, combination drug therapies; using microbial engineering in industrial processing and environmental remediation; determining how our immune system can best protect us against infection and cancer; using this information to design new immunotherapies and treatments for inflammation and auto-immune diseases. Our projects span population and systems biology and ecology, organism behavior and function, cell interactions and molecular mechanisms, and our students graduate with extensive training in analytical thinking, creative innovation and effective communication. Degrees in our programme accelerate students in a great variety of careers in industry, academia, non-for-profit organisations and the business world.
Microbiology has been an integral part of UBC since the university's inception in 1915. Our program is a strong and collaborative community of microbiologists, immunologists, biochemists and cell biologists, based at UBC and affiliated hospitals. We promote fundamental and translational research and we enjoy strong connections to clinical colleagues across Canada. Many of our students are located in the Life Sciences Institute, a world-class collection of scientists with facilities including advanced flow cytometry, microscopy and imaging, together with the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research, the Advanced Structural Biology for Re-emerging Infectious Diseases group, and the Genome Sciences Centre. We work closely with the Centres for Drug Research and Development and for High-Throughput Biology, emphasising commercialisation and entrepreneurship.
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 competitve process.
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:
Overall score requirement: 100
Overall score requirement: 7.0
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 required by some applicants. Please check the program website.
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.
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.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|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)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
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.
All full-time PhD students in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology will be provided with a funding package of $24,000 stipend plus a life supplement equivalent to tuition and fees for up to five 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
75 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 7 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 66 graduates:
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
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.
|2020||Dr. Heieis investigated how cellular metabolism allows immune cells to respond in various scenarios of disease. He found that T cells have different requirements for glucose when fighting parasites versus bacterial infections. This research will have future implications in the development of immune-based therapies for infection and autoimmunity.|
|2020||Dr. Sedivy-Haley studied responses to Salmonella infection in macrophage activation states, including the "tolerant" state seen in sepsis. She identified differences in gene expression that may account for different levels of resistance to Salmonella. This could help us to improve the ability of macrophages to resist infection and treat sepsis.|
|2020||Dr. Coleman studied the regulation of swarming motility in the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes lung and hospital-acquired infections. Her findings show that swarming, a multicellular movement that enables pathogens to spread over surfaces, is a complex behaviour that increases antibiotic resistance and influences disease virulence.|
|2020||The entry of calcium ions into immune cells stimulates cellular replication. Calcium channels participate in mediating calcium entry. Dr. Stanwood characterized antibodies against voltage-dependent calcium channels and discovered growth inhibitory effects against cells of lymphoma. The findings contribute to the field of cancer research.|
|2020||Dr. Shim found that the protein CD45 regulates red blood cell progenitors in the spleen, which protect mice from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by interacting with cells in the spleen. This work shows the importance of CD45 as a modulator of immune response and suggests a novel approach to treating the systemic inflammation associated with IBD.|
|2020||Dr. Bolger-Munro investigated the role of the actin cytoskeleton in B cells, which are the antibody-producing cell of the immune system. Using sophisticated microscopy, her findings show the importance of the actin-related protein complex in amplifying B cell responses. This study provides new insights into how B cell activation is controlled.|
|2020||Dr. Brown studied the bacterium that causes Tuberculosis (TB), called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (or Mtb). She investigated how Mtb uses host-produced cholesterol as a source of nutrients during infection. She demonstrated the importance of cholesterol for the survival of Mtb within the lung and identified novel targets for TB drug development.|
|2020||Dr. Lorzadeh developed a sensitive method to study how the composition of chromatin in normal blood cell precursors changes during blood cell production and how it is altered in certain types of leukemia. His research advances our understanding of the molecular processes that regulate the production of normal and malignant blood cells.|
|2019||A controlled CD4+ T cell response is essential for protective immunity against influenza. Dr. Fonseca showed that CD4+ T cells are modulated by the infection-induced cytokine IL-27 and dynamic histone modifications during infection. Her work provides insight into the mechanisms that balance effective immunity and immunopathology during disease.|
|2019||Dr. Sun used a model of the cystic fibrosis lung to study how bacteria use motility to adapt to these kinds of environments. She studied a new form of bacterial motility known as surfing and found that it contributes to virulence and antibiotic resistance regulated by complex genetic networks.|
Microbiology and Immunology offers opportunities for original research in the areas of molecular and applied microbiology, biotechnology, cell and developmental biology, epigenetics, geomicrobiology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, molecular immunology, microbial ecology, microbial pathogenesis, and virology.
The UBC Microbiology and Immunology program was just the right fit for me: I was able to join a lab doing innovative and exciting research and the department emphasizes excellence in teaching and learning. Opportunities to engage with the teaching and learning community across campus are also...
UBC has long been world-leading in sustainability efforts which aligns well with my own values and goals. Moreover, I was drawn to learning and working at a highly-ranked university. Having completed my MSc degree in Germany, I was curious to explore the research environment in North America....