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 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 abundant. Living in the vibrant city of Vancouver and daily views of the mountains have certainly been a bonus of choosing UBC.
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.
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 not required.
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.
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||$1,767.18||$3,104.64|
|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)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (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 $24,480 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.
|2022||Dr. Ifill investigated how Bordetella pertussis, the bacteria that causes whooping cough, adapts to different environmental stressors. He identified several overlapping systems which regulate genes associated with survival and evasion of the human immune system, indicating how this pathogen may be responding to stress within the host.|
|2022||Dr. Roccor investigated how a bacterium can degrade the natural polymer lignin and the plastic polymer PET. His research helps us to engineer bacteria that can transform these waste streams into valuable products to replace petroleum-derived chemicals.|
|2022||Dr. Alford studied the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which causes infection of many bodily niches including the skin and lungs. Her research identified mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and virulence using host-like models of infection. Her findings will be used to develop new therapies for treating infections in clinical settings.|
|2022||Dr. Byrne studied the complex dynamics of viral infections, examining how various viruses are transmitted and how elicited immune responses change over time. Combining methods of biological data collection and mathematical modelling, her work brings insight into potential treatment, vaccination, and control strategies.|
|2022||Dr. Wu studied synthetic host defence peptides (small cationic peptides) as therapies for skin inflammation and highly antibiotic resistant bacterial biofilms. Her research revealed the intrinsic promise of synthetic host defence peptides and provided new insights into their mechanisms of action.|
|2021||Dr. Barvalia has characterized the immune system using high dimensional single cell systems immunology techniques. He has discovered marked heterogeneity in myeloid cells and identified discrete immune perturbation states in Lyn kinase deficiency and colorectal cancer. His research can further guide the development of novel immunotherapies.|
|2021||Dr. Lin studied how Campylobacter jejuni helical cell shape is generated by enzyme actions. She found the shape-determining enzymes digest sites in the cell wall structure. This knowledge adds mechanistic insight on bacterial morphology maintenance, and provides a platform to design drugs targeting the helical cell shape necessary for infection.|
|2021||Dr. Sheikh studied lung viral infections caused by influenza and how the cytokine IL-7 contributes to immunity against it. His work identified new roles for IL-7 in enhancing the function of immune cells in response to lung influenza infection. His findings provide insights into development of clinical interventions in lung inflammation.|
|2021||Dr. Belanger studied antibiotic susceptibility of the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. She identified altered susceptibility and genetic requirements in conditions relevant to human infection. Her research advanced our understanding of antibiotic resistance and advocates for more appropriate antibiotic testing conditions.|
|2021||Dr. Janzen systematically studied the establishment of a replicative niche by Salmonella bacteria within host cells. Her findings set a new paradigm for future Salmonella research and demonstrated the necessity of a wholistic view of Salmonella-host interactions to illuminate the poorly understood Salmonella replicative niche.|
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.
I was gifted the book Let Them Eat Dirt during my undergrad, which describes how microorganisms have evolved over the eons to work in symbiosis with their animal hosts. Similar to how an unbalanced diet can cause nutrient deficiencies, changes in the levels of various gut microbes have been shown...
The events that led me to pursue my PhD at UBC deviated from the typical path. I was looking to re-enter the research sphere and took an independent course at UBC to re-enmesh myself in the field. At the termination of the course, I spoke with the coordinator who kindly bridged the introduction to...
UBC has an excellent Microbiology & Immunology graduate degree program. I was able to find many excellent researchers and world-renown faculty that I would be interested in working with, with projects that were fascinating to me. As a University, UBC has an international presence, as well as a...