Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)

Overview

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.

What makes the program unique?

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.

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Life Sciences
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Microbiology and Immunology
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Science

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Program Enquiries

If you have reviewed the information on this program page and understand the requirements for this program, you may send an enquiry

Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

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.

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. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

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.

English Language Proficiency

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:

100
25
25
25
25
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.

This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.

Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)

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.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2019
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 February 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 February 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 February 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 February 2020
Referee Deadline: 01 February 2020

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
30 January 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 August 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 September 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 September 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 August 2020
Transcript Deadline: 30 August 2020
Referee Deadline: 30 August 2020

Funding Sources

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.

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.

We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your 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.

In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.

Career Outcomes

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:


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 British Columbia (10)
McGill University (4)
Dalhousie University (2)
McMaster University (2)
University of Newcastle
Universite de Montreal
University of Alberta
Kyushu University
University of South Florida
Langara College
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Zymeworks Inc. (3)
STEMCELL Technologies (3)
BC Cancer Agency (2)
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Anadiomena's Designs
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
ME Therapeutics Inc.
Bio-Rad Laboratories
Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping
BC Cancer Research Centre
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Scientist (4)
Research Scientist (4)
Staff Scientist (2)
Senior Scientist (2)
Vice President
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Program Manager, Informatics and Bio-computing
Business Development Specialist
Policy Analyst
Owner and President
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. 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 PhD in M&I prepares students for demanding high profile scientific positions in academia, biotechnology, government and charitable organisations, and entrepreneurial start-up companies. Our PhD graduates who plan an academic career proceed to postdoctoral positions across the globe and become professors at universities, research institutes and teaching hospitals. PhD graduates interested in scientific management and policy work within Government agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Revenue Agency and the National Research Council of Canada. Many graduates employ their specialization in professional careers such as Law and Medicine while a large percentage are senior scientists in Biotechnology companies around the world such as Novartis, Genentech, Pfizer, BioRad and Tekmira.  

Alumni on Success

Olga Pena

Job Title
Research Scientist and Manager
Employer
UBC

Tuition / Program Costs

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.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20182017201620152014
Applications2329231812
Offers736104
New registrations73673
Total enrolment6264676463

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 90.91% based on 11 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 13 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 4.33 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.48 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: 22 March 2019]. 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.

  • Abraham, Ninan (Mammals, pathogens, genetic analysis, proper cell funtion, development, maintenance and proper functioning of T- and B-cells )
  • Av-Gay, Yossef (Drug discovery, Macrophage biology, Tuberculosis)
  • Beatty, John (Gene transfer mediated by virus-like particles, Light-driven reactions in photosynthesis proteins, Applications of photosynthesis proteins to solar energy)
  • Brown, Kelly (childhood rheumatic diseases, phagocytes)
  • Crowe, Sean (Geobiology, biogeochemistry, microbial evolution)
  • Eltis, Lindsay (Bacterial catabolism of steroids and lignin, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, biocatalyst development)
  • Fernandez, Rachel (Bordetella pertusis, whooping cough, lipopolysaccharide)
  • Finlay, B Brett (Infectious agents, bacteria, microbial infections and how humans react to it)
  • Gantt, Soren (cytomegalovirus, Burkitt’s lymphoma, Cytomegalovirus, epstein-barr virus, herpes simplex virus, congenital infection, newborn infection, Burkitt)
  • Gaynor, Erin (Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, foodborne human pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni)
  • Gold, Michael (understanding cell signaling, morphology, trafficking, and effector function of immune cells and tumour cells)
  • Hallam, Steven (methanogenesis, methane oxidation, methyl coenzyme M reductase, metagenomics, environmental microbiology, genomics, proteomics, microbial ecology, systems biology, archaea, energy, bioinformatics, Microbial communities, construction and interpretation of environmental genomic libraries, generation of computational tools and workflows for taxonomic and functional binning, population genome assembly, and comparative community analysis, development and functional screens to interrogate environmental genomic libraries for bioactive small molecules and biocatalysis)
  • Hancock, Robert E (Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides, Host Defence Peptides and Innate Immunity, Functional Genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Regulation of Antibiotic Resistance, Array Data, Self-promoted uptake hypothesis)
  • Haney, Cara (genetic and metabolic factors that regulate assembly of host-associated microbial communities ()
  • Harder, Kenneth (Host-pathogen, tumours, infection, immunity, atherosclerosis, role of macrophages in inflammation)
  • Hirst, Martin (Epigenomics)
  • Horwitz, Marc (Mechanisms of viral-induced immune disease in a variety of complex chronic disorders)
  • Jean, Francois (Molecular virology, Host-virus interactions, Cellular proprotein convertases, Emerging human viruses, Mosquito-borne viruses, Dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, Influenza A virus, Antiviral agents, Natural products as antiviral agents, Broad-based antiviral therapeutics, Lipid-modulating drugs, Human microRNAs, Therapeutic microRNA, Viral and cellular biomarkers, Molecular diagnostics for detecting viral infection, Circulating exosomes, Exosomal microRNAs)
  • Jefferies, Wilfred Arthur (Iron transport molecules)
  • Johnson, Pauline (Immunology, Inflammation, Immune-cancer interactions, Innate immunity, Macrophages and myeloid cells)
  • Kronstad, James (Pathogenesis of infectious diseases, Medical Mycology, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Fungal diseases of plants)
  • Levings, Megan (Immune homeostasis)
  • Manges, Amee (Epidemiology, Molecular epidemiology, Public health)
  • McMaster, W Robert (Molecular Immunology)
  • Mohn, William (pollutant biodegradation, pollutant bioremediation, biological treatment of forest industry effluents and wastes, microbial ecology, environmental biotechnology, forest soil microbial ecology, tuberculosis, microbial genomics, Microbial ecology)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Evelyn Sun
    "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." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Celine Chantal Philippe Michiels
    "Dr. Michiels developed an integrated approach using biogeochemical in situ measurements, molecular tools, and flux-balance models to create new knowledge about the microbial processes recycling nitrogen under low oxygen conditions in the ancient and modern oceans." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Nicolette Marian Fonseca
    "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." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Shekooh Behroozian
    "In our global battle against drug-resistant superbugs, there is a limited arsenal of antibiotics. Dr. Behroozian discovered broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities in a natural clay from Kisameet Bay, British Columbia, and clarified the active principal components and modes of action. Her contributions may lead to development of novel treatments." (November 2019)
  • Dr. Monica Torres-Beltran
    "Dr. Torres-Beltran explored how microbes interact to build networks driving methane consumption under low water column oxygen conditions. Her observations expand our understanding on how this greenhouse gas is cycled in ocean regions where oxygen loss is ongoing due to global warming effects." (May 2019)

Sample Thesis Submissions

 

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September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2019
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 February 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 February 2020

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
30 January 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 August 2020
International Applicant Deadline
15 August 2020
 

Supervisor Search

 

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