Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

The Microbiology and Immunology programme includes the study of bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites as well as the immune system. Students can investigate the ecology, evolution and environments of microorganisms, 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; 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 research spans population and systems biology and ecology, organism behavior and function, as well as cell interactions and molecular mechanisms. Our graduates are extensively trained in analytical thinking, creative innovation, and effective communication. Degrees in our programme accelerate students in a wide variety of careers in industry, academia, not-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 programme 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 clinicians, engineers, and epidemiologists across Canada. Many of our students are located in the Life Sciences Institute, a world-class collection of scientists with core facilities for advanced flow cytometry, microscopy and imaging, and high-throughput biology together with the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research. Other researchers are located in the Michael Smith Laboratories. We also work closely with a variety of local organizations such as adMare Bioinnovations and the Genome Sciences Centre, with opportunities for commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

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

Reading

25

Writing

25

Speaking

25

Listening

25

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

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

May 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
30 May 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2024

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 February 2025
Transcript Deadline: 01 March 2025
Referee Deadline: 01 March 2025
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 February 2025
Transcript Deadline: 15 February 2025
Referee Deadline: 15 February 2025

3) Prepare Application

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.

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.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

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

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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 PhD students in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology will be provided with a funding package of $29,270 stipend plus a life supplement equivalent to tuition 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.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 37 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $41,401.
  • 19 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 19 students was $6,612.
  • 34 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 34 students was $18,034.
  • 7 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 7 students was $2,749.
  • 37 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 37 students was $15,581.
  • 11 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 11 students was $17,939.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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 Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

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.  

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications4137283830
Offers1071063
New Registrations87962
Total Enrolment6763655959

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 95% based on 44 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 20 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 4.44 years and the maximum time is 9.22 years with an average of 6.66 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 2 August 2024 - 10:00am - 1346 Faculty Lounge, Life Sciences Institute, 2350 Health Sciences Mall

Polina Beskrovnaya
Mechanisms of Peptidoglycan Remodelling and Outer Membrane Biogenesis in the Diderm Firmicute Acetonema Longum

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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
2018 The human body is home to approximately 100 trillion micro-organisms including bacteria and other microbes. Dr. Cait examined how this microbiome impacts asthma susceptibility and highlighted the importance of microbially-derived metabolites in preventing this disease.
2018 Dr. McArthur studied neglected viral diseases, looking for better ways to measure viruses and their ability to infect humans. He developed analytic methods targeting dengue, Zika, and Ebola viruses, and applied them to discover new antivirals. His results advance our understanding of these viruses and may lead to a universal virus diagnostic test.
2018 Dr. Wang studied the role of the cytoskeleton in B lymphocytes, which are the antibody-producing cells of the immune system. Using advanced imaging tools, her research showed that the dynamic organization of actin and microtubules controls B cell activation. Her findings illustrate how the cytoskeleton is essential for B cell function.
2018 Macrophages and dendritic cells are types of white blood cells that are an integral part of our immune system. Dr. Dong investigated how CD44 and hyaluronan regulate macrophage and dendritic cell functions. These studies demonstrate how factors in the tissue environment help to maintain lung and alveolar health.
2017 Dr. Wuerth examined the use of small proteins, called peptides, as alternatives to antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections. Her research showed encouraging results for using a peptide to prevent or treat lung infections caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
2017 Dr. Lee-Sayer studied how interaction with the environment influences the function of blood cells. Specifically, she investigated the ability to interact with hyaluronan. This work has highlighted the importance of hyaluronan in regulating the development and function of blood cells.
2017 Dr. Brown discovered how malnutrition can affect gut microbes, metabolites and the immune system in the intestine. He used this information to develop the first animal model of an inflammatory disease called environmental enteropathy, which will be used to screen new therapies for reversing malnutrition.
2017 Dr. Hahn's dissertation builds on our current understanding of the complex microbial communities driving nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, and presents new methods with which to analyze microbial sequence data. Ultimately, this work can help facilitate the design of microbial communities with properties beneficial to humans and the planet.
2017 Dr. Stiemsma studied the intestinal microbiome and identified specific bacteria associated with the development of asthma in children. Her work suggests the microbiome as both an early life marker of asthma and a potential preventive treatment against this disease.
2017 Dr. Hyrina investigated the role of key regulators of host lipid metabolism, including microRNAs and proprotein convertases during hepatitis C and dengue virus infections. These studies provide new insights into the complex host-virus interactions, which may be utilized as targets for antiviral development as well as biomarkers of infection.

Pages

Further Information

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.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-QX

Classification

 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

May 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
30 May 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 November 2024
International Applicant Deadline
30 November 2024

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 February 2025
International Applicant Deadline
15 February 2025
 
Supervisor Search
 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form.

Why should you choose UBC?

From academic excellence and modern facilities to our diverse degree program listings to being named one of the “most innovative universities” by Reuters in 2019, UBC has a lot to offer.