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.

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Program Enquiries

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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

January 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
30 January 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 August 2021
Transcript Deadline: 15 September 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 September 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 July 2021
Transcript Deadline: 30 August 2021
Referee Deadline: 30 August 2021

May 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
30 May 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2021
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 October 2021
Transcript Deadline: 30 November 2021
Referee Deadline: 30 November 2021

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 14 February 2022
Transcript Deadline: 21 February 2022
Referee Deadline: 21 February 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 February 2022
Transcript Deadline: 21 February 2022
Referee Deadline: 21 February 2022

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 supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding 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$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (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.

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 $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.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 32 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 $37,839.
  • 16 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 16 students was $6,064.
  • 28 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 28 students was $12,704.
  • 32 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 32 students was $14,487.
  • 10 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 10 students was $29,453.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - 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.

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.

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 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.

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 Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator 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

 20202019201820172016
Applications3631232923
Offers84736
New registrations72736
Total enrolment6161626467

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 80% based on 15 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 11 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 4.33 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.74 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 April 2021]. 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 October 2020].

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
2013 Dr. Pena studied sepsis, which is the major infection-related cause of death worldwide. She demonstrated that most sepsis patients have a strong immuno-suppression profile known as endo-toxin tolerance. She also discovered valuable biomarkers that identify this profile, predict severity, and may enhance treatments to improve sepsis survival rates.
2013 Dr. Buckner studied S. enterica, proteins that contribute to disease such as Typhoid fever and gastroenteritis. She found one host hormone affects bacterial colonization. This has furthered our understanding of how Salmonella causes disease, and may lead to better treatments for the 90 million people infected annually worldwide.
2013 Dr. Wright studied the ecology of microbes living in the oxygen starved waters of the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Her research showed that an abundant group of bacteria called Marine Group A may play a role in marine sulfur cycling. These results will assist us in understanding the impact of microbial processes on marine ecosystems and climate.
2013 Dr. Cadieux studied C. neoformans, a fungus that causes disease in humans and animals. She found this fungus has different mechanisms to acquire heme, a nutrient essential to humans, and she identified the first protein involved in heme uptake. Her findings may lead to better treatment for diseases caused by the fungus, such as pneumonia and meningitis.
2013 Dr. Labonté studied marine communities of an important but understudied group of viruses: single-stranded DNA viruses. Her research expanded our knowledge of their genetic diversity and evolution. She showed that they play a significant role as pathogens of marine phyto-plankton and micro-zooplankton that are at the base of the marine food chain.
2013 Dr. Poon studied a set of immune cells called macrophages and their role during lung inflammation. She discovered that the binding of macrophages to hyaluronan, a common carbohydrate, is required for their proliferation and retention in the lung. Her work provides insight that will further the development of treatment for respiratory diseases.
2013 Dr. Apel studied a bacterium called Campylobacter jejuni, which causes severe food poisoning. By exploring the ways in which the bacterium senses and responds to different environmental conditions, his research provided key insights into how this prevalent pathogen survives inside animal hosts and causes disease in humans.
2013 Dr. Yeung studied mechanisms that control virulence and virulence-related processes, including swarming, antibiotic resistance and biofilm formation, in the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Her research provide insights into how this pathogen proliferates within the lungs of Cystic Fibrosis patients, which will assist in the development of treatments.
2012 Dr. Casiraghi studied how viruses can trigger auto-immunity, which causes body cells to attack each other. She found that Epstein-Barr virus infection, which typically causes mononucleosis, can also leave a patient more susceptible to multiple sclerosis and lupus. This research sheds light on the causes of these diseases and reveals targets for the development of new treatments.
2012 Dr. Svensson studied how Campylobacter jejuni, a bacterium that causes food poisoning, adapts to stressful conditions. She discovered that Campylobacter forms stress-tolerant communities called biofilms, and two particular genes allow it to sense and respond to environmental challenges. This work will help control C. jejuni in the food chain.

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.
 

January 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
30 January 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 August 2021
International Applicant Deadline
30 July 2021

May 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
30 May 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 November 2021
International Applicant Deadline
30 October 2021

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
14 February 2022
International Applicant Deadline
01 February 2022
 
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