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.

 

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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

September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2023
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 March 2024
Transcript Deadline: 12 March 2024
Referee Deadline: 12 March 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 February 2024
Transcript Deadline: 28 February 2024
Referee Deadline: 28 February 2024

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 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

 20222021202020192018
Applications3728383025
Offers710637
New Registrations79627
Total Enrolment6365595962

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 92% based on 50 students admitted between 2010 - 2013. Based on 14 graduations between 2019 - 2022 the minimum time to completion is 5.35 years and the maximum time is 8.88 years with an average of 6.61 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, 22 March 2024 - 9:00am - 11268, Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre, 2775 Laurel St

Nicholas Gauthier
Applications of Metagenomic Sequencing for Virus Detection and Characterization of Upper Respiratory Infections

Thursday, 4 April 2024 - 9:30am - 1346 Faculty Lounge, Life Sciences Institute, 2350 Health Sciences Mall

Siyu Song
Mechanisms by Which Plants Shape the Rhizosphere Microbiome Structure and Function

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
2014 Dr. Pfaffen studied algae from the open oceans. She examined the way in which proteins in the algae store iron from the water to help the algae's later growth. This work contributes to our understanding of how algae survive in iron-limited oceans and bloom upon exposure to iron inputs, thereby having an impact on the global carbon cycle.
2014 Dr. Saer studied photosynthesis in the department of Microbiology and Immunology. He highlighted the role of protein movement, or dynamics, as a key player in the utilization of light energy during photosynthesis. This work has potential applications in converting sunlight to electrical power and developing next-generation solar cells and batteries.
2014 Dr. Pryjma studied the pathogen Campylobacter jejuni, which acts as a disease causing agent . His research demonstrates how Campylobacter regulates its own metabolism and how it infects human cells. These finding are important as they help to explain how Campylobacter induces disease and what nutrient sources it uses while doing so.
2014 Dr. Zaikova studied marine sponges in order to understand how animals interact with microbes. She showed that the sponge immune system can recognize a variety of microbes and the microbes can affect the host's immune response. This work sheds light on the oldest mechanisms used by animals to recognize microbes, with implications for medical research.
2014 Dr. Shah has completed her PhD in the field of Microbiology and Immunology. She found that the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, which causes the disease whooping cough, can change its surface to affect interactions with the human immune system. These studies broaden our understanding of whooping cough and have implications for vaccine development.
2014 Dr. de la Fuente-Nunez identified a novel class of antibiotics that target bacterial biofilms, which are estimated to cause two thirds of all bacterial infections in humans. This new class of drugs lowers the amount of conventional antibiotics required to treat infections, helping to combat antibiotic resistance.
2014 Dr. Loveday examined the regulation of genes during infection with Influenza A virus. She discovered that changes in gene expression are dependent on the duration of the infection and the influenza strain. This research may lead to the development of new bio-markers and treatments for Influenza A viral infections.
2014 Dr. Chehal's doctoral studies revealed the degree to which breast cancer can impair the development and function of the immune system. Her discoveries improve our understanding of how breast cancer manipulates anti-tumor immunity. They also suggest new treatment strategies to energize the immune system in the fight against cancer.
2014 Dr. Russell studied how intestinal microbes influence allergic diseases. She showed that antibiotic exposure early in life can affect populations of intestinal bacteria and make animals more susceptible to asthma and food allergies. This research highlights a role for healthy intestinal bacteria in the treatment and prevention of allergic diseases.
2014 Dr. Wlodarska examined the important role our intestinal microbes play in intestinal disease. She discovered that microbes regulate the intestinal mucus layer, a key component of human health, and identified a novel immune pathway controlling this mucus production. This knowledge is critical in developing new therapeutics for intestinal disease.

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.
 

September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2023
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 March 2024
International Applicant Deadline
15 February 2024
 
Supervisor Search
 

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