Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience (PhD)

Overview

The objectives of the Program are to educate graduate students as neuroscientists with intensive experience in at least one area of research, and to ensure that students in the Program develop a broadly based knowledge of the neurosciences. The Program aims for flexibility so that the individual needs and background of each student can, as quickly as possible, be accommodated. The core program of courses offered to entering students consists of Neuroanatomy, Neurophysiology, Neurochemistry, Psychobiology, Molecular Neurobiology, and Neuropharmacology. Additional related courses are available for selection by the student and his/her Supervisory Committee. The Program is research oriented: students are expected to engage in research from the start of their studies. Research is undertaken in individual departments, over a wide range of basic and clinical Neuroscience topics.

 

What makes the program unique?

The Graduate Program in Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary program of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. It is administered by the Chairman of the Neuroscience Advisory Committee, and comprises some 60 faculty members representing 13 departments from the Faculties of Medicine, Science and Arts at the University of British Columbia. Laboratory and teaching areas are located across the UBC campus and at the University Hospital and the Vancouver Hospital, according to the teaching and research affiliations of the Neuroscience faculty members.

 

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

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

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 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 July 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2021

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 Neuroscience (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

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.

Research Information

Research Facilities

With more than 155,000 square feet of space, the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health has both laboratory and clinical research areas within the Centre proper and in the UBC Hospital Koerner Pavilion. Our core facilities are essential to ongoing collaboration, teaching, and research.

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 students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four 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. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding

Based on the criteria outlined below, 41 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 $30,922.

  • 19 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 19 students was $9,414.
  • 30 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 30 students was $16,334.
  • 39 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 39 students was $10,050.
  • 8 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 8 students was $25,875.

 

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

92 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 2 are in non-salaried situations; for 6 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 84 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 (12)
University of Toronto (3)
China Medical University (2)
University of Nevada - Las Vegas (2)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (2)
Western Washington University (2)
University of Ottawa (2)
Simon Fraser University (2)
University of Calgary (2)
Carleton University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
STEMCELL Technologies (3)
Hospital for Sick Children (2)
Johnson and Johnson Inc.
DynaLIFE
Synchronous ERP Inc.
AstraZeneca
Eli Lilly and Company
Focus Eyecare Centre
Allen Institute for Brain Science
Vancouver Coastal Health
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Postdoctoral Fellow (6)
Medical Science Liaison (2)
Senior Applications Biologist
Program Manager for PLDP
Neurologist
Medical Liaisons
Director of Technology and Product Development
Audiologist
Senior Software Engineer
Data Scientist
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
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

The 6-7 year PhD in Neuroscience is designed to prepare students for employment in the public or private sector, or to pursue further studies in the PhD program. Recent graduates have taken positions at Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Weston Brain Institute, BC Cancer Center, Science World and many other organizations. Those looking to pursue a postdoc in Neuroscience have gone on to study at other universities such as McGill as well as our own PhD program.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

  2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Applications 39 36 40 35 23
Offers 14 9 13 13 7
New registrations 10 7 11 10 6
Total enrolment 70 69 71 77 73

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 68.42% based on 38 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 29 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 3.66 years and the maximum time is 8.66 years with an average of 6.00 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].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Wednesday, 7 July 2021 - 9:00am

Ella Weik
Cognitive Processes and Brain Dynamics Associated with Social and Physical Pain in Youth and Young Adults

Tuesday, 3 August 2021 - 12:30pm

Tristan Hynes
Probing the Role of Dopamine at the Intersection of Addiction, Decision Making, and Sex

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.

  • Accili, Eric (molecular mechanisms responsible for cellular pacemaking behavior )
  • Allan, Douglas (Nervous system)
  • Auld, Vanessa (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Zoology; Cell; Cell Biology; Development; Developmental Genetics; epithelia; Genetics; glia; in vivo imaging; Molecular Genetics; nervous system; Neurogenesis and Gliogenesis; permeability barriers)
  • Austin, Jehannine (Genetics, genomics, genetic counseling, psychiatric illness, mental illness, mental health, psychiatry, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, postpartum depression, perinatal mental health, Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia)
  • Bamji, Shernaz (Medical and biomedical engineering; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; neurodevelopmental disease; primary neuronal cultures; synapse biology; transgenic mouse models)
  • Barr, Alasdair (Mental health and addictions, with a particular emphasis on psychosis and the medications used in its treatment, Anesthesiology )
  • Barton, Jason (face perception, object recognition, eye movements, higher visual function, Human vision and eye movement)
  • Beasley, Clare Louise (identify changes in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder that may elucidate the etiology of these disorders and provide clues to novel treatments; white matter pathology and inflammation; effects of antipsychotic medications on the brain)
  • Bhagavatula, Sastry (Age-related research, Anesthesiology, plasticity of synaptic transmission, mammalian central nervous system)
  • Boyd, Lara (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Learning; Learning and Memory; Motor System; Motor learning; Neurophysiology; Physiology; Plasticity / Neuronal Regeneration; stroke)
  • Brotto, Lori (Human reproduction and development sciences; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; mindfulness; Sexual Dysfunctions; sexual desire; sexual dysfunction)
  • Cairns, Brian (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); electrophysiology; headache; Neuropharmacology; Oro-Facial Pain; pain; pain mechanisms; peripheral analgesics; sex-related differences; temporomandibular disorders)
  • Cashman, Neil (prion disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, protein misfolding diseases, Alzheimer's)
  • Cembrowski, Mark Steven (Molecular neuroscience; Mathematical modelling and simulation; Mechanisms of memory in the brain; Anxiety; Big Data; Bioinformatics; Cell types; Computation; CRISPR-Cas9; Fear; Genetics; modeling; Neural circuits; neuroscience; Neuroscience of memory; PTSD; RNAseq)
  • Chakrabarty, Trisha (Cognitive dsyfunction; Virtual reality cognitive retraining; Bipolarity; Psychotherapy approaches for mood disorders)
  • Christoff, Kalina (brain, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, prefronal cortex, fMRI, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, executive functions, problem solving, reasoning, thinking, mind-wandering, attention, consciousness, real-time fMRI, trauma and PTSD, Cognitive and neural basis of human thought, reasoning and problem solving)
  • Ciernia, Annie (Biochemistry; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Autism; Brain development; Epigenetics; Gene-Environment Interactions; Neurodevelopmental disorders)
  • Clark, Luke (Gambling, Problem Gambling, Addiction, Decision-Making, Reward, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms involved in gambling behaviour and disordered gambling)
  • Craig, Ann Marie (Excitatory and inhibitory synapses, Synapse development and plasticity, Synapse organizing proteins, Neurotransmitter receptors, Autism and schizophrenia)
  • Cynader, Max (eye diseases; glaucoma; dyslexia; stroke; neurotrauma; memory; vision; learning disabilities; hearing development; recovery after brain damage; ischemia; gene therapy, Alzheimer's)
  • Diamond, Adele (executive functions; prefrontal cortex; dopamine; working memory; self-control; self-regulation; cognition; COMT gene; Sex differences; stress; ACEs (adverse childhood experiences); ELS (early life stress); resilience; social determinants of health; ADHD; depression; PTSD; Physical Activity; the arts; mindfulness)
  • Doudet, Doris (Brain imaging, mood disorders, stimulation therapies, Parkinson's disease)
  • Eich, Eric (Mood congruence and mood dependence in learning and remembering, memory impairments associated with bipolar affective illness, the cognitive correlates of dissociative identity disorder, and subjective, behavioral, and neural differences between field (first-person perspective) and observer (third-person perspective) memories)
  • Eng, Janice (Neurorehabilitation, spinal cord, brain)
  • Enns, James (Behavioural neuroscience of reward and motivation; attention; action kinematics; social perception; perceptual development)

Pages

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
2021 Dr. Woodard developed two automated systems for assessing the behaviour of laboratory mice within their home-cage, allowing these animals to be tested in a high-throughput and low-stress manner. These systems were used to study mice carrying the genetic mutation that causes Huntington's disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder.
2021 Dr. McDiarmid investigated the function of genes and functional impact of genetic variants implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorder. By developing gene editing methods to insert variants into an animal model and quantifying the effects on brain and behavior using machine vision, Dr. McDiarmid identified deficits in habituation as a common impairment.
2020 Dr. Yuen studied how the antipsychotic medication clozapine can cause unwanted changes in blood glucose and heart function. She found that the side effects can be reversed with drugs that block specific targets called adrenoceptors. Her findings provide valuable insight for clozapine to be used safely and effectively in patients with schizophrenia.
2020 Have you ever avoided looking directly at someone in order to be polite? Dr. Dosso studied how we tailor our eye and body movements to send nonverbal social messages to others. She found that the brain's attention system plays a crucial role in social action, and this may help us to understand behaviour in different ages, cultures, and populations.
2020 Dr. Manesh worked using transgenic animal models of spinal cord injury. His research showed that spinal cord neurons can adapt in the absence of protective myelin sheaths and restore function to the damaged spinal cord. His research impacts therapies for spinal cord injury as well as other myelin disorders like multiple sclerosis.
2020 Dr. Kadgien studied how a gene mutation that causes Parkinson's disease affects communication between brain cells. She showed that the mutation causes increases in communication that could be a good target for therapeutics. Her work expands our understanding of neurodegeneration, and supports personalized therapy for Parkinson's disease.
2020 Dr. Kuhlmann studied how a mutation in the LRRK2 gene and its corresponding protein alters neurotransmission in Parkinson's disease. She found that the mutation disrupts glutamate transmission in young mice, which may contribute to disease onset. A drug targeting LRRK2 function restored normal neurotransmission, suggesting its treatment potential.
2020 Dr. Jones characterized the risk factors, dynamics, and consequences of psychosis experienced by adults living in precarious housing in Vancouver over a period of five years. These longitudinal studies contribute to our understanding of how psychotic symptoms evolve over time, and illustrate opportunities for intervention.
2020 Dr. Post examined the impact of genetic differences associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared with those found in control populations. Through the use of high throughput assays, she identified genetic variants that impact protein function and structure. This will improve our understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying ASD.
2020 Dr. Shimell studied a gene that is disrupted in many patients with intellectual disability and epilepsy. His work demonstrates how this gene can guide the development of brain connections and how disrupting the proper function of this gene may lead to disorders of the brain.

Pages

Further Information

Specialization

Neuroscience offers these core courses: Neuroanatomy, Neurophysiology, Neurochemistry, Psychobiology, Molecular Neurobiology, and Neuropharmacology.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-SG
 
 

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 July 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2021
 
Supervisor Search
 

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

Curious about life in Vancouver?

From the land on which it is situated and the languages spoken here to the thriving arts and culture scene, there are many facets that contribute to this city’s diversity.