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 Graduate Program in Neuroscience strives to educate and support graduate students as they expand the breadth and depth of their knowledge about the brain through enriching research experiences. The program embraces principles of equity, diversity and inclusion and recognizes and accommodates individual needs and academic backgrounds. Through two core courses on molecular/cellular and systems neuroscience, respectively, students in the program develop a broadly based and applicable neuroscientific knowledge base. Additional related courses are available for selection by the student and their supervisor. The program is research-oriented and students engage in research from the start of their studies. Research is undertaken in the laboratory of the supervisor and in their affiliated home department, over a wide range of basic and clinical neuroscience topics. With its inter-departmental structure, the program offers collaborative research opportunities that extend beyond the usual boundaries of neuroscience. 

 

What makes the program unique?

The Graduate Program in Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary program administered under the Faculty of Medicine and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia. It offers a coordinated program of graduate studies leading to MSc and PhD degrees in Neuroscience. The objective of the program is 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 is comprised of more than 120 faculty members representing 20+ 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, at UBC Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital.

Our faculty have research collaborations that span across departments, industries, and international borders. Although the program is inter-departmental, various regular seminars, journal clubs, and invited lectures provide ample opportunity to meet and discuss current topics in neuroscience. The program encourages its graduate students to participate in the many academic and social events organized by the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health and by the program’s student association.

 

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 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
15 July 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2024
Referee Deadline: 15 December 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 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.

Whereas a commitment from a supervisor is not required prior to applying to the program, a supervisor is required for admission. Please view Graduate Program in Neuroscience faculty here: https://neuroscience.ubc.ca/faculty/. When contacting potential supervisors, we recommend including a CV, unofficial academic transcript, and a brief and specific explanation of why you are interested in joining that particular lab.

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$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

There is a minimum funding stipend provided by each supervisor. For more information, please visit Minimum Funding for Students. For both MSc and PhD students, the Department follows a minimum funding support guideline. For PhD students, from September 2023, the stipend is $26,000 per annum for four years. For MSc students, the stipend is $22,500 per annum for two years. This stipend can come in any form (for example – scholarship, TA-ship, grant funding, or a combination).

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 54 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 $34,293.
  • 20 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 20 students was $9,880.
  • 48 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 48 students was $20,943.
  • 12 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 12 students was $2,526.
  • 53 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 53 students was $8,053.
  • 11 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 11 students was $17,439.

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

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

 20232022202120202019
Applications5858534340
Offers101212139
New Registrations8810107
Total Enrolment8188766864

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 74% based on 65 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 18 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 4.1 years and the maximum time is 8.2 years with an average of 6.03 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, 28 June 2024 - 4:00pm - 1220, Blusson Spinal Cord Center, 818 W 10th Ave

Adam Doelman
Assessment of Neurogenic Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury Using Wireless Catheter-free Pressure Sensors

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 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.

Whereas a commitment from a supervisor is not required prior to applying to the program, a supervisor is required for admission. Please view Graduate Program in Neuroscience faculty here: https://neuroscience.ubc.ca/faculty/. When contacting potential supervisors, we recommend including a CV, unofficial academic transcript, and a brief and specific explanation of why you are interested in joining that particular lab.

 
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.

 

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.

  • Kumar, Ujendra (Somatostatin hormone, molecular pharmacology, Somatostatin, , Hormones, somatostatin, locomotor and cognitive function, neurodegenerative diseases, drugs)
  • Kwon, Brian (Spinal cord injury)
  • Lam, Raymond (Psychiatry (including psychotherapy); depression; Biomarkers; light therapy; cognition; digital technologies; bipolar disorder; antidepressants; global mental health)
  • Lam, Tania (Sensorimotor physiology; Kinesiology; Physical therapy; Neurological disorders (except neuromuscular diseases))
  • Lang, Donna (Medical, health and life sciences; Structural Neuroimaging; Psychosis; Addiction; cognition; Cardiovascular Function; Microvascular integrity)
  • Laule, Cornelia (Medical physics; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Pathology (except oral pathology); Auto-Immune Diseases; Axons; brain; Central Nervous System Inflammatory Diseases; Cerebral Atrophy; Histology; image analysis; Imaging; Inflammation; magnetic resonance imaging; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; multiple sclerosis; myelin; Nervous System Development; Neurodegenerative diseases; Neurological diseases; Neuronal Systems; pain; Pathology; Schizophrenia; Spinal Cord Diseases; spinal cord; Spinal cord injury)
  • Leavitt, Blair (Genetic medicine; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Alzheimer's disease; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Ataxia; Dementia; Experimental Therapeutics; Frontotemporal Dementia; Gene regulation; Gene Silencing and Gene Editing; Gene Therapy; Huntington disease; Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells; Medical Genetics; Mouse models of disease; Neurodegenerative diseases; Neurogenetics)
  • LeMoult, Joelle (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Psychology and cognitive sciences; depression and psychobiological responses to stress; understanding how depression develops and unfolds across the lifespan)
  • Leung, Peter C (Reproductive and molecular endocrinology )
  • Liu-Ambrose, Teresa (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation medicine; Healthy Aging; exercise; Fall prevention; Cognitive Aging; Randomized Controlled Trials; Physical Activity; Mobility; Neuroimaging; Sleep)
  • MacVicar, Brian (Brain Research, epilepsy, astrocyte, glia, dendrites, synapse, imaging, two photon laser scanning microscopy, neurophysiology, Role of calcium, regulation of neurons, cell death)
  • Madhav, Manu (Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Cognitive representations in the brain; Place cells; Spatial navigation; Path planning; Control theory; Alzheimer's disease)
  • Matsubara, Joanne Aiko (Sensory systems, visual; Cellular interactions (including adhesion, matrix and cell wall); Gene and molecular therapy; Cellular neuroscience; neuroscience; vision; cell and development; cell death pathways; innate immune response; eye disease, retinal degenerations; Alzheimer's disease; neurodegeneration)
  • Matthews, Benjamin (Genomics; Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Zoology; Aedes aeygpti mosquitoes; Arboviral pathogens; Chikungunya; Comparative Physiology; Dengue fever; Genome of mosquitoes; Yellow fever; Zika)
  • McKeown, Martin (Neurology; novel treatments for Parkinson's; Video Monitoring Parkinson's; Brain Stimulation; Biomedical Engineering; Machine Learning; fMRI; EEG)
  • Miller, Steven (Birth defects, Concussion, Preterm labor, Steroids)
  • Molday, Robert (Proteins, cell structure, lipids, drug discovery, gene therapy)
  • Moritz, Orson (Mechanisms underlying genetically inherited forms of blindness)
  • Moukhles, Hakima (Muscle cells )
  • Murphy, Timothy (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Autism; brain imaging; depression; Neuronal Systems; stroke)
  • Ngan, Elton (Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia)
  • Nygaard, Haakon (potential role for anti-convulsant drugs in treating Alzheimers disease, which have shown promise in preclinical models of the disease)
  • O'Connor, Timothy (Identification of small molecules that stimulate neurite outgrowth and regeneration Examination of the role of semaphorins during embryonic development)
  • Oberlander, Timothy (Population epidemiological studies that characterize neurodevelopmental pathways that reflect risk, resiliency and developmental plasticity)
  • Oruc, Ipek (visual recognition of high level forms such as faces, letters and objects)

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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
2022 Dr. Koch used brain imaging techniques to study the movement disorder, Huntington disease, in mice. She identified altered motor behaviour that was associated with neural signaling in a brain region called the striatum. This research provides insight into the neurological changes in Huntington disease, that should one day help us develop a cure.
2022 Dr. Zhang defined the mechanisms underlying the transcription, modification, and degradation of a critical molecule in autism. She discovered that impaired modification of the molecule contributes to autism pathogenesis. This research provides novel insights into potential targeted therapy for autism.
2022 Dr. Cheung established a technique to measure oxygen levels in the injured spinal cord. She developed an implantable biosensor to monitor the spinal cord in a large animal model before its clinical translation. Her work will advance and improve the current clinical care of patients with spinal cord injury.
2022 Dr. Qiu addressed the use of antidepressants in the postpartum for those who do not respond to treatment and aimed to understand what biological factors influence efficacy and found it to be affiliated with the immune system. Her work is intended to help postpartum individuals seeking antidepressants in better treatment decision-making.
2021 Dr. Hynes probed the role of dopamine at the intersection of addiction and decision making. His work led to the discovery that dopamine mediates addiction-relevant behaviours in way that is dependent on biological sex. This work emphasizes the necessary consideration of sex in the pursuit of pharmacotherapies to treat addiction.
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.

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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 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
15 July 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2024
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2024
 
Supervisor Search
 

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