Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience (PhD)

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Life Sciences
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Program Components
Faculty of Medicine


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.


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TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


GRE required?

Required by some applicants (check program website)

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.
Synchronous ERP Inc.
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
Medical Liaisons
Director of Technology and Product Development
Senior Software Engineer
Data Scientist
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
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.

Alumni on Success

Tamara Bodnar

Job Title
Postdoctoral Fellow
The University of British Columbia

Rochelle Hines

Job Title
Assistant Professor
University of Nevada Las Vegas

Carmen Chan

Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher ("Research Scientist")
RIKEN Brain Science Institute

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,600.60$2,811.98
Tuition per year$4,801.80$8,435.94
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (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. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations6671215
Total enrolment7378848685

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 80.95% based on 42 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 20 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 3.33 years and the maximum time is 8.00 years with an average of 5.86 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 12 July 2017]. 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 September 2017].

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.

  • Pai-Spering, Miriam (how the brain uses visual information to control eye movements and how movements, in turn, affect the way we see)
  • Pavlidis, Paul (Bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, genome, neuroscience, neurobiology, gene expression, microarray, computer science, machine learning, statistics, Bioinformatics and neuroscience, schizophrenia and autism)
  • Phillips, Anthony (Addictions Psychiatry, Basic Neurosciences)
  • Quandt, Jacqueline (Neuroinflammation in damage and repair relevant to multiple sclerosis and other nervous system disorders)
  • Ramer, Matthew (Pain, Plasticity, Regeneration, Sensory neurons, Sympathetic neurons)
  • Rankin, Catharine (Effects of experience early in development on adult behaviour and the nervous system, adult learning and memory)
  • Rauscher, Alexander (MRI, medical imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, functional MRI, blood oxygenation, venography, susceptibility weighted imaging, magnetic resonance, phase imaging, NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance, BOLD, brain iron, brain imaging, cerebral veins )
  • Raymond, Lynn (Huntington's Disease)
  • Reiner, Peter (Public attitudes towards cognitive enhancement and the impact of emerging neuroessentialist thought on modern society)
  • Rensink, Ronald (vision, attention, consciousness, interface design, Cognitive vision)
  • Roskams, Angela Jane (Alzheimer's, cellular development, degeneration and regeneration in the olfactory system)
  • Ross, Colin (incorporate genomics into guiding, optimising, and developing novel therapeutics to improve the safety and effectiveness of medications)
  • Seamans, Jeremy (Schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and addiction)
  • Shahnaz, Navid (Hearing, noise, audiology, ears,  effect of personal listening devices (iPods) on hearing, hearing in infants and adults,   high frequency thresholds, Diagnostic audiology, including multifrequency tympanometry and acoustic reflex studies in adults and newborns)
  • Shaw, Christopher (Paralympics)
  • Simpson, Elizabeth (Gene therapy for brain and eye diseases, In vivo gene augmentation and genome editing (CRISPR/CAS9), CRISpies (CRISPR therapies), Aniridia, Rare diseases, Congenital blindness, MiniPromoters for restricted expression)
  • Snutch, Terrance Preston (Molecular and genetic analysis of the nervous system)
  • Snyder, Jason (plasticity, learning, memory, stress, mental health, emotional behaviour )
  • Soja, Peter (how synaptic transmission through identified ascending spinal sensory pathways and motoneuron pools differs during distinct behavioral states such as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and REM sleep, or general anesthesia vs. wakefulness)
  • Soma, Kiran (Aging, neurobiology of exercise, neuroendocrinology, neuroimmunology, neuroethology, sex hormones)
  • Song, Weihong (Down Syndrome, Mental Health)
  • Stoessl, A Jonathan (Parkinson's disease)
  • Tam, Roger (Computer vision, Analysis of medical images, MRI, Multiple sclerosis)
  • Tetzlaff, Wolfram (Neural development and regeneration)


Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Nurit Gazit Gurel
    "Dr. Gazit Gurel's research explored sex differences in the development of visual processing in infancy, and additional factors which may influence these differences. She found that face processing develops differently in males and females. Her findings advance the fields of visual processing development and social development." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Kaiyun Yang
    "Dr. Yang explored the underlying mechanism for experience-dependent, visual cortical plasticity and uncovered a potential therapeutic reagent for treating visual impairment in adulthood. She also demonstrated how early visual experience affects the functional connectivity within the visual cortex and the cerebral cortex as a whole." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Tamara Sonia Bodnar
    "Dr. Bodnar studied the impact of early-life environment on endocrine and immune function over the life course. She identified that in utero alcohol exposure results in a unique immune signature in the brain and periphery. Furthermore, her work has uncovered mechanisms underlying individual differences in inflammatory responses." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Caodu Buren
    "Dr. Buren showed how connections from cortical to striatal neurons are disrupted in an early stage of Huntington's disease, an inherited neurodegenerative disorder. This study highlights the pre-neurodegenerative pathology and lays a foundation for therapeutic treatment." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Ya Wen
    "Dr. Wen studied how the key excitatory neurotransmitter enhances the function of an inhibitory transmitter receptor in the brain. She also developed drugs targeting this pathway. Her work not only blurs the classic definition of excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmissions, but also offers a stepping-stone for developing new medications for epilepsy." (November 2016)

Further Program Information


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September 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
15 July 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2017
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2017

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