Doctor of Philosophy in Oceans and Fisheries (PhD)
The Program is full-time, consisting of courses and research, designed to train marine and freshwater scientists in basic and applied research that will help foster healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems and sustainable resource use. The Program draws on the broad and extensive expertise of faculty associated with the Institute and responds to the emerging need for expertise to manage fisheries and other resource use activities on Canada’s coastlines, marine territory and inland waterbodies. Ph.D. candidates deepen their interdisciplinary expertise and acquire professional experience in areas including fisheries science, aquatic ecology, environmental physiology, natural resource economics, marine governance, and climate change. In the process, the program fosters cutting-edge research on marine and freshwater systems, and addresses national and global priorities in environmental science and technologies, and natural resources and energy.
What makes the program unique?
Faculty members hold joint appointments with Zoology, Anthropology, Geography, History, Statistics, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, the UBC Policy School, and Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. This integration of natural and applied management and sustainability graduate training streams differentiates the program from all other related programs in the province and is a key strength of the program.
The Program builds on a proven record of accomplishment where the core faculty of the former UBC Fisheries Centre has supervised several hundred graduate students through Zoology and Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (RES) graduate programs. This program will bring together components of the natural science-type graduate programs (i.e., the Zoology Graduate Program and Oceanography Graduate Program) with the applied management and sustainability-type programs (i.e., Resources and Environmental Sustainability Graduate Program) and build on their collective strengths.
Contact the program
Meet a Representative
PhD Funding OpportunitiesDate: Friday, 14 October 2022
Time: 10:00 to 11:00
In this webinar Professor Julian Dierkes, Senior Associate Dean, Students will provide an overview of PhD and graduate school funding for research-based programs in Canada and at UBC
Focusing on internal funding opportunities, Professor Dierkes will outline different approaches to funding that applicants should expect to see, such as funding through supervisors and funding through programs of study. As well as this Professor Dierkes will detail the specifics of funding at UBC such as our International Tuition Award and PhD Minimum Funding Guarantee. There will also be opportunities to have your funding questions answered.
Who is the webinar for?
The webinar is specifically for prospective students and applicants to PhD programs and students applying to research-based masters programs who have the intention of moving into a PhD program later. This session will not be covering application or admissions questions, please attend one of our other sessions to have your application questions answered.
Admission Information & Requirements
Please consult this webpage for full details on how to apply: https://oceans.ubc.ca/graduate-program/prospective-students/how-to-apply/
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
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
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.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
A Master's degree (or equivalent) from an approved institution with clear evidence of research ability or potential.
- Three Referees. Ideally, the referees should be faculty members who have supervised your studies and/or research directly.
- Curriculum Vitae.
- Statement of Intent outlining your research experience, proposed research project (or ideas), and explaining your interest in working with the particular faculty member(s).
- Scanned copies of up-to-date unofficial transcripts of marks from all post-secondary institutions attended. Official copies of transcripts will need to be mailed in order to register for courses.
Firm commitment from a faculty member to fund and act as supervisor is required in order to be considered.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date01 October 2022
3) Prepare Application
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.
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 Oceans and Fisheries (PhD)
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.
The impacts of the Institute’s research on aquatic issues extend far beyond our academic home at UBC. Our research has influenced public policy concerning the management of fisheries, the establishment of marine protected areas, industrial fishing practices, and the economic structure of fisheries. We also undertake a wide variety of educational and public outreach initiatives, in Canada and beyond.
Visit our research impacts page to read about topics and initiatives such as:
Sea Ahead Initiative
Rapid Evaluation of Fisheries Status using RAPFISH
Toward Sustainable Chinese Medicine
UBC’s Blue Whale Project
Our research themes are:
Ecology and Biology: From viruses and microbes to phyto-plankton and zooplankton. From seahorses to whales. From freshwater to the high seas. Our researchers cover the world examining species ecology, animal behaviour and movement, and their interactions with humans, as indicators of ecosystem change.
Ecosystem Modelling: Ecosystem modelling approaches and tools, such as Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE), decision-support software tools, manage-ment strategy evaluations, dynamic population models and Bayesian statistical methods, species distribution models and habitat modelling, and statistical analyses of fisheries and fisheries ecosystems help us understand the past, present and future of our shared marine resources.
Human, Social and Economic Dimensions: Our oceans and freshwater systems are a powerful part of our human conscious-ness. We know that human impacts have, for the most part been destructive; how do we change that so that the marine ecosystems that feed us, employ us, and support us can be sustained in an equitable, restorative, and resilient way.
Sustainability and Policy: We only have one Earth: how can we sustain it? Analyzing and predicting climate change impacts, advancing marine conservation, offering mitigation and adaptation solutions, conducting collaborative interdisciplinary research and resource management, and seeking practical solutions in local, regional, and global policy forums.
The IOF is housed in the Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory (AERL), an $8.9-million facility offering 55,000 square feet for research, collaboration and teaching. A four-storey open atrium connects interdisciplinary research groups throughout the building. Adjacent to the atrium, social spaces promote a sense of community and encourage interaction between students, faculty and staff. Large public rooms on the ground floor provide a welcoming environment for academic and social events. The upper floors house offices, digital laboratories and a variety of meeting spaces, such as the Hakai Node.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,767.18||$3,104.64|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)|
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.
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
The Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF) has a funding policy that guarantees a minimum level of support to all Ocean and Fisheries (OCF) students. The minimum level of support is intended to assist with various aspects of student life including the cost of living and tuition, and may change yearly to account for changes in these costs, see below for the exact amount.
Please consult this page for detailed funding information: https://oceans.ubc.ca/graduate-program/funding/
- 2 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 2 students was $2,699.
- 10 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 10 students was $22,936.
- 10 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 10 students was $9,508.
- 1 student received an external award valued at $35,000.
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.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
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.
Auger-Methe, Marie (Fisheries sciences; Statistics; Zoology; Animal movement; Polar ecology; Statistical Ecology)
Cheung, Wai Lung (Global change biology; Ecological impacts of climate change; climate change; Marine Ecosystems; sustainability; biodiversity; Interdisciplinary)
Christensen, Villy (Fisheries management; Global change biology; Ecosystem function)
Donner, Simon (Atmospheric sciences; Oceanography; Other media and communication; Climate Changes and Impacts; Climate change science; Climate policy; Coastal Ecosystems; Marine Environment; Prediction and Climatic Modeling; Science communication; Net-zero emissions policy)
Harley, Christopher (Fisheries sciences; Zoology; climate change; community ecology; Ecology and Quality of the Environment; marine algae; marine invertebrates)
Hunt, Brian (Marine ecology (including marine ichthyology); Biological oceanography; marine food webs; ecosystem oceanography; plankton dynamics; open ocean; Coastal Ecosystems; climate change impacts on the ocean; salmon ecology; food web nutrition; microplastics; stable isotopes; forage fish; zooplankton)
McAllister, Murdoch (Statistical methods for fisheries risk assessment, estimation, decision analysis and management strategy evaluation)
Pakhomov, Yevhenii (Feeding ecophysiology of aquatic invertebrates and fishes, Antarctic ecology, Antarctic krill biology, Tunicate biology, Fishery ecology, Stable isotope ecology)
Pauly, Daniel (World fisheries; Marine life; Global catch; Management of fisheries; Fish growth and ecophysiology)
Reid, Andrea (Fisheries sciences; Culturally significant fish and fisheries)
Rosen, David (Animal physiology; Physiology, behaviour, and ecology of marine mammals;; Bioenergetics; Nutrition; Conservation physiology)
Sumaila, Ussif Rashid (Bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the economics of high and deep seas fisheries)
Suttle, Curtis (Bioinformatics; Fisheries sciences; Immunology; Microbiology; Oceanography; Plant biology; Biological Oceanography; Environmental Virology; Marine Environment; Marine Microbiology; Microbial Diversity; Phage; Viral Discovery; Viruses)
Trites, Andrew (marine mammals, seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins, fisheries competition, population biology, ecology, Marine mamals research centre, biology of marine mammals, population dynamics, bioenergetics, fisheries)
Vincent, Amanda (Ecological applications, n.e.c.; Marine ecology (including marine ichthyology); Biodiversity; Natural environment sustainability studies; Natural resource management; Wildlife and habitat management; marine conservation; threatened marine species, especially seahorses and their relatives; bottom trawling and other nonselective fisheries; wildlife trade; marine protected areas; Small-scale fisheries; community-based conservation; citizen/community science; multilateral environmental agreements; .)
|2022||Can the harvest of soft shell crab be prevented? The fact that they moult at all the same time suggests that they can. Nonetheless, Dr. Greenberg developed a set of mathematical models fit to weekly catch and effort data that allowed for the simulation of different rules to avoid harvesting soft-shell Dungeness crab in Area A of the Hecate Strait.|
|2022||Dr. Woodruff looked at different tools that fisheries managers can use to sustain productive recreational fisheries and how it is necessary to have trade-offs between fishery and conservation goals. Ecosystem models were created to examine the different interactions and consequences that can result while trying to maintain a stable ecosystem.|
|2021||Dr. Ben Hasan showed that complex fisheries problems can be addressed with simple management interventions and that the public benefits from fishery resources are limited. These studies contribute toward alleviating overfishing and highlight the need for policies that consider redistributing a share of the fishing industry gains to the public purse.|
|2020||Dr. Cashion examined the economic and environmental trade-offs of capture fisheries. His work evaluated how current fishing methods negatively affect threatened species and their contribution to wasteful practices such as discarding fish at sea. This research can inform conservation efforts by improving the spatial management of fisheries.|
Within Oceans and Fisheries marine and freshwater scientists train to undertake basic and applied research that will help foster healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems and sustainable resource use. Students will deepen and broaden their interdisciplinary expertise by acquiring in-depth training in fisheries science, aquatic ecology, environmental physiology, natural resource economics, marine governance, and climate change.