You're ready to work at the forefront of pharmaceutical sciences advancement. Take your education to the next level with a PhD at UBC Pharm Sci. It's where you'll work shoulder to shoulder with other world-class experts in the field of pharmaceutical sciences, contributing knowledge, developing solutions, and shaping the future of health care. Come to work every day at one of the world's most inspiring campuses, where you will find exceptional mentors and supervisors, and state-of-the-art facilities.

What makes the program unique?

At UBC Pharm Sci, our research has shaped our outstanding international reputation. This is the place to collaborate with some of the world's foremost pharmaceutical experts, generating relevant, evidence-based and industry-focused research that makes a positive impact on broader society.

At UBC, we welcome diversity. Students come to us from a wide range of educational backgrounds and home countries. More than 50% of our graduate students come from other parts of the world, including the US and countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. We offer orientation events to help new students integrate into life here in Vancouver, at UBC and within the Faculty. And our Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student Society (PharGS) will make you feel right at home.


Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Health and Medicine
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Pharmaceutical Sciences
Program Components
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Research Information

Research Highlights

Pioneering research for the first drug-eluting coronary stent was accomplished by our Faculty
The Neglected Global Diseases Initiative was developed in our Faculty. (http://ngdi.ubc.ca)
Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation was developed in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (www.core.ubc.ca)

Research Focus

Genomics and individualized therapy. Epidemiology. Nanomedicine. Pharmacology. A MSc or PhD in pharmaceutical sciences is the entry point to countless fields of research and teaching. Graduates of UBC Pharm Sci have gone on to fine-tune treatments for diseases like tuberculosis, lecture internationally about female contraceptives, study the regulation of cardiac metabolism following diabetes, optimize medication dosages for organ transplantation, and improve mental health outcomes through a better understanding of antipsychotics.

We are developing focused Graduate Training Programs that will allow MSc and PhD students to tailor their research and educational environments to suit their needs.

Research Facilities

We moved into the new Pharmacy building in 2012 which houses modern, modular labs designed specifically for the type of research intended for the space. Our classroom facilities has been fitted with the necessary technology to facilitate new modes of learning.

The Faculty houses a modern mass spectrometer facility of pharmacokinetic and drug metabolism studies and a Sequenom Mass-ARRAY system for genotyping and DNA methylation studies.


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Supervisor commitment required prior to application?


Funding Sources

All (domestic and international) students accepted into our PhD program can expect to be paid approximately $21,000 per year, provided they maintain their eligibility as a UBC graduate student. This comprises what we call a "guaranteed stipend" of $19,000, plus Graduate Support Initiative funding (provided to our MSc and PhD students who do not hold external funding), which is currently approximately $2,000 per year for the first four years of the Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program. This will be paid on a semi-monthly basis in the form of a Graduate Teaching Assistantship and/or a Graduate Research Assistantship.  Please be aware that due to the high cost of living, the guaranteed stipend most likely will not be enough, therefore, we strongly suggest students also plan to have their own personal funding in addition to the stipend.

Applicants who are interested in the production, preparation, and application of nuclear isotopes for science and medicine may consider the IsoSiM program that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities. Applicants who are interested in catalysis research with a focus on programs addressing waste generation, environmental compatibility, energy efficiency, and alternative energy sources may consider the SusSyn program.

Career Outcomes

48 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 42 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):

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 (5)
Roosevelt University (2)
University of Antwerp
University of Aberdeen
Memorial University of Newfoundland
University of Georgia
University of Alabama
University of California - Los Angeles
Dalhousie University
Simon Fraser University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Lower Mainland Pharmacy Services (2)
STEMCELL Technologies
Ember Therapeutics
Walmart Pharmacy
Pfizer Canada Inc.
Sanofi Pasteur
Ipsen Biopharmaceutical, Inc.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Scientist (3)
Manager (2)
Principal Scientist
Clinical Chemist
Project Leader
Pharmacy Manager
Medical Scientist
CNS Medical Affairs
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
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

Genomics and individualized therapy. Epidemiology. Nanomedicine. Pharmacology. A PhD in pharmaceutical sciences is the entry point to countless fields of research and teaching. Graduates of UBC Pharm Sci have gone on to fine-tune treatments for diseases like tuberculosis, lecture internationally about female contraceptives, study the regulation of cardiac metabolism following diabetes, optimize medication dosages for organ transplantation, and improve mental health outcomes through a better understanding of antipsychotics.

Alumni on Success

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
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 registrations74128
Total enrolment3936353538

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 86.96% based on 23 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 7 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 4.33 years and the maximum time is 6.66 years with an average of 5.33 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: 9 March 2018]. 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.

  • Bandiera, Stelvio (drug metabolism; drug toxicity; drug interactions; steroids; toxicology including environmental pollutants such as pesticides, PCBs, TCDD and dioxins; effects on animals, biochemical toxicology, , Hepatic drug metabolism and environmental toxicology, chemical and biochemical aspects of drug metabolism, medicinal chemistry, structure-activity relationship)
  • Burt, Helen Mary (Nanotechnology, non-sized drug carriers, nanoparticulte drug delivery)
  • Cairns, Brian (Neuropharmacology, Oro-Facial Pain, Pain, Electrophysiologypain mechanisms, headache, temporomandibular disorders, sex-related differences, peripheral analgesics)
  • Chang, Thomas (Drug MetabolismPharmacology, Nuclear Receptor, Drug-Metabolizing Enzymes, Cytochrome P450, Gene Expression, Gene Regulation)
  • Collier, Abby (Drugs in children, Drugs in pregnancy, Developmental pharmacology, Drug metabolism, Pharmacokinetics, Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, primarily of the phase II (conjugation) enzymes, focused on pregnancy and pediatrics)
  • Conklin, Annalijn (Chronic Diseases in Elderly, Gender Epidemiology, Health Policies, Professional Practices, Obesity, Social Determinants of Dietary and Metabolic Disorders, Community Health / Public Healthhealthy ageing, obesity prevention, diabetes management and evaluation, healthcare quality improvement, implementation science, gender and health equity, nutrition-related policy and outcomes)
  • Coughtrie, Michael (Drug metabolizing enzymes)
  • De Vera, Mary (examining how eHealth technologies can support new and existing models of care to improve care delivery and patient outcomes; exploring patients' perspectives and experiences with medication taking and adherence; and evaluating the use and impacts of medications among pregnant women, particularly with inflammatory conditions.)
  • Frankel, Adam (family of human enzymes called protein arginine N-methyltransferases (PRMTs), which transfer methyl groups from S-adenosyl-L-methionine to arginine residues within proteins; contribution of PRMT activities to human diseases such as hormone-dependent cancers, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease)
  • Giaever, Guri (Model organisms, human therapeutics, high-throughput cell biology, drug synergy, technologies for understanding relationship between chromatic structure and transcriptional regulation)
  • Grierson, David (Chemistry, disease, biochemistry)
  • Hafeli, Urs (Pharmacokinetics, Imaging, Radiotherapy, Immunotherapy, Development of Drug Delivery SystemsRadiopharmaceuticals, Radioimmunotherapy, Magnetic Targeting, Targeted Drug Delivery, Novel polymers, Nanoparticles, Microspheres, Microneedles, Bioconjugates)
  • Harrison, Mark (measurement and valuation of health, health technology and policy assessment, and preferences for healthcare interventions; evaluation/re-evaluation of the type of health care that is provided, the point in the treatment pathway, and the way in which it is delivered)
  • Jarvis-Selinger, Sandra Ann (Education, human learning, development, and instruction, education innovation, konwledge translation, teaching excellence, curriculum design, technology)
  • Kumar, Ujendra (Somatostatin hormone, molecular pharmacology, Somatostatin, , Hormones, somatostatin, locomotor and cognitive function, neurodegenerative diseases, drugs)
  • Lalji, Fawziah (Pharmacoepidemiology, Infectious Diseases, Vaccination, Antibiotics and Resistance, Tuberculosis)
  • Li, Shyh-dar (drug delivery, pharmaceutics, nanomedicine, biopharmaceutics)
  • Loewen, Peter (Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Diseases, Heart Failure, Stroke, Thrombosis and Embolism, Health Care Technologies, Professional Practices, Pharmacoepidemiology, Hematology, Decision Makingatrial fibrillation, stroke prevention therapy, pharmacy practice, knowledge translation of evidence to patient care, patient education, shared decision-making, clinical prediction rules, prediction of stroke and bleeding in atrial fibrillation patients, patient decision aids, adherence to medication, patient complexiometry, healthcare communication technologies, use of mobile technology for clinical decision-making, hospital pharmacy practice, quality of care, quality drug therapy)
  • Lynd, Larry (health economics, orphan drugs, pharmaceutical policy, respiratory medicine, epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, rare diseases )
  • MacLeod, Kathleen (Cardiovascular complications, diabetes )
  • McCormack, James (Knowledge translation and evidence-based practice)
  • Nislow, Corey (genomics and develops biotechnology tools to address both fundamental and applied biological questions; Parallel genome-wide chemical genomic screens; High throughput cell-based screens; Next Generation Sequencing)
  • Rodrigues, Brian (Diabetes, CardiomyopathyCardiovascular metabolism, Diabetes, Endothelial cell - cardiomyocyte crosstalk)
  • Ross, Colin (Biomedical Technologies, Gene Therapy, Drug Metabolism, Transgenic ModelPharmacogenomics, Gene-based therapeutics, Precision medicine)
  • Sadatsafavi, Mohsen (respiratory medicine with the aim of improving patient outcomes and the efficiency of health care delivery through evidence-informed decision making at all levels of care)


Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Ying Gong
    "Dr. Gong studied Rho-kinase, an enzyme involved in regulating the shape and movement of cells. She studied its effectiveness for the treatment of diabetic cardiovascular disease, different cancers, HIV, as well as inhibitors of protein for the treatment of cancer. Her work advances our understanding of disease at the molecular level." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Amy Pei-Ling Chiu
    "Dr. Chiu studied the changes in cardiac metabolism during diabetes. Her findings revealed that during the onset of diabetes the heart switches from using fats and sugars for energy to use only fats, a switch that eventually leads to heart disease. Her research assists in identifying ways to treat or prevent diabetes-related heart disease." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Jose Carlos Lopez De La Vega
    "Dr. De La Vega's research revolved around rhenium, a silverish heavy metal and the last detected element. He formulated it into a diagnostic X-ray imaging agent, and, in radioactive form, into a therapeutic agent for liver cancer therapy. His work established the foundations for expanding rhenium's use in medical imaging and nuclear medicine." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Mohamed Wehbe
    "Dr. Wehbe developed a method to form insoluble copper complexes inside lipid nanoparticles. This method allowed for the preclinical testing of copper-based therapeutics to treat blood, brain and ovarian cancers. His findings will aid in the design and development of future anti-cancer copper-based medicines." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Dahai Zhang
    "Dr. Zhang's study focused on the development of diabetes and its heart complication. He investigated an enzyme named 'haparanase', which facilitates the heart metabolic changes in diabetic patients, and could prevent the occurrence of diabetes if over produced. His work helps to revise the current use of heparanase as a therapeutic target." (May 2017)

September 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 February 2018
International Applicant Deadline
15 February 2018

September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
01 October 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 February 2019
International Applicant Deadline
15 February 2019

Program Information

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