Overview

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 leading 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.

As a PhD student, you will embark upon a journey of academic discovery by working alongside renowned researchers who are at the top of their fields. Right from the onset of the program, you will be welcomed by a vibrant collegial community, receive individualized guidance to shape your customized study plan, and receive mentorship from senior researchers. During the program, you will enrich your knowledge and build your skills set to prepare for careers in academia or industry, while exploring research frontiers in world-class facilities. Our graduates are often highly sought after by the pharmaceutical industry for their expertise in drug discovery and development.

Our PhD program attracts some of the brightest and most curious scientific minds, so you can expect to work alongside some of the best scholars to inspire you. Our student body is diverse both in terms of educational backgrounds and global talent. More than half of our graduate students join us from countries outside of Canada, bringing various perspectives to share. 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 help support you through your educational journey and make you feel right at home.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
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Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

To be considered for admission to the Pharm Sci PhD program, a complete application must be submitted by February 15th. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

For International students: This includes the submission of a copy of the official IELTS or TOEFL transcript.

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

22

Speaking

22

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

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

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 Pharmaceutical Sciences (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 Highlights

If you're passionate about health sciences research that makes a difference in patients' lives, then UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences is your place. Innovative, collaborative, impactful and widely recognized, our groundbreaking research is relevant to today's problems.

Some examples of our research include work in the following areas:

Research Focus

A PhD in pharmaceutical sciences is the entry point to countless research opportunities in drug discovery and development. Whether it’s genomics and individualized therapy, nanomedicine, chemical biology, pharmacology, or epidemiology, we offer options for you to explore and collaborate. Our research themes include:

Molecular & Systems Pharmacology is comprised of areas such as drug metabolism, pharmacokinetic modeling, cancer biology/pharmacology, diabetes, cardiovascular pharmacology, neuroscience/neuropharmacology, receptor pharmacology, and pharmacogenomics. This highly interdisciplinary theme embodies research directed at the interactions of drugs with therapeutic targets, and covers fundamental questions of the molecular and cellular basis of individual variations in response to drugs, mechanisms of drug action and the pathogenesis of diseases. These studies are used to inform and optimize the development and delivery of drug intervention regimes for clinical practice.

Nanomedicine & Chemical Biology applies our expertise in the chemical biology of the fabrication and handling of nanoscopic materials to drug discovery and delivery. Sensing and screening technologies are also an important focus.

Epidemiology and Health Outcomes covers our activities in epidemiological analysis, health outcomes and health economics research seeking solutions for the predictive enhancement of intervention strategies for practical and preventive healthcare. The impact of this work is used to shape policy to optimize the allocation of health care resources as well as defining the efficacy of healthcare interventions and strategy.

Research Facilities

Opened in 2012, the award-winning Pharmaceutical Sciences building is a quarter-million-square-foot, state-of-the-art learning and research facility in the heart of the UBC campus. Functional, striking and always thrumming with activity, the building is home to cutting-edge equipment, laboratories and research spaces that we make available for use by the scientific public. Our building houses modern, modular labs designed specifically for the type of research intended for the space. Among an array of state-of-the-art scientific equipment, the Faculty houses a modern mass spectrometer facility for pharmacokinetic and drug metabolism studies, and a Sequenom Mass-ARRAY system for genetic studies.

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

Thesis-based PhD students in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences are eligible to receive a stipend, provided they are in good standing and maintain their eligibility as a UBC graduate student. The stipend package normally includes a graduate teaching assistantship, a graduate research assistantship, and/or a scholarship.

The minimum stipend in the 2021-2022 academic year is:

Domestic PhD student: $28,325 per annum, which includes a President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award ($825)

International PhD student: $31,600 per annum, which includes an International Tuition Award ($3,200) and a President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award ($900 to each student whose tuition is not paid by an external sponsor)

Please be aware that due to the higher cost of living in Vancouver, students should plan to draw on their personal funds in addition to the stipend.

 

 

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 29 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 $28,869.
  • 10 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 10 students was $11,992.
  • 20 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 20 students was $12,062.
  • 26 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 26 students was $13,982.
  • 5 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 5 students was $22,500.

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

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)
DynaLIFE
STEMCELL Technologies
Ember Therapeutics
Roche
Walmart Pharmacy
Rexall
Pfizer Canada Inc.
Sanofi Pasteur
Ipsen Biopharmaceutical, Inc.
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Scientist (3)
Manager (2)
Principal Scientist
Pharmacist
Clinical Chemist
Project Leader
Pharmacy Manager
Director
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.
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

With a tailored PhD in pharmaceutical sciences, the door is open to numerous research career options in drug discovery and development. Our graduates have gone on to create R&D companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, and developed and commercialized therapeutic products in the treatment of various diseases. While a number of our PhD graduates opt for careers in academia or government, the majority of our alumni thrive in industry.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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

Enrolment Data

 20202019201820172016
Applications5344514632
Offers46585
New registrations46574
Total enrolment3837353936

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 68.75% based on 16 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 20 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 2.66 years and the maximum time is 7.00 years with an average of 5.43 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].

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
2018 Dr. Campbell developed several economic models to inform healthcare policy aimed at reducing the disproportionate tuberculosis burden seen in migrant populations. He determined that targeting latent tuberculosis infection screening could cost-effectively improve population health and reduce the incidence of tuberculosis.
2018 Dr. McCormick studied the costs of lupus and related systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases in British Columbia. Her estimates of the extra medical costs of these little-known forms of arthritis, and impact on patients' paid & unpaid work, will inform public spending and research priorities
2017 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.
2017 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.
2017 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.
2017 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.
2017 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.
2016 Dr. Chen studied the long-term development of respiratory diseases and how the progression of these diseases affects patients' overall health, quality of life and health care costs. She developed advanced models to examine how risk factors can be prevented at the onset of disease to ultimately help improve long-term health outcomes in these patients.
2016 Dr. Michaelsen studied lipid-based drug delivery systems to examine the mechanism behind increased drug absorption. Digestion was not found to play a role with regard to absorption however, drug load was. Her findings may provide guidance for future development of drug delivery systems for poorly water-soluble drugs.
2016 Dr. Schmitt studied drug concentrations in skin tissue fluid for use in therapeutic drug detection. She found that many drugs are detectable in skin tissue fluid and that their concentrations can be quite different from blood concentrations. In the future, this can lead to the development of blood- and pain- free drug monitoring devices.

Pages

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information

Specialization

Pharmaceutical Sciences covers research areas of nanomedicine, drug delivery; drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and toxicology; pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics; diabetes, cardiovascular and molecular pharmacology; neuropharmacology; cancer pharmacology; pharmaceutical health outcomes and pharmacotherapeutics; and pharmaceutical education.

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-TU
 
 
 
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