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.
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.
The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences has perhaps the most diverse range of research topics at UBC. Each research group has a unique niche they fill and all of them are essential for successful drug discovery and development. This diversity creates a collaborative environment where the contributions of each group is invaluable.
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.
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.
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:
Overall score requirement: 100
Overall score requirement: 7.0
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.
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.
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.
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.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
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:
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.
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.
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|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)||$969.17 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,242.00 (check cost calculator)|
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
48 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 42 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):
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.
|2016||Dr. Sharma investigated how a group of anti-HIV drugs may cause therapy failure or toxicity. His results linked these drugs with certain proteins that control drug elimination processes in humans. Along with offering a rational basis for selection of anti-HIV therapy, his data provide novel therapeutic prospects for these drugs in other diseases.|
|2016||Dr. Knuhtsen worked on an interdisciplinary project within the fields of peptide chemistry and epigenetics. Based on a lead a library of peptides were synthesized which was used to identify an inhibitor of the enzyme family Protein Arginine Methyl Transferases. This inhibitor was subsequently characterized further.|
|2016||Dr. Bokharaei completed his doctoral degree in the field of nanomedicine and drug delivery at the the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He designed and optimized a novel system that produces magnetic, protein-based, drug-filled microspheres. These biocompatible particles can be used for the imaging of lung diseases or for liver cancer therapy.|
|2015||Dr. Mohamed's doctoral studies focussed on development of inhibitors for the Rho-kinase enzyme. This enzyme plays an important role in the development of many diseases. Dr. Mohamed developed novel chemical inhibitors for the enzyme. His findings will aid in the design of new treatments for cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.|
|2014||Dr. Wan developed a nanoparticulate drug delivery system. It was demonstrated to be effective in encapsulating high concentration of the aniticancer drugs, paclitaxel and docetaxel, and an inhibitor of the drug efflux protein, P-glycoprotein. His studies suggest a novel way of treating multidrug resistance that is common in many cancer patients.|
|2014||Dr. Wang examined how the function of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase is regulated in the heart. She found that this enzyme is controlled by multiple factors, and diabetes disrupts the proper functioning of this enzyme. This research is expected to assist in the development of therapeutic targets that prevent diabetic heart disease.|
|2014||Dr. Surendradoss investigated the mechanism of drug-induced liver injury. He focussed on the liver injury caused by a commonly used drug called valproic acid, which is used to treat seizures. The findings of his research enabled a greater understanding of the role of various pathways of biotransformation in the liver injury caused by valproic acid|
|2013||Dr. Thomas completed his research studying the binding interactions of a family of human enzymes. It was found that the extent of binding controlled how quickly these enzymes could perform their function in the body. This work will allow us to better understand the role of these complexes in the development of cancer and heart disease.|
|2013||Dr. Erratico investigated a family of enzymes present in the human body, namely the cytochrome P450. He studied their ability to transform two major environmental pollutants. These results show the role that metabolism plays in limiting the ability of these two environmental pollutants to accumulate in the human body.|
|2013||Dr. Zhang showed that patients who do not use asthma drugs appropriately are more likely to use health services to manage their disease, compared with those who use medications according to guidelines. These findings reinforce to clinicians the importance of closely monitoring patient drug therapy and encouraging appropriate use of asthma drugs.|
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.