Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology (PhD)

Quick Facts

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


The Department of Pharmacology was established at UBC in 1951. A Therapeutics division was subsequently added to add focus to evidence based drug therapy. Recently, the department merged with Anesthesiology to foster interactions between basic and clinical scientists. Faculty members in the department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics are engaged in research in areas of neural, cardiovascular, respiratory and clinical pharmacology as well as drug development. Exceptional students with an undergraduate degree may be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program. Some students do a combined M.D./Ph.D. program for which a separate admission into the M.D. program, by the Faculty of Medicine, is required. Students pursuing a Ph.D. will have the opportunity to interact with basic as well as clinical scientists.

What makes the program unique?

The shared research interests in anesthesiology, pharmacology, drug development and therapeutics allow students to gain broad-based exposure to fundamental as well as medically-related aspects of drug research. Research projects in the department are funded by operating grants from CIHR, NSERC, The Heart Foundation, etc. In addition, many of our students receive the highly competitive CIHR and NSRC studentship awards.



TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Career Outcomes

23 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 19 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)
University of Calgary
Cardiff University
Simon Fraser University
Cairo University
University of Saskatchewan
Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia
University of California - San Francisco
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Everest Clinical Research Services, Inc.
Health Canada
Gilead Sciences
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Senior Scientist
Associate Director
Scientific Evaluator
Senior Manager
Pharmacy Manager
Postdoctoral Fellow
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

Those with a Ph.D. join the academia, drug control agencies in government and pharmaceutical industry or start their own drug development and consultancy units. 

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$1,600.60$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)$899.00 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,453.00 (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. 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 registrations321 2
Total enrolment1820151721

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 6 graduations between 2012 - 2015 the minimum time to completion is 4.33 years and the maximum time is 6.66 years with an average of 5.44 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: 8 April 2016]. 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: 8 April 2016].

Affiliated Faculty Members

  • Ansermino, John Mark (Innovations in Acute Care & Technology, Anesthesiology, pediatric anesthesia, health informatics, patients safety, clinical decision support, enhanced physiological monitoring)
  • Barr, Alasdair (Mental health and addictions, with a particular emphasis on psychosis and the medications used in its treatment, Anesthesiology )
  • Bernatchez, Pascal (Anesthesiology, blood vessel disorder, hypetension, vascular inflammation, atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, muscular dystrophies)
  • Bhagavatula, Sastry (Age-related research, Anesthesiology, plasticity of synaptic transmission, mammalian central nervous system)
  • Choi, Peter Tsz Lung (Anesthesiology, peroperative medicine, randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, research education)
  • Fedida, David (How the heart generates, maintains and regulates electrical activity, Anesthesiology)
  • Hackett, Tillie-Louise (Molecular determinants of COPD, small airway obstruction, angiotensin signalling, defective airway epithelial differentiation in asthma, human lung cell repository)
  • Laher, Ismail (Pharmacology of human blood vessels, Anesthesiology, regulation of small artery tone, mechanisms of pressuce-induced vasomotor responses)
  • Maclure, K Malcolm (Epidemiology, patient safety, quality control, pharmaceutical sciences, health services research)
  • Pang, Catherine C (Cardiovascular pharmacology, education, hypertension)
  • Schwarz, Stephan (Analgesia, Pain, Pharmacology, Pain management, Anesthesiology, cardiovascular, medical imaging, nerve, artery, valve)
  • Wright, James (Prescription drugs, Evidence-based medicine, High blood pressure, Drug trials, Clinical pharmacology Induction and inhibition of drug metabolism, drug interactions, Educational strategies to improve drug prescribing behaviour)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Corey Baimel
    "Dr. Baimel studied how orexin neurons modulate the activity of dopamine neurons in the reward circuitry of the brain. He determined that orexin gates addictive-drug induced changes in subpopulations of these neurons. This knowledge adds to our understanding of how addictive drugs alter the brain and may aid in the search for novel treatments." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Andy E Trane
    "Dr. Trane characterized a novel therapeutic target by studying the interaction between two proteins found in blood vessels involved in heart disease development. His work will hopefully help create new drugs that can be used to treat cardiovascular problems such as stroke, heart attacks and high blood pressure." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Kimberley Anne Pitman
    "Dopamine is a chemical in the human brain that is important for decision making. Dr. Pitman investigated how dopamine is regulated and what impact obesity has. She found that the mechanisms responsible for reducing dopamine release were not affected by obesity. Her work contributes to understanding how obesity can alter the decisions that we make." (November 2015)
  • Dr. Joanne Yuen Ting Leung
    "Dr. Leung's research focused on cardiovascular complications of diabetes. She investigated potential factors that influence contractile functions of the heart and blood vessels in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Her results provide important insights on how specific drugs can improve cardiovascular performance in the diabetic population." (May 2015)
  • Dr. Suk Kei Cleo Leung
    "Dr. Leung showed the new functional roles of two proteins, myoferlin and dysferlin, in normal lungs and in lung cancer. She found that myoferlin plays an important role in the growth and metastasis of lung cancer. Her work identifies the necessity of targeting myoferlin, to prevent the development of lung cancer and prolong the lifespan of patients." (May 2015)

Further Program Information


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May 2017 Intake

Application Open Date
29 August 2016
Canadian/US Applicant Deadline
30 November 2016
International Applicant Deadline
31 October 2016

July 2017 Intake

Application Open Date
29 August 2016
Canadian/US Applicant Deadline
31 January 2017
International Applicant Deadline
31 December 2016

September 2017 Intake

Application Open Date
29 August 2016
Canadian/US Applicant Deadline
31 March 2017
International Applicant Deadline
28 February 2017

January 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
29 August 2016
Canadian/US Applicant Deadline
31 July 2017
International Applicant Deadline
30 June 2017

Program Information

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