Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology (PhD)

Overview

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.

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Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

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. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

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.

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:

100
22
22
22
22
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
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.

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.

This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
08 January 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 July 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 October 2020
Referee Deadline: 01 October 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 June 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 September 2020
Referee Deadline: 01 September 2020

May 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
08 January 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 31 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 October 2020
Transcript Deadline: 31 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 31 January 2021

July 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
08 January 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 30 April 2021
Referee Deadline: 30 April 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 31 March 2021
Referee Deadline: 31 March 2021

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (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

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

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 and Research Assistantships

Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.

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

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
Cannevert
Cedars-Sinai
Everest Clinical Research Services, Inc.
Health Canada
Gilead Sciences
Pharmasave
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Senior Scientist
Consultant
Associate Director
Scientific Evaluator
Senior Manager
Pharmacy Manager
Postdoctoral Fellow
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

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. 

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications13101586
Offers2  13
New registrations2  13
Total enrolment79141718

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 8 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 2.67 years and the maximum time is 7.00 years with an average of 5.54 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: 10 March 2020]. 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: 27 October 2019].

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.

  • Ansermino, John Mark (Global Health and Emerging Diseases, Health Information Systems, Biomedical Technologies, Technological Innovations, Global Health, Physiological Monitoring, Precision Health, Mobile Health, Outcome prediction, Sepsis in children, Artificial Intellegence, Automation in healthcare)
  • Barr, Alasdair (Mental health and addictions, with a particular emphasis on psychosis and the medications used in its treatment, Anesthesiology )
  • Bassett, Ken (Gender and Blindness: testing gender specific community interventions in Upper Egypt, an assessment of community ophthalmology projects in Central India, as well as community ophthalmology projects in Nepal and Tanzania.)
  • Bernatchez, Pascal (Cardiovascular Diseases, Cardiovascular System, Genetic Diseases, Hypertension, Atherosclerosis, Angiogenesis, Muscular Diseases, Neuromuscular Diseases, Lipid/Lipoprotein analysis, Lipid Disorders, Pharmacokinetics, Cell Signaling and Infectious and Immune Diseases, endothelium, nitric oxide, muscular dystrophy, endothelial dysfunction, lipoproteins, Marfan syndrome, vascular disease, Inflammation)
  • 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)
  • Dormuth, Colin (Clinical Outcomes and Patient Safety)
  • Fedida, David (How the heart generates, maintains and regulates electrical activity, Anesthesiology)
  • Goerges, Matthias (Biomedical Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Decision Making, Software Development, Health Care Technologies, Human Computer Interaction and Design, Medical informatics, decision support systems, predictive analytics, Anesthesiology, Critical Care Medicine)
  • Griesdale, Donald E (Neurocritical care, traumatic brain injury, invasive neuromonitoring, airway management)
  • Hackett, Tillie-Louise (Molecular determinants of COPD, small airway obstruction, angiotensin signalling, defective airway epithelial differentiation in asthma, human lung cell repository)
  • Laher, Ismail (Cardiovascular Diseases, regulation of small artery tone, mechanisms of pressuce-induced vasomotor responses, exercise, sleep, animal models of sleep apnea, oxidative stress, exercise, Diabetes)
  • Maclure, K Malcolm (Epidemiology, patient safety, quality control, pharmaceutical sciences, health services research)
  • Musini, Vijaya (Pharmacoepidemiology, Systematic review and meta analysis, Critical aapraisal of randomized clinical trials)
  • Pang, Catherine C (Cardiovascular pharmacology, education, hypertension)
  • Preston, Roanne (obstetric anesthesia)
  • Schwarz, Stephan (Analgesia, Pain, Pharmacology, Pain management, Anesthesiology, cardiovascular, medical imaging, nerve, artery, valve)

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
2019 Dr. Carney studied the safety of medications commonly used to aid smoking cessation. He also developed a novel method of evaluating comparative effectiveness using health claims data. The results of his thesis will aid physicians, patients, and policy-makers to make informed choices regarding smoking cessation pharmacotherapy.
2019 Dr. Badran showed that intermittent hypoxia, a hallmark of obstructive sleep apnea, can cause uterine artery dysfunction during pregnancy and lead to cardiometabolic disease in the offspring using an animal model of sleep disordered breathing. His work provides insight in the pathophysiology of obstructive sleep apnea in pregnancy.
2018 Dr. Asiri developed the hypertonic saline analgesia assay, an efficient and inexpensive assay for testing analgesics in mice. He found that the new assay detected a broad range of analgesics using fewer animals compared to conventional assays and did not inflict undue suffering.
2018 Dr. Fung investigated the potential of using synthetic amino acids for the treatment of pain. His work identified the small molecule, ACBC, as being capable of alleviating responses in various experimental models of pain. These studies assist in the development of much needed new medicines for pain management.
2018 Isovaline is a rare amino acid brought to earth by meteorite in 1969. Dr. Asseri studied the effects of isovaline as an analgesic in animal pain models and brain tissue, discovering its potential to decrease neural excitability and reduce pain. These findings demonstrate that isovaline may serve as a prototype of painkillers with minimal side effects.
2017 Dr. Sellers studied the vascular biology of Marfan syndrome with a focus on understanding how current therapies work and finding new potential drug targets. Her work helps to better understand Marfan syndrome and provide the basis upon which to design new treatments for patients in the future.
2017 Dr. Osei assessed cell communication within the airways of asthmatic and COPD patients. His work showed the importance of Interleukin-1 alpha in the mediation of inflammation and fibrosis. This work increases our knowledge in chronic inflammation and remodelling that occurs in asthma and COPD, and provides avenues for new therapeutic research.
2017 Dr. Cui investigated the mechanisms underlying the progression of aortic aneurysm in Marfan syndrome - a genetic disorder of the connective tissue. He developed novel analyses of elastin that could lead to an early diagnostic method of the disease. His ultrasound studies strongly support potential use of doxycycline for prevention of Marfan-linked aneurysm.
2017 The human ether-à-go-go gene voltage-gated potassium channel, or hERG, plays a key role in the electrical activity of the heart. Dr. Macdonald investigated the structural bases for its abnormal gating and its propensity to off-target drug block. His work contributes to our understanding of voltage-gated potassium channel structure-function.
2017 Dr. Kim studied the mechanisms of an emerging class of therapeutics used for the treatment of epilepsy. His research revealed critical molecular interactions between a drug named retigabine and potassium channel proteins in the brain. These novel findings will contribute to the development of more effective therapies in the future.

Pages

Further Program Information

Specialization

Pharmacology offers training in cardiovascular pharmacology, neuropharmacology, viral pharmacology, free radical biology, and drug development. Additional training programs exist in therapeutics, evidence-based medicine, and clinical investigation which reflecting the close association between the disciplines of anesthesiology, pharmacology, and therapeutics.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-TL
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

January 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
08 January 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 July 2020
International Applicant Deadline
30 June 2020

May 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
08 January 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 November 2020
International Applicant Deadline
31 October 2020

July 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
08 January 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
31 December 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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