Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology (PhD)

Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

The Deptment of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics has a long-standing reputation of excellence in the field of drug research that goes back to 1951.  Facult members in the Department are engaged in researh in areas of neural, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine and clinical pharmacology, pharmacoepidemiology, acute and chronic pain management, cardio-pulmonary sciences, clinical outcomes and patient safety, equity in medicine, evidence-based medicine and knowledge translation, intensive care, transplant and transfusion medicine, neurosciences and anesthesiology, obstetric anesthesiology, pediatric anesthesiology, perioperative technology and integration, pharmacoepidemiology, regional anesthesiology, 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

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Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

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

September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2023
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 March 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 May 2024
Referee Deadline: 01 May 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 29 February 2024
Transcript Deadline: 01 April 2024
Referee Deadline: 01 April 2024

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 thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology (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.

As the PCTH PhD program is research-based, students will need to find a faculty member who will supervise their research project.  As faculty can supervise a limited number of students, we strongly encourage students to contact and confirm a supervisor before submitting their application.

 

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.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 6 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 $31,515.
  • 6 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 6 students was $20,226.
  • 6 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 6 students was $5,456.
  • 2 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 2 students was $17,500.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - 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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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

 20222021202020192018
Applications2516181311
Offers22210
New Registrations22210
Total Enrolment78779

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 93% based on 14 students admitted between 2010 - 2013. Based on 13 graduating students from the 2010 - 2013 admissions cohort the minimum time to completion is 4.44 years and the maximum time is 7.17 years with an average of 5.84 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology (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.

As the PCTH PhD program is research-based, students will need to find a faculty member who will supervise their research project.  As faculty can supervise a limited number of students, we strongly encourage students to contact and confirm a supervisor before submitting their application.

 

 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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.

  • Abdelrahman, Khaled (Basic pharmacology; G protein-coupled receptor pharmacology; Neuropharmacology; Molecular Neuroscience)
  • Ambasta, Anshula (Reduction of low-value services in health systems)
  • Ansermino, John Mark (Basic medicine and life sciences; Global Health and Emerging Diseases; Health information systems; Biomedical Technologies; Technological Innovations; Artificial Intellegence; Automation in healthcare; Global Health; Mobile Health; Outcome prediction; Physiological Monitoring; Precision Health; Sepsis in children)
  • 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 (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); 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; endothelial dysfunction; endothelium; Inflammation; lipoproteins; Marfan syndrome; muscular dystrophy; nitric oxide; vascular disease)
  • 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 (Electronic health (e-Health); Health information systems (including surveillance); Expert systems technologies in artificial intelligence; Anesthesiology; Medical devices; Human-computer systems and interface; Bio-signal processing and analysis; Digital health; predictive analytics; decision support systems; Critical Care Medicine; Biomedical Technologies; Health Care Technologies; Human Computer Interaction and Design; Medical informatics; Software Development; patient-oriented research; Data sharing / open data)
  • 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)
  • Knight, Darryl (Airway Disease; Lung and airway remodelling; Respiratory diseases)
  • Kramer, John (Neuromechanical, Systems Biology, Exercise & Health)
  • Laher, Ismail (Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences (except clinical aspects); Cardiovascular diseases; animal models of sleep apnea; Diabetes; exercise; oxidative stress; regulation of small artery tone, mechanisms of pressuce-induced vasomotor responses, exercise, sleep)
  • Loucks, Catrina (Medical, health and life sciences; Pharmacogenomics; Pain management; Medical Genetics; Model organism genetics; Drug reactions)
  • MacLure, Malcolm (Epidemiology, patient safety, quality control, pharmaceutical sciences, health services research)
  • 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)
  • Singh, Amritpal (Other basic medicine and life sciences; single cell multiomics; single cell spatial multiomics; data integration; Machine Learning; Biomarkers; heart and lung disease; High dimensional data analysis; Bioinformatics)
  • Thompson, Wade (Health services and systems; ensuring older persons are taking medications that are a good fit; deprescribing; polypharmacy)

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
2023 Dr. Kim studied movement disorders in precariously housed and homeless people. He found that substance use and psychosis were differentially associated with movement disorders, and that parkinsonism rapidly increased over time. His research helps increase awareness of movement disorders in at-risk groups, especially during the overdose crisis.
2023 Mutations have rendered the current therapeutics ineffective against the circulating strains of the pandemic viruses. Dr. Jalily designed and developed a new class of antivirals that can inhibit novel pandemic strains of the influenza virus.His work can aid the development of novel antivirals against mutated variants of influenza and coronaviruses.
2022 Dr. Tehrani studied how a common class of blood pressure medications can reduce aortic aneurysms in mice by increasing levels of nitric oxide, independently from their blood pressure lowering effects. This research provides new insight on how these medications work in aortic aneurysms and may aid in the development of novel treatments for patients.
2022 Dr. Alamri studied synaptic proteins in the brain samples of older people. She found that higher amounts of specialized proteins contributed to better memory and lowered the risk of depression. Her findings demonstrated that synaptic proteins could serve as targets for developing treatments for disorders that affect the brain in old age.
2020 Dr. Baronas discovered new regulatory mechanisms for a potassium channel involved in severe childhood epilepsy and movement disorders. Her findings demonstrate how a potassium channel can be influenced by its environment, and reveal unexpected ways that electrical signaling in the brain can be regulated and disrupted in neurological diseases.
2020 Dr. Thompson studied how the delayed rectifier potassium current (IKs) responds to phosphorylation at high heart rates. She shows that phosphorylation allows these channels to open more quickly, enabling the heart to relax faster, and protects against arrhythmia. This research provides important insight into the mechanism behind this response.
2020 Dr. Booth investigated the development of small airways disease in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He showed that patients in the early stages of COPD already have chronically inflamed airways and tissue destruction. His work increases our knowledge of small airways disease in COPD and provides new avenues for treatment.
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.

Pages

Further 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

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September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2023
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 March 2024
International Applicant Deadline
29 February 2024
 
Supervisor Search
 

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