Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science (PhD)
Plant Science graduate program offers advanced study in applied plant biology, with a commitment to development of sustainable managed agroecosystems. Our graduate program offers opportunities for advanced studies in basic and applied research, leading to M.Sc. or Ph.D. degrees, in plant production, plant protection, plant biotechnology, plant physiology and biochemistry, and plant-environment interaction.
Graduate students have the option to develop research programs that address problems through an interdisciplinary approach involving collaboration with faculty members in other graduate programs (e.g. Soil Science, Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, and Forest Science) on the campus.
What makes the program unique?
Our graduate program offers students the opportunity to develop their graduate studies uniquely tailored to their professional goals and research interests in consultation with their research supervisor. The diversity of plant agriculture in British Columbia provides excellent opportunities for students to select a cropping system most suitable for their thesis research. Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to develop their research programs through an interdisciplinary approach involving other departments on the campus.
Excellent facilities for thesis research are available on the UBC campus in the MacMillan Building, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, Totem Field Laboratory, UBC Wine Research Centre, the Michael Smith Laboratories, and the Horticulture Glasshouse. Some Plant Science graduate students also work with our Adjunct Professors, spread throughout the province of British Columbia.
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
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.
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.
English Language Proficiency
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:
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.
Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)
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:
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
Specific areas of specialization include:
Plant-microbe interaction, bacterial and fungal diseases, plant virology, biological control of pests and diseases, insect physiology, natural insecticides, insect ecology and behaviour, and weed biology, ecology and control;
Seed physiology, plant nutrition, plant growth analysis, plant-plant interaction, biotic and abiotic stressor resistance, and environmental plant physiology;
Vegetable culture, ornamental horticulture, plant breeding, and post-harvest physiology;
Plant biochemistry, tissue culture, genetic engineering, and plant, fungal, and viral molecular genetics;
Rangeland ecology, and wildlife habitat studies
Before you apply, please make sure you meet/exceed the admission requirements and most importantly have a supervisor confirmed.
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.
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.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your 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.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
16 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 13 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 EducationUniversity of Massachusetts - Amherst
University of Massachusetts
Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University
Montana State University
Council of International Schools
University of British Columbia
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationBio-Act Technology Ltd.
Government of Canada
Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc.
Best Buy Canada
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationPresident
Biologist - Evaluation Officer
Research Scientist/Business Owner
Chief Executive Officer
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|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)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)|
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.
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.
Castellarin, Simone (viticulture and grapevine physiology; physiological and molecular aspects that underlay fruit ripening and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, and how they are modulated by the environment and viticultural practices; molecular viticulture)
Jovel, Eduardo (Ethnobotany, mycology, natural product chemistry and Aboriginal health)
Kronstad, James (Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Genomics and Proteomics, Pathogenesis of infectious diseases, Medical Mycology, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Fungal diseases of plants)
Riseman, Andrew (plant breeding; plant genetics; horticulture; roots; stress physiology, Plant breeding, intercrop interactions, nutrient use efficiency, root physiology, biotic/abtioic stressor)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Li Ma
"Dr. Ma investigated eco-physiology of effects of red/far-red light ratio on tomato and common weeds. Her research improves our understanding of how red/far-red ratio modifies plant growth, which affects plant-plant interactions. This understanding will help in management of agro-ecosystems to minimize crop losses due to weeds." (November 2017)
- Dr. Syed Benazir Alam
"Dr. Alam studied the infection process of plant viruses. She examined and clarified the mechanism underlying two essential aspects of the viral infection cycle - virion assembly and disassembly. Her work furthers our understanding of how plant viruses establish infection, how new viruses form, and virus disease control." (November 2017)
- Dr. Siddhartha Biswas
"Dr. Biswas studied the molecular mechanisms by which virus particles escape infected cells. Utilizing insect viruses, he discovered novel methods by which virus particles interact with host proteins to enable the rapid escape from infected cells. This information is critical for understanding virus pathology and disease spread." (November 2017)
- Dr. Jun-Hyung Tak
"Dr. Tak studied plant-based insecticides, especially plant essential oils. He found that a synergy between the essential oil components was produced by increased penetration of the compounds through the insect's skin, which is called a cuticle layer. These studies may guide us to develop more efficient botanical insecticides for pest control." (May 2015)
- Dr. Tejendra Chapagain
"Dr. Chapagain compared two food production systems: growing one crop alone versus growing multiple crops together. He demonstrated that together, multiple crops improve land and ecosystem productivity and water use efficiency. These studies will assist farmers in transitioning from chemical intensive production to eco-friendly production systems." (November 2014)