Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)

Overview

The School of Population and Public Health offers a research-oriented PhD program that enables students with a masters degree to advance their knowledge and skills in epidemiological and biostatistical methods. Students will further their research training by applying these methods to independent thesis research under the supervision of a faculty member. Students can pursue thesis research in a wide variety of topics related to the health of populations and the delivery of health services.

 
 

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

21

Speaking

21

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 required by some applicants. Please check the program website.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
15 November 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2023
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2023
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 08 January 2023
Transcript Deadline: 08 January 2023
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2023

September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
15 November 2023
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 07 January 2024
Transcript Deadline: 07 January 2024
Referee Deadline: 14 January 2024
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 07 January 2024
Transcript Deadline: 07 January 2024
Referee Deadline: 14 January 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 supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

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$112.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,767.18$3,104.64
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,301.54$9,313.92
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,057.05 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,366.20 (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 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 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 $22,000 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, 53 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 $32,913.
  • 18 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 18 students was $4,936.
  • 36 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 36 students was $16,860.
  • 52 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 52 students was $12,032.
  • 18 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 18 students was $23,495.

Study Period: Sep 2020 to Aug 2021 - 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.

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.

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 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.

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

60 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 3 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 56 graduates:


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 (16)
Simon Fraser University (5)
University of Toronto (2)
University of California - San Diego (2)
Ryerson University (2)
University of Saskatchewan
Queen's University
University of Kentucky
Oregon State University
Carleton University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Public Health Agency of Canada
Abbvie Corporation
Samsung
Redwood Outcomes
Alberta Health - Government of Alberta
BioClin Health Research, Inc.
National Cancer Institute
Public Health Ontario
Genentech
Queensway Carleton Hospital
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Epidemiologist (2)
Physician
Oncologist
Senior Epidemiologist
Senior Statistician
Executive Director
Senior Researcher
Outcomes Research Scientist
Investigator
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
This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. 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.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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

Enrolment Data

 20212020201920182017
Applications4938383343
Offers2221171821
New registrations161611714
Total enrolment9183767977

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 81% based on 16 students admitted between 2008 - 2011. Based on 27 graduations between 2017 - 2020 the minimum time to completion is 2.00 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.43 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: 7 April 2022]. 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: 19 October 2021].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Thursday, 27 October 2022 - 10:00am - 201, School of Population and Public Health, 201-2206 East Mall

Elizabeth M.K. Nethery
Gestational Diabetes Screening Changes and Impacts on Diagnosis

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.

  • Anis, Aslam (cost effectiveness of AIDS treatments; drug assessments – pharmacoeconomics; health care economics; health regulations, Health economics, rhematoid arthritis, biologic therapies)
  • Bansback, Nick (inform policies and practices in health through the application of)
  • Bartlett, Karen Hastings (Medical, health and life sciences; Environmental engineering and related engineering; Occupational and Environmental Hygiene; Indoor Air Quality; Bioaerosols)
  • Berman, Peter (Economics; Developing primary care systems; “Resource Tracking and Management” (RTM); Improving health care financing mechanisms; Ethiopia; India; Malaysia)
  • Bettinger, Julie (Public and population health; Epidemiology; Vaccination; Infectious diseases; Health Promotion; Community Health / Public Health; Infectious disease epidemiology; vaccine clinical trials; Vaccine hesitancy; vaccine programs; vaccine safety)
  • Black, Charlyn (Public and population health; Prevention and reversal of chronic diseases (NCDs); Health information systems; Knowledge translation; Population health; Graduate education; Health services and policy research; Quality, effectiveness and outcomes of health care)
  • Brauer, Michael (Environmental and occupational health and safety; Health sciences; Public and population health; air pollution; built environment; Community Health / Public Health; environmental health; environmental epidemiology; healthy cities; remote sensing)
  • Brussoni, Mariana (Developmental psychology; Psychosocial, sociocultural and behavioral determinants of health; Population health interventions; injury prevention; Children's outdoor play; Risky play; Parenting; health behaviour change)
  • Bryan, Stirling (Economics of health care, policy, from UK)
  • Burgess, Michael (Clinical oncology; Genetic medicine; Health care administration; Health sciences; Public and population health; Applied Ethics; Deliberative Democracy; Ethics and Health; Genetics and Ethics; Health Policy; Individual and Collective Ethics; Participatory research; Public deliberation; Science Policy)
  • Cox, Susan (Other medical sciences; Sociology and related studies; Arts (arts, history of arts, performing arts, music), architecture and design; narratives of health and illness; grief, loss, death and dying; research ethics/ethics in research; arts in health education; scholarship of teaching and learning; qualitative and arts-based approaches to research; visual methods; contemplative inquiry)
  • Davies, Hugh William (Environmental and occupational health and safety; Health sciences; Public and population health; Antineoplastic drug hazards; Community Health / Public Health; environmental health; Exposure Assessment; Noise and Health; Occupational Health; Occupational Safety and Health)
  • Deering, Kathleen (Social Determinants of Health; Environmental Health; Community Health / Public Health; Human and Social Ecology; Sexual health inequities; Gender and health; HIV prevention, treatment and care; Sex work; Social/health geography; Gender and violence; Stigma; Community-based research; Novel methodological approaches in epidemiology)
  • Dummer, Trevor (health geography, cancer prevention, environmental exposures, health inequalities, geographic information science, obesity, risk factors, Environmental epidemiology and environment and health interactions, with specific emphasis on cancer etiology and cancer prevention)
  • Elango, Rajavel (Protein Nutrition, Maternal-Fetal Nutrition, Childhood Malnutrition, Amino Acid Metabolism, Human Nutrition )
  • Frank, Erica (Health sciences; Public and population health; Free accredited education; Preventive Medicine)
  • Gadermann, Anne (Social determinants of health; Housing and homelessness; Quality of)
  • Gilbert, Mark (Public and population health; Development, implementation, evaluation and scale-up of innovative sexual health programs; Gay men’s sexual health, including sexual health literacy; Synergistic and integrated dynamics of infectious diseases, mental illness and other conditions)
  • Greyson, Devon (Health-related information practices of youth, parents, and families; Intersection between information practices and health behavior,; Cannabis use decision making in pregnancy and lactation; Vaccine confidence and decision making about vaccination; Disinformation in social media support communities; Online communication among young parents)
  • Guhn, Martin (wellbeing of children and youth; social determinants of developmental health; social and cultural community and neighborhood effects on child development; music and emotion )
  • Henderson, Sarah (Environmental and occupational health and safety; wildfire smoke; air pollution; Extreme weather events; environmental health; radon gas; Food safety; Water quality)
  • Janssen, Patricia (Health sciences; Public and population health; Gestation / Parturition; health of marginalized women; Lifestyle Determinants and Health; maternal child health; mobile health for pregnancy and parenting; Perinatal Period; social determinants of health)
  • Joseph, K.S. (Pregnancy complications, preterm birth, fetal growth, infant mortality, neonatal)
  • Karim, Ehsan (Biostatistical methods; Survey methodology and analysis; Statistical learning; Epidemiology (except nutritional and veterinary epidemiology); Public and population health, n.e.c.; Causal inference; Biostatistics; Statistics; Machine Learning; data science; Survey data analysis; multiple sclerosis)
  • Kassam, Rosemin (global health, access and use of medicines and health services among vulnerable populations, community readiness, improving patient/client self-efficacy to engage effectively in their health care processes and decision-making, implementation and evaluation of patient care and health promotion programs, and capacity building of current and future frontline health professionals)

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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
2022 Dr. McLeod studied how moving responsibility for healthcare services in BC's provincial prisons to the Ministry of Health affected providers, services, and the health of people who experience incarceration. Her work highlights how integrating prisons with the community healthcare system may help to address health disparities and improve outcomes.
2022 Dr. Forrest examined the health implications of social networking through an investigation of mental and sexual health outcomes associated with app use among gay and bisexual men. His research findings have implications for public health programming in the digital era.
2022 Dr. Yu measured the climate vulnerability and health of neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver and examined the effects of densification on health. Overall, her dissertation reveales stark health and climate inequalities across neighbourhoods and provides evidence to support policies that prepare for the threats of urbanisation and climate change.
2022 Dr. Laugen conducted research in Indonesia to demonstrate that achievement of maternal and newborn care meeting professional standards in hospitals is related to organizational readiness for change in low- and middle-income countries. His work will be used to assess readiness in health care organizations to facilitate successful practice change.
2022 Dr. Voon studied the issue of pain among people who use drugs and its implications for health, risk behaviours, and clinical care. She identified different patterns of substance use among people who use drugs, and found relationships between pain, substance use, depressive symptoms, and barriers to accessing health services and addiction treatment.
2022 Dr. Karamouzian characterized polysubstance use practices among people with opioid use disorder and the increased risk of overdose among certain subgroups of the population. The findings provide practical implications for measuring and addressing polysubstance use in substance use research, clinical decision-making, and policy development.
2022 Dr. Eng Stime explored how public health practitioners examining mining impacts on Indigenous health in Canada are drawn into ignoring health inequities associated with dispossession while presenting a veneer of benevolent care. The research illuminates storylines and assumptions of inevitability, offering relational consent as an alternative.
2021 Dr. Metcalfe explored how patients make decisions about management of high blood pressure during pregnancy, and developed tools to support patients and clinicians to make decisions that align with patient values. This work highlighted the importance of patient values in interpreting and applying medical evidence to individual treatment decisions.
2021 Dr. Wilcox studied HealthWISE, a tool created by UN agencies to improve the occupational health of health workers using local resources. Focusing on its use in 7 hospitals in Africa, she concluded that strengthening international organizations to better support and facilitate the sustainable implementation of such interventions would be beneficial.
2021 Dr. Kaal examined the care people who survived cancer early in life receive in the BC healthcare system. She found that survivors comparatively receive more care and that coordinating care between different doctors matters in terms of the number of doctor visits and cost of care. This work benefits the growing population of young cancer survivors.

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Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information

The School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) offers both research-oriented and professional/course-based graduate programs.

Professional programs
  • The Master of Public Health focuses on illness prevention and health promotion and integrates learning in epidemiology; biostatistics; the social, biological and environmental determinants of health; population health; global health; disease prevention and health systems management with skill-based learning in a practicum setting.
  • The Master of Health Administration is a professional program for clinicians, administrators, researchers and managers who are seeking solutions to today’s complex health delivery issues. Take courses with a multi-disciplinary perspective in health systems, policies and management along with foundational business skills
  • The Master of Science in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (MSc OEH) program provides the skills and knowledge to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control chemical, physical and biological hazards in workplace and community environments.
Research-based Programs
  • Master of Health Science (MHSc) applicants must have an MD or equivalent, including dentistry or veterinary medicine, and will learn skills that can be applied to their academic and clinical interests, bolstering their research abilities and opportunities.
  • The Master of Science in Population and Public Health program teaches core knowledge and skills in epidemiological and biostatistical methods and allows students to gain research experience by applying methods to a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member. Students can pursue thesis research in a wide variety of topics related to the health of populations and the delivery of health services.
  • The PhD program at SPPH is intended for students who wish to obtain advanced research training that will enable them to conduct independent investigative research.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-W0
 
 

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
15 November 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
08 January 2023
International Applicant Deadline
08 January 2023

September 2024 Intake

Application Open Date
15 November 2023
Canadian Applicant Deadline
07 January 2024
International Applicant Deadline
07 January 2024
 
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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