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

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
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 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 November 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 09 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 09 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 16 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 09 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 09 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 16 January 2022

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

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$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,052.34 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,126.20 (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, 44 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 $34,850.
  • 16 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 16 students was $5,482.
  • 21 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 21 students was $23,594.
  • 43 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 43 students was $7,932.
  • 19 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 19 students was $32,061.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - 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

 20202019201820172016
Applications3838334338
Offers2117182116
New registrations161171410
Total enrolment8376797761

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 28 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 2.66 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.26 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: 22 April 2021]. 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: 29 October 2020].

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 (Indoor air quality, bioaerosol exposures in work and community environments, particularly in rural or agricultural settings)
  • 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)
  • Buxton, Jane (Epidemiology, harm reduction)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Himsworth, Chelsea (One Health approach; one health; Veterinary Public Health; Zoonotic Disease; Science and Risk Communication; Wildlife health; Disease ecology and epidemiology; pathogen surveillance; pathogen genomics)
  • 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)

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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
2021 Dr. Sweeney Magee researched health behaviours associated with risk and survivorship in colorectal cancer. She identified population groups needing support to make changes to these behaviours, and strategies to best provide this support. Her work will inform future behaviour change intervention design at all stages of the cancer control continuum.
2021 Knowledge about inequities and social determinants of health points to opportunities for evidence-informed action across a range of contexts. Dr. Shaw's research offered a model to identify context-specific barriers to action such as lack of infrastructure, capacity, or political will and provided a menu of approaches to address these challenges.
2021 Dr. McKay explored housing, building, and neighbourhood influences on the experience of "home" for long-term tenants of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Her research highlighted housing and service needs of people with housing, and showed the benefits of a supportive service environment where tenants can feel in control of their lives.
2021 Dr. Rich's research identified important gaps in the state of the knowledge of chronic disease multimorbidity for transgender people, demonstrated feasibility of innovative methods to identify transgender samples in administrative data, and provided epidemiologic evidence of multimorbidity disparity for transgender people living with HIV.
2021 Dr. Ouyang showed how the number of participants needed in a clinical trial can be reduced by making use of information from outside the trial, by changing how people are assigned to the treatment groups, and by improving the way the data are analyzed.
2021 Dr. Lake studied the therapeutic and harm reduction applications of cannabis among marginalized people who use illicit drugs in Vancouver. Through demonstrating that cannabis has clinical potential for managing pain and opioid use disorder in this population, her work provided key data to inform future clinical experimentation involving cannabis.
2020 Dr. Sawatzky-Girling studied patient and family experiences of quality improvement. Her Relational Safety Framework shows that when feeling safe and valued, people welcome connections with others, fostering trust. Appreciating these liminal and ethical implications of QI implementation is a new strategy to advance health care system improvement.
2020 Dr. Hategeka examined health system quality and the contribution of several quality improvement interventions in Rwanda. He found that health system quality has improved over the past decade, however, further improvements are needed to improve maternal and child health. His research will inform future quality improvement strategies.
2020 Dr. Palis studied cocaine use among patients receiving treatment for opioid addiction at North America's first injectable opioid agonist treatment clinic. Her dissertation quantified and explained variation in patients' patterns of cocaine use. These findings can inform treatment and service provision for people who use both cocaine and opioids.
2020 Dr. Marchand examined patients' experiences with injectable opioid agonist treatment, a novel treatment for opioid use disorder. Her research showed that this treatment was optimized when patients and providers establish positive therapeutic relationships. This evidence informs a conceptualization of patient-centered care for this disorder.

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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 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 November 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
09 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
09 January 2022

September 2023 Intake

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