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

Meet a Representative

PhD Funding Opportunities

Date: Wednesday, 31 August 2022
Time: 10:00 to 11:00

Join Dr Julian Dierkes, Associate Dean, Funding and Shane Moore as they talk about funding opportunities for PhD's at UBC. Dr Dierkes will provide an overview of the different awards and scholarships available to incoming PhD students.

This session will cover:

  • Overview of PhD funding at UBC
  • PhD minimum funding guarantee
  • UBC Awards database
  • Advice on writing funding proposals and applications
  • Q&A

Who is this webinar for?

This webinar is for those who are applying to PhD programs at UBC and are interested in learning more about internal and external funding opportunities. 

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

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$110.00$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, 25 August 2022 - 9:00am

Carly Elizabeth Magee
Incidence of Non-Affective Psychotic Disorders and Access to Psychiatric Care Among Adolescents in South-Western BC

Tuesday, 13 September 2022 - 12:00pm - B104, School of Population and Public Health, 2206 E Mall

William Leon Hall
Development and Application of Economic Learning Health Systems – A Forecasting and Simulation Based Analysis of Home Health for Seniors

Thursday, 15 September 2022 - 9:00am - 201, School of Population and Public Health, 201-2206 East Mall

Seraphine Zeitouny
Assessing Access to Medicines in Canada and Beyond Before and During the COVID-19 pandemic

Thursday, 15 September 2022 - 12:30pm - 201, School of Population and Public Health, 2206 E Mall

Maeve Elizabeth Wickham
Investigating Health Outcomes and Risk Factors for Adverse Drug Events to Improve Patient Safety and Identify Strategies for Health System Improvements

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.

  • Kazanjian, Arminee (Cancer Survivorship, Knowledge Exchange and, Translation, Psychosocial oncology, Palliative care in cross-cultural context, Vulnerable populations, including women)
  • Kershaw, Paul (child care, parental leave, work-life balance, social policy, social citizenship, responsibilities and rights, gender and politics, income assistance, child benefit package, social inclusion, neighbourhood effects on child development, Canadian federalism, Citizenship, detrimants of Health, social care)
  • Koehoorn, Mieke (Occupational health, injury, compensation policies, Worksafe BC, Gender Work and Health)
  • Kopec, Jacek Andrzej (Epidemiology; Arthritis / Osteo-Arthritis)
  • Law, Michael (Health care administration; Health sciences; Public and population health; Global Health; Global Health and Emerging Diseases; Health Policies; Health Policy; Observational studies; Pharmaceutical policy; Pharmacoeconomics; Pharmacoepidemiology; Program evaluation)
  • Lima, Viviane Dias (Aging process; Population health interventions; Health promotion and disease prevention; HIV; Aging; Epidemiology; Statistics; mathematical modelling)
  • Lovato, Chris (Health promotion, population health and program evaluation, impact of health programs and policies, particularly in the areas of cancer prevention and health services)
  • MacNab, Ying (Bayesian paradigm, foundations of statistics, space-time statistics, structured statistical models, taxonomic models, item response theory, inductive reasoning, Bayesian burden of disease methodology, Geometics, Health service and population health geoinformation system, and meta-data innovation in medical and health research)
  • Manges, Amee (Health sciences; Immunology; Microbiology; Public and population health; Epidemiology; Molecular epidemiology; Public health)
  • Masse, Louise (Health care administration; Health sciences; Public and population health; Childhood obesity with specific interests in prevention and treatment using lifestyle modification; Films, Membranes and Multiphase Polymers; Health Promotion; Nutrition; Obesity; Physical Activity)
  • McGrail, Kimberlyn (aging and health care services use; health care costs; health care financing; primary care; health care policy, Variations in health care services use across patients, providers and regions, and their relationship to population health, Aging and the use of health and social services, Personal, economic, and social factors that produce health at an individual and population level, and the role of the health care system in that process)
  • McLeod, Christopher (occupational heath and the social epidemiology of the working life course.)
  • Milloy, Michael-John (Infectious diseases; Clinical sciences, n.e.c.; Psychosocial, sociocultural and behavioral determinants of health; medical cannabis; overdose; HIV disease; people who use drugs; Substance use disorder)
  • Mitton, Craig (Health care administration; Health sciences; Public and population health; Health Policies; Health care resource allocation)
  • Morgan, Steven (Health care administration; Health sciences; Public and population health; Access to medicines; Health Policies; Pharmacare; Pharmaceutical pricing; Prescribing appropriateness)
  • Murphy, Rachel (Clinical oncology; Health sciences; Human nutrition and dietetics; Public and population health; Aging; Cancer prevention; Community Health / Public Health; Nutrition; Nutrition and Cancer; Obesity)
  • Naus, Monika (Communicable disease outbreak, control, vaccine, immunization, tuberculosis)
  • Oberlander, Timothy (Population epidemiological studies that characterize neurodevelopmental pathways that reflect risk, resiliency and developmental plasticity)
  • Oberle, Eva (Health sciences; Public and population health; Positive child development; Positive youth development; Promoting mental health and wellbeing in the school context; Risk and resilience; Social and emotional learning in schools)
  • Ogilvie, Gina (Sexually transmitted infections, human papillomavirus, HIV in women and care for marginalized populations)
  • Oviedo-Joekes, Eugenia (Psychosocial, sociocultural and behavioral determinants of health; Substance Use; person-centered care in addiction; injectable opioid agonist treatment; Harm reduction)
  • Patrick, David (Health sciences; Public and population health; Antibiotics and Resistance; Pharmacoepidemiology; Responding to the Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance at Population Level; Response to Emerging Infectious Diseases)
  • Poon, Brenda (Population-level early identification and early intervention for children with special needs; Complex systems of coordinated service delivery and supports; Family-centered services; Integrated child health information systems; Community-based research regarding social determinants of children)
  • Puyat, Joseph (Public and population health; Epidemiology; Biostatistics and Public Health Practice; Psychopharmacoepidemiology; mental health; Mental Health Services)
  • Regier, Dean (theories of behavioral economics, personalized medicine, deliberative public engagement methods to inform healthcare priority setting)

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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. Basham studied tuberculosis (TB) survivor health, including post-TB mortality, airway disease, cardiovascular disease, and depression. These studies contributed to our understanding of the long-term health outcomes of TB survivors, and the need for person-centred models of TB care.
2021 Dr. Minh examined how young people from Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States differ in their experiences of mental health, education, and work. These comparative studies illuminate the influence that social welfare, education, and labour market systems have on individual mental health and well-being across the life course.
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.

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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
 
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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