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
01 December 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 18 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 18 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2022

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].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 1 October 2021 - 1:00pm

James Ian Forrest
Mental and Sexual Health Implications of Social Networking: A Population Health Case Study of Geo-Social Networking Among Gay and Bisexual Men in an Urban Canadian Setting (2013-2018)

Wednesday, 13 October 2021 - 9:00am

Katherine Elizabeth McLeod
The Impact of Prison Health Policy: A Multi-Method Study of the Context and Outcomes of the Transfer of Healthcare Services in British Columbia's Provincial Correctional Facilities to the Ministry of Health

Friday, 15 October 2021 - 9:00am

Mohammad Karamouzian
Polysubstance Use Patterns Among People With Opioid Use Disorder in Vancouver, Canada

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.

  • Schechter, Martin (HIV/AIDS)
  • Silver, David (Ethics)
  • Singer, Joel (Clinical trial methodology and clinical trials in HIV/AIDS)
  • Sobolev, Boris (Health care, access, epidemiology, biostatistics, registries, simulation, policy evaluation, Methodology for analysis of waiting times, risk of adverse events while awaiting elective surgery, and the use of simulation experiments in policy evaluation)
  • Spiegel, Jerry (Global health, International health, environmental health, Cuba, Latin America, Effects of globalization on health, ecosystem approaches to human health, understanding and addressing influences of physical and social environments on health, global health and human security, the economic evaluation of interventions, and health and equity in Latin America)
  • Spittal, Patricia (Indigenous/Aboriginal Health, HIV work in Uganda,)
  • Steel, Daniel (Addiction; Diversity; ethics; Opioid crisis; Clinical trials; Equity; Philosophy / Ethics; philosophy of science; Values and science risk; Precautionary principle)
  • Sutherland, Jason (Health care effectiveness and outcomes; Health care administration; Access to care; Healthcare costs; Health systems; Patient-Reported Outcomes; Quality; Surgery)
  • Weinberger, Kate Rebecca (Environmental and occupational health and safety; Public and population health; Aeroallergens; climate change; Community Health / Public Health; environmental health; environmental epidemiology; Epidemiology; Extreme weather events; Heat waves)
  • Wong, Hubert (Health sciences; Public and population health; Biostatistical methods; Statistics and Probabilities)
  • Yassi, Annalee (occupational health, health of health workers, international health, global health, community-based research, capacity building, Latin America, evidence-based best practices, workplace injury and illness prevention, HIV and TB prevention and care for health workers, South Africa )
  • Zhang, Wei (Public and population health; Health Policies; Pharmacoeconomics; Economic evaluation; Health economics)

Pages

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
2019 Dr. Rugel created a model of natural spaces such as parks, street trees, and beaches across Vancouver. She applied it to prescription and survey data to identify how specific forms of nature influence our mental health and social connections. Her work advances our understanding of how best to integrate nature into healthy urban policies and designs.
2019 Tuberculosis remains a disease of public health importance in Canada. Dr. Guthrie used genomics to understand the person-to-person spread of TB over a decade in BC. Her research provided important insights into transmission, including risk factors related to the spread of TB. This work will inform public health strategies to prevent transmission.
2019 Dr. Kennedy found that use of supervised drug consumption facilities helps to prevent serious harms, including violence and premature mortality. She also found that involving people who use drugs as staff enhanced the effectiveness of this service. This research has provided important evidence to improve health services for people who use drugs.
2019 Dr. Adu's research focused on the systemic factors, which create barriers to tuberculosis prevention and control in an increasingly connected world. Dr. Adu found evidence of an association between globalization and tuberculosis and further showed how systemic factors drove tuberculosis incidence among healthcare workers in South Africa.
2019 Measuring past pesticide exposure for farmers has many challenges. Dr. Garzia developed a new method to estimate past exposures, and compared it to other existing methods. She then applied the new method to assess pesticide exposure in relation to multiple myeloma risk in BC. Her findings also provide advice for future research in this area.
2019 Dr. Gamontle demonstrated that healthcare workers in Botswana were of the perspective that occupational health and infection control measures used in preventing Tuberculosis in the hospital environment were not adequate. Improving such measures can contribute to protecting the health of healthcare workers which in turn can improve patient care.
2018 Dr. Trenaman evaluated patient decision aids, which are tools designed to help patients make better quality health care decisions. He found that patient decision aids for individuals considering total hip and knee replacement improved outcomes and reduced costs. His research will help policy makers invest in cost-effective tools for patient-centred care.
2018 Dr. Andrusiek studied the role of 'chain of survival' interventions used for resuscitation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. He used non-experimental designs and different analytic techniques to identify benefits and harms, and showed that there is a critical need for definitively evaluating these interventions using a randomized trial design.
2018 Dr. Roth examined the role of ecological and climate factors in driving patterns of West Nile Virus incidence in western Canada using data from BC and Saskatchewan. The results of this work were used to develop a practical decision support tool to aid resource allocation and disease prevention in the BC context.
2018 Dr. Muraca examined the risks to mothers and babies following forceps, vacuum, and cesarean delivery. Though increased use of forceps and vacuum is recommended to reduce cesarean delivery rates, Dr. Muraca argues that each of these procedures have associated risks and suggests an evidence-based, collaborative approach to selecting an intervention.

Pages

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
01 December 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2022
 
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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