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.

 
 

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Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

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.

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:

100
22
21
22
21
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
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.

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.

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 December 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 18 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 18 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2021

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* 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 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

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

 20192018201720162015
Applications3833433846
Offers1718211619
New registrations117141010
Total enrolment7679776156

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 19 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 2.66 years and the maximum time is 6.66 years with an average of 4.65 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: 10 March 2020]. 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: 27 October 2019].

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.

  • Puyat, Joseph (Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health Practice, Psychopharmacoepidemiology, mental health, Mental Health Services)
  • Regier, Dean (Economical Analysis Methods, Health Care Technologies, Health Policies, Health economics, Preference Elicitation, Mixed methods, Econometrics, Qualitative research, Discrete choice experiment, Shared decision making, Economic evaluation)
  • 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)
  • Spinelli, John (cancer prevention, risk factors, biostatistical and epidemiologic methods, cancer and the environment, pesticides and cancer, etiology of lymphoma, multiple myeloma and leukemia, etiology of breast cancer, Identification of environmental and genetic risk factors for cancer and in the interaction between genes and the environment, lymphoma)
  • 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 funding, patient outcomes, Development of methods for monitoring and evaluating health system performance, Measuring burden of illness, Exploring causes and consequences of variations in health system utilization and funding)
  • van den Bosch, Matilda (biodiversity, climate change, Ecosystem services, Ecosystems, Human behaviour, Landscape planning, Population demography, Public health, social science, sustainability, Urban planning, Urban green and blue spaces, Nature based solutions, Planetary healthstress)
  • Weinberger, Kate Rebecca (Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Community Health / Public Health, environmental epidemiology, Extreme weather events, climate change, Heat waves, Aeroallergens)
  • Wong, Hubert (Statistics and Probabilities, Biostatistical methods)
  • 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 (Health Policies, Pharmacoeconomics, Health economics, Economic evaluation)

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
2018 Dr. Thomson studied population patterns of child and adolescent mental health. Her research shows that behaviour patterns observable in Kindergarten can predict mental health conditions and self-reported well-being up to 10 years later. Results suggest that addressing the social conditions in which children develop may promote child mental health.
2018 In response to a scarcity of research addressing substance use in conflict and post conflict areas, Dr. Blair's work helped shed light on the intersection of mental health, HIV, and substance use in northern Uganda. Findings highlight the need to integrate rigorous evidence with community perspectives and understanding of risk.
2017 Shift work is common in our society but also affects health. Dr. Hall investigated ways to improve the measurement of shift work, for better research on worker health. She demonstrated that current methods can be enhanced by measuring light at night, using detailed definitions of exposure, and examining shift work policies and practices.
2017 Dr. Pakula's research provided the first national estimates for mental health disorders among gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual Canadians. Her analysis revealed sexual minorities face a disproportionate mental health burden, linked to stress and isolation. Her research is informing the elimination of mental health disparities.
2017 Dr. Pollard investigated the role of a shared approach to decision making within the context of asthma treatment. The results of her work support the use of individualized care plans for asthma patients as well as the involvement of a multidisciplinary team throughout the treatment decision-making process.
2017 Antibiotic use drives the global problem of antibiotic resistance. Dr. McKay studied physician practice patterns related to antibiotic use, and found wide variation in practice. Her research draws attention to the nature of interventions to improve the responsible use of antibiotics, with the goal of preserving their usefulness.
2017 Dr. Panagiotoglou examined the effect of recent hospital closures in British Columbia, and how acute care access, appropriateness and quality of care affect patient outcomes following medical emergencies. She found hospital closures were not associated with increased mortality, and that the care received once hospitalized can compensate for travel time.
2017 Dr. Islam showed that harm reduction interventions significantly reduce hepatitis C (HCV) reinfection, and that protection against one HCV type does not provide protection against other HCV types. His findings inform comprehensive public health approaches to HCV prevention and provide promising insights regarding hepatitis C vaccine development.
2016 Using big health data, Dr. Puyat examined depression treatment in the general population. He found that half of those treated for depression received inadequate care and that paying physicians more will not greatly improve access to care. His findings underscore the need for fundamental changes in the way mental health services are provided.
2016 Dr. Neil-Sztramko studied the effects that physical activity has on the health and cancer risk of shift workers. Her early work led to the development of a physical activity intervention, which was feasible to implement in women shift workers. Preliminary results have shown an increase in physical activity and improvement in health of these women.

Pages

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Program 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 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 December 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2021
 

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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