Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)

Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

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

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

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 thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis 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$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* 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

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 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, 57 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 $36,788.
  • 24 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 24 students was $6,707.
  • 38 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 38 students was $18,770.
  • 17 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 17 students was $5,352.
  • 50 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 50 students was $11,306.
  • 19 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 19 students was $29,378.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - 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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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

 20222021202020192018
Applications4152404236
Offers2122221919
New Registrations131616118
Total Enrolment9191847679

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 67% based on 54 students admitted between 2010 - 2013. Based on 40 graduations between 2019 - 2022 the minimum time to completion is 1.7 years and the maximum time is 9.59 years with an average of 5.68 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Thursday, 7 March 2024 - 12:30pm - 202, School of Population and Public Health, 2206 East Mall

Richard Mukasa Musoke
Evaluating Access to Medicines Interventions in Public and Private Not For Profit Health Facilities in Uganda

Tuesday, 12 March 2024 - 1:00pm - 202, School of Population and Public Health, 2206 East Mall

Randip Singh Gill
Examining Childhood Poverty and Future Developmental and Academic Outcomes of Children in British Columbia: Differences by Poverty Type and Immigration Background

Tuesday, 12 March 2024 - 1:00pm - Room 203

Chenoa Marie Cassidy-Matthews
The Cedar Project: An Exploration of Indigenous Survivance, Connection, and Vaccine Uptake Amid Concurrent Public Health Emergencies Experienced by Urban Indigenous People Who Use Drugs in British Columbia

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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.

  • Spittal, Patricia (Indigenous/Aboriginal Health, HIV work in Uganda,)
  • Sriram, Veena (Social sciences; Global health policy; Politics of policy processes; South Asian Studies; Governance; Health workers; power)
  • Steel, Daniel (Addiction; Diversity; ethics; Opioid crisis; Clinical trials; Equity; Philosophy / Ethics; philosophy of science; Values and science risk; Precautionary principle)
  • Stringhini, Silvia (social inequalities in chronic diseases and ageing, role of health behaviours in the genesis of social inequalities in health, biological consequences of social inequalities, role of environmental factors in social inequalities in health)
  • Sutherland, Jason (Health care effectiveness and outcomes; Health care administration; Access to care; Healthcare costs; Health systems; Patient-Reported Outcomes; Quality; Surgery)
  • Vigo, Daniel (Burden of disease estimation; Service improvement; Health systems assessment; global mental health; Psychiatric epidemiology; Psychopharmacology; Psychotherapy; E-mental health)
  • Wong, Hubert (Health sciences; Public and population health; Biostatistical methods; Clinical trial design)
  • 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 )

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
2022 Dr. Laugen conducted research in Indonesia to demonstrate that achievement of maternal and newborn care meeting professional standards in hospitals is related to organizational readiness for change in low- and middle-income countries. His work will be used to assess readiness in health care organizations to facilitate successful practice change.
2022 Dr. Voon studied the issue of pain among people who use drugs and its implications for health, risk behaviours, and clinical care. She identified different patterns of substance use among people who use drugs, and found relationships between pain, substance use, depressive symptoms, and barriers to accessing health services and addiction treatment.
2022 Dr. Karamouzian characterized polysubstance use practices among people with opioid use disorder and the increased risk of overdose among certain subgroups of the population. The findings provide practical implications for measuring and addressing polysubstance use in substance use research, clinical decision-making, and policy development.
2022 Dr. Eng Stime explored how public health practitioners examining mining impacts on Indigenous health in Canada are drawn into ignoring health inequities associated with dispossession while presenting a veneer of benevolent care. The research illuminates storylines and assumptions of inevitability, offering relational consent as an alternative.
2021 Dr. Metcalfe explored how patients make decisions about management of high blood pressure during pregnancy, and developed tools to support patients and clinicians to make decisions that align with patient values. This work highlighted the importance of patient values in interpreting and applying medical evidence to individual treatment decisions.
2021 Dr. Wilcox studied HealthWISE, a tool created by UN agencies to improve the occupational health of health workers using local resources. Focusing on its use in 7 hospitals in Africa, she concluded that strengthening international organizations to better support and facilitate the sustainable implementation of such interventions would be beneficial.
2021 Dr. Kaal examined the care people who survived cancer early in life receive in the BC healthcare system. She found that survivors comparatively receive more care and that coordinating care between different doctors matters in terms of the number of doctor visits and cost of care. This work benefits the growing population of young cancer survivors.
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.

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.

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