Doctor of Philosophy in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences (PhD)
The goal of the Graduate Program in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences is to provide students with a broad knowledge of mammalian reproductive and developmental biology, as well as with in depth expertise in at least one area of research, including reproductive and molecular endocrinology, immunology of reproduction, maternal adaptations to pregnancy, women's mental health, fertilization and early embryonic development, perinatal metabolism, fetal/neonatal physiology and pathophysiology and perinatal; epidemiology.
The PhD program can involve course work, but this is not always the case. It does, however involve a comprehensive examination and thesis based research which produces new research findings.
The main research activities take place in the BC Women's Hospital, the main obstetrics hospital in Vancouver and in the adjacent B.C. Research Institute for Children's and Women's Health. In addition, research is carried out on the main University campus, at Vancouver General Hospital and St. Paul's Hospital. All sites possess modern, well equipped laboratories for basic science research. In addition, there are facilities for conducting research on human subjects and for clinical and epidemiologic research.
What makes the program unique?
The RDS program is the only graduate program in Canada that is based in a Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. RDS students thus have the opportunity to interact with both basic science and clinical research faculty, which can lead to the formulation of research projects that address important clinical issues in women (e.g. ovarian cancer, preeclampsia). Moreover, the location of the department within the teaching hospitals in Vancouver facilitates the collection of human samples (e.g. placental or ovarian tissue, sperm and testes tissue) that can be used in thesis research projects.
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
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.
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.
English Language Proficiency
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:
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Depending on program, applicants either reach out to faculty members directly or the program supports this process in different ways.
Test Scores (GRE / GMAT or similar)
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:
Prior degree requirements
A MSc degree is required to purse the PhD degree.
Previous laboratory experience is an asset for the application.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
The main highlight of our program is the Department Annual Research Day, in which, graduate students, resident, postdoctoral fellows and visiting graduate students are welcome to present poster or oral presentations and there is a an award for best poster and oral presentation.
Our research is mainly focused on cancer and possible treatment/cure of the disease.
The Learning Commons Library of UBC located at the Shaughnessy Hospital is a great place for students to study and the computer lab is also available for additional training. Teleconference/videoconference and other new technologies are available to students for their annual committee meetings, presentations etc.
Candidates are advised to first identify a potential supervisor as this makes their application stronger to be accepted.
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 2020 Intake
Application Open Date01 November 2019
The students in our program have been successful for the Vanier award, CIHR doctoral awards, NSERC and affiliated awards. Students who do not have external awards are paid a graduate research assistant stipend from the supervisor's grant in the amount of $20,000 per annum.
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.
We encourage all applicants to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund your 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.
In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.
20 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 13 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):
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 EducationUniversity of British Columbia (2)
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Chungnam National University
University of Kentucky
University of Texas
Kyung Hee University
University of Chicago
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationBC Cancer Agency (2)
Izumi Municipal Hospital
National Cancer Centre Singapore
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationPostdoctoral Fellow
Attending Chief Physician
Senior Research Fellow
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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.
Tuition / Program Costs
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|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)|
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.
Completion Rates & Times
Upcoming Doctoral Exams
Monday, 16 March 2020 - 9:00am - F414, Shaughnessy, BC Women's Hospital, 4500 Oak St. V6H 3N1
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.
Anglesio, Michael (microenvironment, endometriosis associated cancers, immunology, genomics, gene-expression and transcriptomics, cancer prevention, ovarian cancer etiology, early detection biomarkers, animal models of endometriosis and cancer)
Bayrampour Basmenj, Hamideh (Maternal Mental Health, Pregnancy Outcomes, Perinatal Anxiety, Prenatal Cannabis Use, Developmental Outcomes)
Beristain, Alexander Guillermo (Healthy Starts; cellular and molecular processes that direct trophoblast cell biology in early placental development; Examining the A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase (ADAM) family in trophoblast biology; Examining the effects of obesity-associated inflammation on the maternal-fetal interface; Identifying gene expression differences in subpopulations of trophoblasts in normal and pathological pregnancies )
Brotto, Lori (sexual dysfunction, mindfulness, sexual desire)
Cerri, Ronaldo (Biotechnology and Activity monitors, Dairy cattle reproduction, Endometrium-conceptus cross communication, Production medicine in dairy cattle, Estrous cycle physiology in cattle, Inflammation and stress)
Devlin, Angela (obesity, children, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, developmental programming)
Elango, Rajavel (Protein Nutrition, Maternal-Fetal Nutrition, Childhood Malnutrition, Amino Acid Metabolism, Human Nutrition )
Flannigan, Ryan (evaluating genetic and molecular mechanisms contributing to non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA))
Gilks, Cyril Blake (gynecological cancer diagnosis)
Hanley, Gillian (socioeconomic status as a predictor of maternal mental health prenatally, use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and infant outcomes.)
Joseph, K.S. (Pregnancy complications, preterm birth, fetal growth, infant mortality, neonatal)
Leung, Peter C (Reproductive and molecular endocrinology )
Lisonkova, Sarka (preeclampsia)
McAlpine, Jessica (subtypes of ovarian and endometrial cancers, and prevention)
Mitchell-Foster, Sheona (cervical cancer screening, HPV, rural and remote reproductive care, Indigenous women's health, perinatal substance-use, reproductive health of women living with HIV, culturally safe care, reproductive screening in LMIC)
Mohamed, Mohamed (IVF, MIS, robotic surgery, fertility preservation in cancer patients, and endometriosis)
Money, Deborah (Reproductive Infectious Diseases, Infectious in pregnancy, vaginal microbiome, HPV vaccine, HIV in women, HIV in pregnancy, Perinatal transmission of viral pathogens and infectious etiology of preterm labour)
Norman, Wendy (Contraception, Abortion, Family Planning, Family Practice Research, Primary Care Research, Researcher training, Family Practice )
Oberlander, Timothy (Population epidemiological studies that characterize neurodevelopmental pathways that reflect risk, resiliency and developmental plasticity)
Robinson, Wendy (Medical Genetics, Human Development, Epigenetics, miRNA, Preterm Birth, Placenta, Mosaicism, Fetal Growth, DNA methylation, Sex differences)
Roskelley, Calvin (Breast cancer, ovarian cancer )
Talhouk, Aline (predictive modeling, clinical utility, diagnostic models, prognostic models, personalized medicine)
Tomek, Jennifer (Perinatal epidemiology ; Perinatal research methods; Fetal growth restriction; Severe maternal morbidity; Improving the reference charts used to assess fetal growth and maternal weight gain in pregnancy; Evaluating the impact of obstetrical health care policies on maternal and infant health; Developing clinical prediction models for the identification of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes)
Vogl, A Wayne (Nervous system connectivity and communication)
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Dylan Alexandra Cutler
"Polycystic ovary syndrome, known as PCOS, affects up to 18% of women worldwide. Dr. Cutler examined the impact of nutrition on the metabolic, reproductive and mental health of women. Her findings support the need for more comprehensive treatment options for PCOS." (November 2019)
- Dr. Hongjin Zhao
"Dr. Zhao studied the effect of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) on placental development during pregnancy. He found that BMP2 positively regulates human placental cell invasion and the underlying mechanisms involved, which may inform advances in clinical diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for pregnancy disorders." (May 2019)
- Dr. Ahn Rhi Lee
"Dr. Lee identified splicing mechanisms orchestrating the progression of an aggressive therapy-resistant prostate cancer subtype. Her research pertains to the clinical implications of splicing mechanisms in informing future therapeutic strategies that may be effective in detecting and preventing or mitigating the disease course." (May 2019)
- Dr. Li Yinan
"Dr. Li identified gene SRRM4 as a powerful driver and therapeutic target for a special type of drug-resistant prostate cancer. This study provides insights into personalized medicine-based strategies for prostate cancer patients and may guide future development of novel therapeutics for drug-resistant prostate cancer." (November 2018)
- Dr. Jianfang Zhao
"Dr. Zhao investiged the role of betacellulin, a unique growth factor, in ovarian cancer proliferation and migration. This research provides new hope in treating this lethal malignancy." (May 2018)