Doctor of Philosophy in Reproductive and Developmental Sciences (PhD)

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Health and Medicine
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Reproductive and Developmental Sciences
Program Components
Faculty of Medicine


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.


Research Information

Research Highlights

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.

Research Focus

Our research is mainly focused on cancer and possible treatment/cure of the disease.

Program Components

Occasionally, some of the supervisors will have co-op students for the summer session and these students normally end up applying to the program under the same supervisor.

Research Facilities

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.

Application Notes

Candidates are advised to first identify a potential supervisor as this makes their application stronger to be accepted.


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Supervisor commitment required prior to application?

Highly recommended

Prior degree requirements

A MSc degree is required to purse the PhD degree.

Other Requirements

Previous laboratory experience is an asset for the application.

Funding Sources

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.

Career Outcomes

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 Education
University of British Columbia (2)
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Chungnam National University
Gachon University
University of Kentucky
University of Texas
Kyung Hee University
University of Chicago
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
BC Cancer Agency (2)
Izumi Municipal Hospital
National Cancer Centre Singapore
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Postdoctoral Fellow
Attending Chief Physician
Senior Research Fellow
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
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.
Career Options

The PhD program provides students with the expertise to take up an academic position or a research position in a clinical setting. In addition, for qualified students there is the possibility of completing a MD-PhD degree.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,600.60$2,811.98
Tuition per year$4,801.80$8,435.94
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (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. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations3 243
Total enrolment2017201917

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 80% based on 15 students admitted between 2003 - 2006. Based on 9 graduations between 2012 - 2015 the minimum time to completion is 4.00 years and the maximum time is 6.16 years with an average of 5.20 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 12 July 2017]. 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: 8 April 2016].

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.

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Haolong Li
    "Dr. Li studied how drug-resistant prostate cancer develops. He found a novel target for this lethal disease and applied a computer-aided system to screen for superior inhibitors of this target. His study provides a potential therapeutic strategy for drug-resistant prostate cancer that may eventually benefit the patient survival." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Marianne Melanie Vidler
    "Dr. Vidler examined community perceptions of the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy through ethnographic studies in Nigeria, Mozambique, Pakistan and India. She further explored these perceptions using two methods of evidence synthesis. Her work aims to improve detection of these disorders and ultimately reduce maternal and perinatal mortality rates." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Siyuan Xiong
    "Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common cancer in females. Dr. Xiong studied the signaling pathways and identified two important factors that influence the development of endometrial cancer cells. These findings suggest novel therapeutic targets for treating type II endometrial cancer." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Eva Magdalena Price
    "Dr. Price developed tools to analyze millions of chemical marks on human DNA. She showed that such analyses should include factors like experimental conditions and a person's sex and age. Dr. Price used these tools to study babies with birth defects. Her thesis contributes to understanding how to apply modern DNA tools to study human development." (May 2016)
  • Dr. Tsung-Sheng Wu
    "Actions of sex steroid hormones in humans are regulated by a transporter protein in the blood. Dr. Wu's research revealed how genetic variations alter production and functions of this protein. In the era of personalized medicine, his research may improve current counselling, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of endocrine or metabolic disorders." (November 2015)

Further Program Information


September 2017 Intake

Application Open Date
01 January 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 March 2017
International Applicant Deadline
01 April 2017

Program Information

Application Enquiries

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