Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD)

Overview

The Department of Zoology is internationally renowned for its research in a variety of modern biological sciences including ecology, evolution, physiology, cell biology, and developmental biology. The department has many strong interdisciplinary connections between the different areas of research.

What makes the program unique?

  • Zoology has a solid computing infrastructure of computer labs, computer servers, loaner equipment, colour and poster printers, and three knowledgeable computing support staff.
  • UBC has a great library with full on-line access to almost all journals, as well as Web of Science, etc.

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Life Sciences
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Zoology
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Science

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Program Enquiries

If you have reviewed the information on this program page and understand the requirements for this program, you may send an enquiry

Research Information

Research Focus

Cell and Developmental Biology: molecular and genetic bases of development and cellular function
Comparative Physiology: aspects of animal physiology from a comparative perspective, particularly those mechanisms underlying adaptive responses to environmental constraints
Ecology: blends field ecology and natural history with ecological theory and conservation biology
Evolution: encompasses evolutionary ecology, evolutionary genetics, conservation genetics, theory, and systematics

Program Components

Original research supervised by a faculty member constitutes the major component of work toward the PhD degree. PhD students are not required to complete course work unless it is recommended by the thesis committee or unless the student has been admitted without a Master's degree. All PhD students are required to present a research proposal and pass a comprehensive examination on their research area within 18 months of their program start date. Each PhD student is expected to deliver a one-hour lecture on their completed doctoral research in one of the departmental lecture series before their doctoral dissertation examination.

Research Facilities

The Zoology Aquatics Facility, otherwise known as the Initiative for the Study of the Environment and its Aquatic Systems (InSEAS), is an aquatic animal research facility designed to foster research, and the development of fisheries and aquaculture in western Canada.
https://www.zoology.ubc.ca/research/facilities/aquatics

The UBC Bioimaging Facility is a multi-user microscopy facility that is open to everyone and provides both training and service. The facility has been known as the most comprehensive biological imaging facility in Western Canada.
https://www.bioimaging.ubc.ca/about/

The Zoology Computing Unit builds and maintains the computing infrastructure needed for the research, teaching and administration functions of the department.
https://www.zoology.ubc.ca/research/facilities

Application Notes

Please consult our departmental website for detailed admission requirements and instruction on how to apply: https://www.zoology.ubc.ca/graduate-program/prospective-students

Requirements

Document Requirements

- Three Referees. Ideally, the referees should be faculty members who have supervised your studies and/or research directly
- Curriculum Vitae
- Statement of Intent intent outlining your research experience, proposed research project (or ideas), and explaining your interest in working with the particular faculty member(s)
- Scanned copies of up-to-date unofficial transcripts of marks from all post-secondary institutions attended

TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement

97
22
22
22
22

IELTS Overall Score Requirement

6.5
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?

Highly recommended

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.

January 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2018
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 10 June 2019
Transcript Deadline: 31 October 2019
Referee Deadline: 31 October 2019
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 13 May 2019
Transcript Deadline: 31 October 2019
Referee Deadline: 31 October 2019

May 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 February 2019
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 March 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 April 2020
Referee Deadline: 01 April 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 March 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 April 2020
Referee Deadline: 01 April 2020

September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2019
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 May 2020
Transcript Deadline: 30 June 2020
Referee Deadline: 30 June 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 May 2020
Transcript Deadline: 01 June 2020
Referee Deadline: 01 June 2020

Funding Sources

The Department of Zoology has a minimum funding policy for all Graduate students. Support will be in the form of a combination of Teaching Assistantships (TA), awards/scholarship, or Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) paid from the supervisor’s research grants. The minimum level of salary support will include any tuition costs not covered by another source.

Please consult this page on our website for detailed funding information.

Career Outcomes

95 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 6 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 87 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 (7)
University of Washington (4)
Stanford University (3)
McMaster University (2)
University of Calgary (2)
University of California - Riverside (2)
University of Ottawa (2)
University of California - Davis
University of Victoria
Pennsylvania State University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2)
BC Ministry of Environment (2)
Vancouver Aquarium
Pure Integrative Pharmacy
AbCellera
Roadhouse Interactive
Hemmera
FISHBIO
Genentech
Mount Boucherie Secondary
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Postdoctoral Fellow (2)
Wildlife Research Biologist
Principal
Senior Behavioural Ecologist and Bioacoustician
Scientist
Senior Scientist
Fisheries Biologist
Research Manager
Teacher
Hydro-Impacts / Sturgeon Specialist
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
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.

Alumni on Success

Adam Ford

Job Title
Assistant Professor; Canada Research Chair in Wildlife Restoration Ecology
Employer
University of British Columbia

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$104.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,665.26$2,925.58
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$4,995.78$8,776.74
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$930.14 (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. 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.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20182017201620152014
Applications3029412729
Offers1511171212
New registrations11816119
Total enrolment9297107103109

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 85.71% based on 42 students admitted between 2005 - 2008. Based on 46 graduations between 2014 - 2017 the minimum time to completion is 3.32 years and the maximum time is 8.99 years with an average of 5.83 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 March 2019]. 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: 23 September 2018].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Monday, 29 July 2019 - 12:30pm - 224, Biodiversity Research Centre, 2212 Main Mall

Andrew Howard Loudon
Host Specificity of Bacterial Communities: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation

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.

  • Abraham, Ninan (Mammals, pathogens, genetic analysis, proper cell funtion, development, maintenance and proper functioning of T- and B-cells )
  • Adamson, Martin (Evolution, parasites)
  • Altshuler, Douglas (flight control, visual guidance, visual neuroscience, neuroethology, avian biomechanics, aerodynamics, wing morphing, motor control)
  • Angert, Amy (Biodiversity and Biocomplexity, Biogeography, Ecological and Ecophysiological Processes, evolutionary ecology, population biology, biological responses to climate change, conservation biology)
  • Auld, Vanessa (Cell, Neurogenesis and Gliogenesis, Developmental Genetics, Molecular Genetics, development, nervous system, permeability barriers, glia , cell biology , genetics, in vivo imaging, epithelia)
  • Aviles, Leticia (Evolution of sociality, evolution of sex ratios )
  • Brauner, Colin (Gas exchange, ion regulation and acid-base balance in fish, Evolution and comparative physiology)
  • Cheung, Wai Lung (Impacts of fishing and climate change on marine ecosystems and their goods and services)
  • Christensen, Villy (Ecosystem (Aquatic and Terrestrial), Ecological Trends, Fishery Resources, Marine Environment)
  • Doebeli, Michael Walter (Mathematical ecology and evolution, evolution of diversity, adaptive speciation, evolution of cooperation, game theory, experimental evolution in microorganisms)
  • Gordon, Michael (Neuronal Systems, Neuroscience, Neural circuits, Sensory systems, Feeding, Taste, Gustation, Drosophila, Chemosensation)
  • Harley, Christopher (Ecology and Quality of the Environment, community ecology, climate change, marine invertebrates, marine algae)
  • Irwin, Darren (Evolutionary Genetics, speciation, hybridization, ornithology, seasonal migration, genomic differentiation)
  • Jankowski, Jill (Ecology)
  • Leander, Brian (Evolutionary morphology, Marine invertebrate zoology, Evolutionary protistology, Species discovery, Phylogenetic biology, Comparative organismal biology, Marine biodiversity)
  • Li, Yue-Xian (Calcium signalling in neuroendocrine cells Fertilization calcium waves in oocytes)
  • Maddison, Wayne (Arachnology, Biodiversity, Spiders, Phylogenetic Theory and Programming)
  • Matsuuchi, Linda (Cell signaling of specific membrane receptors, combining aspects of Cell Biology, Immunology , Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
  • Matthews, Philip (respiratory adaptations of animals, primarily insects)
  • Mizumoto, Kota (Cell and Developmental Biology)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Sarah Fortune
    "Dr. Fortune discovered that bowhead whales feed year-round in the Eastern Canadian Arctic, and use flexible feeding strategies that may help them adapt to climate induced changes in their prey. She also found that bowheads slough their skin and rub against rocks to exfoliate - providing a new understanding of bowhead whale biology." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Jean Kleynhans
    "Dr. Kleynhans studied how species evolve to environmental change when interacting with other species. She found that species interactions alter the probability of persistence and trajectory of evolution. Findings show that overall, the community in which a species lives profoundly influences how it evolves to climate change." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Michael Andrew Hawkshaw
    "Dr. Hawkshaw explored the interaction of salmon and fisheries. He developed models to balance catch and escapement, estimate run timing, and manage fisheries based on in-season data. This research will inform better management of salmon fisheries." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Marina Mussoi Giacomin
    "Dr. Giacomin investigated how different species of fish deal with environmental stressors. As the world's aquatic environments become more variable due to human impacts and climate change, the findings of her thesis advance our understanding of how diverse species of fish can cope and survive in challenging environments." (May 2019)
  • Dr. Xiong Zhang
    "Dr. Zhang mapped global seahorse populations to reveal distribution and threat patterns for these data-poor marine fishes. He discovered which seahorses are threatened and what the major threats are. This work will help prioritize urgently needed conservation plans, inform fishery policies and support the establishment of marine protected areas." (May 2019)

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Program Information

 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

January 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
10 June 2019
International Applicant Deadline
13 May 2019

May 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 February 2019
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 March 2020
International Applicant Deadline
15 March 2020

September 2020 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2019
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 May 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 May 2020
 

Supervisor Search

 

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