University of British Columbia
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.
In addition to research, I sought a department that valued collaboration, inclusivity, and community amongst its students and faculty, as I knew that being happy in graduate school would depend on so much more than just my research. The incredible sense of community found within UBC’s Biodiversity Research Centre, Institute of Oceans and Fisheries and surrounding departments inspired and drew me toward applying to them. I feel grateful every day that I get to interact with such brilliant, compassionate, and creative researchers.
For many research-based graduate programs you’ll need to find and secure a supervisor before submitting your application. In this webinar we take a close look at how to search for a supervisor and once you have found them how to reach out. We’ll also discuss the importance of having good references as part of your application and how to identify and approach referees.
This is not a program specific event and is a general session from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
This session will cover:
Who is this webinar for?
This webinar is for anyone who needs to secure a supervisor as part of the graduate program application to UBC. You can check if your program of interest requires this step by looking at the program’s admission information and requirements on the program page. Find your program at grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/graduate-degree-programs
Please consult our departmental website for detailed admission requirements and instruction on how to apply: https://www.zoology.ubc.ca/graduate-program/prospective-students
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.
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:
Overall score requirement: 97
Overall score requirement: 6.5
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 not required.
- 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
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.
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.
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
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.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
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
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.
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
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|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)||$1,052.34 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,126.20 (check cost calculator)|
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
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:
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
|2019||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.|
|2019||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.|
|2019||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.|
|2019||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.|
|2018||Dr. Osmond created and analyzed mathematical models of evolution to ask how genetic adaptation is expected to overcome two challenges: (1) intermediate genotypes are deleterious and (2) rapid environmental change threatens extinction. Both are difficult problems but can be overcome by genetic drift and rapid evolution, respectively.|
|2018||How do fish transport oxygen in the blood? Dr. Harter's work describes a special mechanism in salmon that enhances oxygen unloading to the exercising muscles. Thus, salmon hearts need to pump less blood, which may be central to their iconic spawning migrations. This mechanism may apply to most fishes, a group that comprises half of all vertebrates.|
|2018||Dr. Bernhardt addressed longstanding questions about the abundance and distribution of life on Earth. She showed that the temperature-dependence of population dynamics can be predicted from the temperature-dependence of individual metabolism, lending strong support for the role of energetic constraints in governing population growth and abundance.|
|2018||Dr. Dzal's research focused on the physiological responses of mammals in extreme environments. Looking at newborns and adult mammals, she showed that hibernation may have evolved via retention of newborn traits. Her comparative studies enhance our understanding of the adaptations that permit animals to live in extreme environments.|
|2018||Glial cells perform diverse roles in the development and function of the nervous system. Using the fruit fly, Dr. Das identified and characterized the role of certain proteins in glia-glia communication. This study proposes models for glial cell communication that will help direct future work in other animals.|
|2018||Myelin is an essential component of the nervous system. Dr. Duncan characterized a gene essential for myelin regeneration and critical for the stability of neural connections and recovery in a rodent model of multiple sclerosis. Findings suggest enhancing myelin regeneration may ameliorate disability in people with multiple sclerosis.|
The program vigorously promotes integrative research in biology and actively participates in several interdisciplinary programs, including the graduate programs in genetics, neuroscience, applied mathematics, and resource management.
Zoology offers a wide variety of research programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in the following areas: cell and developmental biology, community and population ecology, comparative physiology and biochemistry, neurobiology, and evolutionary biology.