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.
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.
|2018||Dr. Naman studied how stream-dwelling salmon and the invertebrates they eat are influenced by physical habitat structure. He found that a combination of contrasting habitat types is required for fish to have sufficient space to live but also enough food. This work will inform efforts to conserve and restore habitat for these iconic stream fishes.|
|2018||Dr. Wor explored the interactions between fish migration and fisheries management with a focus on Pacific hake. She developed two new modelling tools and a framework for fisheries management evaluation. Her work will aid future management of Pacific hake and many other fish species around the world.|
|2018||Dr. Lau examined how sculpin fishes distributed along the marine intertidal zone deal with varying oxygen levels in their environment. Her research on different species revealed variation at the subcellular level where oxygen is used to power cellular activities but may also produce harmful byproducts.|
|2018||Dr. Chung showed how mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, help fish to cope with changes in temperature across different timescales. This work reveals the important role of mitochondria in allowing organisms to adapt to climate change.|
|2018||Dr. Brown studied the ecological responses to ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide emissions. She found that ocean acidification created simplified invertebrate communities with decreased biodiversity. Her results highlight the importance of considering animal communities as a whole to understand the interaction between different species.|
|2018||Dr. Shartau examined various vertebrate species for the presence or absence of a novel pattern of acid-base regulation. He found that numerous adult fishes and the embryos of two reptile species use this novel pattern. This research may provide insight into major evolutionary transitions in vertebrates, including the evolution of air breathing.|
|2018||Dr. Obradovich studied how the catch on bottom longline gear changes with the number and species of fish underwater. Underwater camera observations of fish behavior and habitat around the longline hooks showed that catches for some species were not proportional to abundance. Her work will improve the scientific advice used for fisheries management.|
|2018||Dr. Ono examined adaptation using lab-evolved populations of yeast. She found that adaptation, and the underlying genetic changes, can depend on the nature and level of stress imposed and the genome of the organism. Her findings give insight into the ability of organisms to adapt to changing environments and the consequences of such adaptation.|
|2018||Dr. Metzger demonstrated that maternal stress and the developmental environment has long-term effects on animals by altering chemical markings on DNA and changing gene expression. His research shows how non-genetic mechanisms can impact adaptive responses to environmental change.|
|2018||Dr. Skandalis studied how hummingbirds' body size and wing shape affects their flight performance. He combined broad species and individual comparisons with fine high-speed filming to show that the evolution of relatively large wings and the ability to change wing shape on the fly have contributed to hummingbirds' impressive aerial abilities.|
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.