University of British Columbia
Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia is one of the strongest and most broadly based life science departments in Canada, with a scope that spans from molecules to cells, whole organisms, populations, and communities. It is home to approximately forty highly funded, well-equipped research groups that are roughly equally distributed among four overlapping research clusters: evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation biology, comparative physiology, and cell, genetics and developmental biology, with many strong interdisciplinary connections among them. Our faculty are leaders in their respective fields and include Fellows of the Royal Society of London, Members of the US National Academy of Sciences, Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, Canada Research Chairs and a Canada 150 chair. Our program offers trainees opportunities to chose from a broad range of research topics, world-class mentorship, and access to state of the art research and teaching facilities. We encourage you to visit the Department website to check out the specific research interests of the professors in the Department.
The PhD in program in Zoology provides an opportunity to learn in a vibrant, multidisciplinary research environment. Students work closely with individual faculty members who provide exceptional training and focused supervision using a mentorship model. We encourage you to visit the Department website to check out the specific research interests of our professors across our various research clusters. Each research cluster within the department holds a variety of seminars, discussion groups, workshops and other events that allow graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, visitors and faculty to enjoy regular interaction. The Department of Zoology aims to foster a community in which diversity is integral and people from all backgrounds are acknowledged and respected and that provides a supportive, collegial, and inclusive environment for graduate training. All students are supported with a guaranteed financial package throughout their graduate training. The most recent information about the stipend package is available at our departmental website.
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.
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.
Clarification: no commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary but you must contact your potential supervisor(s) before applying as many faculty won't accept students who they have not previously been in contact with.
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.
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,802.52||$3,166.73|
|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)||$1,081.64 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $18,517.90 (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 review our detailed funding information.
December 1: NSERC CGSM Fellowship
Mid-January: 4 Year Fellowship or Zoology Graduate Fellowship
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.
|2016||Dr. Gilbert investigated the population genetics of complex demographic history. She compared methods for estimating effective population size and examined the impact on local adaptation during range expansion. These studies improve our understanding of natural populations and their abilities to adapt to new and changing environments.|
|2016||Dr. Rennison's research investigated the processes of adaptation and speciation using a combination of field studies and controlled experiments on threespine stickleback fish. Her work suggests that biotic interactions are key drivers of diversification and that genetic architecture plays an important role in determining adaptive responses.|
|2016||Insects, plants, and their feeding interactions form food webs that regulate much of Earth's biodiversity. Dr. Barbour discovered that different plant genotypes support unique food chains of insect species. His work indicates that the loss of plant genetic diversity could unravel the web of interactions that sustains the diversity of life on Earth.|
|2016||Dr. Aylesworth used seahorses as a case study to understand how to develop conservation action for data-poor marine fishes. Her research highlights ways that management can move forward with limited data, such as with local knowledge and new advances in data-poor fishery assessment methods, to address conservation issues for marine species.|
|2016||Dr. Lague identified multiple cardio-respiratory strategies that high-altitude geese and ducks use to maintain oxygen supply in low oxygen conditions. This study highlights how the avian heart and lungs are influenced differently by lifelong residency or transient performance at altitude, lending insight into how some animals thrive at high altitude.|
|2016||Dr. Acevedo studied the nuclear pore complex, the gate-like complex that protects, connects and controls traffic in and out of the cell's nucleus. She found one of the proteins is important during flu virus infection and its absence affects cellular organization. This knowledge provides us with the base to further design antivirals and target cancer cells in future therapeutics approaches.|
|2016||Dr. Rudman's research explored the role of rapid evolution in driving ecological change using a series of experiments and observational field studies. These studies integrate across levels of biological organization to demonstrate how changes within species can alter ecological communities and ecosystems processes.|
|2016||Dr. Petley-Ragan studied how glial cells support the development and function of the nervous system. Using the fruit fly, Lindsay found that an outer layer of glial cells produces a key component of the extracellular matrix and that these glial cells maintain the structure of the nervous system and animal health.|
|2016||Dr. Haggarty evaluated British Columbia's Rockfish Conservation Areas using visual surveys and spatial modeling. She found little evidence of fish population recovery. Her analysis highlights the need for continued monitoring and showed that recreational non-compliance may be hampering the effectiveness of conservation areas and impeding rockfish recovery.|
|2016||Dr. Gavelis showed that a single-celled organism evolved into a complex eye. He found that this strange cell used bacteria to form a miniature retina and cornea. His work sheds new light on eye evolution, showing even simple organisms can have complex adaptations.|
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.