The FAQ page is designed to answer general questions which potential students may have. More questions and answers will be added to this section as time goes on. We also encourage you to provide feedback on what information you would find helpful. After all, the FAQ is all about you and your fellow prospective students.
- What is the funding level per year?
- How much are fees?
- How can I apply for a TA position?
- Should I apply for an NSERC or CIHR scholarship even if I do not have a set supervisor?
- How can I get around Vancouver?
- Where can I find affordable housing?
- What fun activities are there to do in Vancouver?
- Does the BIOC 530 seminar class count as 3 credits towards my graduate degree?
- Tell me about the fast track program that lets student transfer into the PhD program with out completing a masters degree?
- Will my supervisory committee approve an MSc to PhD transition, if I choose to do so?
- What’s the average time to completion for a MSC and a PhD degree?
- Do I need to find a supervisor before submitting an application?
- What are the application deadlines?
- Can I apply to go directly into the PhD program with an undergraduate degree?
- Which supervisors are currently looking for a graduate student?
- How can I find a supervisor?
- How do I contact a potential supervisor?
- How will a supervisor know about my application?
- How can I arrange a visit?
If you do not have external funding, you will be offered a stipend from your research supervisor’s grant. Stipend levels range from $22,000 to $31,000 per annum. Effective for 2021 – 2022 September intake, our minimum stipend will be $25,000 per annum with a top up to $28,000 per year for a major scholarship holder. You can increase the amount you earn by obtaining scholarship funding from external sources. The most common sources are NSERC , CIHR and the Michael Smith Foundation.
New BIMB Student Stipend Policy, effective for grads starting September 2017.
Domestic tuition fees are approximately $5096 per year plus student activity fees of about $1,156 per year. Some activity fees are optional. International tuition fees are about $8952 per year plus activity fees. Currently international grads qualify for the International Partial Tuition Scholarship a $3,200 award, which reduces their tuition fees to a rate similar to domestic students. After three years in the graduate program for domestic PhD students and two years for MSc’s, fees are reduced to a continuing fees value. International students do not qualify for this tuition fee reduction. Please see the UBC calendar for information on current fee levels.
Course TA positions are advertised on the careers opportunities page. We advertise TA positions in the spring for the forthcoming September and January terms. A 96 hours TA position earns about $3,181 to $3,306. There are also casual markers and invigilator positions that are advertised via email through out the year.
So long as you meet the basic eligibility criteria (be a Canadian citizen/permanent resident and have first class standing for the last two years) you should apply to NSERC/CIHR. Please review Tri-Agency rules and eligibility criteria.
Living In Vancouver
Graduate students are eligible for a year round UBC Upass. The UPass costs $170/term and is prepaid as part of your student fees. This provides students with unlimited travel on public transport in the greater Vancouver area. This includes all buses, the sky train, Canada Line and the sea bus.
A lot of home owners in Vancouver have basement/attic suites to rent. A small suite can start at $700 per month. Landlords tend to advertise in the following three publications:
If you can think of an activity chances are you’ll find it in Vancouver. If you’re into hiking, the mountains are only a bus ride away. The local beaches are fantastic for cycling along or for just hanging out. There’s also a thriving music and theatre scene. Check out Upcoming.Com and Georgia Straight for event listings.
Academic and Course Related Questions
To transfer you must complete at least one year in the master program with a minimum 80% average in twelve credits of graduate level courses. Students must also pass a comprehensive exam and must have an approved PhD level thesis proposal. In Biochemistry eligible students normally transfer during their second year.
Most students that do want to fast track into the PhD program do so. However approval is not automatic and a student must show they are making enough progress to warrant a transfer.
For a master degree the average time to completion is two and a half years. However many students complete their MSc within two years. For a PhD the average time to completion is five and a half years. This includes time spent in the master program before transferring to PhD.
Applying and Finding a Supervisor
You can apply to the program. However, the department cannot accept you into the program unless you secure a supervisor.
Fall Session (September start): Both Canadian and International applicants should apply by January 15. International applicants should apply in advance of the deadline if possible, and contact the nearest Canadian consulate to enquire about visa processing deadlines.
Winter Session (January start): Canadian, US, and International applicants should apply by May 31. Please be advised that only one to two positions are normally available each year for a January start date. Our main program start time is September.
We will review applications submitted after these dates. However your chances of finding a supervisor and being invited to the interview day are higher if you adhere to deadlines listed above for September starts.
Please note that the department does not transfer applications to other programs. You will need to make another application to the other program.
UBC has a fast track program where MSc candidates can transfer into the PhD program after their first year without completing a masters. By starting off in the MSc program you’re giving yourself a safety net where you can gain valuable experience without having to “downgrade” from a PhD. Some students start off with every intention of doing a PhD. However life happens and students can change their mind. Alternatively some students find they’re not performing as well as they expected.
If you meet the general entrance requirements you can mark on your application form that you want to be considered for a direct PhD degree. However the admission committee may still offer you a place in the MSc program.
We do not publish a list of supervisors who are seeking students. However all our supervisors are happy to hear from a good potential graduate student.
There’s no easy solution but you can improve your chances by taking a proactive approach. So you need to start contacting supervisors to express an interest in their lab and if possible arrange a visit. The Canadian Association of Graduate Students has published a guide to finding and choosing a supervisor which provides a lot of useful information. G+PS Potential Supervisor search: prospective supervisor.
In the first instance it’s best to do this by email and to attach a resume and a transcript. This way you don’t put the supervisor or yourself on the spot. Read some of their publications so you can comment on the work a lab carries out. Try reading a job hunting guide, like Cover Letters that Knock ‘em Dead or What Colour is Your Parachute? for ideas on how to phrase an introductory email. The Monster career advice site is also a great free resource.
Once your application is approved by our admissions committee your completed file is placed on our secure online system where it can be viewed by our supervisors.
The admissions committee will invite top candidates to visit the department for the prospective student interview day at the end of February or March. If an individual supervisor is interested in you then they may also invite you to visit. In the last instance you really need to take a proactive approach and start contacting supervisors.