Program Information

Our program provides advanced education with a goal of preparing students for a career in research. We do not provide introductory training to applicants who possess a minimal background in the basic sciences. Such applicants are advised to apply for an undergraduate degree or unclassified studies. If you hold a degree in a clinical/medical field (i.e. MD, Pharmacy, Clinical Laboratory) or application-based fields (Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology) you would generally be more successful applying to another graduate program.

We receive about 100 applications per year with about 20 to 25 students finding a place in a lab. Decisions for formal acceptance are based on:

  • Academic achievement
  • Favorable letters of reference
  • Experience in or aptitude for research
  • If possible a formal interview
  • Availability of a research project, research space and funding

Program Specific Requirements

There are different entrance requirements for the Masters program and the PhD program with a previous Masters degree. If your credentials are not from Canada and the USA, you will also need to meet some additional requirements. Most students in our program start as Master students and then transfer to the PhD stream in year two without completing a Master. 

Meeting the minimum requirements may not be sufficient for admittance as top students from around the world compete for our limited number of positions. However successful applicants typically match the profiles indicated below.

The academic credentials of both Canadian and International degree holders are subject to a final evaluation by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Masters Program

  • You should have advanced laboratory experience in a biochemistry research environment, e.g., summer student research project, co-op work experience, a directed studies laboratory research course, or employment as a laboratory technician in a research or relevant industrial environment.
  • At the minimum, you should hold or be in the process of completing a four year science BSc or BScH.
  • You should be knowledgeable in organic and physical chemistry beyond the introductory level.
  • You should have taken an introductory Biochemistry course, an introductory Biochemistry laboratory course, and at least two advanced Biochemistry courses.
  • Courses in genetics, physics, microbiology, or cell biology are strongly recommended.
  • North American degree holders must have obtained an overall transcript average of B+ or have a first class standing in 12 credits of combined 3rd and 4th year relevant coursework.
  • Non-North American degree holders must review the minimum academic entrance requirements as set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

PhD Program with a Previous Master Degree

You should hold a recognized Master’s degree which involves:

  • At least 12-15 months of full-time laboratory research
  • A seminar course
  • Graduate level courses
  • A written thesis
  • An oral presentation/examination before a research supervisory committee
  • Ideally, you should be a co-author on a manuscript published in an internationally recognized journal
  • Students, who have attended Canadian and American institutions must have a overall average of B+ (76% at UBC) in your master’s degree program
  • International students may review the academic entrance requirements by country

Additional Requirements for Students with International Credentials

You should compare your academic record with the closest corresponding program at UBC to ensure your background is equivalent in terms of course content/standard, number of courses and total credit value. Please see UBC’s on-line Calendar for undergraduate program descriptions. You must also review the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies academic requirements for students from your country.

TOEFL and GRE Requirements

The TOEFL and GRE requirements are waived for students who hold degrees from recognized Canadian and American institutions.

Applicants whose first language is not English must take the TOEFL examination. Test scores should be above 106 (internet based). TOEFL reports are valid for two years from date of test. In place of TOEFL, we accept IELTS with overall band scores of 7.5/9.0. Code 0965 34.

Applicants, including Canadian citizens, who hold degrees from international institutions must provide a GRE General or Subject (Biochemistry or Chemistry) report. Test scores should be in the upper percentile range (80-100%). Other relevant subject fields may be considered. Code 0965 0202