PhD Program (Fast Track)

UBC offers masters students the opportunity to fast track into the PhD program without having to complete the masters degree. To do so you must:

  • Receive your supervisory committee’s approval for your thesis topic and permission to sit the comprehensive exam
  • Complete 12 credits of courses with an overall first class average (80% or better)
  • A minimum of 9 credits must be at the 500 level or above, and at least 9 credits must be at 80% or above
  • Pass the PhD comprehensive examination

Transfers normally effective as of May 1 during a student’s second year. So if you started in September 2021 you would transfer to the PhD program as of May 2023. A transfer is not permitted once you have spent more than two years in the masters program.

Students considering this option should follow the advice given below.

First Year

  • Register for your thesis course (BIOC 549 for MSc).
  • After consulting with your supervisor decide on which courses to take.
  • Appropriate courses should be taken to fill in any deficiencies in the your background, to enhance your knowledge base in selected areas of specialization, and in preparation for the Comprehensive Exam.
  • Register for your courses.
  • Students planning to transfer to PhD should complete 12 credits by April of the 2nd year. This is around the same time as the Comprehensive Exam.
  • The Graduate Coordinator will register you in the BIOC 530 seminar course (3 credits).
  • Take the appropriate lab safety courses.
  • By mid December your should have chosen your supervisory committee and scheduled your first meeting

Second Year

  • Register for your thesis course
  • Students attend 4 terms of BIOC 530 and are registered for 3 terms. After the 2nd presentation, you will receive a grade
  • The Graduate Coordinator will register you in the BIOC 530
  • Formally meet with your supervisory committee at least once a year
  • Complete your 12 credits with at least a 80% average and with at least nine credits at the 500 level
  • Sit the Comprehensive Exam before the end of your second year (usually in March and April)
  • if you pass the comprehensive exam you will be transferred into the PhD program
  • If you do not pass the comprehensive exam you will be given the opportunity to complete the MSc degree.

Subsequent Years

  • Register for your thesis course twice per year both Winter Session: September to April (BIOC 649 section 001) and Summer Session: May to August (BIOC 649 section: 941).  Note: if you are in your graduating year, check with the Graduate Coordinator for registration in the appropriate section, as you may require a different section number.
  • You must maintain continuous registration and pay fees for each year as a graduate student. Gaps in your registration and payment records may be interpreted by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as interruptions in your program and they will alter your award payments accordingly.
  • Attend all BIOC 530 seminars even after you received a grade.