Printer-friendlyIrving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences /  > Biochemistry and Molecular Biology > Graduate Studies > Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

MSc, PhD

Biochemistry and
Molecular Biology

Conduct research to discover and characterize fundamental processes relevant to essential biological systems.

Graduate Degrees

Program Components Duration
MSc Coursework and thesis 24 months
PhD Dissertation  48 months

The biochemistry and molecular biology graduate program at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC, offers tier-one research-based degrees to students in a collegial, close-knit setting.

Our dynamic faculty and students are engaged in a variety of research projects, many in collaboration with partners in government, non-profit agencies or industry.

Our research-based MSc and PhD degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology provide students with theoretical, practical and analytical expertise, as well as experience in the application of scientific results to real-world problems.

The MSc degree is designed to enable and support students as they conduct original research, develop teaching and mentoring skills, and become engaged in the scientific community at large.

Students learn the theoretical, technical, analytical and communication skills needed to perform timely and groundbreaking research. Their original work makes significant contributions to our understanding of the mechanism of biochemical processes and the complex interactions between organisms.

Formal milestones for the programs include regular meetings with the faculty advisory committee, approval of a research proposal, formal oral presentation of the research, writing a thesis and a final defence of the work. Each MSc student is required to be a Teaching Assistant (TA) for at least one term.

All MSc students will be required to complete a thesis (18 credits), participate in a common seminar course (BIOC 530, three credits), and an advanced methods course (BIOC 535, three credits). The remaining two courses are electives (six credits) and must be approved by the student's advisory committee.

Exceptional MSc students can transfer to the PhD program if they meet program requirements.

The PhD degree is designed to enable and support students as they conduct original research, develop teaching and mentoring skills, and become engaged in the scientific community at large.

Students learn the theoretical, technical, analytical and communication skills needed to perform timely and ground-breaking research. Their original work makes significant contributions to our understanding of the mechanism of biochemical processes and the complex interactions between organisms.

Formal milestones for the program include regular meetings with the faculty advisory committee, approval of a research proposal, formal oral presentation of the research, writing a thesis and a final defence of the work. Each PhD student is required to be a Teaching Assistant for at least two terms.

The overall course requirements include completion of a PhD thesis (zero credits), the Biochemistry Seminar (BIOC 630, three credits), and three other science elective courses (nine credits). BIOC 630 is required unless BIOC 530 or a similar graduate level course was previously taken as part of MSc coursework.

Related Programs


Research & Supervisors

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate students can pursue these and other faculty research and teaching interests:

  • Analytical Glycobiology
  • Applied Microbiology
  • Biological Wastewater Treatment
  • Biomolecular Structure/Function
  • Bio-nanotechnology
  • Cell Signaling
  • Chemical Biology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Insect Molecular Physiology
  • Medical Microbiology, Virology and Immunology
  • Mechanobiology
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Natural Products / Specialized Metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Plant Chemistry and Biotechnology
  • Plant Molecular Biology
  • Single-Molecule Biophysics
  • Soil Microbiology

The success of UBC's Okanagan Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program depends on exceptional students.

Please connect with a faculty supervisor before you start the application process. We look forward to hearing about your research interests and career goals.

 
Philip Barker | philip.barker@ubc.ca | 250.807.9582
Research interests: Neurodegenerative disease, signal transduction, neurotrophin biology, cell biology, fly and mouse genetics.
Sanjoy Ghosh | sanjoy.ghosh@ubc.ca | 250.807.8162
Research interests: Biochemical aspects of dietary fats and exercise in preventing the development and complications of obesity and diabetes.
Deanna Gibson | deanna.gibson@ubc.ca | 250.807.8790
Research interests: Dietary modulation of the intestinal microbiome; immune responses and susceptibility to inflammatory bowel diseases.
Miranda Hart | miranda.hart@ubc.ca | 250.807.9398
Research interests: Microbial ecology of soil microbes; the role and the applications of microbes in sustainable agriculture, viticulture and ecological restoration.
Andis Klegeris | andis.klegeris@ubc.ca | 250.807.9557
Research interests: Neuroimmunology; pathogenesis of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases; Glial cell biology; cellular and molecular pharmacology; method development for protecting neurons from age-related deterioration.
Isaac Li | isaac.li@ubc.ca | 250.807.8069
Research interests: Single-molecule biophysics, optical trapping, super-resolution microscopy, programmable molecular devices and biosensors, DNA bio-nanotechnology, single-cell manipulation, cancer and immune cell biology, cell mechanics and mechanobiology.
Soheil Mahmoud | soheil.mahmoud@ubc.ca | 250.807.8752
Research interests: Molecular, cellular, biochemical and environmental factors that regulate the quality and quantity of aromas and essential oils produced by herbal and medicinal plants; identification, cloning and characterization of structural and regulatory genes that are involved in the biosynthesis, inter- and intra-cellular trafficking, secretion and storage of monoterpenes in plants cells specialized for secondary metabolite production.
Frederic Menard | frederic.menard@ubc.ca | 250.807.8225
Research interests: Chemical biology: use of small molecules to study and manipulate biological systems, design of molecular tools to study the real-time dynamics of cellular events; using organic chemistry, natural products are modified to label proteins involved in cellular signaling; the biology questions studied focus on protein-protein interactions, astrocytes communication, synapse elimination, and neurodegeneration.
Susan Murch | susan.murch@ubc.ca | 250.807.9566
Research interests: Plant chemistry and biotechnology; the identification, quantification and metabolism of plant secondary metabolites, the impact of these phytochemicals on human health, and the development of technologies for mass-production of specific plant chemicals as medicines, natural health products, food additives and functional foods.
Louise Nelson | louise.nelson@ubc.ca | 250.807.8756
Research interests: Plant-microbe interactions; soil health; plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria; biological control; postharvest fungal pathogens; orchard replant disease; nitrogen cycling; nitrification; denitrification.
Richard Plunkett | richard.plunkett@ubc.ca | 250.807.9650
Research interests: Environmental microbiology, microbe/metal interactions (e.g., Cu, U, As) and the role of microbes in biogeochemical cycles.
Mark Rheault | mark.rheault@ubc.ca | 250.807.9630
Research interests: Molecular identity and physiological characterization of various epithelial transport processes used by insects to regulate their internal ion composition, fluid balance, and pH; the processes by which insects excrete potentially toxic organic compounds or heavy metals.
Deborah Roberts | deborah.roberts@ubc.ca | 250.807.8722
Research interests: Anaerobic biological treatment of recalcitrant compounds; biological systems for treatment of extreme wastewaters; sulphur oxidizing microbes and their effects on the environment (microbial deterioration of concrete and acid rock drainage); detection of pathogens in water and source tracking of pathogens.
Paul Shipley | paul.shipley@ubc.ca | 250.807.8749
Research interests: Organic chemistry; natural products biosynthesis; the biochemistry of secondary metabolism; nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry; rational modification of biosynthetic pathways in bacteria to produce novel compounds with the potential to be pharmacologically relevant.
Al Vaisius | al.vaisius@ubc.ca | 250.807.8748
Research interests: Molecular dynamics of DNA topological curvature, computational molecular topology; the work will potentially impact the emerging field of epigenomics, i.e., a study of genetic organization at a higher level than that of nucleotide sequences.
Kirsten Wolthers | kirsten.wolthers@ubc.ca | 250.807.8663
Research interests: Enzyme guided radical-chemistry: use of fast reaction and spectroscopic methods to probe the interplay between protein dynamics, function and structure; rational design of biocatalysts; study of vitamin-derived cofactors by biological systems.
Wesley Zandberg | wesley.zandberg@ubc.ca | 250.807.9821
Research interests: Analytical glycobiology: the use of modern instrumental techniques to study carbohydrates, their oligomers (glycans) and their metabolism; developing new methods to investigate carbohydrates; and using chemical and analytical tools to investigate the functions of protein-linked glycans in cells and animals.
Prof. Philip Barker
Biomedical innovation — from here to the world
Assoc. Prof. Mark Rheault
How insects use transporter proteins

Students & Theses

Meet Our Students

See what our students are up to — check out the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Students page for their research interests, supervisors, alma maters and contact info.

Biochemistry Course Union

The Biochemistry Course Union is a student union dedicated to connecting students with each other, the university and the community in order to enhance students' research, learning and overall experience at UBC Okanagan.

Theses and Dissertations

Search all UBC Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences student publications at cIRcle, the University's digital repository for research and teaching materials.

Candice Quin, PhD Student
Fish oil and infant immune development
Wyatt Slattery, MSc Student 
Using designer chemical probes to combat disease

Admission Requirements

Master of Science Applicants (MSc)

Applicants to the MSc program are expected to have a B in biochemistry, chemistry, combined chemistry and biochemistry, biology or a related field, with a minimum average of B+ (76%) or better in their third- or fourth-year classes; or at least 12 credits in third- and fourth-year classes in their intended field of study with an A- (80%) grade or better average; or significant formal training and relevant professional experience. Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

Doctoral Applicants (PhD)

PhD applicants will normally have an MSc in Biochemistry, Chemistry, combined Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biology or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better in the MSc coursework and thesis. Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience, may be granted admissions on the recommendation of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program Committee and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

MORE INFORMATION

For detailed admission requirements information, visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar* for full admission and program requirements information; the calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Master of Science Applicants (MSc)

All applicants to the MSc program are expected to have a BSc in Biochemistry, Chemistry, combined Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biology or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better in their third- or fourth-year classes, or at least 12 credits in third- and fourth-year classes in their intended field of study with an A- (80%) or better average. Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

English-language competence: For non-native speakers of English, minimum acceptance TOEFL scores are 550 (Paper) and 90 overall with a minimum score of 22 in Reading and Listening and a minimum score of 21 in Writing and Speaking (Internet).

Doctoral Applicants (PhD)

PhD Applicants will normally have an MSc in Biochemistry, Chemistry, combined Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biology or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better in the MSc coursework and thesis. Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

English-language competence: For non-native speakers of English, minimum acceptable TOEFL scores are 550 (Paper) and 90 overall with a minimum score of 22 in Reading and Learning and a minimum score of 21 in Writing and Speaking (Internet).

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program Committee and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

MORE INFORMATION

For detailed admission requirements information, visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar* for full admission and program requirements information; the calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Required Grades and Credential Guide

Grades and degree credentials required by UBC vary by country. Search the Required Grades and Credential Guide — a guide to assist international students in estimating their eligibility.

International Advisors

An international student advisor can answer questions about immigration, medical insurance and the transition to UBC's Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC. Visit the International Programs and Services website to meet the team.


Tuition & Funding

Tuition

Program Schedule Domestic (per year) International (per year)
MSc Full-time $4,707.66 $8,270.55
PhD Full-time $4,707.66 $8,270.55

Tuition is paid three times a year at the beginning of each term, and on the first day of the term, as per the Academic Calendar: Winter Term 1, Winter Term 2, and Summer Term.

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar* for detailed tuition and fees information; the calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct. 

Graduate student stipends are funded through a combination of internal and external funding awards, Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Assistantships (RA).

Although funding and stipend amounts are not guaranteed, the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program has a number of TAs and RAs available for qualified students. Talk to your potential supervisor about funding opportunities.

Students are expected whenever possible to apply for relevant scholarships and fellowships. These include principally, but are not limited to, Canadian Tri-Council scholarships, University Graduate Fellowships, and Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarships.

Stipends

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program normally offers the following funding to eligible student:

Program Minimum Stipend Duration
MSc $17,000 per year 2 years
PhD $19,000 per year 4 years

Check the Assistantships tab for more details.

Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships (TA): Providing financial support, TAs allow graduate students to develop skills in teaching, supervision, facilitation and student assessment. TAs may lead seminars, help teach undergraduate courses, or assist in student evaluations and marking. TAs are mentored both from their supervisor and via the Centre for Teaching and Learning

Research Assistantships (RA): As a paid research assistant, RA students assist their supervisor or other researchers in conducting high-level research, which often contributes to the student's thesis. RAs are typically funded by the supervisor's external grants, contracts or other sources of funding.

Scholarships & Awards

UBC Awards: The College of Graduate Studies administers merit-based graduate awards at the Okanagan campus. The College manages a number of award competitions each year and administers payment of all internal awards and selected external awards.

External Awards: All prospective graduate students (Domestic and International) should explore and apply for external awards and fellowships, including awards offered by Canada’s three research councils: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

Graduate scholarships and awards may also be available from foundations, private companies or foreign governments (check with your country’s education authority).


How to Apply

Find a Supervisor

Please contact our faculty before starting your application. Admission to the program requires the support of a faculty supervisor as well as meeting program-specific criteria for admission requirements.

A complete application package will contain:

  • Online application and application fee
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended
  • English language test (for non-native speakers of English)
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) or resumé
  • Three reference forms or letters

Applying takes time. We recommend you start your application two months in advance.

For full consideration students should apply by the following deadlines:

INTAKE APPLY BEFORE
Domestic applicants
September January 31
January June 2
May October 1
International applicants
September January 31
January June 2
May October 1

UBC's Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program at UBC's Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

UBC Okanagan

UBC's Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of about 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna's cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the Top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university's respect for sustainability.

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Check out this 360-degree video: Kelowna From Above*.

* Best viewed using Chrome or Firefox (desktop), YouTube app (mobile)

Full-time UBC Okanagan students can live in residence, which offers modern living with easy access to academic and personal support. Residences are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, plus panoramic views of the campus and valley.

The Student Residence website includes helpful information about Important Dates for living on campus, plus options and resources for Living Off Campus.

Kelowna Off Campus Student Housing is a public Facebook group that shares notes about housing options, finding roommates, and vacancies in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.*

* UBC does not verify or endorse information shared on this third-party website, which is offered here as a public resource only.

Join the club! Make friends with similar interests, and organize and participate in academic and recreational events in the Biochemistry Course Union.

There are orientation events for all graduate students, but Biochemistry and Molecular Biology grad students have their own introduction to UBC Okanagan through the BGSS (Biology Graduate Student Society). The club organizes events throughout the year such as the Welcome BBQ, field trips, outdoor adventures, bowling and other game nights.

Stay active. Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and play—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre and our 1,561 square-metre gymnasium, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes and nationally ranked varsity athletics. Have a ball in Sports and Recreation.

Relax. The Graduate Collegium is a gathering place where grad students can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their fellow students, and attend or host special events. The lounge-style room is open seven days and week and is outfitted with comfortable furniture, kitchen facilities, and individual and group-work spaces.

The College of Graduate Studies is your hub for administrative support and such things as graduate workshops for professional development and for assisting you from the admissions process through to your graduation.

The Library's Centre for Scholarly Communication (CSC) supports graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff and faculty in disseminating their research. The CSC provides one-on-one consultations and workshops, including writing support for theses, dissertations, journal articles and grant proposals.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning provides support related to teaching, TA training and use of technology in educational programming.

Career Development

With a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology MSc or PhD degree from the University of British Columbia, graduates are well-positioned to thrive in a variety of occupations, such as:

  • Analytical chemist
  • Biochemical educator
  • Biochemical researcher
  • Biomedical researcher
  • Biomedical instrumentation
  • Biotechnologist
  • Cancer researcher
  • Clinical biochemist
  • Drug development officer
  • Environmental auditor
  • Environmental health officer
  • Food product inspector
  • Food service technologist
  • Forensic service technologist
  • Forensic analyst
  • Genetic technician
  • Hazardous waste
  • Technologist
  • Immunologist
  • Industrial hygienist
  • Microbiologist
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nurse
  • Nutrition researcher
  • Pharmaceutical research assistant
  • Physiotherapist
  • Public health inspector
  • Science instrumentation
  • Scientific journalist
  • Toxicology assistant
  • Wine scientist

Career Services

Map out your future and prepare to hit the ground running with resources and services provided by the Advising & Involvement Centre.

Tell your story with resumé and cover-letter strategies, and search Work Study jobs for experience relevant to your degree and career goals. You can also book an appointment to meet one-on-one with our career advisor.

alumni UBC

alumni UBC is a member-driven association that offers a variety of lifetime programming and communications to enrich the lives of UBC graduates.

The 'Your Next Step' program offers webinars, speaker series and professional development sessions. It is designed to provide advice, tips and resources in areas of career development to graduates for life after university.

Realize the promise of a global community with shared ambition for a better world and an exceptional UBC.

Inquire

Dr. Kirsten Wolthers 
Graduate Program Coordinator
250.807.8663
kisrten.wolthers@ubc.ca

Karen Krysko
Graduate Program Assistant
250.807.8769
chemistry.okanagan@ubc.ca

Last reviewed shim9/19/2017 2:00:24 PM