Application Process

Finding a supervisor is often the most challenging step when applying to any graduate program. While we encourage you to have a supervisor secured prior to formally applying, you may begin the formal application process (see below) while you continue the search for your supervisor.

Review the list of Active Researchers and their research areas on this website and identify potential supervisors that match your interests. If you have specific questions about your application please contact Graduate Admissions.
It is important that you contact those supervisors who interest you directly as we will not contact the advisors for you. When contacting potential supervisors please include a short explanation for why their research interests you, your current CV, publication list (if applicable), copies of post-secondary transcripts, and your TOEFL or IELTS/GRE scores – merged into one PDF document. It is up to you to set up interviews with them to determine if they are able to take you on as a student. If you have applied to the program and have made multiple attempts to contact potential supervisors, but still require some assistance, please let the Graduate Program Coordinator know.
You can continue on to the formal application process as outlined below upon confirmation of a supervisor, although you can choose to apply before formal acceptance by a supervisor.

The following is required:

  • A formal online application that you can access here. You will need a credit card to pay for the application fee.
  • TWO sets of official sealed and stamped transcripts from EVERY post secondary institution you have attended, translated into English (if applicable).  Upon confirmation of admission you will be prompted by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to mail/courier two (2) sets directly to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for verification of credentials.
  • Three reference letters from three different academic referees. We only accept official letters in sealed and initialed envelopes, either through postal mail; or by upload by the referee along with the online reference form available through the online application tool. Your application will be strengthened by references from senior academic faculty members who can attest to your research experience and potential.
  • An email from your identified Supervisor agreeing to take you on as a student.
If you are an International Student from outside North America we will also require:
  • The writing of the Graduate Record Examination; one of either the General Test OR one of the chemistry, biology, molecular biology or physics Subject Tests. The UBC institution code is 0965 for provision of your official scores. Priority is given to students who place in the top third percentile.
If you graduated from a non-English speaking university we will also require:
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Overall minimum score 100 (internet-based version) with a score of 21-22+ in each component. Please visit TOEFL for information.
    • use the University of British Columbia’s institution code 0965
    • give the reason for taking TOEFL “to enter a college or university as a graduate student”


    • An IELTS test with a minimum overall band score of 7.0, and a minimum score of 6.5 in each component of the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.