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Admission requirements

Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy at the School of Population and Public Health must hold a Masters degree or equivalent in epidemiology, biostatistics, public health, environmental health, occupational hygiene, or other health discipline, or in another field with evidence of research experience relevant to the proposed field of doctoral study, from an accredited university-level institution.

Applicants should have achieved a minimum B+ average in all of their Master’s degree courses, and other requirements as per the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies outlines here (Canadian or US Credentials) or here (International Credentials).

Applicants should have proof of quantitative ability, either through achieving 76% or higher in a mathematics or statistics undergraduate or higher level course, taken within the last 10 years, via the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), taken within the last five years, or a similar standardized test such as GMAT or MCAT, taken within the last two years.

How to apply

Applications for the Doctor of Philosophy open on December 1st and there is only one admission cycle per year, with a September start available. The deadline for receipt of all application materials, including references and transcripts, is January 15th. The Admissions Committee will not consider your application unless all documents have been received by this date.

The application form is available online by clicking here.

  1. The application for admission to a graduate program at the University of British Columbia (completed on-line). The on-line form includes a letter of intent where you should describe your career objectives, your research interests and how the PhD program will meet your career goals. Please upload this to the application form. If, for some reason, you're unable to upload it digitally, you may email it to the program office at
  2. Transcripts All applicants must upload scans of official transcripts (in PDF format) from all colleges and universities attended, including all front and back pages, in the online application system. If the official transcript does not indicate the degree name and the degree conferral date, then official copies of the degree certificate must be uploaded as well.
    Please do not mail us copies of your transcripts.
    Please see the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements concerning International transcripts here.
    Please note that transcripts from evaluation services such as WES will not be accepted.
    Current and former UBC students: You do not need to submit official copies of your UBC transcripts as a part of your graduate application package. However, please be aware that you are still responsible for submitting transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions that you have attended attended (e.g., exchange year, transfer year, etc.).
  3. Three confidential references: You can use this reference form, or a letter from your referee, or both. At least two references should be submitted by former professors. Professional references may be acceptable in the event of unavailability of academic references, however, you should make every effort to obtain referees who can provide an assessment of your potential for success in an academic graduate program. Your referees will be required to submit their reference letters digitally to the application form. In the online application system, you will be asked to provide an email address for each referee. Please note that “generic” email addresses (Hotmail, Gmail, etc) are not allowed. A unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing them to log in and submit their reference letter. Your referees will not receive a notification about uploading their reference letters until you have submitted your application, so please contact them well in advance so they will be aware of your request. If a referee does not have a valid email address, they may send a paper letter to the program office by regular post. Paper letters of reference should be on the referee’s official letterhead and must be mailed directly to the program by the referee in a sealed and endorsed envelope.
  4. An up-to-date curriculum vitae or resume detailing your academic and work history, and noting any relevant research or related experience (in courses, employment, volunteer work), and publications. Please upload this to the application form. If, for some reason, you're unable to upload it digitally, you may email it to the program office at
  5. Proof of quantitative ability via a mark of 76% or higher in a mathematics or statistics course at the undergraduate or higher level, OR via the Graduate Record Exam or a similar standardized test (GMAT, MCAT) written within the past five years.Please note for the GRE, we require a minimum of 153 on both the verbal and the quantitative components.The UBC institution code is R0965, and the department code 0616.
  6. Proof of competency in English: TOEFL or IELTS is required of all applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction. The test must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application. You may upload your copy of your test report or self-report the scores. These scores are considered unofficial until the official scores are received by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC directly from the testing agency. Acceptable English language tests and submission of these results are detailed onlineThe minimum TOEFL score is 100 and the minimum IELTS score is 7.0 (no component score lower than 6.5). If you received a degree from a university where the language of instruction is English you DO NOT require a TOEFL or IELTS score. You can prove this by having your official transcript indicate that the primary language of instruction was in English or having the institution send an official letter stating that the primary instruction was in English.
  7. Non-refundable application fee payable by credit card at the time of application.
  8. A confirmation from your potential faculty supervisor indicating their willingness to serve in this role. Please ensure this form is completed and sent directly to the PhD Program Office via email or hard copy (please see the information below regarding contacting a potential supervisor).
  9. Permanent residents of Canada must upload a scan of both sides of their Permanent Resident Card as part of their online application.

Contacting a Potential Supervisor
The best way to find a potential supervisor is to study the individual biographies and research interests of our faculty members here:

(Click on the faculty member’s name to see their biography, etc).

You can also try the suggestions on this page, though the list is by no means comprehensive:

Send a professional email to the faculty member, introducing yourself and your research work in the same way that you would write a formal letter applying for a job. Address your message to the individual faculty member. DO NOT send a blanket email to every faculty member in the school. Take the time to find out who shares your research interests and approach only those individuals.

Tell your potential supervisor about yourself and your research, and why you think this individual would be the best person to supervise your research if you were a successful applicant to the program. If you have publications or you’ve won awards, please mention these as well. You may attach a CV to your email, but please don’t attach anything else. If the faculty member is interested in discussing supervision with you further, they will be in touch. If you do not receive a response after a reasonable amount of time, you may send a gentle reminder. But if you still don’t receive a response, it likely means that individual is not able to take on any more students at the moment, or your research focus does not align itself closely enough to that person’s current research.

After Application

You can check your application status through your online checklist, which can be viewed once you have submitted your online application. This is updated when official documents are received and reviewed, on a daily basis.

Please check your application status online first before emailing the Program Office.

Successful applicants will be notified in February or March.

We wish you all the best with your application!