PhD Student FAQ

The UBC calendar states that 16.5 credits are required to complete your PhD program. However SPPH actually requires that you complete 19.5 credits, which consist of the following:

Core Courses

  • SPPH 400 (3 credits) Statistics for Health Research (unless equivalent course approved)
  • SPPH 502 (3 credits) Epidemiological Methods I (unless equivalent course approved)
  • SPPH 500 (3 credits) Analytical Methods in Epidemiological Research
  • SPPH 504 (3 credits) Application of Epidemiological Methods
  • SPPH 607 (1.5 credits) Research in Progress
  • SPPH 621 (3 credits) Approaches to Enquiry in Population and Public Health
  • SPPH 699 (0) PhD thesis

At least one of the following courses:

  • SPPH 503 (3 credits) Epidemiological Methods II
  • SPPH 506 (3 credits) Health Services Research Methods
  • SPPH 519 (3 credits) Qualitative Methods in Health Research Design
  • SPPH 530 (3 credits) Epidemiology of Occupational and Environmental Health

If you completed SPPH 507 during your Master's program, you are not required to repeat SPPH 607. However because SPPH 607 is a required core course for your PhD program, you do have to register for the course. However you don't have to attend the classes. We're currently working on improving this process.

Please contact the instructors of SPPH 400 and SPPH 502 and request the exemption from them. They will ask for a transcript and a course syllabus in order to determine whether or not you can be exempted. They may have you write an equivalency exam. You will also need to contact the Program Manager to advise that you are requesting the exemption. If an exemption is granted by the instructor, we'll contact UBC Grad Studies to arrange this. However you will have to make up the missing credit hours with other courses in order to meet your credit requirement. You will also have to register for the courses, but you'll receive an EX on your transcript (meaning EXEMPT) in place of a grade.

Please read the information on the Grad Studies website here.

If you wish to transfer from your current SPPH MSc program to our PhD program, please notify the Program Manager of your intent. We will ask you to fill out an application form which is similar to the online application that all other PhD applicants must complete.

We will require the following:

1. Completed application form
2. A Letter of Intent where you should describe your career objectives, your research interests and how the PhD program will meet your career goals.
3. 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
4. Three confidential references. Your referees should contact us for information on how to provide their reference letters.
5. A confirmation from your potential faculty supervisor indicating their willingness to serve in this role. Please ask your supervisor to fill out this form and forward it to us.
6. If you are a Permanent Resident of Canada, please include a scan of both sides of your PR card

It’s not necessary to provide transcripts as we will access the transcripts from your Master’s program application.

Your application package will be sent to the Admissions Committee where it will be adjudicated along with all the other PhD applications.

Please note: applications open on December 1 and the deadline to receive all applications and documents is January 15.

No, you're required to take SPPH 621 in the first year of your program. Please defer your elective course until your second year.

No, you're required to take SPPH 607 in the first year of your program. Please defer your elective course until your second year.

Please review the information on the Grad Studies website regarding auditing a course.

Please note that you will be expected to complete all course requirements except the final exam. If you successfully complete the course requirements for an audited course, your academic record will list "AUD" as the final grade. If your performance is not satisfactory, you may be given Fail (F) standing. This mark will count toward your overall average.

You will also have to obtain permission from the course instructor to audit the course. Please forward that permission to the Program Assistant, who will switch you to Audit if you're already registered in the class, or enroll you as an Audit student if you haven't registered for the class and there is a seat available.

If you are transferring from the SPPH MSc program into the SPPH PhD program you are expected to write the Comps exam by the end of your first year in the PhD program

Please read the information on the Grad Studies website concerning Leaves of Absence here and here.

Leaves of absence are granted to MSc students for a total of 12 months.
Leaves of absence are granted to PhD students for a total of 24 months.

If you took a leave of absence during your MSc and you graduated from the MSc program before entering the PhD program, then your leave of absence allowance restarts according to the PhD regulations.

However if you took a leave of absence during your MSc and you transferred into the PhD program, you should discuss the situation with your Supervisor and the Education Manager, as each student’s case is unique. We will correspond with the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to verify your leave allowance.