Frequently Asked Questions

  • First class grades
  • Recent upper-level courses in genetics and biochemistry
  • Excellent references
  • Independent research experience
  • Science-related volunteer experience
  • Publications and/or participation in conferences, workshops and professional meetings
  • Thoughtful personal statement demonstrating enthusiasm and motivation for graduate work in Medical Genetics

Top-ranked applicants, as determined by the Medical Genetics Admissions Committee, will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Rotation Program. This program consists of three nine-week laboratory rotations allowing students a chance to work with different potential supervisors.

  • Medical Genetics Rotation Program Award:  Top-ranking September applicants will be offered the opportunity to participate in this Program.  The award is $26,000 for the first year.  The stipend for subsequent years will be no less than $22,000 / year.
  • Bi-monthly stipend. The stipend is generally not sufficient to completely cover the costs of tuition, student fees, living in Vancouver, and additional normal and emergency expenses.
  • Students may apply to work as Teaching Assistants in the Department of Medical Genetics and other UBC departments.

Eligible Canadians and Permanent Residents of Canada may apply for scholarship funding:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Funding specifically for international students:


September start:

  • The majority of applicants apply and are accepted for the September start.  Generally 9-13 students are accepted annually. In most cases, it is recommended that students start in September, particularly MSc students.

January start:

  • Generally 0-3 applicants are accepted for the January start. Students who start in January must take the core courses MEDG 520 and 530 in reverse order which can be more challenging.

Finding a Supervisor

September start:

  • Applicants to both the MSc and PhD programs for the September start are not required to secure the commitment of a research supervisor before submitting an admissions application. However, it is advisable to start the process of contacting potential supervisors early.

January start:

  • Applicants to the PhD program must have received an MSc degree or be completing a MSc program (no direct entry from a BSc). PhD applicants are not required to have the commitment of a supervisor before they apply.
  • However, applicants to the MSc program must have the commitment of a research supervisor before applying.

If your final grades will not be available until after MAY 15th, you should not apply at this time.

Referees should know you well enough to offer detailed examples of how you meet the criteria:

  • academic preparation
  • originality
  • skills at research/in the industry
  • intellectual capacity
  • general ability

Appropriate Referees:

  • Academic (faculty) research supervisors
  • University professors
  • Science-oriented industry employers

Note: Post-doctoral fellows, employers outside of science, and personal physicians and other character references are not suitable referees.

Start by researching potential supervisors who are accepting students (note: some profiles may not be current). Also see the Medical Genetics Faculty Research Summaries.

  • What is the average length of a completed degree in my lab?
  • How many times a week will I meet with my supervisor?
  • What are the expectations of my attendance at the lab?
  • Will I receive training by a lab technician or post-doctoral fellow?
  • What are others in the lab working on?
  • Do we all work independently or do we work together but on more specific research questions?
  • Will my work be associated with a company or collaborator(s)?

Canadian and International Applicants

STEP 1:  Applicants upload copies (PDFs) of supporting documents to their on-line application form.
Current and former University of British Columbia (UBC) students:  You do not need to submit UBC transcripts as part of your graduate application as this data is already available through the student database system. However, you must submit transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions that you have attended (e.g., exchange year, transfer year, etc.).

STEP 2: Applicant’s referees upload their references to the applicant’s on-line application form. The applicant is responsible for sending their referees reminders.

STEP 3:  Medical Genetics Admission Committee reviews applications.

STEP 4: Applicants will be advised if their application is deemed admissible or declined.

STEP 5: Admissible applicants must secure the commitment of a Research Supervisor.

STEP 6: Once a supervisor is confirmed, the applicant will be recommended for admission to the Medical Genetics Graduate Program and will receive an offer of admission from the University of British Columbia.

STEP 7: Admission offers will be finalized once the applicant has provided the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies with one set of all official transcripts (and degree certificates, if applicable).

No. Submitting a GRE test score is optional. However, a GRE score (subject test in Biology) provides beneficial information to the Admissions Committee.

Canadian and International Applicants:

STEP 1:  Applicants scan and upload digital copies (PDFs) of official post-secondary transcripts and degree certificates (if applicable) to their on-line application form. These are used by the Medical Genetics Admissions Committee for the initial evaluation and ranking of each applicant.

Conditional admission offers are made based on documents uploaded to the application system. However, admission offers will not be finalized and applicants will not be allowed to register in a graduate program until one set of all required official academic records are received and validated by the University.

STEP 2:  Following an OFFER of admission, provide UBC (not the Medical Genetics Graduate Program) with one set of official transcripts for every post-secondary institution you have attended for the equivalent of one year or more of full-time study. UBC also requires the applicant to provide official transcripts for study of less than one year duration. Do NOT send official transcripts before receiving an offer of admission.

Official Transcripts and Degree Certificates: To be considered official, academic records must either be received in official university envelopes, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or be sent via secure electronic delivery by the issuing institution.

Send Official Transcripts and Degree Certificates Directly to:
Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
University of British Columbia
6371 Crescent Rd
Vancouver, BC CANADA  V6T 1Z2