Frequently Asked Questions

September start (MSc & PhD applicants):

  • Applicants are  not required to have a commitment from a research supervisor before applying. However, applicants should start contacting potential supervisors early. Once the Admissions Committee has deemed that the applicant is admissible, then the applicant must finalize the commitment of a Research Supervisor.
  • Admissible applicants must receive the commitment of a Research Supervisor by JUNE 1ST.

January start (PhD applicants only):

  •  PhD applicants (there is no January intake for MSc students) must receive the commitment of a research supervisor (email proof of commitment from the proposed supervisor to the Medical Genetics Program Assistant) by the application deadline.

  • First class grades
  • Recent upper-level courses in Genetics, Genomics, Genetic Engineering, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biostatistics (statistics). Bioinformatics is optional but strongly recommended.
  • 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

The Rotation Program is offered to the four top-ranked September-start applicants.

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.

September start:

  • The majority of applicants apply and are accepted for the September start. We receive more than 100 applications and 12-14 applicants will be offered admission.

January start:

  • PhD applicants with a previous MSc degree and who meet the prerequisite requirements may apply. MSc applicants apply to the September start only.
  • Generally 0-1 PhD 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 is more challenging.

If your final grades will not be available until after May 15th, you should not apply at this time. There are no exceptions.

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.

  • What is the average length of a completed degree in your 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, post-doctoral fellow and/or other graduate students?
  • What types of projects are students in your lab working on?
  • Do students in your lab work independently or together but on more specific research questions?
  • Would my research be associated with a company or collaborator(s)?

  • Medical Genetics Rotation Program Award:  The four top-ranking September applicants will be offered the opportunity to participate in this Program.  The award is $26,000 for the first year.
  • Students receive a bi-monthly stipend. The stipend is generally not sufficient to cover all 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 after completing their coursework.

Scholarship opportunities for Canadians and Permanent Residents of Canada:

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

Funding specifically for international students:

  • International Tuition Award (ITA) - non-competitive
  • Eligible students may apply for the UBC Affiliated Fellowships - competitive

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 ranked admissible (meet the Program requirements) or declined (do not meet the Program requirements or application is incomplete).

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

STEP 6: Once a supervisor commitment is confirmed, the applicant will receive an offer of admission to 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 evaluating and ranking the applicant.

STEP 2:  Following a conditional 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. Applicants will be registered in their graduate program once the official academic records from the applicant's university are received and validated by UBC.

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