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 international applicants must receive the commitment of a Research Supervisor by JUNE 1ST. 
  • Admissible Canadian and USA applicants must receive the commitment of a Research Supervisor by JULY 1ST.

January start (PhD applicants only):

  • The Medical Genetics Graduate Program Office will open January applications only by request to PhD applicants who meet grade point average (GPA) and TOEFL/IELTS (if applicable) requirements and who have received a written commitment from a Medical Genetics Research Supervisor at the time of application.

  • First class grades
  • Advanced-level courses in Genetics and/or Genomics (mandatory requirement)
  • Advanced-level courses in one or more of the following (strongly recommended): Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Biostatistics (statistics), and Bioinformatics (i.e.MICB 405 or equivalent course)
  • Relevant, independent, multi-month (wet or dry) laboratory research experience
  • Excellent, detailed reference letters with assessment of applicant's research expertise and aptitude by direct research supervisors, not just from course instructors
  • Often have won awards and/or published journal articles and/or presented posters or platform presentations and/or attended professional meetings and/or volunteered for science-related events (outreach, etc.)
  • Thoughtful personal statement (letter of interest) demonstrating enthusiasm and motivation for graduate work in Medical Genetics
  • Science-related volunteer experience

The Rotation Program is offered to the four top-ranked September-start applicants (Canadians, Permanent Residents of Canada, and International). The Rotation Program consists of three nine-week laboratory rotations allowing students a chance to work with different potential supervisors. There is no separate application for this opportunity. The top-ranked applicants will be offered Rotation Program Awards in February / March.

September start:

  • The majority of applicants apply and are accepted for the September start. We receive more than 100 applications for this intake 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 Canadian, PR and international applicants will be offered the opportunity to participate in the Rotation Program.  The award is $18,200 for the first year. MSc student’s supervisor tops up award by $10,800. The total student stipend is $29,000. The PhD supervisor tops-up award by $12,800. the total student stipend is $31,000.

General Financial Support:

  • MSc and PhD students accepted to the Medical Genetics Graduate Program receive from their supervisors 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 MSc and PhD Canadians and Permanent Residents of Canada (PRs):

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

Funding for MSc and PhD International Students:

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

Funding for Canadian, PRs and international PhD Students:

  • President's Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award (PAEI) - non-competitive / automatically assigned

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

No, your application will not be reviewed, and therefore be rejected if your OVERALL AND COMPONENT test scores are below the required Medical Genetics minimum scores. There will be no exceptions. Please check the English Language Requirements webpage for further details.