Frequently Asked Questions

What is Experimental Pathology?

Experimental Pathology refers to research in any area of biomedical investigation that is relevant to human disease. Since it is necessary to understand the normal workings of a system to fully define the changes associated with disease, the areas represented at the University of British Columbia cover a wide range of fields and approaches. Work at all levels of biological organization is involved, from protein and lipoproetins biochemistry and molecular biology through cell and tumour biology, animal models for studies on pulmonary and cardiovascular pathophysiology and viral and bacterial infection processes, to clinical studies on human populations and the AIDS epidemic. Projects suitable for graduate research are active in all these areas.

Where is the research done?


    Faculty members of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have research spaces and facilities at the following locations where students are engaged in research:

  • UBC Campus in the Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre
  • UBC Biomedical Research CentreResearch Institute for Women’s and Children’s Health
  • St. Paul’s Hospital
  • Vancouver Hospital Health Sciences Centre – Oak Street Site
  • Jack Bell Research Centre
  • BC Cancer Research Centre
  • Terry Fox Laboratories
  • BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Eye Care Centre
  • Life Sciences Centre

What are the application deadlines?

Please note that the online application system only permits the department to list one set of application deadlines. Although these earlier deadlines apply to international applicants, domestic applicants looking for a supervisor should apply early.

For admission deadlines on both domestic and international applicants, please visit Admissions in the Pathology website.

Where should I submit my application and documents?

Please submit your application and required documents to:
Graduate Program Assistant
UBC Pathology Education Centre, Vancouver General Hospital
Room 3200, 910 West 10th Avenue (Jim Pattison Pavilion North)
Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 1M9

Which program am I eligible to apply for?
You are eligible to apply for the PhD degree if you have completed an MSc degree in a related discipline.

You are eligible to apply for the MSc degree if you have completed a bachelor degree in a related discipline with upper second class standing (76% at UBC or 3.3 on a 4 point scale), MD, MBBS or their equivalents. However, an applicant with straight A’s for the four years of their undergraduate program will be eligible to apply for admission directly into the PhD program.

All students registered in the MSc program are eligible to transfer directly to the PhD program at the end of the first year. To do so, they must have completed one year of study in the Masters program with 12 credits of First Class average, of which at least 9 credits must be at the 500 levels or above and at least 9 of these credits be of First Class standing (UBC Calenar requirment). The student must demonstrate research ability as evidenced by progress on the research project. After review by the thesis supervisor and the supervisory committee, the transfer application must be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Advisor.

How many students get accepted each year?
On average, 20 to 25 students are accepted into the programs, with peak enrollment in September.

What happens if I am considered acceptable but have not found a supervisor before the admission deadline?
You have an option of postponing your admission to the next admission date. Please note that the annual application period runs from May to January. If you plan to postpone your admission to the next application period, you may be required to submit a new application and fee to the department.

If my GPA does not meet the minimum admission requirement set by UBC, what should I do?
Applicants are encouraged to complete an unclassified year of study to improve their GPA before reapplying for admission. In general, Graduate Studies look for 18-21 credits of senior level course work (300 and 400 level) with an overall grade of 76% or better.

Can credits taken as an unclassified student be counted towards the program?
Courses taken as an unclassified (or non-degree) student may be approved for transfer toward a graduate program with permission of the Department and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Consistent with standard transfer credit regulations, students are limited to transferring a maximum of 12 credits or up to 40% of the program credit requirements, whichever is more, toward their Master’s program. No more than six credits of transfer credit may be at the undergraduate level (300-400). To be eligible for transfer, a minimum “B” (UBC 74%) standing must have been achieved and the courses must not have been counted toward the completion of another degree or program.

Where do I pay for tuition?
Information on tuition payments is available at the Registrar’s Office in 2016 Brock Hall at the UBC Campus and on the website at

What is the length of the MSc and PhD programs?
The average time for an MSc student to complete his/her program is 2 – 3 years. The length of the program is a maximum of 5 years.
The average time for a PhD student to complete his/her program is 4 – 5 years. The length of the program is a maximum of 6 years.

Where will I find accommodation?
Click here for information about on-campus and off-campus housing. Off Campus housing can also be found in newspaper adds or community newsletters.

What courses should I take during my first year?

Students registered in the MSc program must complete a total of 30 credits, 18 of which must be the thesis.

Required Courses:
Path 501 – Foundations of Human Histopathology
Path 502 – Current Topics in Pathology Research
Path 535 – Graduate Student Seminar

Other courses to complete the 12 credit requirement and/or to provide appropriate background for the student’s research should be selected by the supervisor and student, in consultation with the student’s Supervisory Committee or the Graduate Advisor if necessary.

Students registered in the PhD program are required to take:
Path 501 – Foundations of Human Histopathology
Path 502 – Current Topics in Pathology Research
Path 635 – Graduate Student Seminar.

Other courses may be required by the student’s Supervisory Committee in consultation with the student and supervisor.

How do I register for courses?
Students can register through the Student Service Center at Please contact the graduate secretary for courses that are blocked from registration.

What is a failing grade?
For Master’s students, a minimum of 60% must be obtained in any course taken by a student enrolled in a master’s program for the student to be granted Pass Standing. However, only six credits of Pass standing may be counted towards a master’s program. For all other courses, a minimum of 68% must be obtained. A student who obtains a grade of less than 68% in an excessive number of courses will normally be required to withdraw. The student will be informed of unsatisfactory academic progress in writing before any action regarding withdrawal is taken.

On the recommendation of the department and the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the student may repeat a course for higher standing or take an alternate course.

For Doctoral students, where a grade of less than 68% (B-) is obtained in a course, the department must submit approval from the Dean for the student to repeat the course for higher standing or take an alternate course. A student who obtains a grade of less than 68% (B-) in more than one course will normally be required to withdraw. The student will be informed of unsatisfactory academic progress in writing before any action regarding withdrawal is taken.

How are students supported?
All students accepted into graduate studies in Pathology receive a minimum the level of support defined by the CIHR for trainees supported off CIHR grants. Please see section on Tuition Fees and Stipend or contact the program assistant. The funds are derived from studentships from external agencies, University Graduate Fellowships, Canadian Graduate Scholarships, or stipends from research grants. As there are no teaching requirements, the students are expected to spend his or her full time on research once course work and the comprehensive examination (PhD only) have been completed.

Where can I get more information?
Graduate Studies website:
Awards and Financial Aid:
Calendar and registration:
UBC Library:
On-Campus and Off-Campus Student Housing:
AMS/GSS Health & Dental Plan:
UBC Career Services: http:
Student VISA and Work Permits:
Tax Credits: