This page is intended for students interested in undertaking graduate studies in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at UBC. It will provide information about admissions and applications. Currently enrolled students should see our current students page. For a listing of labs currently seeking graduate students, see the current opportunities page.

The Neuroscience Program

The University of British Columbia offers a coordinated program of graduate studies leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Neuroscience. The objectives of the Program are to educate graduate students as neuroscientists with intensive experience in at least one area of research, and to ensure that students in the Program develop a broadly based knowledge of the neurosciences. The Program aims for flexibility so that the individual needs and background of each student can, as quickly as possible, be accommodated. The core program of courses offered to entering students consists of Neuroanatomy, Neurophysiology, Neurochemistry, Psychobiology, Molecular Neurobiology, and Neuropharmacology. Additional related courses are available for selection by the student and his/her Supervisory Committee. The Program is research oriented: students are expected to engage in research from the start of their studies. Research is undertaken in individual departments, over a wide range of basic and clinical Neuroscience topics.

The Graduate Program in Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary program of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. It is administered by the Chairman of the Neuroscience Advisory Committee, and comprises some 60 faculty members representing 13 departments from the Faculties of Medicine, Science and Arts at the University of British Columbia. Laboratory and teaching areas are located across the UBC campus and at the University Hospital and the Vancouver Hospital, according to the teaching and research affiliations of the Neuroscience faculty members.

Which degree is right for me?

Choosing the right degree is a difficult process. Students applying to graduate school often ask if they should apply for a Master's or PhD program. Here is the full article from Dr. Laura E. Buffardi from Psyschology Today.. Please note that these recommendations do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience.

Course of Study

M.Sc. Program

A Master's student must spend at least one year, and will normally spend two years, in full-time study at the University. In the first year, the student takes the required course work and begins research under the Supervisor's direction. The student's Supervisory Committee gives ongoing advice and guidance, and may recommend further course work. By the start of the second year, a provisional thesis research proposal should be approved by the Supervisory Committee, while the student continues research for the thesis. Following submission of the written thesis and a successful oral defense, the student is eligible for graduation.

Transferring from the MSc to the PhD Program

Transfer to the Ph.D. program may be permitted after one year of study in a Master's program with 12 credits with marks of 80% or higher, of which normally at least 9 credits must be at the 500 level or above and at least 9 credits must be of First Class standing, and clear evidence of research ability. In order to transfer into the PhD program, students must establish a committee (generally includes the Supervisor, Chair and 1 Ė 2 additional members), and committee members are responsible for approving the transfer. The decision is generally made following the first committee. Note: transfer directly into a Doctoral program is not normally permitted beyond the first year of study and will not be permitted after the completion of the second year in a Master's program.

PhD Program

A Ph.D. student admitted with a Bachelor's degree normally will spend a minimum of four years in full-time status at the University. During the first year the student will normally complete the required course work (see below) and begin research in his/her Supervisor's laboratory. The student's Supervisory Committee gives ongoing advice and guidance, and may recommend further course work. In the second year the student will meet his/her Examining Committee and begin to prepare for his/her Comprehensive Examination, while at the same time continuing research work. A student normally will be Admitted to Candidacy when he or she has completed the residency period, completed all required course work, and passed the Comprehensive Examination, which includes approval of the thesis Research Proposal. Once the thesis has been approved by the Supervisory Committee and the External Examiner, the student presents his/her oral Defence before the University Examiners and the academic community.

A detailed description of the programs is available on the Current Student page, here.

Sites of Research


Last updated: March, 2017.


Program Overview

The Neuroscience program is administered by the Neuroscience Advisory Committee which is responsible to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The Neuroscience program is flexible and is intended to accommodate the diverse background of students wishing to enter it, and also takes into account the broad nature of neuroscience research. The program accepts applicants with undergraduate majors in a variety of disciplines including but not restricted to biology, biochemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics, neurosciences, pharmacology, physics, physiology, psychology, and zoology. Applicants who are not graduates of a Canadian or American university are required to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE); students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Graduates with a professional degree (M.D., D.M.D., D.V.M.) may also be accepted into the program.,204,828,1403

PhD Program

Applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) must have completed one of the following requirements prior to admission:
1.†††† a Master's degree (or equivalent) from an approved institution with clear evidence of research ability or potential
2.†††† A bachelor's degree with one year of study in a master's program with 9 credits at the 500-level or above and of first class standing. Students entering the doctoral program after partial completion of the masterís degree must, during the first two years of study at the graduate level, complete a total of 12 credits with a first-class average (of which at least 9 credits must be at the 500-level or above and at least 9 credits must be of first-class standing) to maintain registration as a doctoral student. Also, there must be clear evidence of research ability or potential
Transfer directly into a doctoral program is normally accomplished after completion of the first year of study at the master's level and will not be permitted after completion of the second year.
3.†††† In exceptional cases, applicants who hold a bachelor's degree with an overall average in the A grade range and who demonstrate advanced research ability may be granted direct admission to a doctoral degree program on recommendation of the admitting graduate program and approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Students entering directly from a bachelor's degree must, during the first two years of study, complete a total of 12 credits with a first class average, of which at least 9 credits must be at the 500-level or above and at least 9 credits must be of first class standing, to maintain registration as a doctoral student.

Additional Requirements for Students with a Credentials from International Institutions.

MSc Program

Students with a Bachelor's Degree from a Canadian or American Institution:
Applicants for a master's degree program must hold the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree from UBC with one of the following:

  • A minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC) in third- and fourth-year level courses.
  • Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year level courses in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) in the field of study.

Additional Requirements for Students with a Credentials from International Institutions.

Apply online

Application to the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at UBC is done through the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. Please click on the "APPLY NOW" link and follow the instructions to complete your application.

For questions regarding application, there is an FAQ on the graduate studies website. For more information regarding applying to UBC for Graduate Studies, you can email

Submitted applications goes to the office of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience. The Neuroscience Admission committee will determine which applicants to accept, and then accepted applications are forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for final approval and subsequent notification of admission is done by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Application Deadlines

Application for admissions are open for the Fall session beginning September only. We do not have January or May admissions.


  • No credit/debit card; using alternate payments? Contact:
  • Unable to submit online application (Credit card entered in incorrect format and unable to reset)? Contact:
  • Campus wide login (CWL) issues
  • Change of status from Study Permit/Student Visa to Permanent Resident status: Please log on to My Applications to upload the document
  • Reference letters: Letters from graduate students, postdocs, and family friends are not acceptable. Note: e-mail addresses from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, MSN or other free e-mail accounts for referees are not accepted by the online system. Email or email attachment from references are also not acceptable.
  • Paper letters of reference or forms
  • Check status of application, transcripts, reference received: Log in to My Applications to check the status of your application and provide any new information or updated documentation required and deadline for submission of documents.

Admission Requirements:
Please see under Eligibility above

Language Requirements for International students

The language requirement applies to applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction.

Acceptable Tests: Neuroscience Program


Electronic test scores for TOEFL or IELTS are preferred. Official test scores must be ordered from the test centre and sent to UBC directly. Test scores are valid for two years from the date of the examination.

University code: 0965
Department code: 99

Neuroscience TOEFL requirement: 100 (600 paper-based, or 250 computer-based, or 100 internet-based)
Reading: 22 / Writing: 21 / Listening: 22 / Speaking: 21

Name of Institution: The University of British Columbia
Name of person: Graduate School Admissions
Address: 170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver V6T 1Z2, Canada

Neuroscience IELTS requirement: 7.0
Reading: 6.5 / Writing: 6.5 / Listening: 6.5 / Speaking: 6.5

Please note that this requirement is slightly higher than the requirement from Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

University code: 0965
Department code: 0213

Applicants from outside North America are required to take the Official General GRE test. Yes, students with International credentials need to take the GRE. We donít have a minimum score, but we use the score to help adjudicate the overall application.,204,345,0

Acceptance into the Graduate Program in Neuroscience is dependent on:
a) Meeting the general entrance requirements of the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, Canada/US or International, along with Neuroscience Program requirements (please see above under Application),
b) Acceptance by the Neuroscience Admissions Committee, and
c) Secured supervisor and funding

Graduate Student Life

Housing and Accommodations

On Campus

Students and faculty have a couple of options for housing when they arrive. One important fact to note is Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities to live in North America. For this reason the University offers on campus subsidized housing for faculty, post-doctoral fellows and students.

Faculty are eligible to apply for†The University Apartments†which range from one- to three- bedroom apartments. However, because of the large demand, the lease agreements are limited to a three year stay. Students and post-doctorates with or without families have a variety of different types of†on-campus housing†to choose from. There are dorm rooms, shared apartments, individual apartments, private studios and townhouses.

One drawback to living on campus is the distance between UBC and downtown Vancouver. Downtown and the rest of Vancouver is a good bus-ride away from UBC. Still, many people prefer to live on campus for convenience, cost and the added benefit of being close to a beach and the large cedar forest which borders UBC. For this reason there are many waiting lists so it is important to apply as soon as possible for housing.

Off Campus

Housing is not hard to locate but†acceptable†ones at a reasonable price can be hard to locate, particularly in the weeks before academic school terms start. For anyone who is considering buying a house or apartment which has been constructed in the last twenty to twenty-five years it is absolutely necessary they do extensive research into its construction as there was a rash of very poorly built and leaking buildings raised.

For those who are planning to rent the most common type of accommodations are basement apartments. In most cases a family has decided to renovate their basement as an alternative source of money. The amount of renovation varies greatly so it is imperative to check them out first to determine if they have basic necessities (i.e. stove, bathroom etc.) and that they do not leak.

There are many advantages to living closer to the city and its centre, i.e in Kitsilano if you want to live close to waterfront. Vancouver's urban districts differ from each other a lot it terms of price and quality of the residential environment.

When hesitating to rent a basement place, joining a shared place may be a cost and time effective housing option that typically includes access to a fully equipped kitchen, a living room, and sometimes a garden. Sharing places may be particularly interesting for those who are moving to Vancouver from overseas with minimal luggage and perhaps some shortness of financial funds at beginning. You also may consider renting a full house to share with class mates and friends.

One good place to start looking for apartments and houses to rent is certainly the local newspaper. Increasingly popular however are the webpages of AMS†or†Craigslist†that both list different types of housing for rent. In addition, AMS has also set up a very useful phone line (604.714.4848). If on campus find in the†Student Union Building the noticeboard in basement that is dedicated to accommodations.

More detailed and useful information can be found at the website of†UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

UBC Vancouver Campus & Vancouver

Becoming a graduate student will require you to adjust your life style. It will be important to develop a healthy study-life balance, as being a graduate student is not only about academics. Research and studying will be a major part of your daily routine, but sport and recreation should not be neglected. The official UBC website has great tips on how to adjust to a graduate student's life.

The University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus is located at the western tip of the Point Grey Peninsula, close to the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.The University Endowment Lands community (also known as University Hill) is situated adjacent to the campus to the east, while 763 hectares of forested parkland known as Pacific Spirit Regional Park serves as a "green belt" between Vancouver and the campus. The ocean (and wreck beach!) hugs the western edge of campus.

Watch the lipdub video below of UBC students showcasing their pride in the university.

Vancouver is situated along the Pacific coast of Canada wedged between the Rocky Mountains and the ocean. It has much to offer to the outdoor enthusiast with spectacular hiking trails, beautiful beaches and picturesque bike routes. Just outside of Vancouver, a short drive away, is some of the best†rock climbing, hiking†and†skiing†in the world. With its temperate climate, Vancouver itself rarely sees snow but the mountains have an abundant supply for skiing which lasts until May and June. Instead of winter snow Vancouver gets rain, a tremendous amount of rain. However, in the summer months Vancouver dries out and enjoys beautiful weather with the temperature usually in the low twenties.

Vancouverites appreciate a very laid back lifestyle. In addition to the outdoor activities there are many cultural and sporting events to attend. Vancouver has professional†basketball, hockey†and football†teams. It is also the site of year-round golfing and Indycar racing in the late summer. Vancouver has strong arts backing which guarantees a wide variety of theatre, opera, dancing and music. During the summer months Vancouverites have their choice of music festivals to visit in addition to The Symphony of Fire, an international fireworks competition.

Vancouver is home to many spectacular sites. One of the most famous is Stanley Park, a 1000 acre fir and cedar park with beaches that is just blocks from downtown.†Grouse Mountain, which overlooks Vancouver, is another favourite destination because of its great hiking trails and beautiful view of the city. For those not up to hiking up and down the mountain there is a gondola with a cafeteria and restaurant at the top for rest and appreciation of the view. Vancouver has various museums and galleries to enjoy but most notable is the†Museum of Anthropology. This museum displays the fascinating and intricate artwork of the Pacific Northwest Fist Nations (ex. totem poles, masks, jewellery etc.) plus aboriginal artwork from around the world. One other popular destination is†Granville Island†which offers a variety of restaurants, boutiques and boating opportunities. It is most visited for its public market which has lush and extensive fresh produce, meat and seafood.


Last updated: Aug, 2015

Research Masterís Degree Program

Every student enrolled in a master's program is required to maintain continuous registration by paying tuition installments according to Schedules A or B, plus authorized student fees. Failure to pay fees will result in a financial hold and an interest penalty.

All graduate students are automatically assessed fees according to Schedule A. Students who are planning on taking a master's degree through part-time study (Schedule B) must obtain approval from their Graduate Program Advisor and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies prior to the beginning of the term in which fees are first assessed. To do so, please complete the "Application for Part-time Payment" form.

Only students planning to take their degree through part-time study are permitted to select Schedule B. Students who select Schedule B are advised that, by virtue of their part-time status, they are ineligible to receive government loans, interest-free status, and University fellowships or scholarships. Students are not permitted to switch from Schedule B to Schedule A after the due date of the first installment.

Students who have paid more than the minimum installments for the degree will have their tuition fees prorated to the end of the month in which the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies confirms that all degree requirements have been completed. This includes the submission of either their major paper or final project to their department or their thesis to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office.

For up to date tuition fees, refer to the graduate studies website.

Research Doctoral Degree Program

Every student enrolled in a doctoral program is required to maintain continuous registration by paying tuition installments, plus authorized student fees according to the appropriate tuition fee schedule.

All students are "full-time" for the assessment of tuition and authorized student fees. Authorized student fees apply to all doctoral programs regardless of credit load or place of residence.

Students who have paid more than the minimum for the degree (the first six (6) installments) will have their tuition fees prorated to the end of the month in which the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies confirms that all degree requirements have been completed. This includes the submission of their dissertation to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Student fees are not prorated.

For up to date tuition fees, refer to the graduate studies website.

Student Fees

Student fees include fees authorized by student referendum, the UBC Board of Governors, the AMS, and other student societies and organizations. They are collected by the University at the request of the organization. Student fees are due annually, and charged to all students. Fees are calculated according to full-time or part-time status, session, and study level. Refer to the UBC calendar for up to date student fees.

Graduate Student Society (GSS) Fees

As a graduate student at the University of British Columbia, you are automatically a member of the Graduate student society. Refer to the UBC Calendar for up to date GSS fees.