Graduates

The Department offers graduate degree programs at both Doctoral and Master’s level. Graduate students are an active and engaged part of the UBC Botany department. In the Department of Botany, we are looking to admit graduate students who are passionate about learning and exploring the plant, algal, fungal and protist sciences. We are committed to the continued development of our diverse and collegial community of people, ideas, and approaches through our missions of research, education, and public outreach. 

Prospective Students

Program Information
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Graduate Programs

The Department offers graduate programs leading both to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. The Department has strong collaborative ties, both teaching and research, with other departments on campus, including Zoology, Agricultural Sciences Agroecolgy, Forestry, Chemistry, Biodiversity Research Centre, Microbiology, Biotechnology Laboratory, Earth & Ocean Sciences, and Geography.

MSc degree The M.Sc. degree is usually a student’s first serious exercise in research and prepares the student for a research or a teaching career. In this programme the student is expected to carry out a research project, generally chosen and designed by the research supervisor. The project should not be open-ended, should have sharply defined goals, and should be of limited duration (2-3 years) and designed to give research experience towards solving a problem. (For full regulations, go to graduate regulations)

PhD degree The Ph.D. programme prepares the student for a career as an independent researcher or teacher. In this programme the student is expected to design and execute, in consultation with the supervisory committee, a major piece of original work that will significantly advance understanding in the field. In this the supervisor defines the general research area and also acts as an advisor. (For full regulations, go to graduate regulations)

How to Apply
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The Department of Botany will evaluate applicants using holistic review, which is an evidence-based approach to identify people who are likely to be successful in a research-based degree, regardless of what research opportunities may have been available to them prior to their application.

In the Department of Botany, we are looking to admit graduate students who are passionate about learning and exploring the plant, algal, fungal and protist sciences. We are committed to the continued development of our diverse and collegial community of people, ideas, and approaches through our missions of research, education, and public outreach. The Department of Botany will evaluate applicants using holistic review, which is an evidence-based approach to identify people who are likely to be successful in a research-based degree, regardless of what research opportunities may have been available to them prior to their application.


Admission

There are 5 stages to admission to the Botany Graduate Program: 
1. Meet minimum academic requirements
2. Find and contact potential supervisor(s) 
3. Complete the UBC online application 
4. Review by the Botany Graduate Admissions Committee 
5. Acceptance by a supervisor

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies sets the minimum requirements for admission to any graduate program at UBC. Given that a student meets these minimum requirements, then the biggest hurdle to acceptance is finding an appropriate supervisor.

How to Find a Supervisor

Check the potential supervisors list for supervisors in Botany, then contact the faculty member(s) in whose work you are interested by e-mail and discuss your prospects. Please note that students who do not make contact with potential supervisors are rarely accepted.

Submitting the Application

1. Complete the UBC online application form for the Botany program and pay application fee.

2. Ensure that we have received three letters of reference. It is recommended that referees upload their letter to the online application system.

The online application will include the following documents (in .pdf format):

  • Curriculum vitae or Resume
  • Scanned copies of official transcripts (including grading scale keys) for all post-secondary institutions attended or currently attending. If the transcripts are in a language other than English, please upload a certified literal English translation of the transcripts. If application receives departmental approval, applicants will be required to submit official transcripts to UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. 

3. Most international students must submit original TOEFL or IELTS test scores to UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Application Deadlines

For September entry, applications must be received in the Botany Department by February 1st. Most graduate students start their programs in September, however January admissions are also possible. For January entry, applications must be received in the Botany Department by July 1st. Late applications may be considered; please check with the Botany graduate program coordinator.

Applying early is encouraged. Once application is complete, Botany Graduate Admissions Committee will review the file. Students with strong academic credentials should apply by December 31st to be considered for scholarships. 

Botany financial support information for students can be found HERE.

For further information contact the Botany Graduate Program Coordinator:

Botany Graduate Program 
Department of Botany 
University of British Columbia 
6270 University Boulevard 
Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6T 1Z4 
Telephone: (604) 822-2133 
e-mail: alice.liou@botany.ubc.ca

Newly Admitted Students

Life in Vancouver
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The International Student Office has published a useful guide for international students. Find answers to your questions on studying and working in Canada, health insurance, as well as step-by-step tutorials to prepare your immigration application and more.

View the International Student Guide here.

See also their Pre-Travel Guide.

On-campus housing

UBC Housing offers a wide range of on-campus housing for both single students and families.
Green College 
St. John’s College
• Acadia Park Student Family Housing 
Brock Common
Exchange 
Fraser Hall
• Iona House 
Marine Drive
• Ponderosa Commons
• tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ 
Fairview Crescent
• Thunderbird Residence

See also UBC Housing Essential Application Facts.

Off Campus Housing:

UBC campus is easy to get to by bike, car, or public transportation. Many graduate students live off campus in a variety of neighborhoods. 

Visit also UBC Living Off Campus.

For more information on Housing, visit G+PS Accommodation/Housing.

UBC set-up
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Campus-Wide Login (CWL) 
The Campus Wide Login (CWL) system provides access to many of the University’s online systems, such as the Student Service Centre, Canvas, UBC Library, and more.

Once accepted as a graduate student, you are prompted to create a CWL account.

CWL: it.ubc.ca/services/accounts-passwords/campus-wide-login-cwl

UBC Card
The UBC Card is your student identification card as well as your UBC library card. Showing this card at various locations may also allow discounts on purchases. Students may obtain either a physical or digital card. Make sure to obtain a physical card as it is required to access meal plans, e-commerce purchases, or be used to access buildings or facilities.
UBC Card: ubccard.ubc.ca/ 

U-Pass / Compass Card
UBC has a special arrangement with Translink that allows UBC students to hold a bus pass at a discounted rate. All students pay for the U-Pass as part of their student fees so take advantage of this multi-zone bus pass. In order to use the U-Pass, students must first purchase an adult-class Compass Card and link it to the U-Pass account online monthly. When using your U-Pass to take public transit, ensure that a valid UBC card is carried with you. 

U-Pass / Compass Card: https://planning.ubc.ca/transportation/transit/u-pass-compass-card 

Wireless Internet Access
To get access to Wifi on campus, visit UBC IT website at 
it.ubc.ca/services/email-voice-internet/wireless-internet-access

Keys 
To obtain keys, email Isabel Ferens, and cc your supervisor to approve this request. We will request the keys on-line. You will receive an email from the Key Desk telling you when to collect your keys. Parking and Access Control Services is located in the UBC Bookstore, 6200 Univ. Blvd. There is a $20 key deposit required and you will need to show picture ID. The deposit will be refunded when the key is returned to Parking and Access Control Services.

Mail
Mailroom is located in BioSci 3158.

Getting a FASmail Account
FASmail is an enterprise email service for staff, faculty, and student employees of UBC, accessible via the Outlook Web application (https://www.mail.ubc.ca) and through many standards-based desktop email applications.

To request a FASmail account, send your CWL account username to helpdesk@botany.ubc.ca. Make sure to NOT send your CWL password. It’s best to also include your supervisor’s name when emailing. Note that students should be on UBC payroll, in order to request for an account.

Ordering lab supplies and equipment
Please consult with your supervisor when ordering supplies and equipment.

Mandatory Training for All UBC Workers
Anyone working in a laboratory setting must have the following courses completed prior to beginning to do work in the lab:

1) New Worker Safety Orientation
2) Preventing and Addressing Workplace Bullying and Harassment Training
3) Workplace Violence Prevention Training
4) Privacy & Information Security Fundamentals, Part 1 & 2

Consult with your PI regarding which courses to take: What training is required for working in a lab?

Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee- (JOHSC)

Learn more about JOHSC in the following link: (UBC Risk Management) safetycommittees.ubc.ca/johsc/

Paycheques 
Botany financial support information for students can be found at: botany.ubc.ca/graduates/financial-support-info

Students who receive Graduate Research Assistantship stipend and/or Graduate Teaching Assistantship pay will get paid twice a month, on the 15th and at the end of the month (or the closest business day before that date) via Workday payroll system. Thus, if students receive $2000 pay per month, they would receive 2 payments of $1,000. Note that before students start their studies, Graduate Program Coordinator will email them regarding setting up their payroll appointments.

Students who receive scholarship funding that are handled by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will receive payment just before or a little after the term starts. Thus, if a student has a scholarship of $12,000 (1-year funding), the student will receive $4,000 per term for 3 terms. Term dates are Term 1: September 1 to December 31, Term 2: January 1 to April 30, and Summer Term: May 1 to August 31.

Please ensure that you have set up the banking direct deposit via your Workday and Student Service Centre (SSC) accounts.

Make sure to check with the Graduate Program Coordinator first if you have any questions about your Graduate Research Assistantship stipend, TA pay, or scholarship funding, as she will most likely be able to answer the question(s) or direct you to the right person to contact.

Financial Support
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All students admitted to the Botany Graduate Program are guaranteed a minimum level of financial support. Graduate student stipends are derived from a combination of Teaching Assistantships (TA), Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA), and scholarships. MSc students are supported for a minimum of 2 years and PhD students are supported for a minimum of 4 years. Please see chart below: 

BOTANY GRAD STUDENT FUNDING 2023-2024


Ph.D. Canadian
Take HomeTuition and FeesTotal Stipend
Years 1-427,7731,32029,093
Years 5 and up27,7733,74231,515
Ph.D. InternationalYears 1-427,7731,32029,093
Years 5 and up27,7737,43435,207

M.Sc. Canadian
Take HomeTuition and FeesTotal Stipend
Years 1-224,4716,62231,092
Years 3 and up24,4873,74228,229
M.Sc. InternationalYears 1-224,4827,43431,916
Years 3 and up24,4827,43431,916

Note:

  • All financial support is subject to satisfactory performance and annual review
  • PhD students receive tuition waiver for first 4 years of PhD studies
  • Students are advised to discuss their funding with their supervisor
    • when they approach their 5th year in the PhD program
    • when they approach their 3rd year in the MSc program

During a graduate career in the Botany Department, most students have occasion to apply for scholarships and other sources of funding. Competition for these limited funds is intense and various criteria contribute to your overall ability to win these awards. The most important criteria are (i) academic excellence (based on grades and letters of reference) and (ii) research ability or potential (this means primary research articles published in good national or international journals, presentations at conferences etc.). The other criteria include (iii) your oral and written communication ability, and (iv) interpersonal and leadership abilities.

TAs & Research Assistants
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Teaching Assistantships (TA) / Research Assistantships (RA)

Students admitted to Graduate Studies in Botany who do not have a scholarship or fellowship are normally supported financially, subject to maintaining satisfactory academic standing and/or progress in research, by a graduate teaching assistantship plus a graduate research assistantship. In 2023-2024, a full TA stipend is $14,410.32 for GTA II TAs and $14,971.20 for GTA I TAs. 

The UBC Biology Website has more information on the TA program.

The balance of a student’s stipend is generally made up as a Research Assistantship from the supervisor. 

Foreign students are admitted on a student visa and are only permitted to receive payment for activities directly related to their graduate studies program such as the above mentioned scholarships and assistantships. A foreign student’s spouse may obtain a temporary work permit, provided the student is registered as a full-time graduate student. See also UBC International Student Guide.

Scholarships and Awards
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Scholarships and Awards

PhD Tuition Waiver

Graduate Support Initiative funds are currently used to cover tuition fees for students in their first four years of their PhD program. To be considered, tuition must not be funded from other sources.

NSERC Scholarship (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council)

Please note that NSERC scholarships are only available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The NSERC website may be accessed at http://www.nserc.ca. Students who are eligible for NSERC funding MUST apply, so as to be eligible for other university funding. The doctoral competition occurs during September and the master’s competition during December of each year.  Please contact the Department of Botany for the departmental application deadlines.

Affiliated Fellowships

These are available to incoming students and registered full-time UBC graduate students. For more information, visit G+PS Affiliated Fellowships Doctoral Program and G+PS Affiliated Fellowship Master’s Program.

Please note that students applying for NSERC will automatically be entered in the Affiliated Fellowships competition; students need only complete the NSERC application.

Affiliated Fellowships competitions run concurrently each year with NSERC competition.  Please contact the Department of Botany for the departmental application deadlines.

Four Year Fellowships

The department offers a small number of four year fellowships each year to outstanding first year domestic or international PhD students. There is no separate application form for the Four Year Fellowships; they are awarded based on the information in the application for admission to the program. Visit G+PS 4YF for further details.

Jonathan Page Fellowship in Botany

A one-year $25,000 fellowship has been made available annually through a gift from the Ngan Page Family Fund, a charitable fund established by Jonathan Page (B.Sc. 1991, Ph.D. 1998) for an outstanding graduate student in the Department of Botany. Preference will be given to a student whose research focuses on plant biochemistry or metabolism. Jonathan studied under the eminent UBC Botany Professor Neil Towers, which influenced his career path. He has focused his research on the biochemistry of medicinal plants and is internationally recognized for his work on the cannabis plant. Jonathan co-founded Anandia Labs, a leading cannabis science company that was acquired by Aurora Cannabis in 2018. The fellowship is made on the recommendation of the Department of Botany, in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Read about recent fellowship recipient Elizabeth Mahon

Please contact the Department of Botany for the application deadline. 

Kay Earle Memorial Botany Fund Fellowships

Support for graduate student stipends

The Kay Earle Memorial Botany Fund was established in November 2019 to support Botany graduate students researching the use of plants to improve the environment in the areas of ecosystem services and crop improvement. This endowment fund will be used to support an annual competition in the Botany department. Students entering the competition must submit applications through a faculty member in order to be eligible. The Botany committee will review applications, and at its discretion select the successful recipients.

The Kay Earle Fellowships proposals are adjudicated through the Botany Scholarships committee’s graduate award competition, along with NSERC graduate fellowships, four-year fellowships, and affiliated fellowships.

Dewar-Cooper Fellowships

Support for graduate student stipends

In 2009, the estate of William Dewar-Cooper endowed the Dewar-Cooper fund in Botany.

“ for the support of chemical/genetic research involving nucleic acids studies with plants, plant viruses and related masked strains …” This endowment fund is used to support an annual competition in the Botany department. Students entering the competition must submit applications through a faculty member in order to be eligible. The Botany committee will review applications, and at its discretion select the successful recipients.

The Dewar-Cooper Fellowships proposals are adjudicated through the Botany Scholarships committee’s graduate award competition, along with NSERC graduate fellowships, four-year fellowships, and affiliated fellowships.

Read about recent fellowship recipient Yujun Peng

Current Students

Degree Regulations
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Revised: August 22, 2022

DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY GRADUATE REGULATIONS

The main goal of the graduate program in Botany is to promote excellence in research. Given the range of plant studies available, we acknowledge that specialization is almost inevitable.  Therefore, we encourage students to develop strengths in fields related to their main research area. Nevertheless, students must also be able to communicate their research findings effectively to other students and fellow scientists.

M.Sc. degree

The M.Sc. degree is usually a student’s first serious exercise in research and prepares the student for a career in research, teaching or other related professions. The student is expected to carry out a research project, generally chosen and designed by the research supervisor. The project should not be open-ended, should have sharply defined goals, and should be of limited duration (2-3 years) and designed to give research experience towards solving a problem.

Ph.D. degree

The Ph.D. program prepares the student for a career as an independent researcher or teacher. In this program the student is expected to design and execute, in consultation with the supervisory committee, a major piece of original work that will significantly advance understanding in the field. The supervisor defines the general research area and also acts as an advisor.

1. THE GRADUATE ADVISOR

Each graduate student will be assigned a Graduate Advisor who will outline the general program regulations and deal with any problems a graduate student may have during their graduate career in the department. The Grad Advisor will also chair the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination (section #7) and the M.Sc. Defence of Thesis (section #10a).

2. THE SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE:

The major Supervisor(s) has the primary responsibility to guide the graduate student in the areas of research, course work and thesis preparation. The Supervisory Committee must have a minimum of 3 faculty members (including the Supervisor). The research supervisor must inform the Graduate Program Coordinator of the composition of the committee as soon as possible after enrollment to allow the Graduate Program Coordinator to assign individual Grad Advisors.  Students being supervised by an Adjunct Faculty member also must have a co-supervisor from the Botany Faculty.

3. INITIAL MEETING:

The Initial Meeting is held as early as possible (usually within 3 months for MSc and 6 months for PhD students after enrollment), and is chaired by the Supervisor. The student meets with the Supervisory Committee in this meeting and discusses the proposed research and course work (Section #5). Course requirements should be documented on the form provided.

4. STUDENT FUNDING:

It is the policy of the Botany Department to guarantee 2 years of funding for MSc students and 4 years of funding for PhD students. Students may be funded through a combination of NSERC (or other) Scholarships, Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships. Students and supervisors are required to complete and sign the “Department of Botany Grad Student Financial Support Form” each year, which specifies the funding sources (RAships, scholarships, TAships, etc.) that comprise the base funding levels for MSc and PhD students.  In order to maintain their eligibility for this funding, students are required to apply for NSERC scholarships and/or UBC Affiliated Fellowships annually. Students and their supervisors must be in agreement before students accept any positions for pay. All financial support is subject to satisfactory performance and annual review.

5a. COURSE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MASTERS DEGREE:

The requirements are:

Thesis18 credits
Courses numbered 300 or above 112 credits
Total30 credits

At least 60% must be obtained in any course taken in a Master’s program for a student to be granted Pass standing. However, only six credits of Pass standing in course work may be counted towards a Master’s program; for all other courses credited to the program, at least 68% must be obtained.

5b. COURSE REQUIREMENTS FOR M.Sc. AND Ph.D. STUDENTS:

(a) BOTA 501: (3 credits) A seminar course designed to develop communication and analytical skills.

(b) BOTA 502: A non-credit course based upon the presentation of a seminar to the Department of Botany on the subject of the research project. This must be scheduled in the last year of graduate study prior to the Defence of Thesis, preferably between September and April. M.Sc. students should register for this course in the second year of their program, and Ph.D. students in September of the academic year prior to the anticipated completion of the thesis.

5c. COURSE REQUIREMENTS FOR Ph.D. STUDENTS:

All incoming Ph.D. students must have taken at least one core, or upper level course, in each of two general areas outside their research area. If this criterion has not already been met, the student must then take and pass the necessary course(s). The general areas are identified as: (i) Genetics/Molecular Biology, (ii) Physiology/Cell biology, (iii) Evolution/Systematics/Ecology.

Ph.D. students who already have an MSc degree have no further course requirements beyond those specified in section 5b and 5c (paragraph above) and those agreed upon by their supervisory committee.

Students entering a Ph.D. directly from a B.Sc. must complete at least 12 credits of course work with a first-class average (80% or better), of which at least 9 credits must be at the 500-level or above.  Of the 12 credits of course work, a maximum of 6 credits of Directed Studies (i.e., BOTA 546, BIOL 548) are permitted.

6. M.Sc. DEFENCE OF THESIS PROPOSAL:

M.Sc. candidates should schedule their M.Sc. Defence of Thesis Proposal within 9 months and no later than 12 months after enrollment.  The committee, chaired by the Supervisor, is in charged with providing clear guidance and direction, so that the proposal presented is of appropriate dimensions for an M.Sc. project.

The M.Sc. Defence of Thesis Proposal serves two purposes: (i) It is a rigorous review and assessment of the student’s understanding of the research proposal; (ii) It provides guidance to the student on addressing any deficiencies that the supervisory committee feels will impede the student’s ability to undertake or complete the thesis. The meeting will be chaired by the research supervisor and include a 20-minute oral presentation of the proposal by the candidate, followed by thorough questioning by members of the supervisory committee on all aspects of the proposal. The committee will then meet in the absence of the student to discuss any deficiencies, either in the proposal or in the student’s understanding of the research, and offer advice to the student on how to remedy these deficiencies. If necessary, the candidate will be asked to revise the proposal and be re-questioned at a future date.

It is the student’s responsibility to submit a copy of the written proposal (5-10 pages) to each member of the Committee at least one week prior to the meeting. During the meeting, the student and the supervisor must convince the committee that the proposal is sound and that it can reasonably be completed in 2 (±0.5 years). If the project is open ended, the committee will veto the proposal as inappropriate and the proposal will be revised so that it can be completed within the above time. The primary onus is on the supervisor to ensure a “do-able” thesis and to provide good supervision.

In special circumstances, students may request to skip the M.Sc. Defence of Thesis Proposal if they intend to transfer to the Ph.D. program. Students are advised to discuss the expedited transfer with their supervisor. If the student and supervisor agree to skip the M.Sc. proposal defence, students are required to schedule a meeting with their supervisory committee to present and discuss the proposed Ph.D. research and their plans to transfer. The supervisory committee will then decide if it is advisable to bypass the M.Sc. Defence of Thesis Proposal and proceed directly to the Ph.D. Transfer Candidacy exam.

Notes:
*Students will have one attempt to take and pass the Ph.D. Transfer Candidacy exam. If students do not pass the exam, they will remain in the M.Sc. program.
*Transfers may only take place after students have completed the required MSc coursework.

For further information regarding transferring from M.Sc. to Ph.D, see section 8 below.

7. Ph.D. CANDIDACY EXAM:

i. Time of exam
Students enrolling in September, January or May should schedule their Candidacy Exam to take place within 18 months and no later than 24 months following enrollment. This allows time for any revisions to the thesis proposal to be made, or for a re-examination to occur (if recommended by the examining committee), prior to the University deadline [University regulations state that “A student who is not Admitted to Candidacy within a period of three years from the initial date of registration will be required to withdraw.”]. Within six months of enrollment, the student’s Supervisor will propose examiners for the PhD Candidacy exam by completing and submitting the Proposed Examiners form to the Associate Head for Graduate Education. The student is advised of the composition of this committee as early as possible. The student will provide a 1-2 page outline of his or her proposal for each examiner, consulting each to obtain recommended readings plus other advice.

ii. Nature of the exam
This is an oral examination that assesses the student’s ability to carry out the research stage of the Ph.D. program. The exam (scheduled by the student in consultation with the supervisor) is based on the Thesis Proposal, a 10-20 (maximum) page document that must be circulated to the supervisory committee for approval at least four weeks before the exam. 

Feedback on the proposal using the approval form provided will be given within two weeks. If the proposal is deemed to be acceptable by a majority of the supervisory committee, the Ph.D. Candidacy Exam will proceed as scheduled. The final version of the proposal must be submitted to the full examining committee at least two weeks prior to the Candidacy Exam.

If the proposal is deemed to be unacceptable, a committee meeting will be scheduled allowing the supervisory committee to provide detailed feedback on the deficiencies; this meeting will be chaired by the research supervisor. The student must then submit a revised version of the thesis proposal, and the Candidacy Exam will be rescheduled.

Questioning will focus on the research program but can include any peripheral areas that are considered relevant. Hence the student should show:

  • familiarity with the research literature in the thesis area
  • familiarity with fields related to the research area (the depth of knowledge required will be proportional to closeness to the research area).
  • ability to justify the need for the proposed research
  • ability to defend the experimental design
  • ability to defend the methods of analysis
  • ability to interpret preliminary data
  • ability to reason and integrate during the questioning.

iii. Exam committee
The examining committee typically will be composed of four members: two members from the supervisory committee and two members not on the supervisory committee. The student’s Supervisor will be present but generally does not participate as an examiner. Only in extenuating circumstances and with permission of the Department Head, the supervisor may serve as a fifth examiner. The exam will be chaired by a Graduate Advisor who will ensure a proper balance of questions to allow the examining committee to judge performance under the areas listed in (ii) above.

iv. Assessment
As the exam is integrative in nature, it is taken and passed or failed in its entirety. It is not possible to take or pass part of the exam. There cannot be a conditional pass. At the end of the exam, the student will be asked to leave the room and the examining committee will then discuss the student’s performance prior to handing a written statement of pass or fail to the Chair. At least 3 of the 4 (or 5) examiners must recommend a “pass” for the exam to be a pass.  If a student fails, the committee reserves the option to offer the student a re-examination which should occur within 3 months and no later than 6 months after the original exam. A second failure results in the student’s withdrawal from the graduate program.

8. TRANSFER FROM M.Sc. TO Ph.D.:

Transfer is an option for exceptional M.Sc. students. Students contemplating a transfer must complete all course work in the first year of study. To be considered for transfer to the Ph.D., a Masters student must:

  • have completed at least 12 credits2 of course work with a first-class average  (80% or better), of which at least 9 credits must be at the 500-level or above
  • have completed at least 9 credits of coursework with first class standing
  • show clear evidence of research ability or potential
  • have completed their Master’s Research Proposal Defence

The request to transfer is made by the student in consultation with the supervisor. The decision to attempt transfer is made by the supervisory committee. Transfer is accomplished by passing the Ph.D. Candidacy examination. The exam is taken between 12 and 18 months after admission (this is a Botany requirement, as Grad Studies states that transfers must occur within 24 months of enrollment). Shortly after the M.Sc. Defence of Thesis Proposal or the meeting to discuss bypassing the M.Sc. Defence of Thesis Proposal, the student’s supervisor will propose examiners for the PhD Candidacy exam by completing and submitting the Proposed Examiners form to the Associate Head for Graduate Education. The student is advised of the composition of this committee as early as possible.

The PhD Transfer Candidacy exam is scheduled by the student in consultation with the supervisor and examining committee. The exam is based primarily on a 10-20 page Thesis Proposal that must be circulated to the supervisory committee for approval at least four weeks before the exam. The exam will also include questions about broader concepts and topics related to the proposed PhD research. The student should consult with each examiner to obtain recommended readings plus other advice in advance of the examination.

Feedback on the proposal using the approval form provided will be given within two weeks. If the proposal is deemed to be acceptable by a majority of the supervisory committee, the Ph.D. Candidacy Exam will proceed as scheduled. The final version of the proposal must be submitted to the full examining committee at least two weeks prior to the Candidacy Exam.

If the proposal is deemed to be unacceptable, a committee meeting will be scheduled allowing the supervisory committee to provide detailed feedback on the deficiencies; this meeting will be chaired by the research supervisor. The student must then submit a revised version of the thesis proposal, and the Candidacy Exam will be rescheduled.

The exam will be chaired by a Graduate Advisor who will ensure a proper balance of questions to allow the examining committee to judge performance under item number 7ii above. Students failing the Ph.D. Transfer Candidacy exam on their first attempt will remain in the M.Sc. program. 

Note:
The official transfer date recorded by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is the term immediately after the term students take and pass the Ph.D. Transfer Candidacy exam. Transfer dates occur at the beginning of a term: September, January, or May.

9. PROGRESS MEETINGS:

After the first year of graduate studies, a progress meeting should be held annually to allow the Supervisory Committee to assess the student’s progress and provide advice regarding the development of their research program. This meeting is chaired by the Supervisor. The student must submit a brief (2-4 pages) written report to all members of the committee one week in advance of the meeting. At the end of the 3rd (M.Sc.) and 5th (Ph.D.) years respectively, students will normally be expected to have completed their degree requirements. An extension may be granted under mitigating circumstances and if there is evidence of good progress.

10. DEFENCE OF THESIS:

When all Departmental requirements have been satisfied (including BOTA 501, and 5023) and the thesis has been written to the satisfaction of the Supervisory Committee, the student should notify the Graduate Program Coordinator that they are going to schedule their exam.

(a) M.Sc. Candidates:
The examination is chaired by a Graduate Advisor or other faculty member designated by the Head. The Examining Committee is made up of two members of the Supervisory Committee, supplemented by one member who was not involved in the advising of the student (preferably but not necessarily from outside the department). The student’s Supervisor will be present but generally does not participate in the examination, unless a second examiner from the supervisory committee is unavailable and with written permission from the Head. The candidate presents a brief (20 minute) synopsis of the thesis and then should be prepared to answer questions from the Examining Committee. Following the exam, the committee Chair will request that the student and audience leave the room. The committee will then decide on an outcome: Pass, Pass with Distinction, or Fail.

(b) Ph.D. Candidates:
Three to six months before completion is anticipated, students should consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website: www.grad.ubc.ca (select “Current Students” then select “Final Doctoral Exam”) which details the procedures to be followed. The examination is scheduled and the examination Chair and location are set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The basic form of the examination (synopsis followed by questions) is similar to that of the M.Sc. Defence of Thesis.  After an in camera discussion, the examining committee then makes a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

11. SUMMARY OF REQUIREMENTS:

  1. When a graduate student first arrives in Botany, the Supervisor and student will review and sign the Policy 85 letter.
  2. Initial Meeting occurs within three months (MSc students) or six months (PhD students) of enrollment (Section #3)
  3. BOTA 501 (course begins in September of First Year)
  4. M.Sc. Defence of Thesis Proposal (Section #6), and Ph.D. Candidacy Examination (Section #7)
  5. Annual Progress Meeting
  6. BOTA 502 Seminar (prior to Defence of Thesis)
  7. Defence of Thesis

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1 Six credits, not including the thesis, must be at the 500 level. Exception: Transfer students (MSc to PhD) see section 8. A maximum of 6 credits of Directed Studies (i.e., BOTA 546) are permitted for the M.Sc.

2 Of the 12 credits of course work, a maximum of 6 credits of Directed Studies are permitted.

3 Students must consult with the Chair of the Seminar Program and schedule their seminar (BOTA 502) during the last year of graduate study see point 5b

Degree Progression
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The Graduate Game Plan is published by UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. It guides students through the key stages of their graduate education and provides advice for navigating your graduate program.

UBC and your department/program will provide guidance throughout all stages of your study.  However, a key to success in graduate education lies in your ability and willingness to be proactive – to take responsibility for your own graduate school experiences. This guide will help you build a plan for navigating your program and we recommend revisiting and reviewing these pages at each stage of your graduate program.

https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/professional-development/graduate-game-plan

UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies also offers many resources through their Graduate Pathways to Success webpage. You can check here for resources, events and contacts to help you navigate through your degree.

https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/professional-development/graduate-pathways-success

Get involved
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The Botany Graduate Students’ Association (BGSA) represents graduate students in the Botany graduate program. The BGSA is a vital link between the department and the student body. BGSA representatives attend monthly faculty meetings and Safety Committee meetings, and recruit student members for faculty hiring committees. The BGSA organizes events and activities that enrich both the academic and social life. Every year the BGSA coordinates new graduate student orientation activities in September and an annual research symposium in April. The BGSA organizes the Christmas party, fundraisers, and a lunar New Year party.


Seminars and Discussion Groups

Each week provides a variety of opportunities for scientific exchange. Some research clusters have weekly discussion groups or journals clubs, as well as many individual lab group meetings. There is a departmental seminar every week which all graduate students are expected to attend. Before their thesis defense, each graduate student is required to present a departmental seminar describing their research results.

In addition there are related seminar series in other units on campus, including:


Financial Support

Funding
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All students admitted to the Botany Graduate Program are guaranteed a minimum level of financial support. Graduate student stipends are derived from a combination of Teaching Assistantships (TA), Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA), and scholarships. MSc students are supported for a minimum of 2 years and PhD students are supported for a minimum of 4 years. Please see chart below: 

BOTANY GRAD STUDENT FUNDING 2023-2024


Ph.D. Canadian
Take HomeTuition and FeesTotal Stipend
Years 1-427,7731,32029,093
Years 5 and up27,7733,74231,515
Ph.D. InternationalYears 1-427,7731,32029,093
Years 5 and up27,7737,43435,207

M.Sc Canadian
Take HomeTuition and FeesTotal Stipend
Years 1-224,4716,62231,092
Years 3 and up24,4873,74228,229
M.Sc InternationalYears 1-224,4827,43431,916
Years 3 and up24,4827,43431,916

Note:

  • All financial support is subject to satisfactory performance and annual review
  • PhD students receive tuition waiver for first 4 years of PhD studies
  • Students are advised to discuss their funding with their supervisor
    • when they approach their 5th year in the PhD program
    • when they approach their 3rd year in the MSc program

During a graduate career in the Botany Department, most students have occasion to apply for scholarships and other sources of funding. Competition for these limited funds is intense and various criteria contribute to your overall ability to win these awards. The most important criteria are (i) academic excellence (based on grades and letters of reference) and (ii) research ability or potential (this means primary research articles published in good national or international journals, presentations at conferences etc.). The other criteria include (iii) your oral