Degree Options

The CELL Program offers students a coordinated program of studies leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS). Both degree programs are research intensive and all students are expected to engage in original and significant thesis research from the start of their studies. On average, about 30 Master’s students and 40 Ph.D. students are enrolled in the Program at any given time.


The Master’s (M.Sc.) program

Students in the Master’s program must complete 12 credits of coursework and undertake original and in-depth research under the supervision of a faculty member leading to a research Master’s thesis. Details of the M.Sc. admission requirements can be found here; details of the M.Sc. program requirements can be found here; and brief summaries of CELL Program courses can be found here.

Students wanting to graduate with a Master’s degree typically complete their program within 2 – 3 years. However, many students who begin in the M.Sc. program transfer to the Ph.D. program after 1 – 2 years and do not complete an M.Sc. Students who wish to transfer must meet minimum coursework requirements and must demonstrate clear evidence of research ability.


The Doctoral (Ph.D.) program

There are three different ways to enter the Ph.D. program (details of the Ph.D. admission requirements can be found here). In brief:

  • most commonly, students transfer from the M.Sc. program to the Ph.D. program after 1 – 2 years in the M.Sc. program. These students do not complete their M.Sc. and typically finish their doctoral program within 3 – 4 years of the date of transfer.
  • alternatively, students with a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, with an overall B+ average (76% at UBC) in their M.Sc. program, can enter the Ph.D. program directly. These students typically finish their program in 4 – 6 years.
  • in very rare cases, applicants who hold a B.Sc.(Hons.) with an overall average in the ‘A’ grade range (80% or higher at UBC) and who demonstrate advanced research ability may be granted direct admission to the Ph.D. program.

Coursework requirements in the Ph.D. program depend on the way in which a student has entered the program; details of the Ph.D. coursework requirements can be found here and brief summaries of CELL Program courses can be found here.

In addition to in-depth thesis research and, in some cases, coursework, all Ph.D. students are required to pass a comprehensive written and oral examination within 24 – 36 months of the start of their program. Details of the Comprehensive Examination can be found here.