The Department of Zoology at UBC is internationally renowned for its research in a variety of modern biological sciences, including ecology, evolution, physiology, neurobiology, cell biology and development. The department has many strong interdisciplinary connections between different areas of research. The Department offers graduate programs leading both to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees.
The M.Sc. degree requires a combination of course work and research for a total of 30 credits. Twelve credits of courses are required with the remaining 18 credits being thesis research. Single courses typically range from 3-6 credits each. Students have considerable flexibility in their choice of courses including graduate and senior undergraduate courses in Zoology, Botany, Microbiology, Genetics, Conservation, and Earth and Oceans Sciences, as well as several other departments. Students may also design their own courses in the form of "Directed Studies" supervised by a faculty member.
M.Sc. students are also required to conduct research towards their degrees. Although research conceived independently of the student’s supervisor is encouraged, the minimum requirement for the M.Sc. degree is to successfully complete directed research. The MSc is a 2-year program, but due to the nature of the research undertaken many students take longer.
Students who originally register in the M.Sc. program may switch to the Ph.D. program after 12-18 months, on the advice of their research committee. Switching to the Ph.D. program, is only possible if the student has completed 12 credits of course work in the first 18 months of their program with a first class standing. Such transfers must then comply with the Ph.D. regulations (see below).
Original research supervised by a faculty member constitutes the major component of work toward the Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. students are not required to complete course work unless it is recommended by the thesis committee. All Ph.D. students are required to present a research proposal and pass a comprehensive examination on their research area within l8 months of registering at the University. The comprehensive exam is an oral examination (administered by all four supervisory committee members) intended to assess the student’s breadth of knowledge in the general subject area(s) of the proposed research (i.e., it is not a defense of the written proposal).