A Master’s degree is expected to take two years, although faster progress is encouraged. The MSc degree requires a combination of coursework and research for a total of 30 credits. 12 credits of coursework are taken, with the remaining 18 credits being thesis research.
At least 9 of the 12 credits of courses must be at the 500 level but the remaining 3 credits may be at the 300-400 level. Coursework is initially set through consultation with the student's supervisor, but the supervisory committee may also have suggestions. 3 credits of Directed Studies (ZOOL 500) may be taken.
Master’s students must obtain a minimum of 60% in any course to be granted pass standing, but only 6 credits of pass standing are counted towards the master's program. For all other courses, a minimum of 68% must be obtained. If a student repeats a failed required course, a minimum mark of 74% is required. A student whose grade does not improve by repeating the course or taking an alternate course may be required to withdraw from your graduate program. For more information, visit: grad.ubc.ca/current-students/managing-your-program/satisfactory-progress-masters-students.
Students have considerable flexibility in their choice of courses including graduate and senior undergraduate courses in Zoology, Botany, Microbiology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Fisheries, 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 other than their supervisor.
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. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to provide a suitable project that can be completed within two years.
The project should be of publishable quality, but need not extend beyond the equivalent of a single paper and may constitute part of a larger body of work.
Consult the G+PS pages for further information on thesis preparation: grad.ubc.ca/current-students/dissertation-thesis-preparation
At the end of their two year program, MSc students are expected to complete an oral defense of their Master’s thesis.
Please keep in mind that your program will not be closed until the final submission instructions have been completed. If you're aiming for a particular completion date/graduation, give yourself about a month between the oral examination and your target deadline. After revisions and after the final submission paperwork and dissertation have been submitted and accepted, G+PS will close your program about 1-2 weeks.
And remember to apply for graduation! Graduation happens in May and November of each year. You can apply for graduation even if you haven’t defended yet (but you won’t be approved to graduate without having completed all your requirements so check the Deadlines page for when your program requirements should be completed for a specific graduate ceremony).
After completion of the required course-work, and within 18 months of starting date, the MSc supervisory committee (minimum three members) must recommend in writing to the Graduate Advisor that the student be transferred to the PhD program. The committee should discuss who to add to the committee (four total members required).
A PhD thesis proposal must be approved at a meeting by the full four-person committee. The Department will then make a recommendation to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for this transfer.
Once the thesis proposal has been approved, the Comprehensive Exam can be scheduled. Note that the Comprehensive Exam must be taken within 24 months of starting graduate school at UBC, even for students transferring from the MSc to PhD program.
Students may be eligible to transfer from a master’s program into a related doctoral program if they meet the following requirements:
- Hold a bachelor's degree, and have completed a minimum of one year of study in the master's program with 9 credits at the 500-level or above and of first class standing (80% or better).
- Students entering the doctoral program after partial completion of the master’s 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. This means that if you're transferring in your second year, you must have completed a total of 12 credits rather than the 9 credits in #1 (which is for if you're transferring in your first year)
- Show 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. Transfers may not be retroactive.