1. Identify and contact a potential supervisor
Identify a potential supervisor or supervisors. Although the minimum requirements for admission are set by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, no student will be admitted unless a faculty member in the Zoology program agrees to accept a student into their laboratory group.
Applicants must contact the potential supervisor(s) and provide them with unofficial or draft versions of the elements that will go into the online application (i.e., transcripts and letters from referees; see below). It is highly recommended, but not essential, that a potential supervisor encourages an application before proceeding to the next step.
2. Complete the application form and pay application fee
3. Required Application Materials
- Three Referees: Ideally, the referees should be faculty members who have supervised your studies and/or research directly, and they should have institutional email addresses in order to upload their references in the referee portal of the application.
- Curriculum Vitae
- Scanned copies of up-to-date official transcripts (front and back) of grades from all post-secondary institutions attended.
- December 1st: Deadline for consideration in the CIHR or NSERC CGS-M/Affiliated-M scholarships. You must have applied for admissions and the CGSM/Affiliated-M (separate applications, one for admissions and one for awards) by this date. Please review the respective awards' websites for more details.
- January 15th: Deadline for Master’s and Doctoral applicants to be considered for UBC fellowships
The Zoology department will evaluate candidates for admission using a holistic review process, which is an evidence-based approach to identifying candidates that are likely to be successful in a research-based degree program. There are many ways to demonstrate research aptitude beyond prior research experience and candidates are encouraged to think broadly about how their experiences, in science or elsewhere, have shaped their interests, skills, and abilities.
To facilitate this process, applicants will be asked 6 questions in the application, each of which have an explanation of why we're asking for that information. Each answer should be 1000-2000 characters in length.
Why are you interested in applying for an MSc or PhD in the Department of Zoology? What are your aspirations and/or career goals and how do you see this degree helping to advance them?
Explanation: We are looking for evidence that you are passionate about your field and also why a research-based M.Sc. or Ph.D. in our department will help you to achieve your career goals. Examples of diverse career paths that graduates have pursued are academia, teaching careers, industry careers such as pharmaceuticals, biomedical, and environmental consulting, science writing, and careers in policy and government.
What research topics or scientific questions are you particularly curious and excited about, and why?
Explanation: It is important for researchers to stay curious and remain motivated to work hard to answer their research questions even when the going gets tough. It is also important to be able to explain the science you are doing to a broad audience. Note that the admissions committee recognizes that not everyone will know these details when they apply, and that research directions often change once a student enters graduate school.
Explain why the lab(s) you have indicated is/are relevant to your interests and goals.
Explanation: It is important to ensure that the lab you choose is a good fit for you and your research goals. The committee will be looking for your ability to articulate the link between your interests and the lab’s research. Successful applicants will typically have already had discussions with one or more potential supervisors.
Briefly describe any academic and/or research experiences that have prepared you for graduate school. Examples include upper-level laboratory courses, field courses, discussion groups and seminars, lab experience, publications, conference participation.
Explanation: Having a foundation of appropriate course work and relevant research experiences promotes success in conducting graduate research. The committee is aware that access to research opportunities varies and thus relatively few students will have had the opportunity to publish papers or participate in conferences prior to attending graduate school.
Briefly describe personal skills you have acquired that will translate to your success in graduate school. These can be from academic and/or non-academic contexts. Examples could include time management, creative problem solving, resilience and perseverance.
Explanation: The graduate student experience involves a range of challenges, such as juggling research and teaching commitments, handling setbacks, and finding solutions when experiments fail. Being able to overcome these difficulties and persevere in the face of challenges is key to being a successful graduate student. The committee is aware that these skills can be acquired in any aspect of your life.
Using examples from your experiences, briefly describe how you would make positive contributions to the lab community and departmental environment. These can be from academic or non-academic contexts. Examples can highlight skills and experiences and could include collaboration, teamwork, interpersonal/intercultural communication, leadership, volunteer and outreach activities, and efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusion.
Explanation: The Zoology Department values our collegial environment and is committed to promoting a respectful and inclusive community. Graduate research is a team effort. Graduate students are encouraged to collaborate in their research, participate in teaching and mentoring and are an integral part of our departmental culture. Graduate students have also been at the forefront of changing many departmental policies and practices.
Optional (Leaving this section blank will not negatively impact the evaluation of your application)
Describe any barriers, hardships, and/or challenges you have faced that have affected your access to opportunities, or describe any other aspects of your life experiences that help us contextualize your application.
Explanation: We are actively working to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in our department. People who apply for advanced degrees come from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. You may have already discussed your experiences in the answers above, but if you have anything you would like to add you are welcome to include it here.