Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Science (MSc) degrees in Genetics, Medical Genetics, Interdisciplinary Oncology, Experimental Medicine, Cell & Developmental Biology, Bioinformatics and Genome Science & Technology can be pursued within the Terry Fox Laboratory through the University of British Columbia.

Each student’s graduate program and course selection is decided upon by the student and the supervisor together with the student’s advisory committee. Individual research programs typically encompass multiple aspects of cell biology, biochemistry, immunology and/or molecular genetics.

Formal course work is usually completed during the first year of study, followed by a comprehensive examination in the specific discipline being pursued. Students can then devote their full attention to research.

Students with a first class honours (or equivalent) BSc degree may register directly in a Doctoral program. Students registering in a Masters program are encouraged to transfer directly into a Doctoral program after one year if their course work is of sufficient standard. Individuals with an MD may also pursue MSc or PhD degrees within the Terry Fox Laboratory. Those who wish to undertake a combined MD/PhD program can also be accommodated.

Scientific Interactions

Attendance and participation in seminars and scientific meetings are an integral part of the student’s training program. Mastery in oral presentation and a broad experience in modern molecular and cellular techniques are major benefits of training in a large interdisciplinary setting. To facilitate this, students and postdoctoral fellows present their research once a year in a weekly Work-in-Progress seminar within the Terry Fox Laboratory, and in a seminar series involving all units within the B.C. Cancer Research Centre.

In addition, a University seminar course is part of the academic requirements of most graduate programs.

Students also play an active role in various small journal clubs and group meetings. Opportunities exist to attend many seminars by outstanding scientific visitors to Vancouver, including a weekly seminar series on cancer-related basic and clinical research topics.

More advanced students are also encouraged to attend and expected to present their own findings at international scientific meetings for which financial support is available.

Fees and Financial Support

Payable tuition fees and other student fees change frequently and the most current information is available from the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Graduate students accepted for training in the Terry Fox Laboratory receive an annual stipend which could come from a combination of independent Studentship awards (eg. from UBC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – CIHR or the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council – NSERC), the supervisor’s research grant, or partial teaching assistantships.

Finanacial SupportMSc students are normally supported for up to two years, and PhD students for up to 5 years, assuming satisfactory progress in the training program. Individuals with MDs who are pursuing PhD degrees are generally supported at a higher level, depending on their previous extent of training.


A variety of courses are available to meet the individual interests and requirements of each student. Some of the non-seminar courses commonly taken by Terry Fox Laboratory graduate students are listed below:

Advanced Immunogenetics (MEDG510): Cell-cell interactions, intracellular control mechanisms, analysis of complex systems using transgenic animals and molecular approaches.

Advanced Human Molecular Genetics (MEDG520): Genetic variation, genome analysis, cloning of genes for diseases and normal functions, mutation detection, animal models of human genetic disease. Required for graduate students in Medical Genetics.

Biology and Genetics of Neoplasia (MEDG521): A lecture and seminar course on a wide range of topics focused on molecular and cell biology of cancer. Taught by Terry Fox Laboratory faculty and other cancer researchers. Recommended for all graduate students in the Terry Fox Laboratory.

Concept of Oncology (ONCO502): The biology and epidemiology of cancer, and theories behind prevention, diagnosis and treatment of different types of cancer. Recommended for students interested in cancer research.

General Principles of Pathology (PATH500): Principles underlying the etiology, pathogenesis, disordered physiology and pathologic anatomy of common disease processes. Required of graduate students in Pathology.

Genetics (GENE501, GENE502): A lecture series on recent advances in genetics and an overview of genetics in a variety of systems. The emphasis is on eukaryotic genetics. Required of all students in the Genetics Program.

Molecular and Cellular Biology of Experimental Medicine (MEDI501): Cell and molecular function in normal tissues and in specific disease processes including genetic, viral, bacterial, immune and physiological disorders.

Molecular Regulation of Cell Growth and Differentiation (MEDI590): Topics covered include cytokines and signal transduction mechanisms, actions of oncogenes and tumour suppressor gene products, molecular concepts derived from model systems, and strategies for cytokine therapy.

Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function (BIOC510): The properties of nucleic acids with emphasis on current topics related to replication, expression and regulation of genetic material. Recommended for students in the Genetics Program.

Check the UBC Calendar for course schedule.