Mathematics

Master of Science (MSc), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Build a solid foundation in mathematical and statistical theory with a view to applications in science and industry.

Graduate Program Overview

Program Components Expected Duration
MSc Coursework and thesis 24 months
PhD Coursework and dissertation 48 months

The mathematics graduate program at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC, offers tier-one research-based degrees to students in a collegial, close-knit setting.

Our dynamic faculty and students are engaged in a variety of research projects, many in collaboration with partners in government, non-profit agencies, and industry.

Our research-based MSc and PhD degrees in mathematics provide students with theoretical, practical, and analytical expertise, as well as experience in the application of scientific results to real-world problems.

Mathematics students enrolled in the MSc program will learn theory and methods, as well as undertake a practical research project. Graduates with an MSc degree are prepared for employment opportunities in research and teaching, as well as industry and government, or for further studies leading toward an advanced degree such as a PhD.

Program Milestones

  • establishing a faculty supervisory committee
  • preparing, presenting, and defending a thesis research proposal
  • completing coursework in mathematics and statistics
  • collecting and analyzing data
  • writing and defending a thesis and, ideally, publishing research results

Coursework & Thesis Requirements

  • 18 credits of coursework: 4 approved credits per winter term
  • additional coursework may be required, at the discretion of the supervisory committee
  • 12-credit MSc thesis (MATH 549)

Exceptional MSc students can transfer to the PhD program after one year if they meet program requirements and are approved by the Graduate Program Advisory Committee.

Most MSc students become Teaching Assistants for at least one semester in order to gain valuable experience and to learn effective communications strategies.

The PhD is an advanced research degree that requires original and substantive contributions to the advancement of our understanding of an area of mathematics or statistics. Graduates of the PhD program are prepared for careers that involve teaching and/or conducting independent research and teaching within academia, governmental, and industrial settings.

Program milestones

  • establishing a faculty supervisory committee
  • completing 30 credits of coursework requirements, as approved by the student’s supervisory committee (up to 18 course credits from an MSc program may count towards satisfying this requirement)
  • preparing, presenting, and defending a dissertation research proposal
  • passing a candidacy examination that demonstrates breadth and depth of knowledge in one’s chosen field and specialization
  • completing dissertation research and writing, and defending the work
  • communication research results via presentations and publication in scientific journals

Upon passing the proposal exam, PhD students become candidates and are eligible to teach courses if they meet program requirements, and are approved by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.


Research & Supervisors

The professional and research interests of the mathematics faculty span a broad range, and their research expertise includes both quantitative and qualitative strategies of analyses.

Graduate students can pursue these and other faculty research and teaching interests, focusing on the following four areas of specialization:

Mathematical Biology and Differential Equations:

  • Mathematical Biology and Financial Mathematics
  • Mathematical Biology and Global Analysis
  • Mathematical Physics

Number Theory and Algebra:

  • Combinatorics
  • Algebraic Number Theory
  • Categorical Algebra

Optimization and Analysis:

  • Continuous Optimization
  • Numerical Optimization
  • Convex Analysis
  • Nonsmooth Analysis
  • Queuing Theory

Statistics and Probability:

  • Computational Statistics
  • Design and Analysis of Experiments
  • Environmetrics
  • Statistical Machine Learning
  • Spatial Statistics

Please touch base with a faculty supervisor before you start the application process. We look forward to hearing about your research interests and career goals.

While applications with no identified supervisor will be accepted, no applicant will be admitted until a supervisor has agreed to supervise the student’s thesis or project. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify and contact a potential supervisor prior to applying. Applicants are also required to indicate whether they wish to pursue the thesis- or project-based option.


Role:
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Heinz Bauschke | Professor | Mathematics | heinz.bauschke@ubc.ca | 250.807.8529 | ASC 352
Research Interests: Convex analysis and optimization, monotone operator theory, projection methods, and applications.
Wayne Broughton | Associate Professor | Mathematics | wayne.broughton@ubc.ca | 250.807.9531 | SCI 106
Research Interests: Combinatorial design theory and graph theory.
Warren Hare | Professor | Mathematics | warren.hare@ubc.ca | 250.807.9378 | ASC 353
Research Interests: Mathematical optimization; nonconvex analysis; derivative-free optimization; bundle methods; applications in road design.
Javad Tavakoli | Associate Professor | Mathematics | javad.tavakoli@ubc.ca | 250.807.9535 | SCI 114
Research Interests: Queueing systems; systems dynamics; and categorical algebra; applicable to computer communications and staffing facilities.
Rebecca Tyson | Professor | Mathematics | rebecca.tyson@ubc.ca | 250.807.8766 | SCI 386
Research Interests: Mathematical biology and spatial ecology; mathematical models of ecological systems; the development and analysis of mathematical and computational models; cyclic predator-prey populations.
Shawn / Xianfu Wang | Professor | Mathematics | shawn.wang@ubc.ca | 250.807.9524 | ASC 351
Research Interests: Variational analysis; convex analysis; optimization; classical analysis; optimization applications in signal processing; statistics; communications.
Qiduan Yang | Professor Emeritus | Mathematics | qiduan.yang@ubc.ca | 250.807.9540
Research Interests: Representations of symmetric and alternating groups; galois groups of polynomials; algebraic number theory.

Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Non-Smooth Analysis (COCANA)

Our in-house Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis performs fundamental research in convex and nonsmooth analysis and transfers the results to industry by solving practical industrial problems with a focus on commercial applications. COCANA researchers are mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers who apply state-of-the-art optimization techniques to solve real-life problems and provide our industrial partners an edge over their competition.

DISTRIBUTED DATABASE LABORATORY

The Distributed Database Laboratory performs applied research into data management challenges for relational, NoSQL, and BigData systems. Researchers and developers are engaged in projects on small-scale sensor and embedded databases and large-scale BigData projects for the Industrial Internet.

OKANAGAN INSTITUTE FOR BIODIVERSITY, RESILIENCE, AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (BRAES)

BRAES is a group of over 30 faculty members and their graduate students working in ecology, biodiversity and conservation, and environmental sustainability on UBC’s Okanagan Campus.  BRAES’ special strength is its multidisciplinary focus, with members from departments of biology, mathematics and statistics, literary and cultural studies, earth and environmental sciences, physical geography, economics and creative arts.


Students & Theses

Meet Our Students

See what our students are up to—find them in our Contact page for their research interests, supervisors, alma maters, and info.

QSCU

The Quantitative Sciences Course Union (QSCU) is a student union dedicated to connecting students with each other, the university and the community in order to enhance their research, learning and overall experience at UBC Okanagan.

Theses & Dissertations

Search all UBC Okanagan mathematics student publications at cIRcle, the University’s digital repository for research and teaching materials.


Admission Requirements

Admission to UBC graduate programs is competitive. Applicants must meet the following criteria.

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MSc) APPLICANTS 

Applicants to the mathematics MSc program are expected to have:

  • the academic equivalent of a four-year BSc from UBC in mathematics or a related field, with a minimum average of B+ (76%) or better in their third- or fourth-year classes, or
  • at least 12 credits in third- and fourth-year classes in their intended field of study, with an A- (80%) grade or better, or
  • significant formal training and relevant professional experience

Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field. 


DOCTORAL APPLICANTS (PhD)

PhD applicants are expected to:

  • hold the academic equivalent of a two-year master’s degree from UBC in mathematics or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better,
  • demonstrate clear evidence of research ability or potential

Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.


EXCEPTIONAL CASES

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the Mathematics Graduate Program Advisory Committee and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

MORE INFORMATION

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar for full admission and program requirements information. The calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Note: In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct. 

The College of Graduate Studies defines additional requirements and degree equivalencies.

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MSc) APPLICANTS 

International applicants to the mathematics MSc program are expected to:

  • have the academic equivalent of a four-year BSc from UBC in mathematics or a related field, with a minimum average of B+ (76%) or better in their third- or fourth-year classes, or
  • have at least 12 credits in third- and fourth-year classes in their intended field of study, with an A- (80%) grade or better, and
  • present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language (please see details below)

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 550 (paper version); 90 overall with a minimum score of 22 in Reading & Listening and a minimum score of 21 in Writing & Speaking (Internet version), or
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): minimum overall band score of 6.5, with no individual component score less than 6.0, or
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): minimum overall score of 85, with a final score of 3 in the speaking test

DOCTORAL APPLICANTS (PhD)

International PhD applicants are expected to:

  • hold the academic equivalent of a two-year master’s degree from UBC in mathematics or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better,
  • demonstrate clear evidence of research ability or potential,
  • present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language (please see details below)

Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 550 (paper version); 90 overall with a minimum score of 22 in Reading & Listening and a minimum score of 21 in Writing & Speaking (Internet version), or
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): minimum overall band score of 6.5, with no individual component score less than 6.0, or
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): minimum overall score of 85, with a final score of 3 in the speaking test

MORE INFORMATION

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar for full admission and program requirements information. The calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Note: In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct. 

REQUIRED GRADES AND CREDENTIAL GUIDE

Grades and degree credentials required by UBC vary by country. Search the Required Grades and Credential Guide—a guide to assist international students in estimating their eligibility.

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORS

An international student advisor can answer questions about immigration, medical insurance and the transition to UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC. Visit the International Programs and Services website to meet the team.


Tuition & Funding

Tuition

Tuition amounts presented here are estimates only and all fees are subject to change. For official tuition and fee information, visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar, a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Program Schedule Domestic (per year) International (per year)
MSc Full-time $4,995.78 $8,776.74
PhD Full-time $4,995.78 $8,776.74

Tuition is paid three times a year, on the first day of each term: Winter Term 1 (September), Winter Term 2 (January), and Summer Term (May).

Funding Opportunities

Graduate student stipends are funded through a combination of internal and external funding awards, Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.

Although funding and stipend amounts are not guaranteed, the mathematics program has a number of assistantships available for qualified students. Talk to your potential supervisor about funding opportunities.

Students are expected whenever possible to apply for relevant scholarships and fellowships. These include principally, but are not limited to, Canadian Tri-Council scholarships, University Graduate Fellowships, and Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarships.

GRADUATE ENTRANCE AWARD

The Irving K. Barber School of Arts & Sciences offers a $15,000 merit-based entrance scholarship to six exceptional individuals entering their first year of thesis-based graduate studies under a supervisor from the IKBSAS faculty.

All applicants to IKBSAS graduate programs who have submitted an application by January 31 will be automatically considered for the award. No additional application is required. Successful applicants will be notified by March 15.

The Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics has funding opportunities and assistantships available for qualified students.

Program Minimum funding Duration
MSc $17,000 – $22,000 per year 2 years
PhD $19,000 – $24,000 per year 4 years

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Paid TA positions allow graduate students to develop skills in teaching, supervision, facilitation, and student assessment. Teaching assistants may lead seminars, help teach undergraduate courses, or assist in student evaluations and marking.

  • MSc students are eligible for paid TA positions for up to two years.
  • TA positions usually occur September to April. TA hours and wages are governed by the British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU).

Teaching assistants are mentored by their supervisor and via the Centre for Teaching and Learning. To learn more or apply for a position, see our Careers page.

Research Assistantships (RA)

As paid research assistants, graduate students assist their supervisor or other researchers in conducting high-level research. RAs are typically funded by a supervisor’s external grants, contracts or other sources of funding, and, therefore, are not guaranteed.

Research Assistantships are wholly dependent upon individual research supervisor’s funding. RA positions may take place at any time during the school year and wages and hours will vary. RA positions are not guaranteed. Talk to your potential supervisor about RA opportunities.

UBC Awards

The College of Graduate Studies administers merit-based graduate awards at the Okanagan campus. The College manages a number of award competitions each year and administers payment of all internal awards and selected external awards.

External Awards

All prospective graduate students (Domestic and International) should explore and apply for external awards and fellowships, including awards offered by Canada’s three research councils: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

Graduate scholarships and awards may also be available from foundations, private organizations or foreign governments (check with your country’s education authority).


How to Apply

Find a Supervisor

Please contact our faculty supervisors before starting your application. Admission to the program requires the confirmed availability and mentor-match with a faculty supervisor as well as meeting program-specific criteria and requirements.

A complete application package will contain:

  • Online application and application fee
  • Unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended are required for the application package. However, if admitted, the student must submit official transcripts to the College of Graduate Studies
  • English language test (for non-native speakers of English)
  • CV or resumé
  • Three reference forms or letters

Applying takes time. We recommend you start your application two months in advance.

For full consideration students should submit all application materials by the following deadlines:

INTAKE APPLICATION DEADLINE
September January 10
January June 1

UBC’S Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the mathematics program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

DYNAMIC CITY

UBC’s Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of about 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna’s cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

NATURAL BEAUTY

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Check out this 360-degree video: Kelowna From Above.*

* Best viewed using desktop Chrome or Firefox (desktop) or YouTube app (mobile).

CAMPUS HOUSING

Full-time UBC Okanagan students can live in residence, which offers modern living with easy access to academic and personal support. Residences are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, plus panoramic views of the campus and valley.

OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING

* UBC does not verify or endorse information shared on this third-party website, which is offered here as a public resource only.

Join the club: Make friends with similar interests, compare notes, and organize and participate in academic and recreational events in the Quantitative Sciences Course Union.

College of Graduate Studies: CoGS offers orientation events to support you in your first steps as a graduate student at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Stay active: Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and play—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre and our 1,561 square-metre gymnasium, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes, and nationally ranked varsity athletics. Have a ball in Sports and Recreation.

Relax: The Graduate Collegium is a gathering place where grad students can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their fellow students, and attend or host special events. The lounge-style room is open seven days and week and is outfitted with comfortable furniture, kitchen facilities, and individual and group-work spaces.

College of Graduate Studies: Your hub for administrative support and such things as graduate workshops for professional development and for assisting you from the admissions process through to your graduation.

Centre for Scholarly Communication: Supports graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and faculty in disseminating their research. The Library’s CSC provides one-on-one consultations and workshops, including writing support for theses, dissertations, journal articles, and grant proposals.

Centre for Teaching and Learning: Provides support related to teaching, TA training, and use of technology in educational programming.

Learn more about graduate student resources and support.

Careers and Occupations

With a mathematics MSc or PhD degree from the University of British Columbia, graduates are well-positioned to thrive in a variety of occupations, such as:

  • Applied Mathematician
  • Biostatistician
  • Budget Analyst
  • Commodity Manager
  • Credit Analyst
  • Compensation Consultant
  • Cryptographer
  • Data Analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Enterprise Risk Manager
  • Financial Modeler
  • Industry Researcher
  • Inventory Control Specialist
  • Investment Analyst
  • Market Analyst
  • Mathematical Technician
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Pollster
  • Public Health Statistician
  • Quantitative Analyst
  • Risk Assessor
  • Statistician

Career Services

Map out your future and prepare to hit the ground running with resources and services provided by the Advising & Involvement Centre.

Tell your story with resumé and cover-letter strategies, and search Work Study jobs for experience relevant to your degree and career goals. You can also book an appointment to meet one-on-one with our career advisor.

alumni UBC

alumni UBC is a member-driven association that offers a variety of lifetime programming and communications to enrich the lives of UBC graduates.

The ‘Your Next Step’ program offers webinars, speaker series and professional development sessions. It is designed to provide advice, tips and resources in areas of career development to graduates for life after university.

Realize the promise of a global community with shared ambition for a better world and an exceptional UBC.