Frequently Asked Questions
Undergraduate advising (general)
Questions on any of the following topics can be addressed to me at the email address found on my Contact Info page:
- Mathematics course requirements
- Prerequisites for Mathematics courses
- Help with selecting Mathematics courses
- Mathematics program options
- General academic advice related to Mathematics programs
- Transfer credits for Mathematics courses (contact Transfer Credit advisors)
Listed below you will find links to various UBC web pages with information that might be useful in answering some common questions. I've ordered these by the frequency with which I refer to them in answer to students questions.
|Mathematics courses (currently offered) -||link|
|Mathematics courses (complete list) -||link|
|Mathematics program requirement broken down by year -||Science, Arts|
|Undergraduate section of the Mathematics Department page -||link|
|Academic year - deadlines, holidays, term start/end dates -||link|
|Credit exclusion list -||link|
|Graduation, degree, promotion requirements -||link|
|Info on declaring a specialization online, self-declarable specializations -||link|
|Info on declaring a specialization online, when/how to -||link|
|Minor in Science -||link|
|Minor in Honours Math for Applied Science students -||link|
|Mathematics Info Session page -||link|
|UBC Calendar -||link|
Graduate school in mathematical biology
Here are a list of questions pertaining to undergraduate research and graduate school in mathematical biology.
What general advice can you give me about getting into graduate school? Are marks important? How do I ensure that my reference letters are good?
The Dean of the UBC graduate school gave an interview with Macleans published May 9, 2007 that has some very good advice. Here is a link to the article. If the link is no longer available at Macleans.ca, trying looking at the source html for this page (comment at the end).
How do I apply to graduate school?
For more information on applying to graduate school at UBC, please see the section for Graduates on the Department of Mathematics' web site as well as the information on Graduate Programs at the Institute for Applied Mathematics. For technical details relating to Math Department applications, please contact the Graduate Secretary (Lee Yupitan). If you are interested in doing graduate work through the Institute of Applied Mathematics, as will be the case for most students in Mathematical Biology and other applied areas, see the IAM site on applications or contact Marek Libecki at iam(at)iam(dot)ubc(dot)ca. Note that admission decisions are often initiated in January so getting your application is early is advisable.
Are you available to act as a M.Sc. or Ph.D supervisor?
Generally, it is preferable for a student to enter the Masters' program and either complete an M.Sc. or transfer to the Ph.D. program at a later date. In exceptional cases, a student might be accepted directly to the Ph.D. program. If you are interested in doing a M.Sc. under my supervision, in addition to the official application procedure, please contact me directly. It would be highly advisable to familiarize yourself with my own research interests (see "Research") so that you (and I) are sure you are headed in the right direction.
What are the most important features in an applicant's file?
(1) In our program at UBC, applicants who have a clearly defined interest that lines up well with a faculty members existing research program have a big advantage. This is largely because a significant portion of students' stipends come from a faculty member's research grant. Be sure to make it clear that you are interested and prepared to work with one or one of a group of faculty members (be as specific as you can!). (2) Reference letters from faculty members with whom you carried out a research project are best. If you didn't carry out a research project (why didn't you?), a letter from someone who taught you an upper level course is second best. (3) Good marks in your core program are essential including a good selection of applied math courses and some modeling experience/exposure if possible. In my research area, some background in physics and biology are a definite plus.
What courses should I take if I am interested in studying Mathematical Biology at graduate school?
For students in the Biology Department, MATH 102-103, BIOL 301, MATH 361 and MATH 462 are recommended. Although BIOL 301 is a sufficient prerequisite for MATH 361, I strongly recommend taking MATH 215 and possibly MATH 221 as well. For students in the Mathematics Department, I suggest taking MATH 361, 462, as well as a selections of 3rd and 4th year courses in applied mathematics depending on your interests (MATH 318, 345, etc. ).
As an undergraduate at UBC, how do I get some experience doing research in mathematical biology?
The two most common ways for this to happen is either through a USRA project or an honours thesis. For information on the USRA program, the Math Department has a USRA info site and so does the Student Services. For information on doing an honours thesis, consult with an Undergraduate Honours Mathematics Advisor or a similar advisor in your home department. Once you decide on either of these options, contact the professor with whom you are interested in working well in advance to begin preparing. In particular for an honours thesis, it is best to start thinking about a project before the summer preceding the thesis year. The USRA application deadline is usually in mid-February. If you are interested in carrying out either of these two options with me, please send (electronic preferred) a resume, a transcript, a brief description of your research interests, a few words about the suitability of your background and the names of two professors who would be willing to act as references on your behalf. I have supervised math, physics and Integrated Sciences students and would consider students from other departments, if appropriate.
Where can I find more information?
Here are some links that might be useful, both at the IAM and Mathematics Department sites:
Mathematics Department - Graduate Studies site link IAM Graduate Student Handbook link IAM site - look under "Information for New Students" link