Doctoral Degrees

Students apply for admission to the doctoral degree program through the College of Graduate Studies. Information about the specific program of study should be obtained by contacting the graduate department directly. Students are normally admitted to study only in fields that are formally authorized by Senate to offer doctoral programs. All applications must be accompanied by an application fee at the time of submission. Consult College of Graduate Studies for information on admission and current application fees.

The deadline for submission of all application materials to most graduate programs can be found on the Graduate Studies website. Some programs have alternate deadlines. Applications received before these deadlines will be considered for admission on a competitive basis. Applications received after the deadline will be considered if resources permit. Please consult College of Graduate Studies for specific program deadlines.

The number of candidates that can be accommodated is limited, and graduate programs will accept the best qualified students as vacancies occur. Most students begin their program of study at the start of the Winter Session (the beginning of September), but other start dates may be available depending on the specific program. Limitations on the number of students that can be accommodated require that applicants be selected well before the start date. Students are encouraged to submit applications for admission as early as possible.

Applicants for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) must have completed one of the following requirements prior to admission:

  • a master's degree (or equivalent) from an approved institution, with clear evidence of research ability or potential and a minimum overall average in the B+ grade range (76-79% at UBC) in all graduate courses;
  • a bachelor's degree, with one year of study in a master's program with 12 credits of first-class average, of which, normally, 9 credits must be at the 500 level or above and at least 9 credits must be of first-class standing, and clear evidence of research ability or potential. Transfer directly into a doctoral program is normally accomplished after the first year of study and will not be permitted after the completion of the second year in a master's program; or
  • in exceptional cases, applicants who hold an honours bachelor's degree with an overall average in the A grade range and who demonstrate advanced research ability may be granted direct admission to a doctoral degree program on recommendation of the admitting graduate program and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

To maintain registration as a doctoral student, students entering directly from a bachelor's degree must, during the first year of study, complete 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.

These are the minimum requirements for admission to the College of Graduate Studies. Individual graduate programs may have additional admission requirements. Consult the graduate program listings in this Calendar to confirm the admission requirements for specific degree programs.

Students with Credentials from International Institutions

Applications to the College of Graduate Studies are welcomed and encouraged from international students who hold a credential deemed comparable academically equivalent to a an approved Canadian two-year master’s degree and who demonstrate superior academic standing. Specific minimum admission requirements for graduates of different countries may be found in the International Student Evaluation Manual

Students who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents must apply for a study permit (student visa) to enter Canada. Applications can be made through any Canadian Consulate or High Commission.

These are the minimum requirements for admission to the College of Graduate Studies. Individual graduate programs may have additional admission requirements. Consult the graduate program listings in this Calendar to confirm the admission requirements for specific degree programs.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Applicants from a university outside Canada at which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to graduate studies are:

  • 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);
  • 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.

Graduate programs may set higher English language proficiency scores than those listed above.

Required Documentation

A complete application to the College of Graduate Studies consists of:

  • a Graduate Studies application;
  • an application fee;
  • three confidential references;
  • one official set of all post-secondary academic records in original language and certified translation (if originals cannot be obtained by applicant, then attested, certified copies of originals are acceptable). To be considered official, academic records must be received in official university envelopes, sealed, and endorsed by the issuing institution;
  • evidence of adequate English proficiency where applicable (TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB are all acceptable); and
  • individual graduate program requirements (e.g., GRE, statement of intent, research proposal, CV, etc.).

Admission

Admission to the Ph.D. program will be in one of the following categories:

  1. Unconditional admission. Granted when the applicant meets all admission requirements and all final official documentation has been received.
  2. Conditional admission. Contains condition(s) that must be met before an offer can be considered final. Such conditions may include final documentation showing degree conferred, or submission of academic records from previous institutions. The letter of admission stipulates deadline dates as to when the conditions must be met. Failure to comply with a condition will normally result in a student having to withdraw from the program.

Qualifying Year

On the recommendation of the graduate program, a student with a master's degree who lacks prerequisites for a chosen field of graduate study may be allowed to register as a qualifying student for a period of no more than one year. Satisfactory completion of a qualifying term or year does not guarantee admission to a graduate program. Qualifying status is granted to students only at the recommendation of the graduate program. Qualifying students are not considered graduate students.

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