Frequently Asked Questions

What are the minimum scores for TOEFL, IELTS and other English language tests?

The Institute uses minimum scores set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. An English proficiency test is not required if you completed a degree at an institution where the primary language of instruction was English.

Is the GRE required?


Should MA applicants contact potential supervisors?

MA applicants need not contact prospective supervisors. It is suggested that you look over the list of GRSJ Core Faculty and mention in your Statement of Academic and Professional Goals those whose research interests are a good match for your own. The Admissions Committee matches successful applicants with supervisors during the admission process.

Must PhD applicants secure a supervisor before applying?

Although you are not required to secure a commitment from a supervisor before applying, you are encouraged to contact prospective supervisors early to gauge interest in your research proposal and to refine its focus. The application will ask for the names of faculty with whom you are interested in working. You will find a list of GRSJ core faculty members and their research interests at the link below.  Please feel free to contact prospective supervisors directly.

Will non-academic reference letters be accepted?

Your file will be considered by the Admissions Committee with any letters you choose to submit, but academic referees are more likely to provide the type of information that will strengthen your application. In general, referees should be able to comment on your ability to succeed in a graduate program, giving specific examples of your academic strengths from their experience in working with you.

Is there funding for my MA?

The Institute does not offer scholarships or other forms of funding to MA students at this time. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who meet the GPA requirement are encouraged to apply directly for the Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s Program. Aboriginal students are encouraged to apply for UBC’s Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship. Most international students are eligible for the International Partial Tuition Scholarship. You will find information about some external funding opportunities on our Graduate Funding page.

Is there funding for my PhD?

UBC’s Minimum Funding Policy requires that all PhD students have funding of at least $18,000/yr for four years.  Therefore, some admission offers may be conditional upon success in a scholarship competition.  Canadian citizens and permanent residents who meet the GPA requirement are strongly encouraged to apply directly for the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship and Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Scholarship.  Applications can be made in the Autumn prior to applying to the GRSJ PhD program. Sources of support for incoming international students have been UBC’s International Doctoral Fellowship and Graduate Global Leadership Fellowship.  Eligible applicants will be notified when these competitions are announced. Aboriginal students are encouraged to apply for UBC’s Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship.  Additional scholarship funding and student assistantships, when available, are also assigned during the admission process. Most international students are also eligible for the International Partial Tuition Scholarship. You will find information about some external funding opportunities on our Graduate Funding page.

My degree won’t be complete by the application deadline. Can I still apply?

You can apply before your degree is complete. Upload the most up-to-date transcript available at the time you apply. Should you be offered admission it will be conditional upon receipt of your final transcript showing degree completion.

My previous degree is unrelated to GRSJ.  Can I apply to the MA/PhD program? What are my chances of success?

A related degree is essential for application to the PhD program.

MA Program:  It is unlikely that an applicant without any academic background related to social justice could be competitive in the admission process.  A majority of the applicants each year have strong social justice backgrounds in addition to meeting GPA and other application requirements.  If you have supplemented your degree with additional courses related to social justice and received good grades, that would be taken into consideration by the admission committee, and, coupled with other factors such as strong references and statement of intent, would improve the chance of success.

How am I selected and when will I find out?

Selection is made by the Institute’s admissions committee. In assessing applications the admissions committee considers a composite of information: previous academic performance including preparation in gender, race, sexuality and social justice, publications, comments from referees, relevant professional and activist activities, research statement/statement of intent, and availability of faculty members in your area of interest. Applicants are considered not only on the basis of their own qualifications, but also in relation to those of other applicants.

Offers are usually made in April.

How much is tuition?

For the 2018-19 academic year tuition rates are as follows:

International students: $8,604.66 (most international students are eligible for the International Tuition Award)
Canadian citizens and permanent residents: $4,897.86

In addition to tuition, student fees are assessed. Visit the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ Tuition, Fees & Cost of Living website for more information on tuition, application fees, student fees, cost of living and how to pay.

How many applications does the program receive and how many students are admitted?

2018-19 academic year:
PhD:  66 applications, 5 students admitted
MA:  90 applications, 8 students admitted

How long is the program?

MA:  Most students complete the program in 18-24 months. Students have a maximum of five years to complete.
PhD:  Students are allowed six years to complete and most take the full six years.