Prospective PhD Students

How to apply to the PhD program


The PhD in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice is an interdisciplinary program which allows students to explore their interests in diverse areas while employing feminist, intersectional, and decolonizing methodologies. It is intended to be flexible and to accommodate the needs of individual students. At present the PhD program has 20 students in residence. Each year 60-70 applications are received and about four new students join the program.

Our graduate students draw on the Institute’s core faculty to serve as supervisors and committee members, and may also have faculty associates serve as committee members.  Please note that faculty must hold the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor in order to supervise graduate students.  Although you are not required to secure a commitment from a supervisor before applying, we encourage you to contact prospective supervisors early to refine your research focus and to identify other opportunities for your doctoral work.  Finding a supervisor.

Students entering the PhD program will take a minimum of 12 credits of course work at the 500 level, write comprehensive examinations, and complete a dissertation. Depending on their academic background, students may be required to take additional course work. Upon entering, they will be assigned a pro-tem advisor who will guide them as they set up a program of study suited to their interests. Students’ attendance on campus is required until the completion of their comprehensive exams, usually the end of the second year. It is possible to complete the PhD program in four years, but most graduate students to-date have completed in six years.

Tuition & Funding

Please visit UBC’s Tuition, Fees & Cost of Living website for more information on tuition, application fees, student fees, cost of living and how to pay. You can also access tuition information under Tuition / Program costs on the Doctor of Philosophy in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice (PhD) website.

All successful applicants to the program will be considered for financial support. A separate application is not required. UBC’s Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) is a major source of funding for our incoming students. Graduate Entrance Scholarships are also assigned during the admissions process. Incoming PhD students may apply for Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Academic Assistantships. Both international and domestic students are eligible for all these funding sources.

All eligible students are also expected to apply for other fellowships: SSHRC, CIHR, (Canadian students) and UBC Affiliated Fellowships (international students). We encourage you to seek additional funding opportunities through the Funding databases.


Our Social Justice Research Networks provide opportunities for graduate students to interact with other students and faculty on shared themes of interest. Being interdisciplinary networks, there is also participation from across UBC departments and units, providing key avenues to extend networks across the campus community. To date, the thematic networks have held workshops and colloquia, sponsored guest artists and lectures, and published materials. We see the networks as invaluable training opportunities for our graduate students to engage and interact around targeted focal themes and to work with key academics and activists.

Our Graduate Association also pursues activist, social justice and equity issues, and hosts social events throughout the year.