The Faculty of Arts at UBC brings together the best of quantitative research, humanistic inquiry, and artistic expression to advance a better world. Graduate students in the Faculty of Arts create and disseminate knowledge in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Creative and Performing Arts through teaching, research, professional practice, artistic production, and performance.

Arts has 25 academic departments, institutes, and schools as well as professional programs, more than 15 interdisciplinary programs, a gallery, a museum, theatres, concert venues, and a performing arts centre. Truly unique in its scope, the Faculty of Arts is a dynamic and thriving community of outstanding scholars – both faculty and students. 

Here, our students explore cutting-edge ideas that deepen our understanding of humanity in an age of scientific and technological discovery. Whether Arts scholars work with local communities, or tackle issues such as climate change, world music, or international development, their research has a deep impact on the local and international stage.

The disciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches in our classrooms, labs, and cultural venues inspire students to apply their knowledge both to and beyond their specialization. Using innovation and collaborative learning, our graduate students create rich pathways to knowledge and real connections to global thought leaders.


Research Facilities

The UBC library has extensive collections, especially in Arts, and houses Canada’s greatest Asian language library. Arts graduate programs enjoy the use of state-of-the-art laboratories, the world-renowned Museum of Anthropology and the Belkin Contemporary Art Gallery (admission is free for our graduate students). World-class performance spaces include theatres, concert venues and a performing arts centre. 

Since 2001, the Belkin Art Gallery has trained young curators at the graduate level in the Critical and Curatorial Studies program in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory. The Master of Arts program addresses the growing need for curators and critics who have theoretical knowledge and practical experience in analyzing institutions, preparing displays and communicating about contemporary art.

The MOA Centre for Cultural Research (CCR) undertakes research on world arts and cultures, and supports research activities and collaborative partnerships through a number of spaces, including research rooms for collections-based research, an Ethnology Lab, a Conservation Lab, an Oral History and Language Lab supporting audio recording and digitization, a library, an archive, and a Community Lounge for groups engaged in research activities. The CCR includes virtual services supporting collections-based research through the MOA CAT Collections Online site that provides access to the Museum’s collection of approximately 40,000 objects and 80,000 object images, and the Reciprocal Research Network (RRN) that brings together 430,000 object records and associated images from 19 institutions.

Research Highlights

The Faculty of Arts at UBC is internationally renowned for research in the social sciences, humanities, professional schools, and creative and performing arts.

As a research-intensive faculty, Arts is a leader in the creation and advancement of knowledge and understanding. Scholars in the Faculty of Arts form cross-disciplinary partnerships, engage in knowledge exchange, and apply their research locally and globally.

Arts faculty members have won Guggenheim Fellowships, Humboldt Fellowships, and major disciplinary awards. We have had 76 faculty members elected to the Royal Society of Canada, and several others win Killam Prizes, Killam Research Fellowships, Emmy Awards, and Order of Canada awards. In addition, Arts faculty members have won countless book prizes, national disciplinary awards, and international disciplinary awards. 

External funding also signifies the research success of our faculty. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Faculty of Arts received $28.3 million through over 800 research grants. Of seven UBC SSHRC Partnership Grants awarded to-date, six are located in Arts, with a combined investment of $15 million over the term of the grants.

Since the 2011 introduction of the SSHRC Insight Grants and SSHRC Insight Development Grants programs, our faculty’s success rate has remained highly stable, and is consistently higher than the national success rate.

Graduate Degree Programs

Research Supervisors in Faculty

Recent Publications

This is an incomplete sample of recent publications in chronological order by UBC faculty members with a primary appointment in the Faculty of Arts.


Recent Thesis Submissions

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation Program
2018 Dr. Mahlberg explored the biography and works of the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja who lived from 1887-1947. This study, the first of its kind in English, considers Madetoja in light of issues of national identity and politics, and provides an overview of his place and musical contributions in the context of European musical culture. Doctor of Philosophy in Music, Emphasis Musicology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Kaldas studied perfectionism in patients. She examined how the need to appear perfect impacted patients' interpersonal relations and the process of group psychotherapy. This work can help inform clinicians on how to better attend to and address perfectionistic patients, allowing them to benefit more from psychotherapy. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Silveira studied how the brain allocates cognitive effort for lucrative outcomes. His work identified regions and neurotransmitters that bias organisms to put in mental effort for outcomes they want. Such work sheds light on how these processes may be disrupted in disorders characterized by blunted effort exertion, such as depression and schizophrenia. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2018 Dr. Cornwall developed a method of estimating the causal effect of social interactions on online social networks. He applied this method to show how social media users' emotions are affected by the emotions of their friends. This research helps to quantify the importance of emotions in written communication. Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)
2018 Dr. Preus developed a poetics of early modern theatrical form and argued that Shakespeare's characters consistently evoke the anxieties of being recognized and of belonging to given worlds. Her work demonstrates how these anxieties are articulated vis-a-vis a process of admission, both theatrical and metaphysical, and equally illusory. Doctor of Philosophy in English (PhD)
2018 Dr. Lachance's research makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Indigenous Theatre on Turtle Island. Her work provides excellent historical context and advances an original and deeply persuasive argument about the importance of dramaturgy in the conceptualization and embodied experience of Relational Indigenous theatrical methods. Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre (PhD)
2018 Dr. Prouse examined the relationship between infrastructure upgrades and military police occupation in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. She found that, together, they were used to secure territory for market formalization and often resulted in racial violence. Yet favela residents were central in re-shaping these projects for their own protection and needs. Doctor of Philosophy in Geography (PhD)
2018 Dr. Bil examined engagements between European and Maori plant sciences in nineteenth century Aotearoa New Zealand. He found that racist interpretations of Maori knowledge originated in work undertaken by scholars who lacked acquaintance with indigenous cultures and languages. This work contextualizes and helps to challenge present-day views. Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
2018 Drawing on various constructivist critical modalities, such as integral ecology, embodied philosophy, and affect theory, Dr. Rubel noted the continuing marginalization of the etho-ecological metaphysics of British Romantic poetry, circa 1790 to 1822. Doctor of Philosophy in English (PhD)
2018 Dr. Fahey's research took an interdisciplinary approach to studying media in order to examine different perspectives from which we remember the First World War in Canada. Doctor of Philosophy in English (PhD)