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 more than 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

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 81 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 2020-2021 fiscal year, the Faculty of Arts received $34.6 million through over 900 research projects. 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

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
2020 Dr. Hollingdale tested the hypothesis that employing more women and people of colour in finance can lead to better financial risk decisions. She found that while firms with more diverse employees in risk-management roles do have better risk outcomes, diversity policies do little to stop the hostility that many minority-employees continue to face. Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
2020 Dr. McGuire conducted an ethnography of expensive rare disease drug access disputes in Canada. Through fieldwork with affected families, public drug plans, and pharmaceutical companies, she explored how high drug prices depend on particular framings of suffering that artificially separate rare disease patients from issues of collective concern. Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Sandlin explored the nature of affective qualities, asking: what makes objects pleasant? His discussion was focused particularly on pleasant smells and pleasantness attributed to objects. He argues that pleasantness cannot be independent of our experience, but rather that pleasantness is a relationship between our experience and the world. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)
2020 Dr. Crippen studied the endangered Tlingit (CLING-kit) language of Alaska, BC, & Yukon. He showed that its complex verb has an internal structure that is fundamentally the same as whole sentences in other languages. His work fits Tlingit into the larger theory of human language structure and supports its revitalization within the Tlingit community. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Byrne challenges long-standing claims about the psychology of partisanship. He shows that years of potential support cause an increase in partisanship, but not through the process of political socialization, or strengthening. This research sheds light on the psychology of partisanship and its impact on the stabilization of democracy over time. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Monje proposes a new approach to Colombian literature that focuses on the sociable nature of Literary Cafés, which unites a diversity of texts and analyzes them in a way that unveils writers' associations over time. This research shows an innovative way of reading literature, which can be applied in different spatio-temporal contexts. Doctor of Philosophy in Hispanic Studies (PhD)
2020 Dr. Weber examined the structure of words in Blackfoot, a First Nations language. They proposed a model of the correspondence relations between representations of the meaningful parts of language and representations of speech sounds. This research contributes to our understanding of linguistic structure in words of all languages more generally. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Bryce examined how an increase in one stress factor alters dopamine neuron physiology and impairs motivation and decision-making, areas known to be affected in depression. These studies aid in our understanding of how stress can lead to pathological outcomes and help identify new targets to treat non-affective symptoms of depression. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Waber designed and built open-source technologies to study the past use of stone tools. This research helps archaeologists better understand tool design and use in past societies, and sheds light on how humans engage with their technological environment. Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Falta examined Pablo Casals' views on interpretation and cello technique, and defined the extent of his influence on the methods of master cello pedagogues Diran Alexanian and Maurice Eisenberg. Dr. Falta showed how both works reflect Casals' ideas and together form the most significant expression of his teaching legacy. Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Instrument (DMA)