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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
2021 Dr. Na's study compared the efficacy of loving-kindness meditation, a novel intervention for reducing stigma of bipolar disorder, to an education-contact intervention. Results provide insight into the process of mental illness stigma reduction, by highlighting key intervention components, such as increase in knowledge and positivity toward others. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Walker studied the wholistic Cree political ethics that arises from an understanding of the land as okâwimâwaskiy or 'mother earth.' She argues that what okâwimâwaskiy teaches us is how regenerative political systems can be co-created through a wholistic compassionate, conscious care for all life. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2021 Dr. Jaffe examined the experiences of research participants in a clinical trial for opioid use disorder. Her research illustrated how social and structural factors can shape the production of biomedical knowledge and identified strategies for improving the effective and ethical conduct of research with marginalized populations. Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Dunkley's research examined sexual function in relation to eating disorder symptoms. Higher levels of disordered eating were associated with more sexual problems, and this relationship was partially explained by psychological traits, indicating that shared etiological factors that may underlie both sexual concerns and disordered eating. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Gonzalez examined the use of the sostenuto pedal in the piano works of the Italian pianist and composer Ferruccio Busoni. He argues that Busoni expanded the pedalling technique of the piano by finding new ways to sustain and release tones. Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano (DMA)
2021 Dr. White investigated the psychological causes and consequences of belief in karma and belief in God. She studied how diverse supernatural justice beliefs can be produced by the combination of intuitive cognitive tendencies and cultural factors, and she documented how these beliefs shape social cognition, moral psychology, and prosocial behaviour. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Saffer's research found that thoughts of suicide emerge due to people experiencing psychological pain and hopelessness, and that suicide attempts are far more likely to occur when a person has knowledge and access to lethal means. His research provides important treatment implications for helping people with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2021 Dr. Cockram's research explored the relationship between epistemic contextualism - roughly, the view that the word 'knows' is context-sensitive - and testimony as a source of knowledge. He argued that adopting a contextualist view of testimonial knowledge can help us solve outstanding puzzles in the epistemology of testimony. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)
2021 Dr. Reed asked, how do U.S. citizens compare to U.S. policymakers and scientific experts on nuclear weapons policy debates since 1985? He found that U.S. citizens are more capable at contributing to nuclear debates than generally recognized, but they are limited by a failure to appeal consistently to the best available information. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2021 Dr. Hicks studied the growth of China's modern tax system and the effects of this system on economic activity. The work demonstrated how enforcement and information frictions shape policy design and the effect on economic behavior. His work improves our understanding of taxation in emerging economies and is relevant to tax policy practitioners. Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)