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. Taylor examined the relations between North Korea and Latin America during the Cold War, thereby contributing to a better understanding of the historical development of North Korean foreign policy, and providing a new, transnational perspective on the political and intellectual history of the Latin American Left. Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
2020 Dr. Dunn examined the relationship between real estate and theatricality in downtown Vancouver. Through case studies that detailed the urban histories of theatre spaces, she showed that downtown Vancouver is unique in its inability to sustain large-scale locally-produced theatre, and that this gap has perhaps been filled by real estate development. Doctor of Philosophy in Theatre (PhD)
2020 Dr. Robertson improved sex prediction in the adult human os coxa (hip bone) to 98-100% by accounting for sex-based shape, body size, and fluctuating asymmetry. Her methods can be applied with confidence in forensic or biological anthropological contexts. Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Leblanc's research explores the evolution of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships in Canada. She argues that non-Indigenous Canadians should privilege responsibility toward others above inwardly-focused rights, while approaching decolonization as foreigners who require invitation onto Indigenous lands and into Indigenous societies. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2020 Dr. Gaudet explored how health awareness discourse under capitalism shapes understandings of health and what it means to be healthy. Her findings show that while health awareness has been long analyzed in terms of individual public health campaigns, the rhetoric of "health awareness" is often taken up by commercial marketing campaigns. Doctor of Philosophy in English (PhD)
2020 Dr. Van der Berg studied the cognitive mechanisms that underlie our appreciative engagement with things we value. He showed how existing theories of appreciation, in their narrow focus on our evaluative judgements and experiences of pleasure, overlook the importance of how our attention is modulated as episodes of appreciation unfold. Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy (PhD)
2020 Dr. Fry compared language analyses derived by humans and machines. He demonstrated that unsupervised machine learning is able to generate language analyses that are comparable to those generated by humans. His research adds to the growing dialogue that machine learning has become a useful tool for theoretical linguists. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
2020 Dr. Haddon investigated the impact of social class on views towards inequality. He found that the working classes are concerned with inequality in both unequal and more equal societies, but as levels of inequality increase, the views of the various classes begin to converge. This may have policy implications as income inequality continues to grow. Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
2020 Dr. Sengupta focused on retrieving the suppressed accounts of the histories of early modern kalamkari makers from the Coromandel region, India, and recognized their integrity. His study identified the cruciality of bringing the active presence of contemporary artisans into this investigation to reconstruct the agency of historical kalamkari makers. Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)
2019 Dr. Sanchez explored the continuing impact of Samuel Beckett's literary and dramatic texts on contemporary art practices, focusing specifically on the works of three artists: Stan Douglas, Paul Chan and Tania Bruguera. She identified the "Beckett Effect" as politically and artistically significant in contemporary art. Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)