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
2019 Dr. Pow examined the social support process. She found that what people think is at stake during stressful situations might play a role in shaping the support process. She also found that the type of support mobilized is related to fluctuations in pain intensity for those with rheumatoid arthritis. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Held studied political alienation in advanced industrialized democracies. His study shows the limitations of traditional institutional fixes and highlights the role of both procedural and substantive information for civic engagement. These findings may inform government strategies to increase youth voter turnout and political accountability. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Keough examined how experience with speech-related airflow affects whether we use it to discriminate between sounds. She showed that while adults can use airflow cues even in novel situations, the ability likely arises through developmental experience. Her work helps us understand how interactions with the world shape our perception of speech. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Heim studied the role of intonation in Canadian English for the negotiation of shared beliefs. He discovered that the shape of the sentence melody correlates with the interpretation of the speaker's confidence and their response expectation. This study sheds a new light on how speakers encode their attitudes and intentions in conversation. Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics (PhD)
2019 Dr. Song examined the newly created autonomy among female Catholic virgins of nineteenth-century Korea under the intensified control of French missionaries. This research invalidated the established conclusion in Korean history that Catholicism liberated Korean women and contributed to destroying the patriarchy in Choson Korea. Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
2019 Dr. Suh examined chamber music which was loved by the upper-middle class audiences in eighteenth and nineteenth century Korea. She brought light to the chamber music scenes through the position of musicians, placing musical issues as a window through which to explore the multiple realities of the pre-modern Korean society. Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
2019 Dr. Basham studied practices of knowledge production and definitions of expertise in technical encyclopedias from seventeenth-century China. Using a military encyclopedia as a case study, she argued that Chinese readers in this period defined expertise as mastery of text-based knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge to state policy. Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)
2019 Dr. Zhao investigated the fertility processes of Chinese immigrants in Canada. Her Embodied Dynamic model explains institutional, relational, and situational dynamics that shape how people cope simultaneously with immigration and childbearing. She argued how immigrants are received and screened channel them into different reproduction paths. Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Andrews explored indigenous spirituality in rural Ghana, focusing upon the intersections between music, ritual, and social development. His research illuminated the importance of recognizing and supporting indigenous spirituality as a key agent in mitigating cultural loss and how it contributes to a community's resilience. Doctor of Philosophy in Music, Emphasis Ethnomusicology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Kendall studied how cartoony faces, such as in comics or emojis, are processed when compared to photorealistic faces. She found evidence that illuminated how cartoony images are processed faster and more easily than photorealistic images, which may underlie their use in broader applications. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)