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. Asgarova explored the experiences of mothers who received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for their baby and decided to continue their pregnancy. This research study assists us in understanding the social, informational and emotional needs of these mothers, and provides insight as to how their experience could be improved. Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work (PhD)
2019 Doctor Kornreich Studied why non-democratic regimes promote political participation. He found that policymaking processes can be comparatively open and inclusive in cases of an elite conflict. He also discovered that non-democratic regimes accommodate the demands of frontline bureaucrats because they want to ensure smooth policy implementation. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Jia studied social resilience in children with ADHD. She found that having good relationships with parents and teachers contributed to adaptive social functioning in this population. Her research provides new potential targets for interventions aimed at helping children make friends and get along with peers. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2019 Dr. Whyte examined the historical origins and political geographies of American psychological warfare. His work has challenged convention and increased our understanding of communication and warfare. Doctor of Philosophy in Geography (PhD)
2019 Dr. Klippenstein provided a template for individuals and institutions interested in presenting an opera production of material from a Korean sung-storytelling tradition called pansori. His work furthers research such as this to become a common source for opera in the future and for this exposure to increase interest in pansori and similar traditions. Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice (DMA)
2019 Dr. Choquette studied territorial expansion in the history of Canada to look at the ideas that justified it. This work serves as a cautionary tale because it reveals that expansion, which required the displacement and dispossession of Indigenous Peoples, was made on the reason that it would improve their standard of living. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2019 Why do some states resolve their maritime conflicts where others do not? Dr. Osthagen examined why states settle maritime boundary disputes around the world and discovered that there are reasons why some states seem content to let boundaries remain unresolved. Understanding this is important as oceans rise on the international agenda in the 21st century. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Sutton studied the politics of U.S. financial reforms after 2009. He found that the need to restore the confidence of institutional investors limited the scope of the reforms. He also found that veto points and concerns about the loss of international competitiveness did not necessarily prevent tough regulations being adopted. Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)
2019 Dr. Arnadottir examined the emergence of contemporary artistic practices in Iceland through a study of the activities of the artist collective SUM from 1965 to 1978. She argued that Icelandic contemporary art is uniquely shaped by the country's historically peripheral status within the Danish empire and by the profound influence of romantic and nationalist discourse in Iceland. Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)
2019 Dr. MacKenzie investigated the processes that control bank erosion in steep, gravel-bed channels. She found that a small number of large grains stabilize the channel regardless of the amount of water and sediment supplied to the system. These results have implications for hazard mitigation and infrastructure design in mountainous regions. Doctor of Philosophy in Geography (PhD)