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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

Research Supervisors in Faculty

or browse the list of faculty members in various academic units. You may click each unit to view faculty members appointed in that unit. View the full faculty member directory for more search and filter options.
Name Academic Unit(s) Research Interests
Gillham, David School of Music violin
Girard, Jonathan School of Music conducting, orchestra, opera, new music, conducting pedagogy, orchestral repertoire, symphonic music, orchestral music, orchestration, Berlioz, Stravinsky
Glassheim, Eagle Department of History European history (except British, classical Greek and Roman); History of Central and Eastern Europe; Environmental History
Glassman, James Francis Department of Geography Development Geography, Third World Urbanization, Economic Geography, Political Economy, Political Geography, Southeast Asia, Pacific Rim
Goetz, Friedrich Department of Psychology Psychology, social and behavorial aspects; Geographical psychology; Causes and consequences of regional personality differences; Mobility and migration; Wanderlust; Courage; Entrepreneurship; Personality development; open science
Gordillo, Gaston Department of Anthropology Space and violence, affect, ruins and ruination, critical theory and continental philosophy, object-oriented ontologies, resistance to agribusiness, Latin America, Argentina, the Gran Chaco
Gramling, David Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies Humanities and the arts; Social sciences; Medical, health and life sciences; multilingualism / monolingualism; Literary Theory; lgbtq queer studies; labour migration; applied linguistics; health communication; translation; Turkish literature; German studies
Green, David Vancouver School of Economics Antibiotic Resistance,  Infectious Disease, Epidemiology, Determinants of the wage and employment structure bridging between macro labour and micro labour identification issues
Griffin, Michael Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies, Department of Philosophy Greek philosophy, Ancient philosophy, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Proclus, Neoplatonism, Ancient logic
Gu, Xiong Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory Fine Art. Transcultural identity and hybridity. Through the critical angle of visual art, my work encompasses other elements such as sociology, geography, economics, politics, literature; and finally, the dynamics of globalisation, local culture and individual identity shifts. These shifts do not merely constitute a simple amalgamation of two original subjects, but instead, seek to create an entirely new space., Installation, painting, drawing, photography, contemporary art theory
Guerin, Ayasha Department of English Language and Literatures
Gusterson, Hugh Phillimore Department of Anthropology, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
Guy-Bray, Stephen Department of English Language and Literatures Renaissance poetry
Hall, Kathleen Department of Linguistics Linguistics; Phonology; Phonetics; Laboratory Phonology
Hall, David Geoffrey Department of Psychology Lexical and conceptual development, semantic development, language acquisition
Hallensleben, Markus Department of Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies Transcultural Studies; Artistic and Literary Theories; Literary or Artistic Works Analysis; Migrations, Populations, Cultural Exchanges; German Language Cultures and Literatures; Transnational Literatures; Visual Arts and Literature; European Studies; Literature and Sciences; Literature and Migration; Narratives of Belonging
Hamel, Keith School of Music Music composition; Composition; Interactive Computer Music
Hamlin, Kiley Department of Psychology Psychology and cognitive sciences; Cognitive development; Moral Judgement and Duty or Obligation Morals; Infant / Child Development; Foundations of Religious, Mystical, Mythical and Moral Thoughts; Infant moral cognition; infant social cognition
Hamm, Corey School of Music Piano and Chamber music
Hammerly, Christopher Department of Linguistics Syntax & Morphology; Psycholinguistics; Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)
Handy, Todd Department of Psychology aging and cognition, aging and exercise, cognitive neuroscience, attention, migraine, fMRI, Cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, attention and its impairment in clinical populations, mind wandering, and real-world human behaviour
Hanser, Amy Department of Sociology Work and employment; gender; consumption/consumerism; contemporary Chinese society, Culture and markets, inequality, gender, consumption, service work, China
Hanser, Jessica Department of History Early Modern Britain; Economic History; Great Divergence; Drugs in History; China and the West; Qing China; Slavery; British Empire; Microhistory; Global History
Hansson, Gunnar Department of Linguistics Linguistic structures (including grammar, phonology, lexicon and semantics); Cognitive sciences; theoretical phonology; morphology-phonology interface; phonological typology; historical linguistics (language change); locality relations; Icelandic
Harris, Mark Institute for Gender, Race, Sex and Social Justice Indigenous rights; land claims; the stolen generations; intellectual property; criminal justice issues; Cultural Heritage; postcolonial legal theory


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
2023 Dr. Gallagher examined the visual and musical features of pastoral landscapes (forests and fields) and anti-pastoral areas (ruins and caves) in the video games Final Fantasy X, XII, XIII, and XV. Her research shows that music significantly impacts players' perceptions of these areas, making them feel more relaxed and apprehensive, respectively. Doctor of Philosophy in Music, Emphasis Musicology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Sutherland investigated the complex lived experiences of trans men, trans women, and nonbinary people, with a focus on intergroup dynamics, healthcare challenges, and strategies of resilience. His findings showcase how these populations are navigating stigma-related barriers and working to improve their health outcomes. Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Ebrahimi Kahou has developed methods to offer solutions to tackle high-dimensional dynamic models in economics, utilizing insights from economic theory. The methodology utilizes a symmetry commonly found in many heterogenous agent models in economics. This work can be used to study more realistic models of income and wealth distributions. Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)
2023 Dr. Stewart's thesis investigates how the perception of mind in inanimate entities affects moral judgments. His studies suggest that perceiving the 'mind' of such objects, ideas, and emotions can shape our moral decisions and emotional regulations. These insights have implications for advancing our understanding of human moral psychology. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Schmalor's research shows that subjective SES and economic inequality influence self-centeredness. High inequality and high SES both make people more self-centered, and the gap in self-centeredness between high and low SES is bigger when inequality is high. This suggests that the selfishness of the rich depends on their economic environment. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Liu has shown the poetics of pidgin in Chinese literature. She challenges the stigmas associated with this language, emphasizing its aesthetics that embrace ambiguities and invite diverse interpretations. Through pidgin, her study reconfigures understandings of transcultural interaction and bridges Sinophone and Anglophone literatures. Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
2023 Dr. Mercadante's research provides evidence to suggest that one reason why greedy people always want more and are never satisfied with what they own is because they feel a brief boost of pride upon acquisition, such that the act of acquiring something is a highly positive emotional experience, but owning the item afterward does not elicit pride. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Pon composed a piece of orchestral music inspired by her early years with her child. Through the musical evocations and structure, she explored the mother-child-bond and related ideas like attachment, interconnection, awareness, time, and transience. Her work makes explicit a process of artistically realizing these human themes. Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition (DMA)
2023 Dr. Engstrom explored how someone's social class affects how much we trust them. She found people see lower-class people as more moral - but they also implicitly associate low social class with immorality, and believe lower-class people are more tempted by financial need to betray trust. This research shows the complexity of class stereotypes. Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
2023 Dr. Girija explored the history of an Indian port city of Calicut to show that contrary to long held beliefs, the city remained a dynamic commercial hub outside of European colonial system. In fact her work shows that the notion of Calicut's supposed decline has been an artefact of Eurocentricism which continues to shape scholarship up to this day. Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)