Master of Arts in Geography (MA)
Our program introduces students to independent research while broadening and deepening their contact with a selected aspect of Geography. Research can be conducted in these general thematic sub-disciplines: Economic Geography; Feminist Geography; Historical Geography; Indigenous Geographies; Political Geography; Social and Cultural Geography; Urban Geography; Environment and Sustainability; and Geographic Information Science.
What makes the program unique?
Our MA program is flexible, research-intensive, and student-driven. Students come to the program from a variety of backgrounds and are mentored by outstanding scholars in human geography and geographical computational science. They are prepared for careers in government, the private sector, or non-profit organizations, based on the expertise they develop in a specific field of research.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 100
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
Applicants are required to upload a copy of their CV (maximum three pages).
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date15 September 2022
September 2024 Intake
Application Open Date15 September 2023
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Geography (MA)
The most important first steps in applying for admission to our graduate program is finding and approaching a potential supervisor in the department. This gives you an opportunity to discuss the research you are interested in completing as a graduate student. Every applicant to the graduate program should, in principle, contact a potential supervisor to confirm that they are interested in reviewing the application. This does not constitute a promise from the supervisor that the student will be admitted, since admissions decisions are made by the Graduate Committee; it only serves as an indication that the potential supervisor is willing to consider supervising a new, incoming student.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
Research can be conducted in, but are not limited to, these specific topical areas: Climate and Global Change; Cities; Forests and People; Geographical Analysis; Geopolitics, Biopolitics and Security; Globalization and Development; Nature, Society, and Sustainability; Social Theory; Water, Snow, and Ice.
The Geography Department at UBC has had its own building with nearly 50 graduate office desk spaces and research labs combined together. One of the main resources located inside the Geography building is the Geographic Information Centre, which offers support services for Geography undergraduate & graduate students, faculty and the general public. Holdings include maps specializing in BC, atlases, books, video recordings, course reserves on geographical topics, and BC’s largest air photo collection. The holdings form a teaching, reference and research centre located in the Department of Geography.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,767.18||$3,104.64|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
The Department of Geography ensures all incoming MA students a minimum level of $23,000 per year for a duration of two years through scholarships, teaching assistant and/or research assistant positions. However, if students are successful in their scholarship applications, their financial support will be adjusted. Students without external funding are required to apply for the Affiliated Fellowship, SSHRC or NSERC scholarships (where eligible).
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Arts in Geography (MA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Arefin, Mohammed (Human geography; History of sciences and technology (except medicine and health care); urban geography; discard studies; urban political ecology; Environmental justice; waste; sanitation; geographical political economy)
Bakker, Karen Jessica (Political economy, political ecology, environmental studies, development studies, and resource and environmental management)
Barnes, Trevor (Vancouver)
Bergmann, Luke (Social and economic geography; Geomatics; Globalization)
Dempsey, Jessica (wrestle with the theoretical and historical-geographical complexities of environmental politics as it shapes and is shaped by the entanglement of state, economy, science, and culture)
Donner, Simon (Atmospheric sciences; Oceanography; Other media and communication; Climate Changes and Impacts; Climate change science; Climate policy; Coastal Ecosystems; Marine Environment; Prediction and Climatic Modeling; Science communication; Net-zero emissions policy)
Eaton, Brett (Rivers and climate change, fish habitat, disturbances)
Evenden, Matthew (All other social sciences, n.e.c.; Historical studies; Environmental History; Historical geography; Rivers; Water; War and environment; Hydro-electricity)
Glassman, James Francis (Development Geography, Third World Urbanization, Economic Geography, Political Economy, Political Geography, Southeast Asia, Pacific Rim)
Hassan, Marwan (Social and economic geography; Geological and Geomorphological Processes; Channel Stability; Fluvial geomorphology; Landscape evolution; Sediment transport; Surface hydrology)
Hiebert, Daniel Joseph (Social and economic geography; immigration, diversity, national security; social policy; urban geography)
Klein, Naomi (crisis and political transformation, large-scale shocks as catalysts and accelerators for broad-based social change)
Klinkenberg, Brian (Geomatics; Biogeography; Bioinformatics; Environmental Health; Geographic Information Science; Environmental Remote Sensing; Spatial Analysis; Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and Citizen Science Initiatives)
Knox, Sara (Atmospheric sciences; Social and economic geography; Atmosphere (Including Chemical Aspects); Biogeochemistry; climate change; Climate Changes and Impacts; Ecological and Ecophysiological Processes; Ecology; Ecosystem (Aquatic and Terrestrial); Hydrology; Micrometeorology)
Koppes, Michele (climate change, glaciers, natural hazards, landscape change, polar regions, ice-ocean interactions )
Kuus, Merje (transnational regulatory practices in contemporary Europe, but the empirical focus undergirds a broader interest in knowledge and power, structure and agency, in bureaucratic and policy-making settings; political identity, subject-formation, and center-periphery relations, especially in contemporary Europe)
le Billon, Philippe (Geography, politics, africa, environmental, human geography, development, security)
Lewis, Avi (Social and political change, Communication, Documentary filmmaking, Climate change)
McKendry, Ian (Air pollution Climatology)
Moore, Robert Daniel (Physical and catchment hydrology; Fresh Water; Ice and Snow; fish habitat; forest hydrology; glacier hydrology; hydroclimatology; Hydrology; snow hydrology; stream temperature)
Narayan, Priti (Social and economic geography; urban development; South Asia; state-society relations)
Peck, Jamie (Social and economic geography; Socio-Economic Conditions; Economic geography)
Pratt, Geraldine (Feminist Geographies)
Schwartz, Naomi Beth (Social and economic geography; community ecology; Ecosystem Services and Conservation Policy; Environmental Change; GIS; remote sensing; Tropical forest landscapes)
Sundberg, Juanita (Militarization and Everyday Life in the US-Mexico Borderlands, environmental dimensions of US's border security policies in the Mexican border)
Sample Thesis Submissions
Geography covers physical, human and regional geography.
Physical geography has a strong natural science emphasis and focuses on physical and ecological systems at or close to the earth's surface, and the interaction of these systems with people. The major substantive specializations are biogeography, climatology, GIS and remote sensing, geomorphology, and hydrology.
Human geography explores the connections between human geography and political economy, social theory, and cultural studies and pursue their substantive implications for interpreting changes in past and present landscapes. Other work focuses on the political and policy aspects of these changes. Major areas of specialization are development geography, economic geography, feminist geography, historical geography, and social and cultural geography. Work in these fields often feeds into a strong general interest in urban geography and intersects with work in environmental geography.
Regional geography focuses on the following regions: Canada, Asia and the Pacific Rim, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Latin America.