Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Canadian Immigration Updates

Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

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.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
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

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

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

Document Requirements

Applicants are required to upload a copy of their CV (maximum three pages).

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2024
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2024
Referee Deadline: 01 January 2025
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2024
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2024
Referee Deadline: 01 January 2025

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

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.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Geography (MA)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

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.

Citizenship Verification

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 Information

Research Focus

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.

Research Facilities

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

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

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 $26,000 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.

Graduate 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 supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate 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.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

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.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

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.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Options

Our program gets you started on track – Graduates of our M.A./ M.Sc. program have been hired as professionals in government, consulting agencies, non-governmental organizations, business and as instructors at colleges and universities. Many have gone on to continue their doctoral study.

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.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications4444483947
Offers126588
New Registrations66478
Total Enrolment1718181917

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 91% based on 22 students admitted between 2015 - 2018. Based on 22 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 1.7 years and the maximum time is 3.29 years with an average of 2.3 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Geography (MA)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

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.

 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

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)
  • Baada, Jemima (intersections of gender, climate change, migration, health and development equity)
  • 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 Science; climate change impacts; Climate policy; Coastal Ecosystems; Marine Environment; Climate modelling and prediction; Science communication; Net-zero emissions; Coral reefs)
  • 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)
  • Everhart, Avery (Health geography; Population geography; Geographic information system (GIS and GPS) applications; Health and community services; Bioinformatics, n.e.c.; Social and cultural geography; Sex and gender-based analysis; Ethical, legal, and social issues in health, health systems and health research; Gender and health relationship; Health information systems (including surveillance); Geographic Information Science; Medical Geography; Demography & Population Studies; Critical Data Studies, Critical GIS & Digital Geographies; Transgender Studies; Intersectionality in Empirical Social Science; Health Services Research & Access to Healthcare; Community-Based Participatory Research; Feminist & Queer Theories; Measuring & Combatting STructural Racism)
  • Fabris, Michael (Gender, Race, Class, Power, Colonialism, Justice, Indigenous jurisdiction within Canadian cities, Piikani Nation’s attempts to challenge the construction of the Oldman River Dam)
  • Glassman, James Francis (Development Geography, Third World Urbanization, Economic Geography, Political Economy, Political Geography, Southeast Asia, Pacific Rim)
  • Hassan, Marwan (Other physical sciences, n.e.c.; Earth and related environmental sciences; Geological and Geomorphological Processes; Channel Stability,; Fluvial geomorphology; Landscape evolution; Sediment transport; Surface hydrology)
  • Hudson, Peter (Pan-Africanism and the Black radicalism; Political Economy, capitalism, imperialism; Archives, historiography, and historical methodologies)
  • Klein, Naomi (crisis and political transformation, large-scale shocks as catalysts and accelerators for broad-based social change)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Valadares, Desiree (Architecture; Social and economic geography; territoriality, occupation and empire in Canada and the non-contiguous US)
  • Wang, Jessica (US history, 19th and 20th centuries, history of science and medicine, political and intellectual history, social and urban history, US international history )

Pages

Further Information

Specialization

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.

 

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGMMAA-KV
 
 

September 2025 Intake

Application Open Date
15 September 2024
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 December 2024
International Applicant Deadline
15 December 2024
 
Supervisor Search
 

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