Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Overview

The Department of Political Science offers Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs that are structured around five substantive fields: Canadian politics, international relations, comparative politics, political theory, and U.S. Politics. We offer in the range of 25 graduate seminar courses per year and ample support for mentoring grad students in their professional development, through research collaboration, workshops, and colloquia. We have very successful doctoral graduates, judged by our record of placing graduates in academic positions in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and elsewhere.

What makes the program unique?

One of the key criteria that sets the Political Science department at UBC apart is the methodological breadth and diversity of research interests of faculty members, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. We have particular strengths for graduate students in:

  • indigenous politics, with indigenous faculty members in two different subfields
  • critical political theory and identity politics
  • democratic theory and practise
  • political behaviour, parties and elections
  • comparative public policy and institutions
  • migration, social diversity, and identity
  • environmental politics
  • international norms, institutions and goverance, and human security.

Quantitative Methods: we are particularly strong on quantitative methods for students using this kind of approach, with the deepest lineup of persons engaged in systematic quantitative research and the country’s most robust sequence of graduate methods courses for those students wishing to acquire a sophisticated understanding of quantitative analysis.

Regional Area Strengths: we are exceptionally strong in the study of Asian politics, the politics of the Americas, European politics, U.S. politics, and Canadian politics.

 

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Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

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. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

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.

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:

92
22
25
22
23
6.5
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0

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 required by some applicants. Please check the program website.

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 supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

Research Information

Research Focus

Canadian Politics: federalism, the Canadian electoral system, the constitution, the courts, electoral reform, parliamentary institutions, political parties, Canadian public policy, Canadian political thought, voting behaviour
Comparative Politics: democratization and democratic institutions, state-society relations, comparative public policy, comparative political economy, constitutional design and comparative political institutions, executive politics, separation of powers, governance, non-governmental organizations, and immigration politics
International Relations: International Relations Theory, International Political Economy, International Security, International Law and Organization, International Norms, Human Security, the politics of international law, and global governance
Political Theory: democratic theory, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism, identity politics, critical theory, history of political thought

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
17 July 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 07 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 07 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 07 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 07 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 January 2021

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* 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

We offer full TA funding to incoming MA students.  We also offer some additional fellowship funding to our top candidates, including tuition coverage and Research Assistantships, if and when available.

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.

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 Calculator

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

Career Options

Our MA students have been highly successful in pursuing both academic and non-academic careers.

In recent years, approximately one-third of MA graduates from our program have gone on to pursue a PhD. Many have been offered PhD admission at US institutions such as Duke University, University of California San Diego, University of Michigan, Brown University, John Hopkins University, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin; many have been admitted at Canadian institutions, such as University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and Queen’s University; and some have been admitted to programs outside North American such as Cambridge University.

Many of our MA graduates have gone on to careers in the worlds of policy, politics, and NGOs, within Canada and internationally. Past MA students have taken jobs as policy analysts, planners, data analysts, researchers, and consultants. They have gone on to work for government agencies, NGOs, and private sector employers including the United Nations Development Program, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, Statistics Canada, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the First Nations Health Authority, the City of Vancouver, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Master of Arts in Political Science (MA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications144141119120131
Offers3724403433
New registrations1914202215
Total enrolment3435423830

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 95.18% based on 83 students admitted between 2009 - 2012. Based on 66 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 0.82 years and the maximum time is 5.33 years with an average of 1.56 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. 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 [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

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.

  • Ostwald, Kai (comparative politics; ethnic politics, public policy, and the politics of development)
  • Price, Richard (International Cooperation, international relations, Ethics and World Politics, International Relations Theory, Global Norms, Moral Psychology)
  • Quirk, Paul (United States Politics, US Politics, American Politics, Congress, Presidency, US elections, US politics)
  • Sundstrom, Lisa (nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), global activism, human rights, Democratization, authoritarianism, civil society, Russian/ post-Communist politics, Western aid, and NGOs in global politics)
  • Tiberghien, Yves (global politics)
  • Tupper, Allan (Canadian Politics, Western Canadian Politics, Government Ethics, Public Administration, Canadian Politics and Government, Public Management, Public Policy and Western Canadian politics)
  • Warren, Mark (Democratic theory)
  • Weaver, Michael (Politics of violence, Ethnic politics and media, Causes and consequences of ethnic violence, Lynching, Legitimacy of state and non-state violence)
  • Wright, Matthew (Political psychology, Political behaviour, immigration, Immigration Policy, migration, public opinion, National identity, American politics, Comparitive politics)
  • Zhou, Yang-Yang (Comparative Politics, migration, refugees, National identity, Conflict, Development, Experiments)

Pages

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Program Information

Specialization

The program covers the following subjects:

  • indigenous politics, with indigenous faculty members in two different subfields
  • critical political theory and identity politics
  • democratic theory and practise
  • political behaviour, parties and elections
  • comparative public policy and institutions
  • migration, social diversity, and identity
  • environmental politics
  • international norms, institutions and goverance, and human security.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGMMAA-UF
 
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
17 July 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
07 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
07 January 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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