Master of Arts in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (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

The Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is a problem-focused and curiosity-driven interdisciplinary research institute and graduate program, with interest and expertise in a wide range of topics under the realm of environment and sustainability. Our mission is to foster sustainable futures through integrated research and learning about the linkages among human and natural systems, and to support decision making from local to global scales. More often than not, we achieve this through collaborations across students and faculty in a manner that recognizes our collective skills, intellectual histories and methodological approaches, and yet encourages our interdependencies as we consider real world problems.

The Resources, Environment and Sustainability (RES) graduate program provides a home for interdisciplinary students focusing on the integration of the biophysical (ecological), socio-economic, and political realities of resource management within the context of a sustainable, healthy environment.

What makes the program unique?

Over fifty percent of our core faculty are Canada Research Chairs and faculty mentoring has led to a high success rate of our students winning major fellowships and scholarships. There are multi-year funding packages offered for top applicants to the RES program. RES has over 400 alumni since the graduate program started in 1994.

 

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

24

Writing

24

Speaking

24

Listening

24

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.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

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 Resources, Environment and Sustainability (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.

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.

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

There is no guarantee of funding for Master’s students in RES. That being said, many of our master’s students receive funding during their program and/or receive scholarships or awards.

RES typically distributes one-time entrance awards to the majority of incoming students. The amount of these awards varies year to year, however over the last three years the awards have been in the range of $3000-$5000. This amount is in addition to any funding you may receive from a faculty grant, external scholarship or award.

Funding for Master’s students can come in the form of a Research Assistant (RA) position with a faculty member, a Teaching Assistant (TA) position as well as from various scholarships and awards.

However, as there is no guarantee of funding for your program, it is important to have a discussion with a potential supervisor about what funding might be available to you prior to accepting any offer of admission to the program.

Lastly, Canadians and Permanent Residents are eligible for government student loans and UBC bursaries.

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 current students, alumni and faculty lead and serve on numerous international, national, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and regional bodies dedicated to protecting the environment and improving well-being.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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

This program went through a name change in previous years that may have included curriculum changes. It was previously known as: Master of Arts in Resource Management and Environmental Studies until 2015. Historical data on this page may include data collected under the previous name(s) of the program.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications4965674636
Offers1091194
New Registrations84661
Total Enrolment1717151310
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.

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 Resources, Environment and Sustainability (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.
 
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.

  • Boyd, David (Human rights)
  • Chan, Kai (Natural environment sciences; Human Ecology; Ecology and Quality of the Environment; Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection; Applied Ethics; Values and Lifestyles; Sustainable Development; conservation finance; Conservation science; cultural ecosystem services; Ecosystem services; environmental assessment; environmental values; incentive programs; payments for ecosystem services; resilience; social-ecological systems; sustainability science)
  • Chang, Stephanie (All other social sciences, n.e.c.)
  • 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)
  • Gantois, Joséphine (Human Dimensions of Biodiversity Conservation)
  • Giang, Amanda (Atmospheric sciences; Mechanical engineering; Natural environment sciences; Atmospheric Pollutants; Chemical Pollutants; Climate Changes and Impacts; Public Policies; Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection)
  • Harris, Leila (Critical identity, ethnic and race studies; Gender, sexuality and education; Human rights, justice, and ethical issues; Africa; Development Policies; Drinking Water; Environmental justice; equity and social justice; Ethics and Fundamental Issues of Law and Justice; Fresh Water; Gender Relationship; gender and social difference; Ghana; International development; participatory resource management; Resources Management; Social Contract and Social Justice; Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection; South Africa; Turkey and Middle East; Water; water governance; water politics)
  • Johnson, Mark (Geology; Natural environment sciences; Agriculture; Biogeochemistry; Carbon cycle; Climate Changes and Impacts; data science; Ecohydrology; Ecology and Quality of the Environment; Fresh Water; Ground Water and Water Tables; Hydrological Cycle and Reservoirs; Land and Soil; land use; Running Water Hydrosystem; Water and Sustainability)
  • Kandlikar, Milind (Climate change impacts and adaptation; Product life cycle; Environmental policy; Research, science and technology policy; Environmental impacts; Air Quality and Climate Change; Technological Risk; Technology and Development)
  • Kremen, Claire (Natural environment sciences; Zoology; agroecological farming systems; Reconciliation of agricultural land use with biodiversity conservation; sustainable landscapes)
  • Oberg, Gunilla (History and philosophy of science (including non-historical philosophy of science); Other earth and related environmental sciences, n.e.c.; Indigenous peoples environmental knowledge; All other social sciences, n.e.c.; Science and knowledge production; Scientific controversies surrounding the evaluation of chemical risk (epistemic and ontological); Indigenous data justice as related to chemicals regulation & management; Social and cultural factors of chemicals regulation & management; Vocabulary, Knowledge, Significance and Thought Building; environmental health; The challenge of teaching science as a process and not a deliverer of irrefutable facts; The role of deliberation in science)
  • Ramankutty, Navin (Natural environment sciences; Public administration; Public policy; Public security policy; Agriculture; Climate Changes and Impacts; Climate impacts; Environment and Society; Global food security; Land use change; Sustainable agriculture)
  • Satterfield, Theresa (Sustainable development, environmental health, First Nation & land management, social and cultural consequences of contamination)
  • Wittman, Hannah (Sociology and related studies; Farming systems research; food sovereignty; Sustainable agriculture; socio-ecological systems; Agroecology)
  • Zhao, Jiaying (Natural environment sciences; Psychology and cognitive sciences)

Further Information

Resources, Environment and Sustainability fosters sustainable futures through integrated research and learning concerning the linkages among human and natural systems and supports decision making for local to global scales. RES provides a home for graduate students focusing on the integration of the biophysical (ecological), socio-economic, and political realities of resource management within the context of a sustainable, healthy environment.

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