Master of Science in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (MSc)
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 such interdisciplinary students, focusing on the integration of the biophysical (ecological), socio-economic, and political realities of resources 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.
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.
2) Meet Deadlines
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 Science in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (MSc)
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
|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
There is no guarantee of funding for Master’s students in RES program. That being said, many of our master’s students receive funding during their program and/or are successful in various scholarships/award competitions.
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.
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 Science in Resources, Environment and Sustainability (MSc). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
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.; natural disasters; risk; resilience; climate change adaptation; infrastructure systems; earthquakes; coastal hazards)
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)
Dowlatabadi, Hadi (Natural environment sciences; Energy Production; Economic Planning of Energy; Climate Changes and Impacts; Public Policies; New Technology and Social Impacts; Health Policies; Transportation Systems; The systematic study of systems at the interface of humans, nature, technology and policy)
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; Behavior Change; Cognitive Science; Environment and Society; Poverty; Psychology - Biological Aspects; Public Policy; Socio-Economic Conditions; sustainability)
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.