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.
Admission Information & Requirements
In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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 Date15 September 2020
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,698.56||$2,984.09|
|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)||$944.51 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,954.00 (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 and Research Assistantships
Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.
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 (Sustainable Development, Environmental Law and Policy, Human Rights and Environment, Rights of Nature, Environmental justice, Plastic Pollution)
Chan, Kai (Human Ecology, Ecology and Quality of the Environment, Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection, Applied Ethics, Values and Lifestyles, Sustainable Development, Ecosystem services, sustainability science, Conservation science, cultural ecosystem services, environmental values, conservation finance, environmental assessment, social-ecological systems, resilience, payments for ecosystem services, incentive programs)
Chang, Stephanie (natural disasters, risk, resilience, climate change adaptation, infrastructure systems)
Dowlatabadi, Hadi (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 Pollutants, Climate Changes and Impacts, Chemical Pollutants, Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection, Public Policies)
Harris, Leila (Drinking Water, Fresh Water, Water, Resources Management, Development Policies, International Development, Gender Relationship, Ethics and Fundamental Issues of Law and Justice, Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection, Social Contract and Social Justice, water politics, water governance, Environmental justice, gender and social difference, equity and social justice, participatory resource management, Turkey and Middle East, Africa, Ghana, South Africa)
Johnson, Mark (Hydrological Cycle and Reservoirs, Land and Soil, Climate Changes and Impacts, Agriculture, Ecology and Quality of the Environment, Running Water Hydrosystem, Fresh Water, Ground Water and Water Tables, Ecohydrology, Carbon cycle, land use, Water and Sustainability, Biogeochemistry, data science)
Kandlikar, Milind (Environment Management and Protection, Climate Changes and Impacts, Clean Technologies, Air Quality and Climate Change, Technological Risk, Technology and Development)
Oberg, Gunilla (Science and Knowledge, Language, Knowledge, Significance and Thought Building, Urban and Rural Planning Policies, Urban, Industrial and Agricultural Waste Water Treatment, Learning and Development Approaches, Sustainable Development, Environment and Society, Environmental Health, Social and Cultural Factors of Environmental Protection, Chemical Pollutants, Risk Management)
Ramankutty, Navin (Environment and Society, Agriculture, Climate Changes and Impacts, Global food security, Sustainable agriculture, Climate impacts, Land use change)
Satterfield, Theresa (Sustainable development, environmental health, First Nation & land management, social and cultural consequences of contamination)
Wittman, Hannah (Social Movements, Environment and Society, Dynamics of Social Transformations, Agriculture, food sovereignty, Sustainable agriculture, socio-ecological systems, agro-ecology)
Zhao, Jiaying (Psychology - Biological Aspects, Environment and Society, Socio-Economic Conditions, Cognitive Science, Poverty, sustainability, Behavior Change, Public Policy)
Further Program 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.