Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)
The Ph.D. program in economics at UBC owes its strength to the quality of its research faculty, extensive opportunity for student-faculty interaction, and a diverse offering of specializations for thesis work. Our faculty members specialize in a wide range of topics, including development economics, economic history, applied and theoretical econometrics, economics of inequality and gender, environmental economics, industrial organization, international finance, international trade, labour economics, macroeconomics, applied and theoretical micro, political economy, and public economics.
What makes the program unique?
The Vancouver School of Economics at UBC is one of the world's best: in a recent ranking based on research publications, the department ranked in the top 20 worldwide, and number one in Canada.
Each year, we typically admit about 15 new students to our program. As a result, our program is small enough to provide extensive research supervision, yet large enough to offer expertise in a wide range of fields.
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: 93
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 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 required by some applicants. Please check the program website.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date15 October 2022
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 Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)
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.
The school houses the Centre for Labour Studies and manages the British Columbia Inter-University Research Data Centre. As a result, unique training opportunities, research funding, and access to data and computing resources are available to our Ph.D. students.
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
Virtually all of the School's research faculty hold grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and other funding agencies, implying that opportunities for research assistantships and dissertation support are ample.
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
- 39 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 39 students was $16,930.
- 36 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 36 students was $7,950.
- 50 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 50 students was $17,520.
- 2 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 2 students was $20,833.
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.
76 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 75 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):
RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher EducationWilfrid Laurier University (3)
Universite de Sherbrooke (2)
University of Victoria (2)
University of Ottawa (2)
York University (2)
University of Calcutta (2)
University of Adelaide (2)
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (2)
Simon Fraser University (2)
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationStatistics Canada (2)
Market Surveillance Administrator
Bank of Canada
Government of Canada
Digiflex Information Systems
International Monetary Fund
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationEconomist (3)
Senior Research Analyst (2)
Chief Economist (2)
Senior Economist (2)
Policy Research Analyst
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
Upcoming Doctoral Exams
Monday, 20 June 2022 - 12:30pm - Room 167, Iona Building, 6000 Iona Dr, Vancouver
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.
Anderson, Kristin Siwan (Micro-level institutions, role of gender, studies of rural governments)
Baylis, Patrick (Economics; Climate Changes and Impacts; Economic Planning of Energy; climate change economics; energy economics; environmental economics)
Beaudry, Paul (National and International macroeconomic issues, Business cycles, inflation, financial markets, the macro-economic effects of technological change and globalization, and the determinants of aggregate employment and wages)
Bostanci, Gorkem (Macroeconomics (including monetary and fiscal theory); Industry economics and industrial organization; Firm Dynamics; Input Allocation and Productivity; Labor Demand; intellectual property)
Copeland, Brian (International trade, environmental economics, interaction between globalization, the environment, and the sustainability of renewable resources)
Couture, Victor (Economics; Urban economics and transportation; Efficiency of urban transportation systems; Potential for e-commerce to reduce spatial inequality; Preferences for social interactions; Consequences of gentrification)
Devereux, Michael (Economics, Macro and Monetary Economics Economic Policy, Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Deficits, Exchange Rates, Capital Flows, Financial Crises, International, monetary)
Drelichman, Mauricio (Economic history, Spain, Argentina)
Farinha Luz, Vitor (Microeconomic Theory,)
Ferraz, Claudio (governance and accountability in developing countries; how politics affect public service delivery; the effects of electoral rules on political selection; the role of the state in high crime and violence environments)
Fortin, Nicole (Wage inequality and its links to labour market institutions and public policies, including higher education policies economic progress of women, gender equality policies, and gender issues in education)
Francois, Patrick (African Autocracies, Economics of Developing Countries, Indian Village Governance, Macro, development, problems in development economies, political economy and non profits)
Gallipoli, Giovanni (Economics; Economic Policies; Economic Phenomena on a National or International Level; Economic Phenomena on an Individual or Organizational Level; applied microeconomics; computational economics; labor economics; macroeconomics)
Green, David (Antibiotic Resistance, Infectious Disease, Epidemiology, Determinants of the wage and employment structure bridging between macro labour and micro labour identification issues)
Hnatkovska, Viktoriya (International finance, macroeconomics, development economics in India )
Hoffmann, Florian (Labor Economics, Macro Economics, Income Inequality, Education, Mobility )
Hwang, Il Myoung (empirical industrial organization and market design; evaluating different school choice mechanisms)
Kasahara, Hiroyuki (Econometrics and international trade )
Lahiri, Amartya (Exchange rates and monetary policy, growth and development, international economics, macroeconomics, and development economics)
Lemieux, Thomas (labour market issues, Applied, labour, earnings inequality in Canada and other countries I am also interested in econometric methods used to analyze the earnings distribution and regression discontinuity designs)
Li, Hao (Microeconomic theory, theory of contracts and organizations, and games and decisions )
Li, Wei (Contract theory, applied game theory, and information economics I am deeply interested in the interaction of information and incentives in various economics and political environments )
Lowe, Matthew (preference formation; social integration; political selection)
Marmer, Vadim (Econometrics, fuzzy regression discontinuity designs, international business cycle models)
McCasland, Jamie (small firm hiring, job training, and network-based technology adoption in low-income countries)
|2022||Dr. Alonzo studied the interactions between geographic mobility and marriage markets. He showed that marriage increases the concentration of workers in high-productivity areas by affecting their migration patterns. His research highlights the role of families in shaping the geography of economic activity.|
|2022||Dr. Macdonald's research shows the importance of parole incentives in the prison system. He finds that their absence led to greater misconduct and lower rehabilitative effort by prisoners who returned to prison at higher rates as a result. His findings contribute vital evidence relevant to current efforts to reform and reduce prison populations.|
|2021||Dr. Kang developed a novel econometric framework for modeling persistent and low-frequency stochastic cycles - a crucial feature of macroeconomic and financial data. The framework is used to study the cyclical properties of macroeconomic and financial time series. The presence of stochastic cycles has important implications on macroeconomic models|
|2021||Dr. Hao studied the interaction in a dynamic game and the unobserved heterogeneity issue present in the data. She shows that during the initiation stage of collusion, firms learn to coordinate based on experience. She makes a contribution to the estimation process of panel regression and dynamic discrete choice models with unobserved heterogeneity.|
|2021||Dr. Hicks studied the growth of China's modern tax system and the effects of this system on economic activity. The work demonstrated how enforcement and information frictions shape policy design and the effect on economic behavior. His work improves our understanding of taxation in emerging economies and is relevant to tax policy practitioners.|
|2021||Dr. Milner studied the importance of education in 19th century Britain, showing the positive effects of publicly provided schools and of child labour legislation on the economic prospects of children. His work demonstrates that targeted public intervention can improve social mobility and insure against economic shocks.|
|2021||Dr. Enkhbaatar proposed a method that estimates household preference and hidden stock market participation costs from micro-panel data, and used it to analyze how the stock market collapse impacted household consumption. This research is useful for policymakers measuring the impact of financial crises and monetary policy on household consumption.|
|2021||Dr. Wiebe studied whether China's economic growth can be explained by meritocratic promotion, where leaders with higher GDP growth are rewarded with promotion. Focusing on prefecture leaders, he found no evidence for meritocracy, and found that the evidence from the literature is not robust. This research improves our understanding of modern China.|
|2021||Dr. Tam studied how the costs of lying, either derived from physiological and moral barriers or fear of being caught lying, affect people's behavior. This research assists policy makers in implementing effective self-reporting mechanisms.|
|2021||Dr. Gutierrez Cubillos showed that intergenerational mobility of earnings in Chile is non-linear, with very high mobility for the bottom 80 percent and very high persistence for the top. He also developed methodologies to include corporate retained earnings in the measurement of income inequality and applied them to Canada and Chile.|
Sample Thesis Submissions
Economics covers many fields including: macroeconomics, labour economics, international trade and finance, environmental economics, industrial organization, information and incentives, economic theory, health economics, development economics, and economic history.