Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)

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 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.

 

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: 93

Reading

22

Writing

22

Speaking

22

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

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.

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 Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)
The program will review research interests of applicants and recommend/match faculty members during the application/evaluation process. Applicants should not reach out to faculty members directly.

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.

Research Information

Research Facilities

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

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

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.

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 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 $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 49 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $39,498.
  • 33 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 33 students was $13,467.
  • 17 students received Research Assistantships. Average RA funding based on 17 students was $13,717.
  • 19 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 19 students was $3,513.
  • 49 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 49 students was $22,471.
  • 3 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 3 students was $30,000.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
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 Outcomes

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 Education
Wilfrid 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)
Hosei University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Statistics Canada (2)
Market Surveillance Administrator
Volkswagen
Competition Bureau
Bank of Canada
Brattle Group
Government of Canada
Digiflex Information Systems
Analysis Group
International Monetary Fund
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Economist (3)
Senior Research Analyst (2)
Chief Economist (2)
Senior Economist (2)
Senior Analyst
Business Analyst
Senior Associate
Policy Research Analyst
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These 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.
Career Options

The market for Ph.D. economists is strong and the School actively supports the placement of our Ph.D. job market candidates. Our students have obtained positions at leading research and teaching universities around the world. A number of graduates also obtained excellent positions at government agencies, central banks, non-governmental organizations, and in the private sector.

At the Vancouver School of Economics, we are dedicated to ensuring the success of our students on the job market.

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.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications409282405273348
Offers5149333534
New Registrations1516141311
Total Enrolment8787868679

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 75% based on 46 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 30 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 5.12 years and the maximum time is 8.58 years with an average of 6.47 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
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. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. 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.

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Monday, 17 June 2024 - 1:30pm - 167, Iona Building, 6000 Iona Dr

Yige Duan
Essays on Worker Mobility, Spatial Labor Markets, and Urban Real Estate Markets

Tuesday, 18 June 2024 - 12:30pm - Room 200

Gabriel Moagi Brown
Essays in Development Economics: Languages, Firms and Information in Africa

Monday, 22 July 2024 - 9:30am

Sebastian Gomez Cardona
Essays on Household Finance

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 Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)
The program will review research interests of applicants and recommend/match faculty members during the application/evaluation process. Applicants should not reach out to faculty members directly.
 
 

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
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.
2020 Dr. Wei studied how mortgage market fluctuations in the early 2000's affected long-term labor market outcomes in the US. Her work also investigated the impact of tax incentives on small business growth. These findings have policy implications for labor market recoveries after a financial crisis and the promotion of small businesses.
2020 Dr. Mitra studied how the decline in labour union power led productivity to rise during recessions since the early 1980s in the US. His work also established a limited role for parents in determining income and consumption inequality among children. These findings have policy implications for temporary job-guarantee in recession and bequest tax.
2020 Dr. Snoddy studied regionalization in the labour market, particularly the effects of internal migration and union wage spillovers at the city level. He developed a new method of controlling for selection bias caused by internal migration, which uses machine learning tools to improve on existing methodologies.
2019 Dr. Hackinen studied how corporations use donations to non-profits as a tool to influence regulators during the notice and comment process for U.S. federal rulemaking. He also developed new tools measuring for political influence using the text of comments submitted to regulators.
2019 Dr. Simard-Duplain examined how divorce influences the labour supply of married women, from the time of marriage to the period following dissolution. She found that divorce impacts women by exacerbating vulnerabilities that already existed during marriage. This research informs how public policy can support people through marital transitions.
2019 Dr. Santarrosa studied the causes of widespread ethnic conflicts across Africa and Asia. His research shows why some leaders share power with representatives of other ethnic groups, while others opt for exclusion and hence advance conflict. His analysis also evaluates potential policies aimed at mitigating civil wars.
2019 Dr. Galindo da Fonseca studied the decision of an individual to open a firm or look for a job. He found that although unemployed are more likely to start a firm, they create smaller less successful firms. This work has important implications for understanding the consequences of policies promoting entrepreneurship.

Pages

Further Information

Specialization

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.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-GR

Classification

 
 
 
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