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, 18 July 2022 - 12:30pm
Friday, 22 July 2022 - 10:00am
Friday, 5 August 2022 - 9:00am
|2016||Dr. Shack used administrative data and school-choice programs from British Columbia in order to examine issues relating to the economics of education. Topics studied include how parents learn and make decisions about their children's progress in school, the impact of language immersion programs, and externalities from peers.|
|2016||Dr. Liang investigated the relationship between liberal trade policies and the domestic employment of workers. She found that opening up trade induces workers to change jobs and encourages firms to adjust hiring. These studies have important policy implications on issues about globalization and labor distribution.|
|2016||Dr. Maity studied the situation of women and a historically marginalized group called the Scheduled Tribes in India. She found that women's participation in workfare and historic property rights enhance women's and children's well-being at present. Her research shows the need to improve healthcare delivery to reduce health inequality faced by tribes.|
|2016||Dr. Frey investigated the relationship between poverty reduction policies and local politics in Brazil. His research shows that cash transfer programs can effectively empower the poor, reducing their vulnerability to vote buying, and also create incentives for politicians to increase the provision of public goods.|
|2016||Dr. Kei explored the impact of household finances on seniors' activity in the labour market. She applied innovative techniques to investigate the effect that public pensions have on elderly immigrants' labour force participation and work intensity. She also studied the influence that immigration has on native-born households' decisions to move or stay where they are.|
|2016||Dr. Becerra studied the effect of future pension benefits on workers' career choices in developing economies. He found that workers with better pension prospects are more inclined to work for firms over working for themselves to evade pension contributions. His research emphasizes the importance of workers' behavior for the design of pension programs.|
|2016||Dr. Li studied how international trade affects human capital accumulation and consequently alters regional comparative advantage and industry specialization. Using the data from China, she found that export expansion between 1990-2005 led to a regional divergence in educational attainment, and such amplified differences across regions reinforce the initial industry specialization pattern.|
|2016||Dr. Fenig studied the provision of public goods in our economic system. He designed experiments that investigated the role of rewards in facilitating coordination of contributors. He identified both altruistic and competitive participants. His study advances our understanding of human behaviour in an economic context and his results will help inform economic policy and practice.|
|2016||Do you think you can predict the behaviour of your competitors in strategic interactions? Dr. Calford studied the role that uncertain predictions of others' behaviour plays in strategic decision making. His research suggests that we can manipulate the degree of uncertainty in a strategic environment to influence behaviour in a predictable fashion.|
|2016||Dr. He studied the identification and estimation of nonlinear models, especially duration models and varying coefficient models. Results of the duration models in a game setup help to learn the effect of oligopoly competition on the survival analysis of the introduction of a new product into the market. The study of varying coefficient models with matching data from two independent samples provides useful inference on the data combination literature.|
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.