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
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||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|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)||$969.17 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,242.00 (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
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.
- 32 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 32 students was $13,246.
- 35 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 35 students was $10,330.
- 49 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 49 students was $15,323.
- 1 student received an external award valued at $35,000.
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, 21 June 2021 - 12:30pm
Wednesday, 23 June 2021 - 1:00pm
Thursday, 24 June 2021 - 9:00am
Friday, 25 June 2021 - 12:30pm
|2015||Dr. Cosman investigated how cities grow and change with economic activity. He studied the dynamics of the nightlife industry, cross-city differences in housing price growth, and new empirical methods for urban economics research. This research is useful to policymakers seeking to create vibrant cities and understand housing market cycles.|
|2015||Dr. Yu studied econometric models that may have multiple equilibria. He developed an approach to detect multiplicity of equilibria directly from observed variables. His study advanced our understanding of the relationship between the equilibrium behaviour and distribution patterns of data.|
|2015||Dr. Chen studied the performance of Chinese firms in the international market. He found that the most productive firms benefit more from the tough market competition since they can afford higher marketing costs. His research helped us to better understand the negative correlation between the productivity of Chinese firms and their export intensity.|
|2015||Dr. Duhaime-Ross evaluated public policies related to education in Canada. She found evidence that educating immigrant children in the main language spoken in their host region had a large impact on their employment outcomes at adulthood. Her research also advanced our understanding of how parents save for their children's postsecondary education.|
|2015||Dr. Tong studied forecast evaluation in financial markets from an investment perspective. He proposed a structural approach, which assessed the portfolio value of forecasts when there are limited historical data. His study advanced our understanding of the economic value of forecasts when there is limited previous information available.|
|2015||Dr. Yang studied the ways in which families change their work patterns after receiving cash. He showed that married women would temporarily leave their jobs right after receiving a tax refund. He concluded the lack of borrowing opportunity may play important roles in his findings, which have important implications for the design of fiscal policies.|
|2015||Dr. Zrill completed his doctoral studies in the field of Economics. He developed a new approach to measure and recover preferences from observed economic choices made by individuals. This method can be applied in order to assess the distribution and magnitude of certain behavioural characteristics in the population, for example attitudes toward risk.|
|2015||Dr. Wang examined the connection between corporate behaviour and macroeconomic phenomena. He found physical investment is decreasing with outsourcing, which contributes to the general downward trend of investment in the US. His research also includes connection between macro volatility and micro volatility, and the effect of monetary policy.|
|2014||Dr. Zhou suggests that the number of siblings in a Chinese family could affect the household's savings rate. She concludes that the One-child Policy raised aggregate savings rates. She also found that the policy of sending youth to do hard labour during the Chinese Cultural Revolution significantly affected their education, income, and happiness.|
|2014||Dr. Zhang studied the impact of immigration on Canada. She found that not only do immigrants decrease property crime rates the longer they stay, but also they are a highly educated and more diversified workforce that has positive productivity and adds value to the country.|
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.