Doctor of Philosophy in Economics (PhD)

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.

 

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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 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)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

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$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
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)
* 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.

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 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 $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

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.

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 Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator 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

 20192018201720162015
Applications336304364257256
Offers3235353425
New registrations1017181113
Total enrolment7978716264

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 51.85% based on 54 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 36 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 4.00 years and the maximum time is 7.66 years with an average of 5.94 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. 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 [data updated: 27 October 2019].

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
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.
2014 Dr. Xu studied the correlation between the financial benefits of post-secondary education and choice of occupation. She identified greater financial rewards from certain occupations, which students should consider before starting a program. This challenges the assumption of policy makers that all post-secondary education brings financial benefits.
2014 Dr. Das Gupta's study of the determinants of nutrient consumption in India helps unravel hitherto unexplored factors that affect food demand in less developed countries. His work reveals the role played by conspicuous consumption in reducing calorie intake among the rural poor in India. This research should inform future anti-malnutrition policy.
2014 Dr. Kendall studied the effects of financial market panics on stock prices. His work showed that, during times of market panic, economic agents have reduced incentives to research the stocks that they trade. As a result, he concluded, market panics can result in inaccurate stock prices, even when all agents behave rationally.
2013 Dr. Feir conducted her studies in labour economics and applied econometrics. Donna used statistical analysis to demonstrate the dramatic, long term consequences of Canada's Indian Residential School system. Her findings will help both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike in their quest for truth and reconciliation.
2013 Dr. Hill studied ways in which high school students are affected by their peers. He showed that school friends of the opposite gender reduce academic achievement, causing self-reported difficulties getting along with the teacher and paying attention in class. His findings indicate larger effects in mathematics and science, particularly for females.
2013 Dr. Guang Dai studied how seniors make the decision of purchasing a long term care insurance policy. His work also explored why people's family names matter in rural China area. His research advances our understanding of an individual's economic behaviour and market outcome, under various cultural and institutional environments.
2013 Dr. Troncoso-Valverde studied models of gaming where auctioneers use information about the characteristics of their products to attract buyers. He found that auctioneers release more information when they compete for the same pool of buyers. His findings contribute to our understanding of the role played by information in competitive environments.

Pages

Further Program 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
 
 
 

Supervisor Search

 

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