Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD)

Overview

ISGP is a unique program that gives students the freedom to create their own individualized graduate program based on specific research interests. It allows students to bridge two or more academic disciplines.

ISGP gives you the opportunity to:

  • pursue interdisciplinary research that is individually designed by the student
  • "think outside the box"
  • select courses and research supervisors from every department at UBC
  • participate in interdisciplinary lectures, workshops and seminars
  • apply for funding for exceptional students
  • participate in interdisciplinary lectures, workshops and seminars.
 
 

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: 90

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

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 not required.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 22 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 22 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 22 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 22 January 2022

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2022
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2023
Transcript Deadline: 22 January 2023
Referee Deadline: 22 January 2023
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 January 2023
Transcript Deadline: 22 January 2023
Referee Deadline: 22 January 2023

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 Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD)
All applicants need firm commitment from a supervisor prior to applying.

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.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,052.34 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,126.20 (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

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.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 33 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 $27,230.
  • 4 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 4 students was $5,562.
  • 5 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 5 students was $16,520.
  • 31 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 31 students was $11,207.
  • 14 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 14 students was $31,881.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - 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.

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

72 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 66 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
University of British Columbia (11)
Simon Fraser University (7)
Western University (Ontario)
Capilano University
Ryerson University
Swinburne University of Technology
University of Alberta
Providence University College
Stanford University
Dalhousie University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Vancouver Coastal Health (2)
BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
Child Health BC
St. Michael's Hospital
TandemLaunch
BC Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health
Nigel Haggan & Associates
Government of Canada
RCMP
The White Mountain School
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Consultant (5)
International Chief Evaluator, President
General Partner
Developmental Consultant
Psychiatrist
Veterinarian, Animal welfare advocate
Project Manager
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Teacher
Scientist
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.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20202019201820172016
Applications2129251717
Offers111491311
New registrations111291111
Total enrolment7987838979

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 82.05% based on 39 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 21 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 3.66 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 6.15 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: 22 April 2021]. 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: 29 October 2020].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Tuesday, 9 November 2021 - 12:30pm

Ketty Anyeko
Lived Justice: Women's Senses of Justice, Reparations and Decision-Making After Wartime Sexual Violence in Northern Uganda

Research Supervisors

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.

  • Kerr, Thomas (harm reduction, injection drug users, HIV / AIDS, safe injection site, addiction, HIV/AIDS, injection drug use, health policy and service evaluation, and community-based research methods)
  • Kornelsen, Jude (providing an evidence base to inform decisions on the planning of rural maternity services; advancing our understanding of women)
  • Kuhl, David (understanding compassion fatigue/vicarious trauma, burnout, moral distress, grief, and psychological well being in health care providers)
  • Kwon, Brian (Spinal cord injury)
  • Loock, Christine Ann (Brain, Behaviour & Development; Social Pediatrics; Health Inequities; Child-health medical-home: children/families, integration / patient care / community services; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; Pediatric Sleep Disorders)
  • Ogrodniczuk, John (Mental Health and Society; Psychodynamic Psychotherapy; Personality Disorders; Group Psychotherapy; Men’s Mental Health; Alexithymia; Athletes)
  • Shannon, Kate (epidemiology, HIV/AIDS, sex work, public health, community health, gender epidemiology, health prevention, social determinants of health, community-based research, gender inequities, sexual health, vulnerable populations, structural determinants, qualitative evaluations, HIV/STI prevention, Social determinants of sexual health, HIV/AIDS and access to care among marginalized populations, particularly youth, sex workers, and women at-risk and living with HIV)

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. Lefkowich designed and piloted methods for community-based digital storytelling. Using personal reflections, she illustrated how filmmakers and academics normalize, conceal, and defend racism and colonialism as best practices. To disrupt this pattern, she offered story strategies that encourage greater accountability, creativity, and bravery.
2021 Dr. Moon used comics as a theoretical and formal intervention to explore perspectival shifts between science and literature in early 20th-century Britain. Her format-bending research revealed how works by Arthur Eddington, James Jeans, Olaf Stapledon, and Virginia Woolf moved beyond singular, Earth-centered, and human-centered perspectives.
2021 Dr. Cole explored the transformative potential of public sector innovation labs in catalyzing change on complex social and environmental challenges. She worked with co-researchers from Canada and Europe, and developed theory and frameworks to strengthen the research and practices of public sector and social innovation labs.
2021 Utilizing an Indigenous Determinants of Health framework, Dr. Lebrun collaborated with Kanaka Maoli women leaders on Kaua'i on issues of food sovereignty, land tenure, and health. This research is being used to garner grants to establish a Food Sovereignty project on Hawaiian Homelands.
2021 Dr. Janet Currie examined the patient, clinician, socio-cultural and policy factors that have contributed to an increase in the off-label prescribing of domperidone to treat low breastmilk supply in BC. The research identifies approaches that can be used to improve the overall safety, effectiveness and transparency of off-label prescribing.
2020 Dr. Singh examined how modern European technology played a central role in colonizing Punjab. He showed that technology played such a central role that coloniality should be understood as techno-coloniality. He demonstrated that non-Western traditions, such as the Sikh spiritual tradition, can play a crucial role in building a decolonial future.
2020 Dr. Jafer explored politics of victimhood and agency in the everyday lives of a religious minority community in BC. She demonstrated that subtle acts of resistance, when motivated by religious convictions, create religio-political identities that insist on active citizenship and equal recognition, providing a new interpretation of victimhood.
2020 Dr. Byers explored how rat movement in cities influences rat-associated disease risks and how interactions with rats impact the mental health of residents. Her work reveals that rats have negative impacts on physical and psychological health, and that mitigation of these risks requires holistic One Health solutions.
2020 Dr. Jiang studied Chinese planning practices on sustainable cities and developed a set of ecological and social metrics for Chinese ecocities. This study contributes to urban community research, presenting a dialogic critique between Western scholars and local Chinese practitioners on how the ecocity concept has been framed locally in China.
2020 Dr. Nasiopoulos examined how real and implied presence are similar or different from each other, and explored potential mechanisms that can account for the effects observed. The evidence from this group of studies furthers our knowledge of social presence effects.

Pages

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information

Specialization

Interdisciplinary Studies allows students to design their own graduate program by bringing together three or four qualified faculty from different departments or units. Because there are no constraints on which fields are brought together, there are virtually no two students in the same subfield.

Program Website

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-NJ
 
 

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2022

September 2023 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2022
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2023
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2023
 
Supervisor Search
 

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