Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies (PhD)


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.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Interdisciplinary Studies
Program Components
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


Supervisor commitment required prior to application?


Funding Sources

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.

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
BC Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health
Nigel Haggan & Associates
Government of Canada
The White Mountain School
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Consultant (5)
International Chief Evaluator, President
General Partner
Developmental Consultant
Veterinarian, Animal welfare advocate
Project Manager
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
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.

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (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. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

New registrations1111141210
Total enrolment8979807675

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 81.25% based on 32 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 32 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 2.00 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 5.52 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 9 March 2018]. 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 September 2017].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 23 March 2018 - 9:00am - Room 351, C.K. Choi Building, 1855 West Mall

Kilim Park
Kisah Sukses: Stories of Indonesian Migrant Worker Returnees Living in Greater Jakarta

Thursday, 12 April 2018 - 9:00am - Room 203

Lisa Kim Viljoen
Using a Neurodevelopmental Model of Therapeutics (NMT) Based Behaviour Plan in Elementary Schools

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 SocietyPsychodynamic 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)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Jennifer Mary Selman
    "Dr. Selman examined the lasting impact of the compassion of strangers. She describes how it broadens perspectives of strangers, builds gratitude, and positively alters one's sense of self. She presents her work as an a/r/tographer, an innovative means of demonstrating the value of addressing and appreciating the role of compassion in our lives." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Jennifer Marie Wolowic
    "Dr. Wolowic studied digital technology use among Nisga'a and Tsimshian youth before and after the arrival of Facebook and cell phones in their small city. Her research shows how this urban Indigenous community uses Facebook to re-express traditions and respond to challenges created by colonialism. Her collaborations also created images that circulated among the community in digital and material forms." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Angele Marie Beausoleil
    "Dr. Beausoleil's research addresses how Canada can create a more innovative society. She experimented with UBC's strategic design method to develop a way of teaching the core thinking competencies required to be an innovator and devised a way to measure levels of innovativeness in individuals and organizations." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Gloria Michelle Puurveen
    "Dr. Puurveen explored the experiences of nursing home residents with advanced dementia who were nearing the end of life. She found that care staff and families attended to the residents' dignity, personhood, and relationships in skilled and respectful ways. These findings provide direction for improving person-centred end-of-life dementia care." (November 2016)
  • Dr. Velma Joy Mockett
    "Dr. Mockett developed the Mindfulness-Integrated, Resilience, Trauma-Informed and Social Pedagogy (MIRTS) Curriculum - A holistic curriculum for professionals working with young people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and substance use issues." (November 2016)

Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Program Information


September 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 January 2018
International Applicant Deadline
15 January 2018

Program Information

Application Enquiries

Supervisor Search


Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.