Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)


The Department of Political Science offers Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs that are structured around five substantive fields: Canadian politics, international relations, comparative politics, political theory, and U.S. Politics.

We offer in the range of 25 graduate seminar courses per year and ample support for mentoring grad students in their professional development, through research collaboration, workshops, and colloquia. We have the most successful doctoral graduates of any program in Canada, judged by our record of placing graduates in academic positions in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and elsewhere.

Quick Facts

Doctor of Philosophy
Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Political Science
Program Components
Faculty of Arts

Research Information

Research Focus

Canadian Politics: federalism, the Canadian electoral system, the constitution, the courts, electoral reform, parliamentary institutions, political parties, Canadian public policy, Canadian political thought, voting behaviour
Comparative Politics: democratization and democratic institutions, state-society relations, comparative public policy, comparative political economy, constitutional design and comparative political institutions, executive politics, separation of powers, governance, non-governmental organizations, and immigration politics
International Relations: International Relations Theory, International Political Economy, International Security, International Law and Organization, International Norms, Human Security, the politics of international law, and global governance
Political Theory: democratic theory, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, feminism, multiculturalism, nationalism, identity politics, critical theory, history of political thought


TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement


IELTS Overall Score Requirement


GRE required?

Required by some applicants (check program website)

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

47 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 44 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
McMaster University (2)
University of Toronto (2)
University of Victoria (2)
Memorial University of Newfoundland (2)
University of South Florida
University of Saint Andrews
Sophia University
Macquarie University
University of the Fraser Valley
Western University (Ontario)
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Asia Pacific Foundation on Canada
Government of Canada
Government of Manitoba
Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation
Supreme Court of Canada
United States Department of Defence
Through Conversation
Employment and Social Development Canada
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Senior Policy Analyst (2)
Program Manager
Judicial Clerk
Director, Oversight
Freelance Writer, researcher
Associate Dean
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 registrations1161188
Total enrolment6060717378

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 75% based on 44 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 42 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 4.66 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 6.73 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

Tuesday, 10 April 2018 - 12:30pm - Room 203

Mohamed Khalfan Saleh Almehairbi
Supranational Authority: The Role of the United Nations Secretariat in the Expansion of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Political Affairs

Monday, 30 April 2018 - 12:30pm - Room 200

Serbulent Turan
The Historical Constitution of the Obedient Subject

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.

  • Arneil, Barbara (Identity politics, history of political thought)
  • Baier, Gerald (Canadian politics, federalism, constitutional law, courts, federal-provincial relations, Constitution, federalism and public law in Canada)
  • Baum, Bruce (Political Culture, Society and Ideologycritical social theory, feminist theory, critical hermeneutics, issues of cross-cultural interpretation, American political thought and cultural politics, political theories of Mill and Marx, philosophy of political inquiry, liberal and democratic theory)
  • Byers, Michael (International Law, International Cooperationinternational relations, international law, oceans, arctic, space, war)
  • Cameron, Maxwell (Political Regimes (Democracy, Monarchy, Federalism, Parliamentarism, etc.), Social Organization and Political SystemsComparative Politics, Latin America, Democratization)
  • Chowdhury, Arjun (Failed states, intervention, civil war, autocrats, revolution. )
  • Coleman, Katharina Pichler (International organizations, international relations, international security/peace operations, interntional rules, noms and legitimacy, sun-Saharan Africa)
  • Coulthard, Glen (First Nations politics – national; political theory )
  • Cruz, Cesi (political economy, focusing on the interplay between electoral incentives and development outcomes in consolidating democracies. Her research uses quantitative and qualitative methods, social network analysis, surveys, and field experiments)
  • Dauvergne, Peter (Refugee law, Immigration law, citizenship law, Global governance and emerging powers, environmental politics, asian)
  • Ellermann, Antje (Migrations, Populations, Cultural Exchanges, Migratory Flows, Public Policies, Identity and Transnationality, Role of Governments and InstitutionsMigration and Citizenship, Comparative Public Policy)
  • Harrison, Kathryn (Canadian politics, environmental politics, environmental policy, climate change, global warming, climate change policy, Canadian public policy)
  • Huebner, Kurt (European integration; euro and global currency regimes; international trade and fdi; sustainability and innovation policies; global macroeconomics;European politics, Money and currency regimes, politics and economics of European integration as well as on contradictions and complementarities of sustainability and international competitiveness)
  • Jacobs, Alan Michael (Social Organization and Political Systemspolitical economy, public policy, public opinion, economic inequality, research methodology)
  • Janara, Laura (Language and symbolism especially in gendered and familial thinking, politcal theory)
  • Jeong, Gyung-Ho (Social Organization and Political SystemsUS politics, Congress, Legislative Politics, Foreign Policy, Trade Policy, Immigration Policy, Public Choice)
  • Job, Brian (international relations of Asia Pacific countries, especially political/security matters; Canadian political/security interests and policies vis-a-vis Asia, International security, liu institute)
  • Johnston, Richard G (Party Systems, Immigration, Multiculturalism, Canada, United States, Postwar Germany, and Political communication)
  • Jurkevics, Anna (critical theory, democratic theory, and the history of German political thought)
  • Kam, Christopher (Nature and evolution of parliamentary democracy, historical development of institutions)
  • La Selva, Samuel (Political theory, legal philosophy)
  • Li, Xiaojun (international and comparative political economy with a focus on China; Does Conditionality Still Work? China)
  • Lightfoot, Sheryl (First Nations, international relations )
  • Ostwald, Kai (comparative politics; ethnic politics, public policy, and the politics of development)
  • Price, Richard (International CooperationInternational Relations, Ethics and World Politics, International Relations Theory, Global Norms)


Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Daniel Jesse Westlake
    "Dr. Westlake studied the impact of political parties on multicultural policy adoption. He showed that the positions of both government and opposition parties matter, and that parties are responsive to competing pressures from ethnic minorities and far-right parties." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Edana Beauvais
    "Dr. Beauvais studied the importance of talking for democratic politics, and the problem of inequality. Her work revealed that women participate in in political talk at lower rates than men, and have less influence than men when they speak. Her research clarified how inequality can undermine discursive political participation." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Andrea Dominique Nuesser
    "Dr. Nuesser asked whether parties follow voters in adjusting policies to popular demand or whether voters base their own opinions on the positions of the party they prefer for other, non-policy reasons. She found that voters routinely follow the party, not the other way around. These results point to a major democratic deficit." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Justin Alger
    "Dr. Alger studied the political reasons behind the creation of large marine protected areas. He devised an original framework for understanding global norm diffusion, grounded in domestic political economies. His work increases our understanding of the interplay between governments, environmental groups and industry interests in marine conservation." (November 2017)
  • Dr. David Moscrop
    "Dr. Moscrop asked 'Can we make good political decisions?' and 'How can we make better ones?' His work bridges the gap between political theory and social psychology, and helps us understand how we might change ourselves and our institutions in order to produce rational and autonomous judgments and decisions." (May 2017)

Further Program Information


September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
20 July 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
07 January 2019
International Applicant Deadline
07 January 2019

Program Information

Application Enquiries

Supervisor Search


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