Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (PhD)

Overview

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.

What makes the program unique?

One of the key criteria that sets the Political Science department at UBC apart is the methodological breadth and diversity of research interests of faculty members, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. We have particular strengths for graduate students in:

  • indigenous politics, with indigenous faculty members in two different subfields
  • critical political theory and identity politics
  • democratic theory and practise
  • political behaviour, parties and elections
  • comparative public policy and institutions
  • migration, social diversity, and identity
  • environmental politics
  • international norms, institutions and goverance, and human security.

Quantitative Methods: we are particularly strong on quantitative methods for students using this kind of approach, with the deepest lineup of persons engaged in systematic quantitative research and the country’s most robust sequence of graduate methods courses for those students wishing to acquire a sophisticated understanding of quantitative analysis.

Regional Area Strengths: we are exceptionally strong in the study of Asian politics, the politics of the Americas, European politics, U.S. politics, and Canadian politics.

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Program Enquiries

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Meet a Representative

UBC Grad School Info Session

Date: Thursday, 05 August 2021
Time: 17:00 to 18:00

Description

In this session we’ll provide a high-level overview of graduate study, graduate school at UBC, and the application process. This is not a program specific event. The session will cover:

  • Why graduate study? – advice on what to consider if you are considering graduate school.
  • Differences between undergraduate and graduate study.
  • Explanation of the different types of graduate programs at UBC.
  • What makes UBC a great place to study at the graduate level.
  • How to search UBC’s over 300 different graduate program options.
  • Overview of the graduate school application process.
  • Next steps on learning more and beginning a grad school application

Who is this webinar for?

This webinar is for anyone who is thinking about studying at the graduate level. It’s for those who’d like to learn more about UBC and gain insight into what it’s like to study at UBC. This webinar is also helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about what is involved in a graduate school application.

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: 92

Reading

22

Writing

25

Speaking

23

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

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
16 July 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 15 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2021

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 Political Science (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 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

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

We offer a full five-year funding package for our PhD students, which generally consists of a combination of UBC Four-Year Fellowships (4YFs), Department Funding, Teaching Assistantship, and Research Assistantship.

In some cases, we are able to offer additional funding in the form of RA positions, but these are contingent on several factors, including faculty members having available research funds for RAs.

The Department of Political Science will offer TA opportunities to PhDs when available in order to enhance the financial resources at students’ disposal. Moreover, we consider it an important aspect of the professional development of our PhDs to work as Teaching Assistants, at some point in their PhD program, to develop their teaching skills under the guidance of faculty members.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 23 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 $40,956.
  • 11 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 11 students was $15,881.
  • 15 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 15 students was $7,726.
  • 22 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 22 students was $22,034.
  • 6 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 6 students was $27,778.

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

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
Executive
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 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

Our PhDs have been highly successful in pursuing academic and non-academic careers.

On the academic front, UBC PhDs hold tenured or tenure track positions at major universities in North America and internationally – including the University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Western Ontario, York University, University of Ottawa, University of Calgary, University of Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, University of Essex, Sophia University, National University of Singapore, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Ritsumeikan University, University of Sheffield, Queensland University, Simon Fraser University, MacEwan University, University of Fraser Valley, University of Manitoba, Memorial University, McMaster University, and Cardiff University.

Our PhDs have held postdoctoral fellowships at a wide range of international institutions including Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, University of Toronto, Queens University, Oxford University, Duke University, and others.

Many UBC PhDs have taken their doctoral training to high-level positions with government agencies, NGOs, and private-sector employers. Our students have pursued careers at Statistics Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, the US Department of Defense Asia-Pacific Center, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Deutschebank (London), and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, among others.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science (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
Applications10711310010663
Offers51512147
New registrations482116
Total enrolment4851546060

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 77.19% based on 57 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 37 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 4.33 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 6.88 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

Friday, 30 July 2021 - 2:00pm

Samuel Thomas Reed
The Atomic Public: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. Citizen Deliberation, 1985-2020

Friday, 13 August 2021 - 12:30pm

Alexandre Bernard Rivard
A House but Not a Home: The Determinants of Secessionist Party Emergence and Support in North American and Western Europe

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)
  • Bates, Genevieve (Transitional justice; International and domestic politics of accountability for human rights violations; Conflict, security, and peacekeeping; Democratic theory and practice; International organizations, law, and norms; Non-state actors in international relations)
  • Baum, Bruce (Political Culture, Society and Ideology; critical 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 (Political science; international law; International Cooperation; Arctic; international relations; oceans; space; war)
  • Cameron, Maxwell (Political science; Political Regimes (Democracy, Monarchy, Federalism, Parliamentarism, etc.); Social Organization and Political Systems; Comparative Politics; Democratization; Latin America; Practical wisdom)
  • 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)
  • Cutler, Frederick (Canadian Politics, Political Parties, Elections, Public Opinion, Political Psychology, Research Methodology and Statistics, Contemporary Political and Democratic Theory, American Politics )
  • Dauvergne, Peter (Refugee law, Immigration law, citizenship law, Global governance and emerging powers, environmental politics, asian)
  • Doberstein, Carey (Political science and policy administration; Agencies and arms-length bodies in Canada; Public servant behavior in Canada; How citizens engage with government as part of local consultations and public engagement; Homelessness (politics, governance, policy); Local government or governance)
  • Ellermann, Antje (Political science; Migrations, Populations, Cultural Exchanges; Migratory Flows; Public Policies; Identity and Transnationality; Role of Governments and Institutions; Comparative Public Policy; Migration and Citizenship)
  • 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 (Political science; Social Organization and Political Systems; economic inequality; Political economy; public opinion; Public Policy; Research Methodology)
  • Janara, Laura (Language and symbolism especially in gendered and familial thinking, politcal theory)
  • Jeong, Gyung-Ho (Political science; Social Organization and Political Systems; Congress; Foreign Policy; Immigration Policy; Legislative Politics; Public Choice; Trade Policy; US politics)
  • 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)
  • 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)

Pages

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 Starting from the observation that working-class people are massively underrepresented in legislatures almost everywhere, Dr. Hemingway's research showed that the class backgrounds of politicians shape their attitudes and the policies they enact in office, particularly relating to inequality and economic issues.
2021 Dr. Toledo Orozco studied the expanding informal governance systems of small-scale and artisanal gold miners in the Andes. Through cross-country comparison of miners' capacity to avoid and revert different state regulatory strategies, she illuminated the collective power of informal groups and the politics of enforcement in developing nations.
2020 Dr. Munawar designed an intersectional and de-colonial Islamic ethic of care by weaving her mother and father's experiences into the stories of Hajar, Yunus, and Maryam in the Islamic tradition. Her findings centre the epistemic authority of disabled Muslims and care-givers as knowers of the 'Islamic' and care-based modes of knowing Islam.
2020 While it is tempting to see referendums as the most democratic way of making decisions, others worry that citizens are uninformed or that governments will manipulate the process. Dr. McKay's doctoral research explores how referendums could be redesigned to reinforce, rather than undermine, contemporary democracies.
2020 Dr. Wildcat's research looks at how colonization has led to the rise of an exclusive practice of sovereignty that prevents cooperation between First Nation governments. As an alternative, the practice of relational sovereignty is explored by looking at how the Maskwacis Education Commission created a shared school system between four First Nations.
2020 Dr. Byrne challenges long-standing claims about the psychology of partisanship. He shows that years of potential support cause an increase in partisanship, but not through the process of political socialization, or strengthening. This research sheds light on the psychology of partisanship and its impact on the stabilization of democracy over time.
2020 Dr. Leblanc's research explores the evolution of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships in Canada. She argues that non-Indigenous Canadians should privilege responsibility toward others above inwardly-focused rights, while approaching decolonization as foreigners who require invitation onto Indigenous lands and into Indigenous societies.
2019 Dr. Held studied political alienation in advanced industrialized democracies. His study shows the limitations of traditional institutional fixes and highlights the role of both procedural and substantive information for civic engagement. These findings may inform government strategies to increase youth voter turnout and political accountability.
2019 Doctor Kornreich Studied why non-democratic regimes promote political participation. He found that policymaking processes can be comparatively open and inclusive in cases of an elite conflict. He also discovered that non-democratic regimes accommodate the demands of frontline bureaucrats because they want to ensure smooth policy implementation.
2019 Dr. Choquette studied territorial expansion in the history of Canada to look at the ideas that justified it. This work serves as a cautionary tale because it reveals that expansion, which required the displacement and dispossession of Indigenous Peoples, was made on the reason that it would improve their standard of living.

Pages

Further Information

Specialization

The program covers the following subjects:

  • indigenous politics, with indigenous faculty members in two different subfields
  • critical political theory and identity politics
  • democratic theory and practise
  • political behaviour, parties and elections
  • comparative public policy and institutions
  • migration, social diversity, and identity
  • environmental politics
  • international norms, institutions and goverance, and human security.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-UF

Classification

 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
16 July 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 December 2021
International Applicant Deadline
15 December 2021
 
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.

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