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.
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.
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
Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.Transcript Deadline
Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.Referee Deadline
Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.
September 2020 Intake
Application Open Date19 July 2019
September 2021 Intake
Application Open Date17 July 2020
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.
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 EducationMcMaster University (2)
University of Toronto (2)
University of Victoria (2)
Memorial University of Newfoundland (2)
University of South Florida
University of Saint Andrews
University of the Fraser Valley
Western University (Ontario)
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationAsia Pacific Foundation on Canada
Government of Canada
Government of Manitoba
Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation
Supreme Court of Canada
United States Department of Defence
Employment and Social Development Canada
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationSenior Policy Analyst (2)
Freelance Writer, researcher
PhD Career Outcome SurveyYou may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
DisclaimerThese 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
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,665.26||$2,925.58|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$930.14 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)|
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.
Completion Rates & Times
Upcoming Doctoral Exams
Monday, 9 December 2019 - 12:30pm - GRSJ Seminar Room, 10th Floor Buchanan Tower, 1873 East Mall
Monday, 27 January 2020 - 9:00am - Room 200
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 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 (International Law, International Cooperation, international relations, international law, oceans, arctic, space, war)
Cameron, Maxwell (Political Regimes (Democracy, Monarchy, Federalism, Parliamentarism, etc.), Social Organization and Political Systems, Comparative Politics, Latin America, Democratization, 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)
Ellermann, Antje (Migrations, Populations, Cultural Exchanges, Migratory Flows, Public Policies, Identity and Transnationality, Role of Governments and Institutions, Migration 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 Systems, political 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 Systems, US 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 )
Recent Doctoral Citations
- Dr. Mendee Jargalsaikhan
"Dr. Mendee studied the democratic developments of Mongolia and Kyrgyz Republic. He showed that the absence of geopolitical interests of great powers and presence of a strong political party are important for the democratization process. His research adds to our understanding of the politics of Asian small states." (May 2019)
- Dr. Miriam Matejova
"Dr. Matejova examined environmental disasters and their effects on nonviolent protest. She argues that uncertainty about disaster impacts plays a crucial role in the protest mobilization process. Her findings can be used to improve disaster communication practices, and open opportunities for resolution of social conflict." (May 2019)
- Dr. Eric Merkley
"Dr. Merkley examined critical limits of expert influence on public opinion. He showed that news media content rarely features relevant expert consensus and that some people are more likely to reject such consensus when exposed to populist rhetoric or cues from politicians. His work will aid efforts at science communication by journalists and experts." (May 2019)
- Dr. Mohamed Khalfan Saleh Almehairbi
"Dr. Almehairbi examined how the United Nations Secretariat uses their informal authority to persuade member states to award funds to specific departments. This study enables a more accurate understanding of the strategies of non-state actors within international organisations, as well as how and why international organisations expand over time." (November 2018)
- Dr. Serbulent Turan
"Dr. Turan asked why people obey political authorities even when obedience goes against their values or interests. By using a historical analysis, he argues that past authorities engineered the socio-political isolation of their subjects to break rebellious communities into obedient individuals. Current practices of obedience reflect this past." (November 2018)