Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work (PhD)

Overview

The PhD in Social Work at UBC is a research degree. Built around a small number of common courses, the program draws on the diverse range of courses available across the campus to advance the student's individualized plan of study. Part-time Doctoral Classification is available for domestic students.

What makes the program unique?

Our students come from around the world and are supervised by faculty with expertise in their particular field of study. No student is admitted without the commitment of a designated supervisor.

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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: 93

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 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 August 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2020
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2020
Transcript Deadline: 15 December 2020
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2020

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 Social Work (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.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (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 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.

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

8 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 7 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
Langara College (2)
Mount Royal University
University of Northern British Columbia
Vancouver Island University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Provincial Health Services Authority
Providence Health Care
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Social Worker
Practice Leader for Social Work
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

Typically our graduates become instructors or professors in other departments or schools of social work, though a number also work in social welfare administration, the policy arena, and social development.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

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

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications  12 5
Offers  5 4
New registrations  4 1
Total enrolment1315191616

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 50% based on 10 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 5 graduating students from the 2006 - 2009 admission cohort the minimum time to completion is 4.66 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.73 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: 10 March 2020]. 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: 27 October 2019].

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.

  • Baines, Donna (decent work and good care for older people in residential and home care; impact of neoliberalism on Indigenous social work education; impact of neoliberalism on non-Indigenous social work education; Age-Friendly Cities)
  • Bratiotis, Christiana (organizational processes involved in hoarding task forces; service utilization; interventions in the context of hoarding)
  • Charles, Grant (Psychosocial oncology, intellectual disabilities, family interventions and at risk youth)
  • Ibrahim, Mohamed (mental health; addiction among new immigrants and refugees; global mental health)
  • Kia, Hannah (LGBTQ2S+ health; LGBTQ2S+ aging; social work and other professional practice with sexual and gender minorities; effective social work practice with trans and gender diverse people; poverty, sexual and mental health issues among diverse LGBTQ2S+ populations)
  • Kruk, Edward Andrew (Family and Child Services; Social Determinants of Child and Youth Development; Family; Drug Abuse; child and family policy and practice; family mediation; co-parenting after divorce; Addiction)
  • Marshall, Sheila (Life Cycles ( Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood, etc.); Parent-Child Relationships; adolescent social identity; parent-adolescent interactions; adolescent well-being)
  • O'Connor, Deborah (family support to frail or mentally impaired seniors; formal support services, Dementia, the interface between living with dementia, family care, and the use of formal support services)
  • Stainton, Timothy (Developmental Disability, Disability, Social Policy, History of Developmental Disability, Philosophy of Welfare)
  • Yan, Miu Chung (Issues related to settlement and integration of immigrants and refugees, labour market experience of new generation youth from racial minority immigrant families, and community building roles and functions of neighbourhood-level place-based multiservice organizations )

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
2019 Dr. Asgarova explored the experiences of mothers who received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for their baby and decided to continue their pregnancy. This research study assists us in understanding the social, informational and emotional needs of these mothers, and provides insight as to how their experience could be improved.
2019 Success in employment for people with disabilities is often hampered by the negative attitudes of others within the workplace. Dr. Breen's research has resulted in his development of a questionnaire to measure these attitudes. The results of these measurements will aid in planning and determining the success of workplace training interventions.
2018 Dr. Johnston worked with Inuit mothers in Nunavut to examine child welfare in relation to changes families experience due to mining in the territory. Her research informs standards, legislation, policies and programs to protect Inuit children and youth in ways that respect and incorporate Inuit culture and traditional knowledge.
2018 Dr. Rockwell explored older adults' experiences of moving to assisted living: a relatively new model of housing and support for older adults in BC. By comparing participants' stories with the larger values and regulations of assisted living, Dr. Rockwell identified areas for improvement, as well as promising practices to help residents settle in.
2017 What is meant when we promote the idea of development? Dr. Murray explored political meanings of "development" in one site of social struggle-a public hearing on building heights in Vancouver's Chinatown. She offers an activist method for unpacking the social, material and historical dynamics through which such clashing public truths are produced.
2015 Dr. Kendrick examined the role of relationships in sexual assault disclosures. She found that survivor relationships with peers to whom they described their assaults shaped the responses survivors received. By further understanding responses to disclosures, this research provides insight into how to improve support to sexual assault survivors.
2014 Dr. Oliver examined how child protection workers interpreted strengths-based practice, an approach focussing on client strengths and goals. Study outcomes included recommendations to help child welfare agencies support this approach and a model for making strengths-based relationships with mandated clients.
2013 Dr. Weaver conducted the first known qualitative study with marginalized drug-using fathers. They were partners of patients in a harm reduction maternity unit serving poor, substance-using pregnant women from Vancouver's downtown east side. This study revealed the nature and negative impact of father exclusion on these mothers, fathers and families.
2013 Dr. Johnston examined how adolescents who are living with a progressive life-threatening neurodegenerative illness construct meaningful future self-representations. Findings reveal a range of possible selves both with and without the illness. Adolescents describe future thinking as a required activity for coping, personhood, and decision-making.
2013 Dr. Nelson examined the ways in which social workers help urban Aboriginal children in foster care maintain connections to their culture, family, and community. This research illuminated the complexity of balancing permanency needs with cultural rights and the ongoing importance of family and culture for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.

Pages

Further Program Information

Specialization

Social Work provides students with backgrounds in social work, social policy, social development, opportunities for advanced scholarship, and professional growth in the context of research-intensive programs. Students are prepared for university teaching and research (theoretical and applied), including program evaluation. The program can also provide critical components for professional practice in research, policy analysis, and human service management.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-WV
 

Apply Now

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

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
01 August 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2020
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2020
 

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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