Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD)
UBC has granted Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in sociology since 1970, although the first sociology course was taught at the university as long ago as 1921. Students in the Ph.D. program in sociology at UBC have the opportunity to specialize in any one or more of the Department's seven major areas of specialization:
- Environment, Community and Social Movements;
- Family and Life Course;
- Gender and Sexuality;
- Health and Healthcare;
- Knowledge, Culture and Power;
- Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; and
- Work, Economy and Globalization.
What makes the program unique?
UBC sociology has a strong tradition of publishing research that matters. A sample of recent and award-winning books include: Gillian Creese's The New African Diaspora (U. Toronto Press); Amin Ghaziani's There Goes the Gayborhood? (Princeton U. Press), Renisa Mawani's Colonial Proximities(UBC Press), Becki Ross Burlesque West: Showgirls, Sex, and Sin in Postwar Vancouver (U. Toronto Press), and Wendy Roth's Race Migrations (Stanford U. Press).
UBC sociology has a strong history of engaging in community and service oriented learning projects, providing students with hands-on learning experiences carrying out research for partnering organizations in and around Vancouver (e.g. RainCity Housing, SPEC, City of Vancouver, Neighborhood House Association, Be The Change). There is a strong co-op tradition, and the Department also runs the Immigrant Vancouver Ethnographic Field School (in conjunction with the Department of Anthropology).
Contact the program
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: 100
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
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
3) Prepare Application
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.
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 Sociology (PhD)
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
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|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)||$969.17 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,242.00 (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.
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 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 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 $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
- 10 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 10 students was $21,170.
- 6 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 6 students was $9,563.
- 14 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 14 students was $17,653.
- 4 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 4 students was $35,000.
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.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
27 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 25 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 EducationUniversity of Ottawa (2)
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Western University (Ontario)
Trinity Western University
University of Edinburgh
University of Alberta
University of Washington
University of British Columbia
Sample Employers Outside Higher EducationFaculty Association of Simon Fraser University
Transplant Research Foundation of British Columbia
Environmental Resources Management
Vancouver Coastal Health
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher EducationDirector (2)
Owner of Berton College
Interim Executive Director
Founder, Wellness Educator
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.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
|2012||Dr. Ikebuchi conducted a study of Chinese and Japanese women who were placed in the Chinese Rescue Home in Victoria, BC, between 1886 and 1923 because they were at risk of being forced into prostitution. She found that while the white Methodist women running the Home aimed to domesticate and transform them into Christian wives, mothers and servants, the Home was a space where both white and Asian women pursued their aspirations.|
|2012||Dr. Wu studied migrants from Taiwan who settled in the Vancouver region in the 1960s. Their distinctive shared language and culture generated hostility from the Taiwan government, which considered them a political threat. They formed a vibrant community, deeply committed to Canadian values, and were central to the democratic movement in Taiwan in the 1990s.|
|2012||Dr. Woodman's thesis shows citizenship in China is a local rather than national relationship that means participation and entitlements are connected to membership in the specific place where a person belongs. Her research proposes new theoretical avenues for the study of citizenship focusing on subnational locations of politics.|
|2011||Dr. Fiddler examined trust building in the Canadian blood system. She found that stakeholder engagement, particularly the inclusion of hemophilia patients, helps the blood operator re-build trust and organizational reputation. However, these stakeholders may also become an organizational risk if their interests are not reflected in blood policy.|
|2011||Dr. Flynn developed an international comparative framework for analyzing how the travel experiences of young people, the places they visit, and the guidebooks they use, work together to produce new beaten tracks in the world of backpacking travel.|
|2010||Dr. Page examined the politics of wilderness conservation leading to the identification and establishment of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Colubmia. Using Actor Network Theory, he explored the scientific, cultural, economic and political practices articulating an alternative to structured conflict among environmentalists, forest companies and First Nations.|
|2010||Dr. Robinson examined how communities organize against water privatization. Through a qualitative comparative study, she identified the importance of linking local and global issues for movement outcomes. Her research demonstrates that successful social movements are those that are connected globally and rooted in local communities. They are not necessarily transnational.|
|2010||Dr. Schoemaker Holmes investigated urban online dating practices in order to study the role of such new media in producing gendered selves. This research illuminates gendered dating inequalities and broadens feminist theories of love by illustrating how gender remains an organizing and oppressive force in everyday life.|
|2010||Dr. Sevy examined how participation in a memorial exhibit based on photographic images of deceased relatives proved therapeutic for Holocaust survivors and their children. Her research illuminates the role that community-based settings can play as forums in helping those who have undergone psychosocial trauma to deal with their losses.|
|2009||Dr. Datta examined the discourse of the largest women's mass organization affiliated with the communist party in India. She found that while the organization fights for women's rights, its ultimate aim to support the post-colonial nation-state's drive for capital accumulation curtails the scope of women's emancipation.|
Sample Thesis Submissions
Sociology has specialization in the following core areas of study:
- Environment, community, and social movements;
- Family and the life course;
- Gender and sexuality;
- Health and healthcare;
- Knowledge, culture, and power;
- Race, ethnicity, and immigration; and
- Work, economy, and globalization.