At the UBC Okanagan campus, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS) programs allow students to work closely with faculty across a diverse set of departments and disciplines. The IGS structure allows for inter-faculty and inter-campus arrangements to supervise students and offer courses. The course and program requirements provide structure to ensure quality in both the breadth and depth of the student’s academic experience. Students currently enroled in the IGS program have the option of continuing with their program, or transitioning to the Themed IGS program.

Graduate Degrees

Program Components Duration
MA/MSc  Coursework and Thesis  24 months
PhD  Coursework and Dissertation  48 months

The UBC Okanagan campus of UBC offers interdisciplinary graduate degrees across a wide range of program options. Defined Themes assist students in focusing studies towards particular areas of interest. In select circumstances, an individualized option (PhD only) offers coursework that is customized to the student’s specialized area of interdisciplinary study.

Students enroled in master’s programs will learn methods and acquire skills that enable them to undertake practical research on real-world problems in academic and non-academic contexts. Graduates of the master’s program are prepared for employment opportunities in teaching and research institutions, private-sector organizations and corporations, or for public-sector governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Milestones for the program include: completing coursework; preparing a research proposal; engaging in independent research; collecting and analyzing data; writing and defending the thesis; and publishing research results. Most students become teaching assistants (TAs) for at least one semester in order to gain valuable teaching experience and to learn effective communication strategies.

The master’s program requires a minimum of 30 credits for completion. Specific coursework requirements may vary from Theme to Theme and all specific courses applicable to the student’s program must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee. All masters’ students must be enroled in an IGS Theme.

The PhD is an advanced research degree that requires original and substantive contributions to the advancement of knowledge. Graduates of the PhD program are prepared for employment opportunities in teaching and research institutions, private-sector organizations and corporations, or for public-sector governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Formal milestones for the program include: completing coursework; passing a candidacy examination that demonstrates breadth and depth of knowledge in the chosen field and specialization; preparing and developing a research proposal for approval by the supervisory committee; and, completing and defending a dissertation. PhD students are also expected to communicate research results via conference presentations and publications in scientific journals. Most PhD students become TAs in order to gain valuable teaching experience and to enhance their communication skills.

At the PhD level, coursework beyond two program-wide mandatory courses is required only at the discretion of the student’s supervisory committee, depending on previous course credits from the prior Master’s degree and the nature of the student’s research objectives.


The UBC Okanagan campus offers interdisciplinary graduate degrees within a program (IGS) based on Themes. An IGS Theme is a defined area of interdisciplinary study supported by a group of faculty engaged in a common space of interdisciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and/or multidisciplinary research. Each Theme offers a specific group of graduate courses to advance the education and expertise of students in its interdisciplinary area, and its faculty members are available to assist and/or supervise students in their Theme-based program of master’s or doctoral studies.

The following IGS Themes are available:

Please refer to specific Theme pages for detailed admission requirements, tuition and funding information, and for instructions on how to apply. Please note: Interested applicants are encouraged to begin contacting potential supervisors. The formal application process for IGS Themes will open in the Fall.

Visit the IGS Student Hub for information and resources for currently enroled IGS students

IGS Student Hub

Build a program that is flexible and responsive to your interests

Program Components Duration
PhD Coursework and Dissertation 48 months

The UBC Okanagan campus offers interdisciplinary graduate degrees within a program (IGS) based on Themes. Under extraordinary circumstances, an individualized option is available for PhD students only. This option is restricted to graduate students who have first-class standing and who can acquire University-based or scholarship funding at the equivalent of full Tri-Council levels. The Individualized option builds a program that is flexible and responsive to the specialized interests of the student. In the Individualized IGS program option, the supervisor creates a supervisory committee in consultation with the applicant. The committee and specified coursework are customized to the student’s area of study.

Admission Requirements

The College of Graduate Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants. Admission to this program is competitive and limited. Students will be admitted on the basis of the:

  • student’s record of academic and professional achievements;
  • letters of recommendation;
  • quality and feasibility of the proposed study and research proposal;
  • supervisor’s ability to support the program of study and;
  • availability of financial and operational support.

Not all students who meet the minimum admission requirements will be accepted to the program.

More information

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar for full admission and program requirements information; the calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services and academic policies at the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia.

Tuition and Funding


All graduate students are responsible for keeping tuition payment and student fees up-to-date until the completion of their program. Students pay fees online through the Student Service Centre for 2024 Summer and Workday for 2024 Winter.

Students who encounter financial difficulty during their studies should discuss the issue with their graduate supervisor. Graduate students at UBC’s Okanagan campus who have questions about tuition, or are in need of additional financial support, should visit the UBC Okanagan Student Services’ website.

Funding Opportunities

The College of Graduate Studies is responsible for merit-based graduate awards at the Okanagan campus. Graduate students at UBC’s Okanagan campus who have questions about funding opportunities should visit the College of Graduate Studies Tuition, Awards and Finance page.

How to Apply

Find a Supervisor

Make sure to contact the appropriate faculty before starting an application. Admission to the program requires the support of a faculty supervisor as well as meeting program-specific criteria for admission requirements.

Required Documents

A complete application package will contain:


Applying takes time. Students are advised to start the application process two months in advance.

For full consideration students should submit all application materials by the following deadlines:


Intake Application Deadline
Domestic applicants
September January 15
International applicants
September January 15

Alumni Profiles

Yasaman Lotfizadeh
MA – Digital Arts & Humanities Theme

Yasaman Lotfizadeh

Yasaman is currently living in Kelowna, BC, with her husband and baby girl. She holds a BA and a MA in Visual Communications (Graphic Design) and graduated with a second MA from UBC Okanagan in 2022 in Interdisciplinary Studies, Digital Arts and Humanities Theme. Yasaman’s research explores the intersection of art history and digital humanities in connection with Persian illustrated manuscripts. Her MA thesis focused on the representations of the natural world by comparing text-image relations using creative data visualizations and was reflected on in the UBC RESPECT Magazine. While a UBC student, Yasaman was privileged to work on +10 various projects in different roles, including GRA, GTA, GAA and Work-Study. Her most extended collaboration was with the AMP Lab, where she worked for +2 years as a lab manager and graphic designer.  Yasaman was a guest speaker in several UBCO courses, presented two peer-reviewed papers at the CAA and UAAC conferences and received 6 academic awards. With over 8 years of experience in higher education, Yasaman started to work as the Program Coordinator and Instructor of the Web and Graphic Design department after finishing school. Yasaman is excited to continue her goal of pursuing a PhD, hopefully very soon!

Robyn Thomas
MA – Global Studies Theme

Upon graduating from the IGS program in May of 2022, Robyn began the Doctor of Medicine (MD) program at the University of British Columbia’s Island Medical Program in Victoria, British Columbia. Robyn continues to work closely with her master’s supervisor, Dr. Barbara Pesut, from the Palliative and End of Life Care Lab on action-based efforts from her thesis. Robyn was recently published as first-author in the Global Qualitative Nursing Research Journal for the study entitled “Medical Assistance in Dying: A Review of Canadian Health Authority Policy Documents,” and awaits further publication on submitted papers. Robyn is Vice President of the newly ratified Black Medical Students Association of UBC and President of the Island Medical Program’s Harm Reduction and Community Outreach Club. Robyn continues to foster a commitment to advocating for health and social equity through providing outreach and mentorship to high school students from historically and contemporarily marginalized and racialized communities in Canada and supporting UBC curriculum reform for improved diversity, equity, and inclusivity in undergraduate medical education.

Robyn envisions a career where she can wear shifting hats between clinical practice and action-based research, and is excited to begin her second year of medical studies in the fall of 2023.

Kelly Panchyshyn
MA – Digital Arts & Humanities Theme

Kelly (They/She) is now living and studying on Gadigal Lands in Sydney, Australia. After graduating from UBC Okanagan in 2021 with a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies, Kelly was awarded an Outstanding Graduating Master’s Student Award from the Canadian Anthropology Society. Building on this momentum, they successfully applied for a Postgraduate Research Scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University of Sydney under the Department of Film Studies. Drawing on the Queer, Feminist and Decolonial themes explored in their MA, Kelly’s current research focuses on the representation of queer friendship within Young Adult television shows like Sex Education, Heartbreak High, and Reservation Dogs. Recently, they were awarded a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship in support of this work. Kelly also works as a Research Assistant at the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre, where they support the annual Hunt-Simes Institute in Sexuality Studies. Outside of work, Kelly is an active member of the Sydney Bird Club and thrilled that the road to academia has led them to birding paradise!

Isabel Gomez
MA – Digital Arts & Humanities Theme

Isabel Gomez Velez

After completing her program at UBCO, Isabel is utilizing her Master in Education and MA in IGS – Digital Arts and Humanities degrees to enhance her current roles in the education field.

She is proud to be one of the creators and founders of Tongo, a groundbreaking method that empowers educators to design and manage creative learning sessions. Tongo effectively combines theoretical and practical knowledge with socio-emotional learning, while streamlining the instructional design process to foster meaningful learning experiences. Thanks to the invaluable support they received from the Mentor 2 Market program at UBCO Innovation, they successfully launched their first program in March. Currently, they are actively training 45 teachers in Colombia, enabling them to implement the Tongo approach in their classrooms.

In addition to her work with Tongo, Isabel is employed as an instructional designer and e-learning developer for Canada’s largest commercial aircraft maintenance and repair company. In this role, she applies her expertise in education and digital arts and humanities to create engaging and effective instructional materials that support the training and development of personnel in the aviation industry.

Overall, she is utilizing her diverse skill set and educational background to make a significant impact in both the education and corporate sectors. Through Tongo, she is revolutionizing the way educators approach creative learning, while her work with the aircraft maintenance company allows her to contribute to the growth and professional development of individuals in a crucial industry.

Cassidy Acheson
MA – Power, Conflict & Ideas Theme

Since completing her MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Power, Conflict and Ideas theme), Cassidy has continued to pursue social justice and Indigenous-focused academic and professional opportunities. In October 2022, she presented a paper titled “A Softer Colonization?: White Women’s Roles in Settler Placemaking at Nk’maplqs, 1870-1900” at the Western History Association’s Annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. Since September 2022, Cassidy has been working in the Indigenous Student Services department at Okanagan College. This role has allowed her to apply the skills and knowledge gained through her studies while she continues to learn from the relationships she is building with Indigenous students and communities.

Cassie Van Camp
MA – Global Studies Theme

Cassie’s graduate research at UBCO was an analysis of police violence against Indigenous Women in British Columbia. It examined the colonial, patriarchal and violent culture of policing in Canada, and identified how structural violence is inflicted upon Indigenous women through various institutions such as the media and the police service. Throughout her time at UBCO, she also worked as a Team Lead for a youth harm reduction housing site within CMHA, and also served as a Board Member for HOPE Okanagan until very recently.

During her time at UBCO she was granted the Graduate Student Travel Grant which allowed her to attend the Feminist Theory Workshop at Duke University in March 2022. The travel grant provided opportunities to connect with other academics, researchers and professors across North America to support her research and has since offered her opportunities to guest lecture at the University of Toronto, Carlton University, University of Miami and UBCO on her research.

Upon completion of her thesis, Cassie accepted a position as a Substance Use Clinician with Island Health on Vancouver Island. Her current position involves working with folks who are impacted by their substance use and mental health and additionally experience institutional and structural violence on an ongoing basis. Her research has directly influenced her ability to understand the inner workings of our governmental and health care systems, and to successfully advocate for change in policy decisions that affect the population she works with at both a community and government level.

Since moving to the island, Cassie has been involved in the planning and organizing of multiple community and mutual aid events to draw attention to the injustices faced in our community by folks who are Indigenous, unhoused, using substances or impacted by mental health.  She also took part in a focus group with Good Night Out Vancouver/Victoria, to examine the culture of consent and safety, and examine experiences of sexual harassment and sexual violence in hospitality spaces. Additionally, In January 2023, the report “Human Trafficking in the Prairies” in which she had the honour of being a project advisor, was published. Cassie feels her research and time at UBCO has successfully set her up to be directly involved in community work both on the micro and macro level.

Ange-Aimee Quesnel
MA – Power, Conflict & Ideas Theme

Since graduating from UBCO’s Interdisciplinary Studies’ master’s program, specializing in Power, Conflict, and Ideas, Ange embarked on a professional journey at Landmark Resource Management Ltd. Initially starting as a Project Coordinator, her role involved facilitating relationships between Indigenous communities and industry partners in the fields of mining and forestry. Her expertise in working in interdisciplinary spaces, coupled with her academic background in gender studies, enabled her to navigate the intricate dynamics of industry relations effectively. Over time, her responsibilities grew and she evolved into a Project Manager. Currently, she handles a diverse range of files which encapsulate areas such as Gender-based analysis, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting, and Indigenous partnerships. Additionally, she is involved in negotiating Indigenous agreements, underlining her commitment to fostering harmonious and mutually beneficial relationships between all stakeholders.

IGS Forms

For all IGS related forms, including the IGS Course Scheduling Form, please see our Forms database.