Community Engagement, Social Change, Equity

Engage community stakeholders as part of a collaborative process, recognizing the unique strengths of all parties involved

Graduate Program Overview

Program Components Expected Duration
MA Coursework and thesis 24 months
PhD Coursework and dissertation 48 months

This interdisciplinary degree is for students interested in community-engaged research, with a particular focus on social justice and social change. Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and related methodologies will form the foundation of the program. These approaches engage community stakeholders as part of a collaborative process, and recognize the unique strengths of all parties involved. It is a style of research that is carried out with communities rather than on communities, and has been continuing to receive growing attention in many fields, including human geography, anthropology, Indigenous studies, public health, community development, urban planning, education, social work, nursing, sociology, and others.

During the course of their research, students will examine the conceptual and philosophical underpinnings of community engagement, while also gaining practical experience working with communities. In pursuing this diverse field of study, students will have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, resources, and collaboration of four faculties and 10 departments.

Graduates will be prepared for positions in teaching and research institutions, private-sector organizations, public-sector government and crown corporations, and not-for-profit, charitable and non-governmental organizations.

The interdisciplinary master’s degree in community engagement, social change, and equity gives graduate students access to the expertise of diverse, nationally and internationally recognized researchers from a variety of faculties and disciplines in a coherent, thematic framework.

Graduates of the program will come away with a nuanced understanding of:

  • Community Based Participatory Research and related methodologies, such as Participatory Action Research and Collaborative Inquiry
  • Conceptual and philosophical underpinnings of community engagement
  • Issues related to voice, social justice, and inclusion
  • Ontology – how people relate to each other and to the spaces and places they find themselves in – and epistemology – how it is that we come to know each other and the objects and environments with which we interact
Program milestones
  • Establishing a faculty supervisory committee
  • Completing coursework
  • Preparing, presenting, and defending a thesis research proposal
  • Completing thesis research and writing, and defending the work
Coursework requirements

18 credits of coursework are required, including:

  • Proseminar in Interdisciplinary Studies (IGS 524)
  • Theme Seminar in Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity (IGS 586)
  • One research methods course
  • Additional coursework, selected in consultation with the student’s supervisor

The PhD degree is centred on conducting original, cutting-edge research in areas related to community engagement, social change, and equity. Graduates of the PhD program are prepared for careers requiring advanced independent research and teaching in academia, government, and industry.

Program milestones
  • Establishing a faculty supervisory committee
  • Selecting and completing coursework
  • Preparing, presenting, and defending a thesis research proposal
  • Passing an oral candidacy exam
  • Completing thesis research and writing, and defending the work
Coursework requirements

Twelve credits of coursework are required. These will be selected in collaboration with the student’s supervisory committee.

Career Possibilities

The interdisciplinary nature of the program will prepare students to continue their academic research in a wide range of fields, or for careers in multiple industries.

  • Teaching and research institutions
  • Private-sector organizations and corporations
  • Public-sector government and crown corporations
  • Not-for-profit, charitable, and non-governmental organizations

Research & Supervisors

This IGS degree draws on the expertise of 16 nationally and internationally recognized faculty researchers with experience in areas related to community engagement, social change, and equity.

Research Areas

The success of UBC’s Okanagan’s IGS Theme: Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity depends in large part on a good mentor match between students and research supervisors.

Please connect with potential supervisors before you start the application process. No applicant will be considered for admission to the Theme until a faculty member has agreed to supervise the student’s proposed research.

We look forward to hearing about your research interests and career goals.

Supervisors

Please touch base with a faculty supervisor before you start the application process. We look forward to hearing about your research interests and career goals.


Jeannette Armstrong | Indigenous Studies | jeannette.armstrong@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Indigenous philosophies; Okanagan Syilx thought and environmental ethics coded into Syilx literatures.


Joan Bottorff | Nursing | joan.bottorff@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Gender-sensitive and gender-specific interventions to strengthen tobacco reduction among women and men; cancer prevention initiatives targeting other health behaviours; new approaches to promote men’s health, support lifestyle change across diverse groups and contexts, and support rural palliative caregivers.


Michael Burgess | Southern Medical Program | michael.burgess@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Bioethics; biotechnology and ethics; culture and ethics; democracy and ethics; ethics of health policy; genetics and ethics; genomics and ethics; health care ethics; public engagement and ethics; research ethics.


Jon Corbett | Geography | jon.corbett@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Geography; ethnobiology; cartography; exploration, facilitation and promotion of community and ecosystem-based models of land and resource use in communities in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and British Columbia, Canada.


Michael Evans | Anthropology | michael.evans@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Urban Aboriginal Issues; Métis history and contemporary issues; Tonga,trans-national migration and globalization; regional food systems; Indigenous methodologies; participatory action research; community based research; Island studies.


Stephen Foster | Creative Studies | stephen.foster@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Indigenous media art; video art; representational politics; digital photography; interactive documentary.


David Geary | Anthropology | david.geary@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Religion, transnationalism, diaspora; the spatial politics of UNESCO World Heritage; tourism imaginaries and urban redevelopment; Buddhism, modernity and South Asia.


Judy Gillespie | Social Work | judy.gillespie@ubc.ca |
Research interests: The role of communities and their social, physical, and political infrastructures in the promotion of child welfare; the role of place in well-being; the interactions of person and place, including the ways in which professional practice is shaped by place.


Alison Hargreaves | English | allison.hargreaves@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Indigenous literature and theory; Indigenous feminisms; anti-violence discourse; settler studies/reconciliation.


Rachelle Hole | Social Work | rachelle.hole@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Socio-cultural practices that promote social inclusion and equity; community based participatory research methods; critical disability studies; community living and intellectual disability.


Nancy Holmes | Creative & Critical Studies | nancy.holmes@ubc.ca |
Research Interests: Creative writing – poetry, creative non-fiction and fiction; Canadian literature; eco art; ecopoetics; ecocriticism; community-based art; place-based art; collaboration and interdisciplinary research methods; sustainability.


David Jefferess | English | david.jefferess@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Postcolonial literature and theory; humanitarian/development discourses; alter-globalization/decolonization; settler studies/reconciliation.


Ruthann Lee | Cultural Studies | ruthann.lee@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Media and digital cultures; postcolonial imaginaries; media activism; queer and feminist film/video; race, identity and representation.


Matt Rader | Creative Writing | matthew.rader@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Disability aesthetics; access poetics; collaborative pedagogies; embodied poetics; poetics of the Okanagan.


Christine Schreyer | Anthropology | christine.schreyer@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Linguistic anthropology; First Nations language and culture; land claims and Aboriginal Title; ethnolinguistics, ethnohistory, social memory, oral history, landscape and traditional land use studies; works with First Nations communities on language issues such as language maintenance and revitalization of endangered languages.


John Wagner | Anthropology | john.wagner@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Environmental anthropology; political ecology; water, food security and food sovereignty; local ecological knowledge; conservation and development; language documentation; Okanagan Valley; Columbia River Basin; Papua New Guinea.

Facilities & Institutes

Admission Requirements

Admission to UBC graduate programs is competitive. Applicants must meet the following criteria.

MASTER OF ARTS (MA) APPLICANTS 

Applicants to the master’s program are expected to hold:

  • the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from UBC, with a B+ (76%) average or better in their third- or fourth-year classes, or
  • at least 12 credits in third- and fourth-year classes in their intended field of study with an A (80%) or better average.

Applicant background training must be sufficient for advanced work in their chosen field.


DOCTORAL (PHD) APPLICANTS 

PhD applicants will normally have a master’s degree in a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better, and clear evidence of research ability or potential. Applicant background training must be sufficient for advanced work in their chosen field.


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 University of British Columbia.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct. 

MASTER OF ARTS (MA) APPLICANTS 

Applicants to the master’s program are expected to:

  • hold the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from UBC
  • demonstrate superior academic standing

Applicant background training must be sufficient for advanced work in their chosen field.

Applicants from a university outside Canada at which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to graduate studies are:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 550 (paper version); 90 overall with a minimum score of 22 in Reading & Listening and a minimum score of 21 in Writing & Speaking (Internet version), or
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): minimum overall band score of 6.5, with no individual component score less than 6.0, or
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): minimum overall score of 85, with a final score of 3 in the speaking test.

DOCTORAL (PHD) APPLICANTS 

PhD applicants are expected to hold the academic equivalent of a two-year master’s degree from UBC in a related field and to demonstrate superior academic standing. Applicant background training must be sufficient for advanced work in their chosen field.

Applicants from a university outside Canada at which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to graduate studies are:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 550 (paper version); 90 overall with a minimum score of 22 in Reading & Listening and a minimum score of 21 in Writing & Speaking (Internet version), or
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): minimum overall band score of 6.5, with no individual component score less than 6.0, or
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): minimum overall score of 85, with a final score of 3 in the speaking test.

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 University of British Columbia.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Required Grades and Credential Guide

Grades and degree credentials required by UBC vary by country. Search the Required Grades and Credential Guide—a guide to assist international students in estimating their eligibility.

International Advisors

An international student advisor can answer questions about immigration, medical insurance, and the transition to UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC. Visit the International Programs and Services website to meet the team.

Tuition & Funding

Tuition

Tuition amounts presented here are estimates only and all fees are subject to change. For official tuition amounts and fee information, visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar*, a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Program Schedule Domestic (per year) International (per year)
MSc/MA Full-time $4,897.86 $8,604.66
PhD Full-time $4,897.86 $8,604.66

Tuition is paid three times a year at the beginning of each term, as per the Academic Calendar: Winter Term 1, Winter Term 2, and Summer Term.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct. 

Funding Opportunities

Graduate student stipends are funded through a combination of internal and external funding awards, Teaching Assistantships, and Research Assistantships.

Although funding and stipend amounts are not guaranteed, UBC’s Okanagan campus has a number of assistantships available for qualified students. Talk to your potential supervisor about funding opportunities.

Students are expected whenever possible to apply for relevant scholarships and fellowships.

Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Paid TA positions allow graduate students to develop skills in teaching, supervision, facilitation and student assessment. Teaching Assistants may lead seminars, help teach undergraduate courses, or assist in student evaluations and marking. Teaching Assistants are mentored by their supervisor and via the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Research Assistantships (RA)

As paid research assistants, graduate students assist their supervisor or other researchers in conducting high-level research, which often contributes to the student’s thesis. RAs are typically funded by the supervisor’s external grants and, sometimes, other sources of funding.

Scholarships & Awards

UBC Awards

The College of Graduate Studies administers merit-based graduate awards at the Okanagan campus. The College manages a number of award competitions each year and administers payment of all internal awards and selected external awards.

External Awards

All prospective graduate students (Domestic and International) should explore and apply for external awards and fellowships, including awards offered by Canada’s three research councils: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

Graduate scholarships and awards may also be available from foundations, private companies or foreign governments (check with your country’s education authority).

How to Apply

Find a Supervisor

Please contact prospective supervisors 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:

  • Online application and application fee
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended
  • Statement of Intent
  • English language test (for non-native speakers of English)
  • CV or resumé
  • Three reference forms or letters
Deadlines

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

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

Applicants who wish to enter the program in the second semester of the academic year or in the summer semester should consult with the theme coordinator to determine if accommodation is possible.

UBC's Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the psychology program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

DYNAMIC CITY

UBC’s Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of about 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna’s cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

NATURAL BEAUTY

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Check out this 360-degree video: Kelowna From Above (best viewed using desktop Chrome or Firefox or YouTube’s mobile app).

CAMPUS HOUSING

Full-time UBC Okanagan students can live in residence, which offers modern living with easy access to academic and personal support. Residences are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, plus panoramic views of the campus and valley.

OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING

* UBC does not verify or endorse information shared on this third-party website, which is offered here as a public resource only.

College of Graduate Studies: CoGS offers orientation events to support you in your first steps as a graduate student at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Stay active: Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and play—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre and our 1,561 square-metre gymnasium, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes, and nationally ranked varsity athletics. Have a ball in Sports and Recreation.

Relax: The Graduate Collegium is a gathering place where grad students can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their fellow students, and attend or host special events. The lounge-style room is open seven days and week and is outfitted with comfortable furniture, kitchen facilities, and individual and group-work spaces.

College of Graduate Studies: Your hub for administrative support and such things as graduate workshops for professional development and for assisting you from the admissions process through to your graduation.

Centre for Scholarly Communication: Supports graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and faculty in disseminating their research. The Library’s CSC provides one-on-one consultations and workshops, including writing support for theses, dissertations, journal articles, and grant proposals.

Centre for Teaching and Learning: Provides support related to teaching, TA training, and use of technology in educational programming.