Community Engagement, Social Change, Equity

Master of Arts (MA), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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

CESCE Group In the Field

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.

Applications for the program open September 1st with a deadline of January 15th each year. 

Students are advised to arrange for the delivery of supporting documents well in advance of the January 15th deadline to ensure a timely review of their application.

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 nationally and internationally recognized faculty researchers with experience in areas related to community engagement, social change, and equity.

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.

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 ||
Research interests: Indigenous philosophies; Okanagan Syilx thought and environmental ethics coded into Syilx literatures.

Shelly Ben-David | Social Work | |
Research interests: youth mental health (e.g. clinical high-risk to psychosis, first-episode psychosis, anxiety, depression); early intervention in mental health; identity development and mental illness; cultural, relational, and community-based approach to early psychosis; digital divide among youth; mental health service use decision-making equity; and youth engagement in research.

Lawrence Berg | Geography| |
Research interests: Critical studies of neoliberalism; geographies of academic knowledge production; place and the politics of identity; postcoloniality; white supremacy.

Joan Bottorff | Nursing | |
Research interests: Gender and health behaviour; gender-sensitive approaches to support health and wellbeing; healthful lifestyles across diverse groups and communities, qualitative research.

Chanda Carey | Creative & Critical Studies | |
Research interests: Global Contemporary Art History; Performance Art and it’s Mediation; Contemporary Art and Transculturation; Geographies of Art; Digital Humanities.

Jon Corbett | Geography | |
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.

Jennifer Davis | Management | |
Research interests: Clinically applied health economics, health related quality of life, patient reported outcome measures. Applied clinical areas: healthy aging, falls, mobility, cognition.

Sarah Dow-Fleisner | Social Work | |
Research interests: Development trajectories and resilient functioning of children and families in high-risk contexts; Parent-child and sibling relationships in families experiencing parental mental illness and substance use; Intervention and prevention programs for families and children; Utilization of advanced statistical methodology to examine complex social phenomenon.

Michael Evans | Anthropology | |
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.

Alanaise Ferguson | Indigenous Studies | |
Research interests: Indigenous mental health and wellbeing; Qualitative Research Methods; Trauma repair and recovery; Career decision making; Indigenous community and cultural revitalization; Indigenous methodologies; Indigenous psychology.

Sue Frohlick | Anthropology, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies | |
Research interests: Tourism sound and noise; experimental and multi-sensory ethnography; reproduction and tourism; anthropology of sound, hearing, and listening; critical tourism studies; feminist and anti-colonial methodologies; whiteness

David Geary | Anthropology | |
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 | |
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.

Anita Girvan | English and Cultural Studies | |
Research interests: Cultural Studies; Environmental Humanities; Political Ecology and Environmental Justice; Black and Indigenous Feminist Ecological Thought; Stories, Metaphor; Critical Canadian Studies.

John Graham | Social Work | |
Research interests: social policy, diversity and social work, spirituality and social work, multicultural social work, and employee well being/ subjective well being (happiness)

Allison Hargreaves | English | |
Research interests: Indigenous literature and theory; Indigenous feminisms; anti-violence discourse; settler studies/reconciliation.

Carla Hilario | School of Nursing | |

Research interests: Health equity; youth mental health; community resilience; implementation science.

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

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

Elizabeth Keys l Nursing l
Research interests: Pediatric sleep; Parent-child interactions; Infant and parental mental health; eHealth and precision health; Community engagement; Community and public health nursing; Mixed methods; Knowledge synthesis; Integrated knowledge translation and implementation science

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

Gabrielle Legault | Indigenous Studies | |
Research interests: Contemporary place-making, Métis and urban Indigenous identities, Indigenous-led research, Métis traditional knowledge revitalization, belonging and wellbeing.

Eric Li | Management | |
Research interests: Global consumer culture; multicultural marketing and consumption; consumer well-being; online consumer privacy; visual consumption; food consumption; fashion and culture; digital marketing and consumption.

John Lyon | Nsyilxcn Language Fluency | |
Research interests: Language structure and documentation (Nsyilxcn, St’át’imcets, Secwepemctsin); Interior Salish Linguistics; Comparative linguistics of Interior Salish languages; language education and revitalization; language documentation methods; exploring respectful ways of working with elder speakers and communities on language; language-teaching strategies and curriculum development; language and social change.

Virginie Magnat | English & Cultural Studies | |
Research interests: Performance Studies; Culture, Creativity and Health & Well-Being; Cultural Anthropology; Qualitative Research; Arts-Based Inquiry; Indigenous Epistemologies and Methodologies.

Fiona McDonald | Anthropology | |
Research interests: Visual anthropology; anthropology of art; sensory ethnography; material culture; curatorial studies; museum studies; textiles; oral history; contemporary Indigenous art; informal science learning and the environment; anthropocene; water rights; open access and digital publishing; North America & Aotearoa New Zealand.

Laura Meek | |
Research interests: Pharmaceuticals; Counterfeits; Embodiment; Sensoriums; Feminist Science and Technology Studies; Medical Anthropology; Leprosy; Critical Global Health; Ontological Politics; Dreams; Temporality; Tanzania; East Africa; Indian Ocean Worlds; Hong Kong; Fugitivity; Black Studies; African Studies; Postcolonial Theory; Ethnography

Lise Olsen | Nursing | |
Research interests: Health promotion for children and youth; active, safe and inclusive play for children; parent perspectives about risk and safety for children; role of equity related factors in active, safe play: gender, income, disability, chronic illness; injury prevention and activity promotion experiences of families and children living with autism.

Barbara Pesut | Nursing | |
Research interests: Populations: Advanced chronic illness; Palliative Approaches: Integrated knowledge translation and Community-based research; Topics: Navigation models of care and Rural palliative care

Katrina Plamondon | Nursing | |
Research interests: Connecting knowledge to action for health equity. I ground my work in equity-centred principles, critical pedagogy, and relational theory. I use dialogue and arts-informed methods to bring people together to grapple with complex ideas in ways that cultivate mutual understanding, reciprocity, and shared pathways forward.

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

Christine Schreyer | Anthropology | |
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.

Sana Shahram | Nursing |
Research interests: Health Equity; Critical Population Health; Health Systems Transformation; Anti-colonial & anti-racist public health systems; Public Health; Mental Health and Substance Use; Maternal & Child Health; Complex Systems Change; Community- & Indigenous Nation- Led Research

Onyx Vanessa Sloan Morgan | Geography | |
Research interests: Critical human geography; resource extraction; sexuality and gender; political ecology; settler colonialism; youth-led research and social movements; modern treaties

Laura |
Research interests: Nicotine dependence; cancer prevention; tobacco control; youth and young adults; health promotion and gender-sensitive approaches; behavior change using digital technologies.

Roger Sugden | Management |
Research interests: Economic organisation and development in the context of globalisation; prospects for public initiatives that might stimulate socio-economic democracy; organising, leading, and managing universities; the role of universities in communities and societies; the strategic choice approach to the theory and impact of organisations.

Carlos Teixeira | Geography |
Research interests: Urban and social geography with an emphasis on migration processes; community formation, housing, and neighborhood change; ethnic entrepreneurship and the social structure of Canadian cities; gentrification; racialization in the city; class segregation; urban form.

Paul van Donkelaar | Health and Exercise Sciences | |
Research interests: public health, gaining a better understanding of traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to sports concussion or intimate partner violence.

John Wagner | Anthropology | |
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.

Shannon Ward| Anthropology | |
Research interests: Linguistic Anthropology; language acquisition and socialization; language shift and endangerment; children and childhood; greater Tibetan and Himalayan communities.

Shawn Wilson | Indigenous Studies | |
Research interests: application of Indigenous Research Methodologies into applied Indigenous community contexts, including the revitalizaton of traditional methodologies and practices.

Students & Theses

Meet Our Students

Community Engagement, Social Change, Equity theme students have provided profiles for you to discover more about them and their research.

sarah buffett (martin)

MA Student 

Sarah is Cree-Métis scholar with roots in the Qu’Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan. She has been living on Okanagan (Syilx) territory since 2010, and is currently an MA student in Interdisciplinary Studies under the theme of Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity. After completing her undergraduate degree at UBCO, Sarah sought several years of professional community-engaged work, and  gathered a breadth of experience through many projects that ultimately led her back to UBC Okanagan to pursue another degree. Since 2015, Sarah has completed research in Indigenous community health, community homelessness, then establishing the Start Fresh Project–a social enterprise that created pathways for individuals with multiple barriers to employment to food and agri-sector careers. In 2020, Sarah transitioned to the regional food security sector, and became a founding member of the Vinica Education Society, a group providing training to BC’s BIPOC youth that builds equity, diversity, and inclusion within wine industry leadership. Sarah’s overarching program of research centres Indigenous communities’ engagement with traditional food systems and modern food practices to create food security as an act of sovereignty for new generations. Her work is being co-supervised by Dr. Rachelle Hole and Dr. Leyton Schnellert.

Cara Basil

MA Student 

Cara Basil, Secwépemc from Bonaparte, is the granddaughter of Residential School Survivors Tom and Irene Basil and daughter of Elaine Basil. Cara has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Aboriginal Studies from Thompson Rivers University. Her professional contributions began as an Elected Councillor of Bonaparte, and expanded to leading initiatives in Community Planning, Education, and Health. These experiences influenced her research interests in trauma and healing, community development, and building capacity in healthcare within First Nations. Cara is excited to support the Nav-CARE project under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Pesut, looking at enhancing palliative care in Indigenous communities. In her spare time, Cara enjoys fostering holistic wellness, practicing Secwépemc culture and language, and spending time on the land.

Jenna Christianson-Barker

PhD Student 

Jenna is currently a Faculty Member of the Disability and Community Studies Department at Douglas College, focused on preparing practitioners dedicated to thoughtful and dignity filled supports. Through a variety of professional roles, she has had the opportunity to lead federal employment initiatives, sit on national working groups, identify and build on gaps in service, collaborate with both federal and provincial government, participate in and inform research, and create and deliver academic programming. These varied opportunities have resulted in a unique understanding of the value of diversity and a true passion for workplace inclusion. She is pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, Community Engagement, Social Change and Equity. Applying an emancipatory approach through a disability justice lens, her research focus intends to explore the experiences, interactions, and related impacts on co-workers of individuals with intellectual, and developmental disabilities.

Emily comeau

PhD Student 

Emily’s doctoral research seeks to answer the question: can digital spaces and digital tools be used in land-based approaches to language revitalization? Following the principles of Indigenist, relational, and decolonizing methodologies, Emily investigates the potential roles that digital technologies can play in facilitating land-based language learning. Emily intends to conduct a series of interviews with language champions across Canada and internationally in order to learn about their perspectives on the use of digital technologies in land-based approaches to language learning. In the second phase of her research, Emily is hoping to work with Nsyilxcn language learners and instructors to collaboratively develop digital tools for land-based language learning that can be directly applied in local language revitalization initiatives.

kelsey darnay

PhD Student 

Kelsey is an Anishinaabe Kwe with band membership in Garden River First Nation. She completed her MA at Trent University writing a MRP titled “Exploring Gladue and its Relationship to the Overrepresentation of Indigenous People Incarcerated in Canada.” Currently, she is completing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies: Community Engagement, Social Change and Equity focusing on Indigenous Restorative Justice (RJ) practices as an alternative to incarceration. Specifically comparing nation-specific RJ programs to urban-Indigenous RJ programs and lowering recidivism rates. Kelsey is working from an Indigenous perspective of colonization and its impacts using a decolonizing lens informed by post-colonial theory and critical theory to complete this work. Research focus: Indigenous Restorative Justice practices, decolonization, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous methodologies in research, community-engaged research, postcolonial theory.

bonny lynn donovan

PhD Student

Bonny Lynn is a Saskatchewan Métis woman with ancestral ties to one of the first Métis settlements in the prairie province. She completed her BEd at the University of Calgary in 1993 and her MEd at Simon Fraser University in 2009. Bonny Lynn has a passion for teaching Kindergarten and has been with SD 67 (Okanagan-Skaha) since 1999. She is pursuing her IGS PhD in Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity, while on academic leave with her school district. Bonny Lynn works both as a Research Assistant, supervised by Drs. Jeannette Armstrong (UBCO) and Leyton Schnellert (UBCV), and as the Community Liaison Coordinator for the Enhancing Ecosystem Sustainability: A Syilx/Settler Science Collaboration Eminence Fund Research Project. Bonny Lynn was awarded a University Graduate Fellowship for the 2020-2021 school year. Her research is an interdisciplinary qualitative inquiry that draws from Indigenous studies, education, and ecological sustainability. Her research is a community-based participatory action Ecoliteracy research project with Syilx/Okanagan early learners and their first teachers.

Michelle hewitt

PhD Student 

Michelle Hewitt is a disability activist in the Central Okanagan, BC. Michelle was a school principal until 2008, when an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis brought that career to an end. As she now views life from a wheelchair, she is constantly struck by the inequities disabled people face. Unsatisfied with the status quo, she works to advance systemic change as a volunteer with a number of disability advocacy groups. Michelle realized the need to hone her activist arguments so initially took courses with the Disability Studies department of Ryerson University. With the fire for academia re-lit, Michelle is now pursuing her PhD, where she is researching care options for working aged disabled people with progressive illness. Typically, this all takes place from her bed, with the company of her two Bernese Mountain dogs.

cakwəm – Jennifer Lewis

PhD Student 

cakwəm is a syilx woman, mother, auntie and helper from snpinktn – Penticton and nkmplqs – head of the lake (near Vernon). Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Indigenous Social Work and is currently a first year PhD student in UBC Okanagan’s Interdisciplinary Studies program. She has worked with the Okanagan Nation Alliance for the last 14 years and is currently the Wellness Manager. She is deeply committed to the wellbeing of her people and healing from the atrocities of on-going acts of colonization. Research interests: sqilxwchout – syilx ways of being and knowing- syilx mental health and healing – syilx child and family – syilx social structure and methods of inquiry and dialogue.

Rifah Rafia Monir

MA Student

Rifah is a social researcher and activist from Bangladesh. Her master’s thesis explores the politics of language among Rohingya refugees and their educational curriculum in Bangladesh. Through interviews and policy analysis, she is examining the ideologies behind Bangladesh’s language policy for the Rohingya people and the potentiality of including their mother language, Rohingya, in their educational curriculum. She is the Vice-President of an NGO in Bangladesh, Center for Tajuddin Ahmad Research and Activism (CTARA), and also the Associate Editor of CTARA Journal. Her publications include a journal article on RMG labour unrest in Bangladesh and a report on the minimum wage system for the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Bangladesh. At UBC, she is serving as the Coordinator of the South Asia Research Cluster and as a member of the Graduate Student Advisory Council. She also works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Graduate Research Assistant.

Fernanda Novoa

MA Student

Fernanda Novoa is a medical doctor turned graduate student and migrant rights’ activist, currently immersed in her master’s studies in unceded Syilx territory. A rock-climbing enthusiast, she’s as passionate about the outdoors as she is about advocating for health equity.

Originally from Mexico, Fernanda started her career as a physician serving underprivileged communities. The health disparities she encountered sparked a shift in her career towards confronting these systemic issues, leading her into the realm of community-engaged research. Her current work explores the experiences of Mexican migrant agricultural workers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the Okanagan, under Dr. Joan Bottorff’s supervision. Fernanda is currently a volunteer with organizations like RAMA and KCR, and a member of the Alliance for Gender Justice Migration, a Canadian advocacy group.

While missing her family and Mexican food, she remains committed to addressing health disparities while exploring the Canadian outdoors.

Adriane peak

MA Student

Adriane is an entrepreneur, enterprising psychological anthropologist, and wannabe triathlete. With a Bachelor of Arts from UBCO and minor in Psychology, Adriane’s master’s thesis examines the cultural environment of mental health support systems for First Responders in the Okanagan.  Adriane’s background in small business is multi-faceted and combined with her love for psychological and medical anthropology has led her to establish a local non-profit to engage in community-based research projects with purpose.  When she is not working, volunteering, or writing, Adriane is looking for a new place to run, bike, swim, or hike with her dog.

Emily Kaakyo Rubooga

MA Student

Emily’s research interests are varied.  In Behavioural Science, focusing on the intricacies of framing in social communication and public engagement, Emily’s interests include advocacy, social mobilization, and social and behavioral change communication. In Implementation Science, the science of delivering social interventions, Emily’s research facilitates the uptake of evidence-based practice and ensures that research findings are delivered into the hands of grassroots practitioners and policymakers.

Emily’s research ensures that gender-sensitive approaches are used in designing and delivering social interventions in order to promote equity and human development. Emily is committed to the facilitation and promotion of community-based approaches to improve human services and health care systems.

Emily’s interests also include: engaging communities amidst polarization; civil society capacity strengthening and organizational learning for sustained impact; qualitative research; East Africa

Jo Scofield

MA Student

Jo Scofield (they/them) is an anthropologist, reproductive rights activist, and avid gamer working and studying in unceded Syilx territory. Jo received their Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from UBCO and is now pursuing a Master of Arts in the CESCE theme supervised by Dr. Susan Frohlick. Jo’s master’s work focuses on the adoption of inclusive language in pro-choice and reproductive justice activism. This project takes an explicitly trans inclusive, reproductive justice approach and was motivated by experiences volunteering with groups involved in pro-choice and abortion related activism.

To examine the work of previous UBC Okanagan graduate students, search on cIRcle, the University’s digital repository for research and teaching materials.

As a domain of scholarship, creative activity, and teaching, the Community Engagement, Social Change & Equity theme is wide-ranging and interdisciplinary in nature. CESCE encourages graduate students to become well-rounded scholars, educators, and public intellectuals. During their degree, students will have the opportunity to conduct original research, learn to become effective educators, and work as Teaching Assistants, as well as acquire knowledge in the professional practices of writing for publication, academic CV development, grant writing, networking, and community-engaged research skills.

Admission Requirements

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


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.


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.


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. 


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 listed in the Academic Calendar.


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 listed in the Academic Calendar.


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 Global Engagement Office’s website to meet the team.

Tuition & Funding


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 $5,407.56 $9,500.19
PhD Full-time $5,407.56 $9,500.19

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.

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.

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.

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
  • Two reference forms or letters

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

In some circumstances, at the request of a theme coordinator, the Dean or Dean designate in CoGS may approve an off-cycle admission for a student who would be significantly disadvantaged by having to begin their studies in September.

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. At UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.


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.


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).


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.


* 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.