Power, Conflict, and Ideas

Understand the causes and consequences of the issues that drive our world

Graduate Program Overview

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

The dynamics of power, conflict, and ideas in today’s world are complex and in constant flux. Economic opportunity, employment, sustainability, security, religion, and poverty are just some of the problems that shape society and individual lives. The ability to understand the causes and consequences of these issues requires a solid foundation in historical knowledge and contextualised understandings of social and political dynamics. However, finding solutions to such problems requires the ability to approach these challenges both creatively and critically.

The interdisciplinary graduate degree in power, conflict, and ideas at UBC’s Okanagan campus brings together diverse perspectives, insights, tools, and techniques needed to comprehend and address today’s challenges, and allow graduates to become agents of change.

Students will study the dynamics of political environments, learn how to use archives and historical data, study social theory and theoretical approaches, learn how to apply ethical frameworks, and develop critical analytical skills. In pursuing this field of study, students will be able to pursue rigorous graduate study that culminates in an in-depth individual research project. The interdisciplinary nature of the program, drawing from multiple faculties and departments, allows for a range of teaching and research opportunities in different departments.

The interdisciplinary master’s degree in power, conflict, and ideas 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:

  • Power, social change, and the history of ideas
  • Governance, participation, and policymaking
  • Historical context and framework
  • Inequality, conflict, and social justice
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 Governance (IGS 589)
  • Theme Seminar in Power and Ideas (IGS 590)
  • Theme Seminar in Society and Conflict (IGS 591)
  • Theme Seminar in History Theory and Method (IGS 592)
  • One additional course to be selected by the student, in consultation with his or her supervisor

The PhD degree is centred on conducting original, cutting-edge research in areas related to governance, social change, policymaking, inequality, and conflict. 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

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

Career Possibilities

Graduates will be prepared for further academic research and teaching, as well as possible roles in government, the private sector, and not-for-profit organizations. Coursework in this theme concentrates on preparation in historical and sociological inquiry, archival research, policy analysis, and study of the primary means of effecting change in society, via institutions, culture, and social movements.

Research & Supervisors

This IGS degree draws on the expertise of 19 nationally and internationally recognized faculty researchers with experience in areas related to power, conflict, and ideas, and their effect on our world.

Research Areas

Graduate students can pursue these and other faculty research and teaching interests:

  • Religious thought and secularism
  • Criminology, law, and legal systems
  • Social movements
  • Political ideologies and institutions
  • Inequality, economic systems, and social policy
  • Race, class, ability, and gender
  • Culture and social change
  • History of ideas
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.


Luis LM Aguiar | Sociology | luis.aguiar@ubc.ca |
Research interests: The globalization of the “Justice for Janitors” campaigns; global unions; Eddie Melo: What were you? The Neoliberal University; whiteness; the Canadian Hinterland.


Anderson Araujo | English | anderson.araujo@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Literary modernism; avant-garde movements; transatlantic aesthetics; politics.


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


Bonar Buffam | Sociology | bonar.buffam@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Race and empire; crime and punishment; socio-legal studies; religion and secularity; urban geographies; social and cultural theory.


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.


Jodey Castricano | English | jodey.castricano@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Eco-cultures; critical animal studies; eco-criticism – critical theory (feminist, queer, gender studies); media and digital cultures; digital humanities; virtual reality; narrative; HCI theory.


Carey Doberstein | Political Science | carey.doberstein@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Canadian politics and governance; comparative public policy; public administration; urban policy issues; experimental methods.


Thomas Heilke | Political Science | thomas.heilke@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Political philosophy and theory; classical political thought; modern political thought; political theology; religion and politics; political ideologies; international relations in political philosophy.


Catherine Higgs | History | catherine.higgs@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Southern Africa; Portuguese Africa; Atlantic World; religion; politics; activism; labour; agriculture; policy.


Jasmin Hristov | Sociology | jasmin.hristov@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Development and conflict; political violence; non-state armed actors; human rights; neoliberalilsm; Latin America; land dispossession; human trafficking and sexual violence.


Jelena Jovicic | French | jelena.jovicic@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Literary theory; critical intellectual history; the epistolary genre and 19th and 20th Century literature (in France and the French Caribbean region); the relationship between the formation of knowledge across disciplines (medicine, law, sciences); dissemination through various discursive practices (literature, architecture, visual arts).


Heather Latimer | Gender and Women’s Studies | heather.latimer@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Reproductive technologies and politics, especially reproductive futurism; biopolitics; sexuality studies; science and technology studies; feminist new materialism and post-humanism; cultural studies; literature and film.


Brigitte Le Normand | History | brigitte.lenormand@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Urban studies; socialist Yugoslavia; labour migration in Cold War Europe.


Jessica Stites Mor | History | jessica.stites-mor@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Transnational solidarity movements; politics and culture of the left; cinema and digital media.


Ilya Parkins | Gender & Women’s Studies | ilya.parkins@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Feminist theories, especially epistemologies; history and theory of fashion; theories of modernity and early twentieth-century cultural formations; femininities.


Francisco Peña | World Literatures & Spanish | francisco.pena@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Literary studies; biblical studies; religious studies; history of ideas.


Margo Tamez | Indigenous Studies | margo.tamez@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Ndé consciousness of time, place, and homeland; Indigenous women’s consciousness of land-based relations in Kónitsąąíí gokíyaa (Lipan Apache country); Indigenous consciousness along the Río Grande River; Indigenous peoples and human rights; borders; militarization; memory; Indigenous decolonial concepts; self-determination; transitional justice; the poetics of Indigenous movements


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.


Michael Zajko | Sociology | mike.zajko@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Internet and telecom policy; governance of artificial intelligence and algorithms; security and surveillance studies; social and political theory.

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);
  • 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)
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, the interdisciplinary nature of this program means there are many opportunities for teaching and research with different departments across the campus. 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, contracts 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.