Power, Conflict, and Ideas

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

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. Access to economic opportunity, employment, security, and civil rights protections is not equally available to all members of society. The ability to understand the causes and consequences of these inequalities requires a solid foundation in historical knowledge and contextualised understandings of social and political dynamics. Finding solutions to problems of social inequality and injustice also requires recognition of structural challenges, such as those presented by legal and criminal justice systems, institutions of governance, and other infrastructures of power.

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.

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 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, and policy analysis. Graduates undertake advanced 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 nationally and internationally recognized faculty researchers with experience in areas related to power, conflict, and ideas, and their effect on our world.

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

  • Criminology, law, and legal systems
  • Social movements and political consciousness
  • Gender, social reproduction, and sexuality
  • Inequality, economic systems, and social policy
  • Critical race theory, intersectionality
  • Ideology, religion, and identity in conflict
  • Post-humanism, interspecies, and critical animal studies

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.

Sakiru Adebayo | English | sakiru.adebayo@ubc.ca |
Research interests: African Literature, Black Studies, Memory Studies and the New African Diaspora

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.

Margaret Carlyle | History | margaret.carlyle@ubc.ca
Research interests: History of science, technology, and medicine; history of reproduction and the life sciences; gender and women’s studies; history of the body; material culture; science and race in the Atlantic world.

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.

John Cho | Anthropology | john.cho@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Transnational sexualities, focusing, in particular, on queer globalization within South Korea and in East Asia.

Jonathan Cinnamon | Geography | jonathan.cinnamon@ubc.ca |
Research interests: digital geographies; data studies; GIS and society; science and technology studies; urban studies; surveillance; digital/visual methods; alternative urbanisms

Agnieszka Doll | Sociology | agnieszka.doll@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Nexus of psychiatry and law; socio-legal studies of the everyday life of law; institutional ethnography; science, technology, and regulation; expert knowledge; regulatory spaces and pharmaceutical governance, psychedelics and drug policy and feminist and qualitative methodologies.

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.

John Graham | Social Work | john.graham@ubc.ca |

Research interests: social policy, diversity and social work, spirituality and social work, multicultural social work, and employee well being/ subjective well being (happiness), homelessness prevention research

Giovanni Grandi | Philosophy | giovanni.grandi@ubc.ca |
Research interests: The history of philosophy and the history of ideas with a particular focus on the early modern period and the Scottish Enlightenment. Theories of sensory perception, moral psychology, philosophy of religion, the philosophy of action,  political economy, and philosophical anthropology.

Jennifer Gustar | English & Cultural Studies | jennifer.gustar@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Contemporary Women’s Writing; Contemporary British Literature; Black and Minority Ethnic women’s writing (UK); women’s writing from South Asia and the diaspora. Feminist and postcolonial approaches to literature.

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.

Maxime Heroux-Legault | Economics, Philosophy and Political Science | maxime.heroux-legault@ubc.ca
Research Interests: Canadian Politics, Research Methods, Election studies.

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

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, Women and Sexuality 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.

Sean Lawrence | English |sean.lawrence@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Shakespeare; canonical literature and 20th-century French philosophy; Medieval and Renaissance studies; peace and war studies; drama and theatre studies; ethics.

Fiona McDonald | Anthropology | fiona.mcdonald@ubc.ca
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 laura.meek@ubc.ca |
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

Sajjad Nejatie l sajjad.nejatie@ubc.ca
Research interests: Islam in Asia; The Persianate World; Historiography; Narrative Theory; Migration; Tribalism; Ethnic Identity; Empire and State Formation and Nationalism.

Nikhita Obeegadoo | nikhita.obeegadoo@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Oceanic and Archipelagic Studies; Indian Ocean and Caribbean Studies; Critical Race Studies Gender Studies; Contemporary literatures from the Global South, including Africa, South Asia and Latin America; Border Theory and Creolization; Theorising the relationship between History and Literature; Environmental Humanities; Medical Humanities. Research Languages: French, Spanish, English, Hindi, Mauritian Creole.

Ondine Park | Sociology | ondine.park@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Cultural environmental sociology; suburban imaginary; theories of space and spatialization; social and cultural theory; seasonal sociology; aesthetic sociology

Ilya Parkins | Gender, Women and Sexuality 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.

Tim Paulson | History | tim.paulson@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Environmental history; economic history; applied/public history; arid landscapes; food; capitalism; markets.

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

Madeleine Ransom | Philosophy | madeleine.ransom@ubc.ca |
Research interests: I work on understanding human perceptual learning, with a focus on how this process can contribute to gender and racial bias. I am also interested in how human bias relates to bias in machine learning, and how best to address the ethical issues that arise from bias.

Margaret Reeves | English & Cultural Studies | Margaret.Reeves@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Early modern women’s writing; children’s literary cultures (early modern to contemporary); early modern childhood and youth; Milton and early modern political theory; satiric fiction; women’s literature; Medieval and Renaissance studies; 16th and 17th-century literature; history of the novel; auto/biographical discourse; speculative fiction; feminist and queer theory.

Geoffrey Sigalet | Political Science | geoffrey.sigalet@ubc.ca |

Research interests: Canadian Charter Rights and Public Policy, Federalism, Constitutional Theory, Theories of Constitutional Interpretation, Judicial Politics, Comparative Constitutional Law, and Democratic Theory.

Deana Simonetto | Assistant Professor | Sociology | deana.simonetto@ubc.ca
Research Interests: Gender, Health and Sport, Qualitative Methods Methods, Self and Identity, Symbolic Interaction, Deviance and Social Problems, Social Media.

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

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

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.

Symbolic Interaction, Deviance and Social Problems, Social Media.

Shawn Wilson | Indigenous Studies | shawn.wilson@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Application of Indigenous Research Methodologies into applied Indigenous community contexts, including the revitalizaton of traditional methodologies and practices.

Helen Yanacopulos | Political Science | helen.yanacopulos@ubc.ca
Research Interests: International Development; collective action and strategy of transnational networks; civil society and NGOs; political communication; international norms; anti-slavery; conflict and development.

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.

Students & Thesis

Meet Our Students

Power, Conflict, and Ideas theme students have provided profiles for you to discover more about them and their research.

Cassidy acheson

MA Student 

Cassidy Acheson is a settler scholar whose research integrates Indigenous Studies and History in order to understand patterns of settler colonialism alongside Indigenous and settler women’s histories. She uses collaborative and place-based methodologies to examine settler acts of claiming land and memory at Nk’maplqs (the Head of the Lake, near Vernon, BC), while highlighting Sqilxw women’s histories of resistance. She is interested in processes of erasure that attempt to eliminate Indigenous women from historical memory and from the land as a tool of settler power, and how Indigenous women refuse this erasure.

Stephanie Awotwi-Pratt

MA Student

Stephanie Awotwi-Pratt is a Black Canadian researcher and student in the Power, Conflict and Ideas stream. With previous degrees in Microbiology, English, and Gender and Women’s Studies at UBC Okanagan, her master’s research merges a range of disciplines and fields. Stephanie focuses on reproductive health care and racism in Obstetrics and Gynecology in British Columbia. Stephanie’s SSHRC CGSM-funded master’s research seeks to understand how Black Canadian women living in B.C. resist racism and medical violence in reproductive healthcare settings. Stephanie’s research interacts with multiple fields, including Black feminist theory, reproductive justice, the effects of historically rooted legacies of medical violence, and contemporary examples of discrimination in patient interactions with medical care providers.

Morgan Marshall

MA Student 

Morgan Marshall is a master’s student in the Power, Conflict, and Ideas stream, working under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Stites Mor. Morgan has previously completed an undergraduate degree from UBC Okanagan with a major in History & a minor in Art History and Visual Culture. She is currently researching South Asian women working as ayahs within the British Empire from 1759 to 1947. More specifically, Morgan is investigating the convergence of colonialism, domestic relations, and the construction of family in the colonial household through the perspective of the subaltern. She strives to reconstruct the exclusionary nature of British colonial history that perpetuates an idealized white colonizer narrative, by bringing to light ayahs’ meaningful impact on the British family. Morgan’s research is quite interdisciplinary, as she blends social history research theories and methodologies with an art historical analysis.

Ange-Aimee Quesnel

MA Student 

Ange-Aimee’s research interests include gender, reproduction politics and discourse. More specifically, the central purpose of her study is investigating the socio-political and historical landscapes that created an environment that promoted and justified sexual sterilization legislation in British Columbia during the early twentieth-century.

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, Power, Conflict & Ideas is wide-ranging and interdisciplinary in nature. Power, Conflict & Ideas 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)
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, 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.

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.

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
  • Writing sample (An example of your scholarly writing, such as a term paper or a substantial scholarly paper, is recommended but not required)
  • English language test (for non-native speakers of English) – the IGS program requires a minimum IELTS 7.0 overall score
  • 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 Okanagan Campus


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.