Urban and Regional Studies

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

The theme is not accepting applications for the 2024-25 academic year.

Examining the phenomena that affect those in urban and rural settings

Graduate Program Overview

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

Urban and Regional Studies (URS) provides an interdisciplinary learning setting where students can gain insights into some of the major challenges facing urban areas, as well as their linkages with wider regions and rural spaces.  Current faculty in URS provide insights drawing on Anthropology, Economics, Engineering, Management, Geography, Health Studies, History, Politics, and Sociology.  Students can gain a better understanding of issues such as the cultural politics of place, economic development, income inequality, gentrification and renoviction, governance and leadership, homelessness, housing policy, identity politics of/in place, land use conflict, public health, public and private economics, regional history, sustainable transportation, sustainable development, urban politics, and the relationship between identity, place, and community.  Research in URS attempts to develop connections between urban and regional theory and analysis on the one hand, and development of urban and regional politics and practices on the other. In pursuing this diverse field of study, URS students will have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, resources, and collaboration of supervisors from four faculties and eight departments.


The MA and MSc interdisciplinary degrees in urban and regional studies 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 topics relating to urbanization and regional development, and the ability to apply interdisciplinary methods and perspectives to research in this field.

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 are required for the MA degree, and 12 credits for the MSc degree, including:

  • Proseminar in Interdisciplinary Studies (IGS 524)
  • Theme Seminar in Urban, Rural, and Regional Dynamics (IGS 583)
  • A research methods course
  • Additional coursework, selected in consultation with the student’s supervisor

The student’s academic and professional history will determine if the student undertakes a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree.

The PhD degree is centred on conducting original, cutting-edge research in the field of urban and regional studies. 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
  • Defending the work
Coursework requirements

The amount of coursework will vary according to the disciplines in which the student engages; however, it is expected that at least nine credits of coursework will be required, as approved by 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 diverse industries.

  • Academic researcher
  • Business development officer
  • Educator
  • Environmental educator
  • Policy advocate
  • Policy consultant
  • Policy makers
  • Planner
  • Local and regional development officer
  • Resource management advisor
  • Sustainability officers

Research & Supervisors

This IGS degree draws on the expertise of nationally and internationally recognized faculty researchers with experience in areas related to urban and regional studies.

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

  • Ethnic entrepreneurship
  • Agriculture and food security
  • Urban and regional governance
  • Local market development and consumption
  • Migration and immigration
  • Public policy
  • Resource management
  • Rural health promotion
  • Rural community development
  • Social inequality
  • Socialist cities
  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Urban and regional history
  • Urban economics
  • Urban planning

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.

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.

Lynn Bosetti | Education | lynn.bosetti@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Leadership in Higher Education, Critical Policy Studies, Change Management, Emotional Labour and School Choice

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.

John Graham | Social Work | john.graham@ubc.ca
Research Interests: homelessness reduction; international development (with a particular focus on Bedouin-Arab communities in the Middle East); social policy; diversity and social work; spirituality and social work; multicultural social work; employee well being/ subjective well being (happiness) in and out of the workplace.

Ross Hickey | Economics | ross.hickey@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Public finance and political economy; fiscal policy (government expenditure and taxation) and how it is influenced by interactions within a hierarchy of governments (municipal, provincial and federal); elections; lobbying activity.

John Janmaat | Economics | john.janmaat@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Understanding the drivers of human choices that impact on and are impacted by natural systems, and identifying interventions that can move us individually and collectively to a more sustainable relationship with the non-human world. This includes the use of models that integrate biophysical and/or social processes with economic models of behaviour and analyzing data collected through surveys and related approaches.

Tess Lea | Community, Culture and Global Studies | tess.lea@ubc.ca |
Research interests: I have instigated and managed national and international research collaborations to pursue translational research across health, education, housing, infrastructure, militarism, and extractive relations—these being different coordinates for mapping social inequality under continuing settler occupation in troubled times and considering the policy ecology informing such issues.

Eric Li | Management | eric.li@ubc.ca |
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.

Gordon Lovegrove | Engineering | gord.lovegrove@ubc.ca |
Research interests: SMARTer growth; sustainable community planning and design; sustainable transport and safety; hydrail powered, zero-emission regional passenger and freight rail; affordable housing and co-housing.

Bernard Momer | Geography | bernard.momer@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Urban cultural geography; urban planning; sustainability of cities; morphogenesis; geography of wine; the role of local culture in urban planning and sustainability in mid-size cities; changing landscapes of wine producing regions in Canada.

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.

Kathy Rush | Nursing | kathy.rush@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Health and well-being of older adults with complex health challenges, across healthcare and geographic contexts; health services and transitions in care for older adults with cardiac conditions; perspectives of risk; designing innovative approaches in bringing services close to home for older adults and supporting their self-management.

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

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.

Andrea Craig | Economics | andrea.craig@ubc.ca |
Research interests: Using equilibrium models, I analyze households’ residential location and commute mode decisions and simulate the outcomes of proposed policy changes.

Donna Senese | Geography | donna.senese@ubc.ca |
Research interests: geographies of sustainability, rural resilience, landscapes of tourism, wine and food; mixed, participatory, and visual methodologies; conceptions of rurality, mobility, and vulnerability; regional analysis of tourism, wine and food.

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.

Our facilities include:

Students & Thesis

Meet Our Students

Urban and Regional Studies theme students have provided profiles for you to discover more about them and their research.

nadia mahmoudi

MA Student in URRD

My name is Seyedeh Nadia Mahmoudi, a graduate student in IGS, urban dynamics at UBCO, M.B.A. holder from Amirkabir University, and a B.A. in Urban Planning and Designing.  At UBCO, I got involved in the SMARTer growth project to work on Social cost-benefit analysis for the SMARTer Growth Neighbourhoods design manual. My responsibility was to draw a cash flow diagram using the Monte Carlo risk assessment with the case study on Capri Landmark. I am currently involved with more RA and TA positions relevant to my focus. My Master Thesis at UBCO is about urban Spatial structure and its interaction with people, and I work on the livability and sustainability of the city. My goal is to contribute to developing new ways of informed decision-making to upgrade living conditions with an emphasis on sustainable Built-structure.  My research interests include urban spatial structure, Sustainable urban planning, human geography, Land use planning, Sustainable active transportation and public transit.

william walczak

PhD Student in URRD

William is the CEO of Hiilite (hiilite.com), CEO of RepairExpress (repairexpress.com), and is currently pursuing his PhD in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies (IGS) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan campus. He believes that maximum potential is only achieved when the most inquisitive minds play in concert with the right technology, in a fun environment. He knows that collaborating with ambitious and persevering individuals and organizations leads to the best results. However, this can only happen when everyone is engaged, has ownership of the outcome, and has clear and measurable goals. To work well with William, get excited and passionate about the process, product, and potential.  His academic focus and research interests are consumer behavior, machine learning, predictive analytics, consumer experience, and marketing. His goal is to help move his industry forward and help make marketing, and marketing technology more accessible and effective.

Johanna Elizabeth Manrique Hernandez

PhD Student in URRD

Economist and consultant, I am an econometrist and spatial data analyser. I have over 7 years of experience instructing at a university level, 6 years of experience in economic research, a strong background in computer specialized programs such as R, Stata, Eviews, JMulti, SPSS, Arcgis, Geodata, Tableau and Advanced Excel, skills in statistics, econometrics, spatial econometrics, prediction models, data analytics and programming. I have researched labor markets, migration, and international trade using micro data.

murray derksen

PhD Student in URS

I am a PhD student looking into refugee arrival (first 12 months) and integration into small and mid-sized cities in the Thompson-Okanagan region of British Columbia. I did my MA at UBC with a focus on the role and impact of religious institutions in refugee settlement in the City of Kelowna, BC. I am looking to expand those findings and compare some of the experiences of newcomers (former refugees) to see how the arrival and integration of these new Canadians can be enhanced.

dina alkharabsheh

PhD Student in URS

Through the early years of my life, I have developed a passion for designing the built environment, as I have always believed that design has a noble role in improving people’s quality of life, hence, I wanted to be an architect. I practiced full-time in the field of architecture for seven years (2014-2021), and during that period I designated three years (2015-2018) to study Spatial Planning in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the German Jordanian University, and I was honored to work with teams on award-winning projects, some of which are competition calls by the UN-Habitat. My educational and professional background has shaped my interest in research related to quality of life in cities, human rights, and human development. Consequently, my PhD dissertation aims to create a global urban indicator that could contribute to highlighting development priority issues, and influencing the decision-making processes in a framework that seeks sustainable social justice.

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

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, 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

The theme is not accepting applications for the 2024-25 academic year.

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.