How to Apply

(This page was last updated on January 17, 2018.)

The September 2018 RES Admissions deadline was January 15, 2018.

The online application system is now closed and no new applications can be submitted for the Sept 2018 program start.

All applications submitted before January 15, 2018 have until January 25, 2018 to ensure that all their references are uploaded/submitted to their online application.

After January 25, 2018, no new references letters will be accepted.


The RES program will open the application system for the September 2019 program start in the fall of 2018.

Note: RES does not have January admissions. We have one application cycle per year, for a program start in September.


The 2018 RES application procedure, admission requirements and required documents are detailed below.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL PHD APPLICANTS:  International PhD applicants are now eligible for the new UBC International Doctoral Fellowship.  Applicants who would like to be considered for this award must submit their complete UBC online application for admission (including references) by December 31, 2017.  More information on how to apply for the International Doctoral Fellowship can be found here.



  • RES does not pre-review applications or application materials. We will only review your documents once a full application package is submitted via the online application system.
  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure a complete application package – including all reference letters, required uploaded documents and official transcripts – is received by the RES graduate program by the application close date.
  • Late applications and incomplete applications will not be considered for admission. No exceptions.
  • Please note that you can’t make changes to your online application once it is submitted.  This applies to the application itself as well as documents you have uploaded, so please make sure you upload the final version of your required documents before submitting your application.  If you have issues uploading required documents to your application, please contact the IRES Graduate Program Office at


The RES Admissions Procedure

Thinking of applying to RES? Start with these 3 steps:

It is the applicant's responsibility to establish his/her eligibility. RES does not pre-review applications or application materials. The RES departmental requirements are higher than the minimum requirements set by UBC's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS).

Please see this link for the minimum domestic and international academic requirements from UBC’s G+PS website.

The RES MA/MSc/PhD program requires:

  • A GPA weighted A- average, 3.7 GPA, or 80% minimum (calculated from your last 2 years of course work).
  • For institutions using a different grading system, First-Class Honours status or the equivalent must have been obtained. If your previous institution does not provide transcripts in English, please see the G+PS International transcript requirements.
  • Students with averages between 76-79% will still be considered, but will need an exceptional Thesis Proposal and exceptional Letters of Reference to be competitive.

Take a look at the profiles of our IRES Core Faculty and Faculty Associates. It is strongly recommended that you identify some IRES Core and/or Associate Faculty whose research interests closely align with your own. Send them a concise email to introduce yourself, your research interests and your desire to have them supervise your Masters/Doctoral program.

If you are a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident (PR), you may ask if they will help review your SSHRC/NSERC application.

You will be asked to provide the names of three potential Supervisors during the online application process. Having already established communication with potential supervisor(s) is an excellent way to determine if the potential Supervisor(s) and RES program is a good fit for you.

Note: RES Admissions decisions are made by the RES Admissions Committee. An individual IRES supervisor is not able to offer you admission to the RES program. However, having been in contact with potential supervisor(s), and having them express interest in your research ideas, can help your case during the admissions process.

  • Read this "How to Apply" page carefully.
  • Read the RES Prospective Students Admissions FAQ's.
  • Read the RES Current Student FAQ's
  • Read the G+PS Application/Admission FAQ's.

These four sources, taken together, should provide the answers to almost all of your admissions questions.

Should you have any further questions about the application process once you have read the above resources, please contact the IRES Graduate Program Manager at


RES Required Application Items

It is the applicant’s responsibility to determine his/her eligibility for the RES program, ensure that his/her application is complete and that all required documents are submitted by the application close deadline of January 15, 2018.

A complete application includes the following items:

Complete the UBC online Application form and pay the G+PS application fee

Application to UBC G+PS - RES Program:

  • Electronic transcript files must be scanned (both sides of each transcript page) and uploaded as .PDF files to your UBC online application before you Submit your application.
  • Each electronic (.PDF) Transcript must be uploaded as a separate file.
  • Electronic transcript files must be uploaded as a .PDF file – no other formats accepted.
  • Naming format of uploaded transcript file must be: LastName_FirstName_RES_Degree_Transcript_PostSecondaryInstitution.
    • Example: Smith_John_RES_PhD_Transcript_UBC




RES will make provisional admission decisions based on your complete online application file, uploaded electronic (.PDF) Transcript files and other uploaded documents.

If you are offered admission to RES: we will then require you to submit TWO paper copies of your official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions in signed, sealed envelopes from the issuing institution.

One official paper copy will need to be sent to G+PS:

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
University of British Columbia
6371 Crescent Rd
Vancouver, BC CANADA  V6T 1Z2

The second official paper copy will need to be submitted to RES:

IRES Graduate Program Manager
430 – 2202 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC CANADA V6T 1Z4

We require three (3) letters of recommendation from academic sources. If one or more of your referees knows you in a professional context, this is also acceptable as long as they are able to speak to your ability in your proposed research areas. Reference letters are submitted directly by the referee to the online application system.

G+PS  Guidelines regarding Letters of Reference

Applicants will input their referee's contact information into the application system. The referees will be contacted with instructions on how to upload their letters only after the applicant has completed the rest of their application, paid their application fee and submitted it online.

It is therefore VERY important that applicants complete and submit their applications online with enough time for your referees to be contacted and to be able to comfortably write their letters of recommendation to upload for the January 25, 2018 deadline.

We recommend submitting your complete online application at least one week before the application close deadline.

The RES Admissions deadline is firm and all required application components - including all uploaded documents  - must be received by the online application system by the RES deadline of January 15.  Referees have until January 25 to submit their references online.  Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

G+PS English Proficiency Requirements

It is the applicant's responsibility to determine if they are required to submit an English Proficiency test as part of their application.

For admission to the RES program, we require the following scores:


  • A minimum total score of 100 on the internet-based (iBT) TOEFL, with no TOEFL component less than 24 for entry into the RES program.
  • A minimum score of 600 required for the paper-based TOEFL.
    • Test scores must be official and directly from the testing agency; photocopies of TOEFL scores are not acceptable.
  • A minimum score of 250 for the computer-based TOEFL

Please ensure that you include the following on your TOEFL sheet:

  • The University of British Columbia's institution code 0965
  • The reason for taking TOEFL: "to enter a college or university as a graduate student"

UBC accepts either an official paper score report sent directly to the university from the testing center or an electronic submission.


We require a minimum overall score of 7, with no component less than 6.5 for entry into the RES program.

UBC requires an official score to be sent electronically from the test center. On the IELTS application form you will be asked to specify institutions where you would like the results being sent to. Use the following details:

  • Name of institution: The University of British Columbia
  • Name of person/department: Graduate School Admissions
  • Address: 170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2, Canada


The RES Thesis Proposal is a document that outlines the issue(s) to be addressed in your graduate program thesis, the perceived relevance or importance of the issue(s), the objectives of the research and proposed methods to be used.

The RES thesis proposal is limited to 2 pages (single-spaced, 12 point font, 2.5 cm margins). The page limit does not include references.

Please upload your RES Thesis Proposal in the Additional Questions section of the online application. All RES Thesis Proposals must be in .PDF format and follow the below naming convention:

  • Thesis Proposal File Naming Format: LastName_FirstName_RES_Degree_ThesisProposal
    • Example: Smith_John_RES_PhD_ThesisProposal

A sample of work done in the previous degree, or subsequently, in English. 15 page maximum.

  • If you have a longer sample of work you would like to submit, please cut it down to 15 pages.
  • If you would like to submit a sample of work that was a collaboration of multiple authors, please clearly indicate which section(s) you wrote at the top of your uploaded document.

We are using this document to evaluate your ability to write at the Graduate level in English. Please select a work that best demonstrates this ability.

  • Writing Sample File Naming Format:  LastName_FirstName_RES_Degree_WritingSample
    • Example: Smith_John_RES_PhD_WritingSample

Scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are desirable, but optional to submit. Your application will be not be penalized in any way if you do not submit a GRE score. If you have a strong GRE score and wish to submit it, please consult the GRE website on how to send in your scores. GRE scores are sent electronically to G+PS.  The UBC institution code is 0965.  The RES department code is 0110.


Applying for Funding and Awards

We strongly encourage eligible potential applicants to apply for funding, such as NSERC or SSHRC awards, in the same academic session as they apply to us. Applicants should be aware of the early application deadlines for SSHRC/NSERC.  International PhD applicants should also be aware of the early application deadline of December 31, 2017 in order to be considered for the International Doctoral Fellowship (IDF).  Please note that while confirmation of funding will be taken in to consideration when assessing your application, it cannot guarantee you a place in the program. For more information on NSERC, SSHRC, the IDF, and other Awards, please click here.


Please note:

Due to the high number of applicants to the RES program and the limited number of faculty members who can supervise students, not all eligible applicants who meet our minimum criteria can be admitted to the program.

The RES Admissions Committee make conditional offers of admission based on your online application and uploaded documents. The RES admissions decisions must be reviewed and approved by UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) before you will be given full admission to UBC and the RES program.

IRES Admissions Contact Information:

The University of British Columbia
IRES Graduate Program Manager
AERL Building
430-2202 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC
V6T 1Z4  Canada