How to Apply

(Updated January 2024)

RES does not have January or Spring admission. We have one application cycle per year, for a program start in September. Applications for September 2024 intake are now closed. Our next intake will be September 2025. Please see below for our application deadlines:

RES online application open date: October 15, 2024

  • The online application system will open for the RES MA, RES MSc and RES PhD programs on this date.

RES online application close date: December 15, 2024 – Late applications will not be accepted.

  • In order to be considered for admission, applications must be submitted by this date with all required documents uploaded.
  • Please see below for the full list of required documents.

RES online application reference deadline: December 20, 2024

  • Note: your referees will only be contacted via the online application system AFTER you have submitted your application online. We advise that you contact your referees ahead of time to let them know that you will be requesting their reference, and advising them of the deadline.
  • In order to be considered for admissions, your references must be received by the reference deadline.

The RES program 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 NOT 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


All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program will be guaranteed a minimum funding package of $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. This guaranteed minimum doctoral funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work (TA), Research assistant(RA), and Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA).

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

The RES Admissions Procedure

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

It is the applicant's responsibility to establish their 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 the below links to determine if you meet the threshold for admission to a UBC graduate program:

The RES MA/MSc/PhD program requires:

  • A GPA weighted A- average, 3.7 GPA, or 80% minimum.
  • For International Students or institutions using a different grading system, First-Class Honours status or the equivalent must have been obtained.
  • NOTE: 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. Identify some Core and/or Associate Faculty whose research interests align with your own and reach out to them prior to the admissions process. Send them a concise email to introduce yourself, your research interests and how they align with theirs, and your desire to have them supervise your Master's/Doctoral program.

If you are a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident (PR), you may also ask if they would be willing to review your SSHRC/NSERC application.

Note: all Canadian/PR applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for SSHRC or NSERC at the same time you are applying to the RES program.

When you fill out the RES online application form, you will be asked to provide the names of three potential supervisors. 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 as well as help us route your application to the appropriate faculty for review.

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 increase your chances of being offered admission.

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

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

Should you have 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 their eligibility for the RES program, ensure that their application is complete and that all required documents are submitted by the application close deadline. Late applications and incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.

A complete application includes the following items:

One electronic (.PDF) file of each of your official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended or taken any courses at.

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 .pdf file – no other formats are 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.

If you are offered admission to RES, you will received further instructions to have your institution(s) send paper copies of your transcript(s) at that time.

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 letter 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 application online with enough time for the referees to be contacted and to be able to comfortably write their letter of recommendation to upload before the reference letter 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 must be received in the online application system by the RES deadline.  Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.

Applicants from a university outside of 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 and Minimum Scores

It is the applicant's responsibility to determine if they are required to submit an English proficiency test as part of their application. We require the minimum score in each test, as outlined by G+PS, however, an ELP score higher than the minimum may be seen as an asset to your application.

The RES Thesis Proposal is a required document for the RES admissions process that outlines the research question(s) you plan to address in your graduate program.

Proposals should include an identification of context, objectives, methodology, and address the scholarly relevance and societal importance of the issue(s) you would like to explore in your graduate research.

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

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

Applying for Funding and Awards

We strongly encourage applicants to apply for funding, such as NSERC or SSHRC awards, if they are eligible. Applicants should be aware of the early application deadlines for SSHRC/NSERC.

Please note that while confirmation of funding will be taken into consideration when assessing your application, it cannot guarantee you a place in the program.

For more information on NSERC, SSHRC, guaranteed minimum doctoral funding, and other awards, please click here.

Please note:

Due to the high number of competitive 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