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FAQ for graduate applicants

My CV is attached. Can you tell me whether I will be admitted if I apply? Will you agree to be my supervisor?

Graduate admissions are based on all the information submitted as part of the application process. A typical CV does not contain enough information for us to be able to say whether we would like to work with someone. We actually need to see the transcripts, the reference letters and a detailed description of your research interests before making a decision. Faculty members interested in working with particular candidates can make recommendations for admission and financial support, but the final decision is made by the departmental admissions committee and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. We cannot make any promises on their behalf.

I'm interested in Research Area X and/or would like to work under the supervision of Professor Y. Should I indicate this in my application?

Yes. Professor Y and the research group in Research Area X will pay particular attention to those applicants who indicate interest in working with them. If your proposed supervisors cannot work with you, for example because they have too many graduate students already, they may be able to redirect your application to someone else with similar research interests. The application form asks you to "provide a brief statement of your research interests and goals" and "discuss any other information you feel would be important". If you have a preferred research area or would like to work with a specific faculty member, this is where you should include that information.

In addition to submitting an application, should I also write directly to my proposed supervisor?

You could, but it is generally not necessary to do so. Your proposed supervisor will be able to see your application in our online database.

What about financial support? Does UBC provide it, or does my admission depend on having support from other sources?

Normally, we only admit those applicants for whom adequate financial support can be secured. This includes support from UBC-funded scholarships, external scholarships (such as NSERC), research assistantships and teaching assistantships. UBC currently offers a small number of entrance scholarships to top candidates (no separate application is needed). Students who do not win an entrance scholarship and do not have external scholarships are usually supported by a research assistantship (paid from the supervisor's research grant) and a teaching assistantship. If you are eligible for external scholarships, we recommend very strongly that you apply, as this does increase your chances of getting admitted and being able to work with the supervisor of your choice.

Should I apply to the Master's or Ph.D. program?

In Canada, the normal procedure is to complete a Master's degree before starting the Ph.D. program. (This is different from the U.S., where most Ph.D. candidates are admitted to the program straight out of undergraduate school and a Master's degree is sometimes treated as a consolation prize.) If you do not have a Master's degree, we usually recommend admission to the Master's program first. This extends your funding eligibility and gives you more time to develop a research program. In certain special circumstances (for example, students whose research experience already exceeds the expectations for M.Sc. students) we may be able to recommend admission to the Ph.D. program directly from undergraduate school.

When will I know whether my application has been successful?

The first round of offers is usually made in late February or early March. Depending on the outcome, there may be a second round in April.