Applicants for both the MA and PhD programs are required to meet admission and application requirements for both the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC and the Department of English Language and Literatures.
If you intend to apply to the MA program and the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship - Master's, the deadline for submitting your complete MA application, including reference letters, is Thursday 01 December 2022.
We will require official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended, whether or not you completed the program or degree.
If you participated in a university exchange program, you must provide an official transcript from the exchange institution, even if the exchange study is confirmed on the transcript of your home institution.
Please provide a statement that describes the specific nature of the research you propose to conduct during your MA or PhD studies.
Masters of Arts Statement of Intent
Your statement of intent should be no more than 500 words in length, single-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt font.
- For the MA through coursework option, you should describe your research interests and objectives and the nature of the studies you hope to pursue.
- If you plan to write an MA thesis, specify your research question and its context, objectives, methodology, and anticipated contribution to the advancement of knowledge. Identify potential faculty supervisors and indicate if you have already been in touch with them regarding your project.
For both the MA thesis or the MA coursework option, indicate whether there are specific resources, e.g. faculty, library collections, research groups, and other programs, that make UBC a perfect fit for you and your proposed research.
Your statement provides a basis from which the admissions committee can assess your readiness for graduate study. Should you be admitted, your statement may also form the groundwork for grant applications you should complete in the fall semester of your first year. The application project proposal can certainly be hypothetical, describing an area of interest rather than a definite future.
Note: students can change their option to do coursework or the thesis once they begin the UBC program.
PhD Statement of Intent
Your statement of intent should be no more than 1000 words in length, single-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt font.
In your statement of intent, you should:
- Specify your research question and its context, objectives, methodology, and anticipated contribution to the advancement of knowledge.
- Identify potential faculty supervisors and indicate if you have already been in touch with them regarding your project.
- Indicate whether there are particular resources, e.g. faculty, library collections, research groups, and other programs, that make UBC a good fit for you and your proposed research.
Your statement provides a basis from which the admissions committee can assess your readiness for independent research. Should you be admitted, this research statement will also form the groundwork for grant applications you should complete in the fall of your program's first year.
Include a recent academic essay or writing sample, maximum 20 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt font.
You may upload more than one essay/writing sample as long as the total number of pages does not exceed 20.
Submit three academic letters of reference. The Department of English Language and Literatures accepts academic references only; professional references cannot be accepted. References may be submitted electronically via the online application system or Interfolio. Paper letters of reference may be mailed directly to the department (to the graduate program's attention).
When applying to the MA or PhD programs, you should fulfil the following entrance requirements. Please note that these include both the university’s and the English department’s requirements and standards.
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies sets out minimum grade requirements for admission to UBC graduate programs. Students should note, however, that these are minimum standards only. The MA and PhD's competitive English requirements are higher, and we have set them out by degree program.
UBC welcomes applications for admission from outstanding students from all countries. Students from most English-language universities may apply directly to the PhD program after completing an MA in their own country. However, because of differences in language and university instruction, it is UBC's policy that students from some universities will be considered only for MA studies at UBC after completing an honours BA and MA in their own country, both with first-class standing.
Applicants to either the MA or the PhD programs from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide English language proficiency examination results as part of the application. This requirement is in place to provide evidence of English abilities to the admission committee and be competitive in our program. You require near-native fluency for admittance to our program.
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) – The graduate program in English requires a minimum test score of 104 (web-based).
- IELTS (International English Language Testing Service) – The graduate program in English requires applicants to achieve a minimum, overall score of 7.5 with no component less than 7.0 (academic test only).
Master’s Entrance Requirements
Applicants to the MA program in literature will typically hold a bachelor's or honours degree in English or a related discipline with a minimum average of A- (80%), or 3.5 on a four-point scale, based upon all academic courses taken during the last two senior undergraduate years.
Typically most accepted applicants maintain upper-year averages above 83%. Most students accepted into our program are in the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort.
Applicants to the MA program in language will generally have at least 24 credits of senior undergraduate courses in the English language distributed as follows: one course from area 1, one course from area 2, and at least one course from two of areas 3 to 7:
- History of the English language (e.g. ENGL 320 at UBC)
- The linguistic structure of modern English (e.g. ENGL 330/331)
- The history or and theory of rhetoric (e.g. ENGL 310/311)
- Old or middle English (e.g. ENGL 340/341, 344, 346)
- Linguistic variation (dialectology, sociolinguistics, world englishes) (e.g. ENGL 323)
- Stylistics (ENGL 322), discourse studies (e.g. ENGL 312), or writing studies
- Cognitive linguistics (e.g. ENGL 328)
Applicants to the MA program in language must have taken at least six English literature credits. Students in the language program who have not taken the required courses as part of their undergraduate degree must rectify the deficiency by taking an appropriate graduate seminar or senior undergraduate course (up to a maximum of six credits) as part of their MA program.
PhD Entrance Requirements
When applying to the PhD program, the Department of English Language and Literatures expects you to hold a first-class MA degree in English language or literature. If you hold an advanced degree in a closely related discipline (for example, other literatures), it may, when combined with an undergraduate English degree, constitute sufficient preparation for the PhD.
We urge all applicants to seek advising on the suitability of their backgrounds and project for the PhD in English.
In exceptional cases, if you are an MA program student with a first-class honours BA, you may apply to transfer into the PhD program at the end of your first year. You must have completed at least 18 credits of the MA program with a first-class average, and you must be able to supply two letters of support giving evidence of research ability. The Graduate Committee will determine the additional number of credits you must complete.
In extraordinary cases, you may be allowed to enter the PhD program following a first-class honours BA. The Graduate Committee will determine if you require extra coursework on a case-by-case basis.