Applicants must comply with the regulations outlined below, as well as on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. Students seeking admission to graduate studies in English should apply using the online system which may be accessed through the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies or by clicking here.
Applicants have the ability to upload transcripts and writing samples electronically via the online application system. However, if recommended for admission, official transcripts are required and receipt of official transcripts will be a condition of admission. They must be received by
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
#170 – 6371 Crescent Road
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
in sealed, endorsed envelopes issued from the institution.
Writing samples should be a maximum of 20 pages, double spaced, Times Roman 12 pt. font.
While applicants who have the minimum requirements and grade point averages are eligible to be considered for admission, admission is not guaranteed, as the number of spaces in both the MA and PhD programs is very limited. First-class grades and strong letters of support are expected of all successful applicants.
Information sessions are offered through Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for prospective students.
Canadian students intending to apply for federal graduate funding (normally from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada – SSHRC) should note that the deadlines for these funding programs may be considerably earlier than department-administered deadlines. If you are currently enrolled as an MA student at a Canadian university, you should apply through the university at which you are currently enrolled. Individual universities will set deadlines based on their requirements. If you are not a currently enrolled graduate student at a Canadian university, you should apply directly via the SSHRC website. SSHRC’s deadlines for direct application can be found here.
Please note: The SSHRC application structure has been revised in recent years. Deadlines for MA and PhD competitions are now separate. PhD applicants continue to apply directly via their universities. Applicants should check with their universities to determine deadline structures. See above.
MA applicants should apply directly via the SSHRC Research Net portal. *Canadian applicants for the SSHRC Scholarships must first apply to UBC by 2 December. Please ensure you have applied to UBC by this deadline if you are applying to SSHRC. The deadline for applicants to submit via Research Net is 2 December. Please check with the SSHRC website for further details.
All applicants must submit:
a) Completed application form and application fee via the online system. Current fees for 2019-2020 are CDN $100.00 for Canadian students and permanent residents; CDN $165.00 for international students. These fees are subject to change; click here for the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies list of fees and exemptions.
b) Statement of Intent. Please provide/upload a statement that describes the specific nature of the research you propose to conduct during your MA (maximum length=500 words, single-spaced, Times Roman 12pt font) or PhD (maximum length=1,000 words, single-spaced, Times Roman 12pt font) degree studies.
If you plan to write an MA thesis, specify your research question, 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. If you plan to do an MA degree through course work, describe your research interests and objectives and the nature of the studies you hope to pursue. In either case, for the MA thesis or the MA coursework option, indicate whether there are specific resources (for example, faculty, library collections, research groups, and other programs) that make UBC a particularly good fit for you and your proposed research. Your research statement provides a basis from which the admissions committee can assess your readiness for graduate research. Should you be admitted, this research statement will also form the groundwork for grant applications to be completed in the fall of the first year of your program. Note: Students can and often do change their option to do course work or thesis once they begin the program at UBC. The application project proposal can certainly be hypothetical, describing an area of interest rather than a definite future.
If you are applying to the PhD program, your Statement of Intent should specify your research question, 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 (for example, faculty, library collections, research groups, and other programs) that make UBC a particularly good fit for you and your proposed research. Your research 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 to be completed in the fall of the first year of your program.
c) Three letters of academic recommendation. The Department of English accepts electronic submission of letters of reference. All three must be supplied in order for your application to be considered complete. Once you have submitted your application via the online system, your referees will automatically be sent a link, with an extended deadline, via the email address supplied in your application. They may then submit their references electronically.
d) Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, including universities currently being attended and all transcripts for transfer credits, exchange years etc., are required and should be uploaded via the on-line system. If recommended for admission, two official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended will be a condition of admission as required by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. These documents must be received in sealed, endorsed envelopes directly from the issuing institution. NOTE: Current and former UBC students do not need to send in official UBC transcripts as part of their graduate application package. However, such students should be aware that they are still responsible for submitting transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions they have attended (e.g. exchange year, transfer year, etc.)
e) A recent essay or writing sample (maximum 20 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt Times Roman font) should be uploaded via the online system. Hard copies will not be required, but will be accepted if submitted.
IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE APPLICANT TO ENSURE THAT ALL NECESSARY MATERIALS ARE RECEIVED BY THE POSTED DEADLINE. Any communication regarding the status of your application will be via the online system.
This section sets out entrance requirements for both the MA and the PhD programs. Students should note that these include both the University’s general requirements and standards as well as the specific requirements and standards for the programs in the Department of English.
One sessional course (that is, a course meeting three hours per week from September to April), is normally considered equivalent to two semester courses, or to three quarter courses.
1 sessional course = 6 UBC credits
1 semester course = 3 UBC credits
1 quarter course = 2 UBC credits
Transfer Credits from Other Universities
When applying for admission into the MA or PhD program, a student may apply for the transfer of up to 12 credits of UBC equivalent graduate-level work from another university, provided that the courses have not been credited towards any other degree, and are applicable to our graduate program requirements. Request for transfer credits should come at the time of application.
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 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. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website includes a calculator which displays minimum requirements and credentials by country; click here to visit that page.
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 results of an English language proficiency examination as part of the application. This requirement is in place in order to provide evidence of English abilities to the Admission Committee and in order to be competitive in our program. Near-native fluency is required 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 achieve a minimum score of 7.5 with no component less than 7.0 for consideration.
Please see the English Proficiency Requirements page for further information on tests and scores.
Admission Standards (MA & PhD)
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies sets out minimum grade requirements for admission to graduate programs at UBC. These requirements may be consulted here. Students should note, however, that these are minimum standards only. The competitive requirements for the MA and PhD in English are higher, and are set out below by degree program.
Entrance Requirements for MA Students
Applicants to the MA program in LITERATURE will normally 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 normally have at least 24 credits of senior undergraduate courses in 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:
1. History of the English Language (e.g. ENGL 320 at UBC)
2. The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (e.g. ENGL 330/331)
3. The History or and Theory of Rhetoric (e.g. ENGL 310/311)
4. Old or Middle English (e.g. ENGL 340/341, 344, 346)
5. Linguistic Variation (Dialectology, Sociolinguistics, World Englishes) (e.g. ENGL 323)
6. Stylistics (ENGL 322), Discourse Studies (e.g. ENGL 312), or Writing Studies
7. Cognitive Linguistics (e.g. ENGL 328)
In addition, applicants to the MA program in Language must have taken at least six (6) credits of English literature. 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 (6) credits), as part of their MA program.
UBC’s general requirements for admission to the PhD are laid out on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website; click here to consult these requirements.
The Department of English expects applicants for the PhD program to hold a first-class MA degree in English language or literature. Advanced degrees in closely-related disciplines (for example, other literatures) may, particularly when combined with an undergraduate English degree, constitute sufficient preparation for the PhD; students are urged to seek advising as to the suitability of their backgrounds and project for the PhD in English.
While there are no formal area requirements for the PhD, students should expect either to demonstrate or, in the course of their PhD coursework, to develop, broad experience of literatures in English, and/or English language, appropriate to support both their research projects and their future careers as researchers and teachers.
In exceptional cases, students accepted into the MA program with a first-class Honours BA may apply to transfer into the PhD program at the end of the first year, provided that they have completed at least 18 credits of the MA program with a first-class average and can supply two letters of support giving evidence of research ability. The Graduate Committee will determine the additional number of credits to be completed.
In extraordinary cases, students may be allowed to enter the PhD program following a first-class Honours BA. The Graduate Committee will determine if extra course work is to be required, on a case by case basis.