Admissions FAQ

This page addresses the most frequently asked questions about our program. Please ensure you have thoroughly reviewed the following resources before consulting our department directly:

General

Due to the high volume of applications, our office does not offer in-person advising to prospective students. If your questions are not answered on this page or the main admissions page, the best way to be in touch is by email at soci.grad@ubc.ca. (Please note that we are much better able to answer questions via email, as phone calls and voicemails hinder our processes of administrative coordination.)

These are all variations of one question we are not able to provide an answer to. Our office is not able to perform any preliminary evaluations, nor can we convey likelihood of acceptance or rejection for any applicant. Whether you consider your own application package competitive is not a decision we are equipped to make for you.

Minimum academic requirements: previous degrees and grades

You may still apply to the program, and in rare cases students who do not meet the minimum academic requirements may be admitted based on the outstanding potential showcased in their writing samples. Note, however, that these cases are exceptional: failure to meet these requirements greatly reduces your chance of admission.

What can I do to improve?

Courses taken outside a degree program are not considered within our GPA evaluations; we therefore recommend students complete another degree or program before applying.

Yes, especially for “cognate fields” (such as social psychology or anthropology) where you have been exposed to sociological methods and thought before. Remember, our Graduate Program is for advanced studies in Sociology and does not cover introductory material: as our graduate courses build off the basic theories, frameworks, and knowledge introduced in undergraduate programs, students who do not have sufficient preparation or exposure to social-science methodology will struggle in the program.

What can I do?

Refer to the 500-word addendum to the statement of intent in which we give examples of what demonstrates ‘preparedness:’ completing more courses with substantial sociological content and engaging with the work of major authors, theorists, and researchers is important if you have a cognate degree.

If your previous degree was wholly outside the social sciences, it may be best that you consider returning to school to complete a sociology program specifically.

UBC accepts three-year degrees that conform to the Bologna Process (covering all of geographic Europe and a few other signatory nations). Three-year degrees from other institutions are not considered a sufficient basis for admission to our graduate programs.

What can I do?

If your degree does not qualify, you will have to return to school to either receive a qualifying Bologna-process or four-year degree, or complete a Master’s program within the country of your previous degree before applying to UBC.

No. Our PhD program does not permit direct entry from undergrad, and we believe doing so would be detrimental to the student for both their relative lack of research experience and the required make-up work they would have to complete.

You are not: while our PhD program is designed to complement the MA, and many of our PhD students and candidates began in the Master’s program here at UBC, you are required to reapply on the basis of your MA degree should you wish to remain in the department as a PhD student.

Supervision

You do not: students are assigned provisional supervisors with generally aligned research interests upon admission, and may opt to change as they develop relationships with faculty and move towards their thesis or dissertation project.

Absolutely! Our department’s directory has all of our faculty members and their contact information; our full-time, research-oriented professors (i.e. those with professor in their title, excluding emeriti and honorary professors) often welcome contact from the students whose applications they review.

Note, however, that not all professors are available to take on new students each year, and that many of them will be too preoccupied with other commitments during the busy fall term to respond.

All students must have at least one Sociology professor as their supervisor but where appropriate may work with a co-supervisor from another department. Students may also be advised to consider requesting that other faculty serve on their committee, rather than as supervisor.

Application timeline

The application deadline of December 1st requires that you have entered all of your information on your application, paid the application fee, and submitted the application. At this point, however, you are not completely forbidden from making any modifications: we allow you to upload more documents until December 15th, which allows your referees extra time to submit their letters and gives you some leeway with documents like transcripts and test results that may be delayed due to factors out of your control.

No new documents may be submitted after the document deadline has passed. Doing so would compromise the adjudication process and cause an unfair disadvantage to those applicants who followed the procedures to the letter.

We will contact you when decisions are finalized. The adjudication process involves coordination between several offices at the university and our faculty members, and we appreciate your patience.

Generally, the timeline at UBC Sociology closely mirrors that of other North American universities; your decision should be released in the spring, and we can make no comments regarding its status until that time.

I received an offer from another university whose response deadline is approaching. Can I have some form of advance notice?

If you have receive an offer deadline in the month of February or otherwise within two weeks’ time to decide, please contact us at soci.grad@ubc.ca, letting us know your name, student number (assigned on eVision), and the deadlines other institutions have provided for you. Details will be provided on a case-by-case basis, and may not be available at all.

No, our application window has a strict December cut-off and no exceptions are made.

No, our department admits new students to begin in September only, as the curriculum follows the academic calendar.

Our department does not offer part-time graduate programs. Students must be available during the day to attend their courses and must stay on track with the timelines established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Documents, test scores, and references

Students are exempt from English examination guidelines if their previous institution was administered in English. Per UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies policy, this does not include a program conducted in English at an otherwise non-English-run institution.

Students applying from institutions in many countries where English is the language of education, such as India or Nigeria, are included in the exemption.

Follow the alternative procedures described by the Faculty of Graduate Studies to submit the appropriate paper reference form.

While UBC has a system for submission of professional references, keep in mind the purpose of the application process and of our consulting referees in the first place: we are evaluating your level of preparedness for research-intensive graduate studies in sociology. The best people to speak for this potential on your behalf will be those with whom you have had an academic relationship.

Your official transcripts are distributed by your previous institution on heavy-duty, enhanced-security letterhead. What qualifies them as “official” is that they were sealed and verified by your institution.

When uploading them to eVision, however, you will have to open them in order to scan them. As the seal is broken, they no longer qualify as “official,” but are still distinct from other forms of grade reports. Do not mail us the official versions (or request that your school do so): if you are admitted, we will ask for them; otherwise, we do not wish to force you to spend money on transcripts and possibly notarized translations of them. (We cannot return any documents you do send by mail.)

Any document you printed yourself, including grade print-outs from your university website account, will not be counted as an “official transcript.” Failure to conform to these guidelines will result in an incomplete application.

Remember to submit transcripts for all academic institutions you have attended, regardless of whether you were granted a degree. Failure to disclose attendance at any postsecondary institution may result in disqualification.

The prospectus, also referred to as the "statement of interest or intent" and occasionally as the "statement of academic goals," is a single document that you will submit with your application whose guidelines are detailed on the main admissions page. No matter which of the above terms is used in a given field, the directive will be the same; the only addition would be the addendum, a 500-word piece to be completed by applicants without a Sociology background discussing their preparedness for advanced research and studies (detailed directions also included on the main Admissions page).