Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are applying for the Philosophy MA program or PhD program using the  online Application System Fall 2018 start dates, you are required to upload scanned copies of documents as part of your program application. Instructions about scanned documents required and details of how to submit appropriate scanned copies are included within the online application.

Applicants must submit an online application along with all supporting documents by the application deadline on Monday, January 6, 2020. This includes all letters of reference. Admission application opens for September 2020 start date on October 15, 2019.


Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions


I can’t make the January 6th deadline – can I submit a late application?

The deadline for all applications and ancillary documents is January 6th . After the deadline has passed the online application system closes and we no longer accept any applications – no exceptions.


Can you provide guidelines about the writing sample?

Aim for about 15-20 pages. A short, recent paper that gives an indication of your ability to criticize, analyze or develop philosophical arguments, preferably in the area in which you wish to specialize.


I have a degree in a different subject than philosophy, but I’ve always been interested in philosophy and read books independently.  Can I be admitted without taking undergraduate coursework?

No.  As with other disciplines, graduate work in philosophy builds on extensive undergraduate preparation, and independent reading does not provide sufficient training.  Skills in other disciplines may be helpful, but alone are not adequate evidence of philosophical ability.  Students with a degree in another subject may be considered for MA admission, with evidence of strong performance in undergraduate philosophy coursework. Please review Admission Requirements


If I send my transcript, could you tell me in advance whether I will be admitted to your programme?

No.  There is no pre-selection process.  Admissions are competitive, and decided by a committee following independent review of files by members of the graduate faculty. Admissions decisions cannot be pre-judged.


Do I need transcripts from every all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions attended?

Yes. You will be asked to scan official transcripts and upload them to your application. If you are offered admission, you will be required to mail original transcripts in sealed envelopes from your university to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC, as a condition of your admission. If we do not receive your transcripts before the start of your first term, you may not be allowed to register for classes. More instructions about where to mail transcripts will be sent with your offer letter.

Please do not send paper transcripts through the mail until an offer of admission has been made.


My transcripts are incomplete. I did not complete the course work at XXX University/College. Do I still need to send transcripts?

The Department of Philosophy and Graduate & Post-doctoral Studies requires transcripts from all post-secondary institutions, even if there are no grades on the transcript and even if you did not complete your course work.


How do I submit reference letters to UBC?

Your referee must submit an electronic reference letter through the online system. In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. A unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing them to log in to a secure site and upload a reference document as an attachment. Email addresses must be official, institutional addresses, not addresses from free email providers such as gmail or hotmail.


Can I arrange to send my reference letters through Interfolio?

No. Do not send references by Interfolio.  Your referees need to use our e-reference tool which is part of the online application.


Can my referee send a reference by e-mail?

For security reasons, references cannot be submitted by e-mail. Your referees need to use our e-reference tool which is part of the online application.


What are the application fees?

Domestic applicants: $102 CAD; International students: $165 CAD.

Application fees are based on your citizenship at the time of application. You may be required to provide proof of Canadian citizenship, and must provide proof of Permanent Residency.


Can you waive the application fee for me?

As per the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the application fee is waived only in the following circumstances:

  • For international applicants whose citizenship and correspondence address is located in one of the world’s 50 least developed countries, as declared by the United Nations. These countries include but are not limited to Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Uganda. Complete list of eligible countries.
  • Students applying to graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry. The fee is paid for by the department.
  • Seniors: BC residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 65 years or over at the time of application.

If you are eligible for an application fee waiver, you do not need to apply for it. You will not be asked for a fee when you complete the online application.


Can you refund my application fee?

No. The application fee pays for the evaluation of your application, and is not refundable. The Faculty of Graduate Studies can only refund the application fee when a program applied for has been cancelled.


I do not have a credit card. How do I pay for my application?

As per Faculty of Graduate Studies, if you do not have access to a credit card but do have Interac with Scotiabank, Royal Bank, or TD Canada Trust you may still apply and pay on-line.

If you do not have access to a credit card nor Interac with any of the above institutions, then:

  1. Contact the program(s) to which you intend to apply and let them know you will not be submitting your application online.
  2. Using the online application form, complete all fields, print and sign the application form
  3. Mail the printed application with a bank draft for the correct application fee to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver BC, V6T 1Z2).

The application fee may be paid in Canadian dollars by cheque, money order or bank draft, payable to “The Faculty of Graduate Studies”.

Please note that International application fees must be paid in Canadian dollars by money order or bank draft, as cheques may not be compatible with Canadian banks.  The money order or bank draft must be made payable to “The Faculty of Graduate Studies”.


Do I apply separately for funding?

All applicants are automatically considered for funding, and international applicants are considered on an equal basis with Canadian applicants.  Canadian applicants can apply for SSHRC funding through their undergraduate or graduate institution. Please see our Funding and Awards page for more details.


What are the tuition fees for graduate school at UBC?

Click here for detailed MA tuition fees.

Click here for detailed PhD tuition fees.


Do I need to meet all the admission requirements?

Yes. You must meet the admission requirements by September of the year you start the program.


I don’t meet the requirements, but can I be admitted for a qualifying year?

There is no qualifying year.  If you have a prior BA or BSc, it may be possible to register at UBC (or elsewhere) as an unclassified student, in order to take the courses that will enable you to meet the admission requirements.


Do I need to send GRE scores?

No. We do not require GRE test scores.


Do I need a Masters degree in philosophy if I’m applying to the PhD program?

No. For detailed information on PhD admission requirements, please see our Admissions Requirements page.


Can I count courses from my previous MA towards the PhD at UBC?

The general UBC policy is that previous courses that have already been applied to a degree may not be applied towards a new UBC degree. If you have taken courses in the past but withdrew from the program, then those courses may (up to a certain limit) be transferred and applied towards a UBC degree.


Should I submit a separate statement of research interests?

Your research interests can be incorporated into the on-line application. We realize that applicants typically have multiple research interests and may change their interests upon starting the program. A statement of research interests is still a very useful part of the application and is carefully read during the evaluations of applications.


What are your English proficiency requirements?

Please see our page on Foreign Student Language Requirements.


I won’t be able to take my English test (TOEFL or IELTS) until well after the January 6th deadline. Will my application still be considered without my English test score?

No. Please make sure you arrange to take your English test score well in advance of the application deadline as it can take 6-8 weeks before UBC receives the official English test scores. The Graduate Admissions Committee will not review applications without the English proficiency requirement.


I am an international student but I have a degree from an English-instruction university. Do I still need to provide you with an English proficiency score?

No. If you have at least one degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English, we do not require an English proficiency score.


When should I expect to hear about whether my application has been successful?

You should receive notification by the end of March.