Apply to the Ph.D. Program

Applicants are normally expected to hold a Master’s degree in economics. However, students with outstanding records in undergraduate honours programs in economics may be admitted directly; such students should have demonstrated success in intermediate and upper-level undergraduate courses in economic theory, mathematics, statistics and econometrics. All applicants are expected to have demonstrated ability to undertake advanced studies and independent research.

Deadlines for September Admission

Admission to the Ph.D. program is only possible for commencement of studies in September of each academic year; commencement in January is not possible. The deadline for submission of the online application form is December 15 each year. The deadline for the uploading and receipt of all official supporting documents is January 15 each year. No exceptions to the December 15 and January 15 deadlines are made. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed or considered for admission.

Note: The application for admission is also considered an application for financial aid; a separate application is not required. The financial aid process is competitive, and awards are made to a small, select group of applicants. We anticipate that we cannot offer financial aid to a large number of otherwise qualified applicants. Therefore, we ask you to take this into consideration before submitting an application, which requires considerable expenditure of money and effort.


In order for your application to be considered complete, it must include the following items:

The following is a step-by-step guide to the application process.

Step 1: Academic Records

Applicants must obtain an official paper transcript from every post-secondary institution they have attended, regardless of whether a degree was obtained or not (including Canadian DEC programmes). Each transcript should then be scanned as an individual .pdf file and then uploaded to the application system as indicated.

Transcripts must be scanned front and back. All pages of one transcript, front and back, should be uploaded as a single file (rather than a separate file for each page). Detailed information on how to submit domestic transcripts is available on the web by clicking here.

Applicants from an university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language must arrange to have academic records issued in their original language, accompanied by certified English translations from the issuing university. English translations must be complete, literal translations of the original documents. (English translations of transcripts from Quebec’s French universities are not necessary.) Detailed information on how to submit international transcripts, degree certificates, and translations is available by clicking here.

Note: We require your Fall semester grades. Please ensure that they are listed on your transcript.

Original, official, paper copies of transcripts and degree certificates will be required once applicants are offered admission. More details will be in the the official UBC letter of admission.

Step 2: Letters of Reference

Three confidential, academic letters of reference are required. Letters should be from referees who can provide a report on your academic abilities and qualifications. Your referees will be automatically contacted via the online application system only when you have submitted your online application. Referees will have the option of submitting their letter online or by mail. Letters sent by email or fax are not acceptable.

Step 3: English Proficiency Requirements

Applicants from an university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. An English language proficiency examination is not required if an applicant’s university of graduation is from one of the following countries: Canada, U.S.A., Great Britain, The Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, British West Indies, Singapore. Tests must have been taken within the last two years, and an official test score report ordered from the testing agency is required. Photocopies of test scores are not acceptable. The following English language proficiency examinations are acceptable.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum TOEFL score required is 93 for the internet-based exam (with minimum component scores of 22 in reading, writing, listening and speaking). Photocopies of test scores are not acceptable. UBC accepts either an official paper score report sent directly to the university from the testing centre, or an electronic submission of official scores. Please ensure that you include the following on the TOEFL sheet: (1) use the University of British Columbia’s institution code 0965, and (2) give the reason for taking TOEFL “to enter a college or university as a graduate student”.

International English Language Testing Service (IELTS). A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is required with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component of the academic (not general) IELTS test. UBC requires an official score to be sent to us electronically from the test centre. On the IELTS application form you will be asked to specify institutions where you would like your results to be sent. To ensure UBC receives your results correctly, you have to use the following details on the application:
Name of institution: The University of British Columbia
Name of person/department: Graduate School Admissions
Address: 170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2, Canada.

Pearson Test of English (PTE). A minimum overall score of 59 on the academic (not general) test is required. An official test score report sent from the testing agency directly to the Vancouver School of Economics is required.

Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL). A minimum overall score of 60 is required. An official test score report sent from the testing agency directly to the Vancouver School of Economics is required.

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP). A minimum score of 4L for each component of the academic (not general) test is required. An official test score report sent from the testing agency directly to the Vancouver School of Economics is required.

Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). A minimum overall MELAB score of 81 is required. An official test score report sent from the testing agency directly to the Vancouver School of Economics is required.

Alternative English Language Proficiency Test. The GCE “A” level English exam with a standing of at least “B”. The applicant must arrange to forward a copy of their official score report to our School directly from Cambridge International Examinations.

Step 4: Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE (General) is required for all applicants except those graduating from a Canadian university. The GRE is optional for applicants graduating from Canadian universities.

We expect applicants to have a minimum score of 160 in the Quantitative section, and at least 3.5 in the Analytical Writing section.

The GRE must have been written in the last 2 years. Score reports that are more than two years old are not accepted. Please request for submission of your test scores to be sent to UBC. The UBC institution code is 0965.

Note that we require your scores on the GRE and not the GMAT. Scores on the GMAT are not a substitue for GRE scores.

Step 5: Immigration Documents

Permanent Residents of Canada are required to provide proof of immigration status and date of landing. Submit a photocopy of the Record of Landing Form or a photocopy of both the front and back of your Permanent Resident card online via your online application.

Step 6: Application Form and Application Fee

Application Form: All applicants must complete the University’s application form. Please click here to go to the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ online application website.

Application Fee: Applicants are required to pay a non-refundable application fee. The online application requires credit card payment via VISA or Mastercard, or Interac/debit from individuals with banking accounts at Scotiabank, Royal Bank, or TD Canada Trust. The fee is CDN $102.00 for Canadians (and, Permanent Residents, Refugees, Diplomats); CDN $165.00 for international applicants.

The application fee is waived only for applicants who are citizens of, and whose correspondence address is located in, one of the world’s 50 least developed countries, as declared by the United Nations. A list of these countries is available at the Faculty of Graduate Studies website. Waivers are made in no other circumstances.

While Applying: To check the status of your application and to provide new information or updated documentation, please log in to My Applications. My Applications is also where you can find information about your references and the status of your reference requests.

The Decision Process

Once a complete application is received, it will be considered by the School’s Admissions Committee for acceptance into the Ph.D. program for September of that year.

Applicants are notified of round one admission offers in early- to mid-March, with subsequent rounds of offers until June.