We offer Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs that are structured around five subfields: Canadian Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Theory, and U.S. Politics.
We enroll approximately 20 MA students and 10 PhD students every year, and we offer a range of graduate seminar courses. We are focused on providing high quality graduate education, and we mentor our graduate students in their professional development, through research collaboration, workshops, and colloquia.
We have particular strengths for graduate students in:
- indigenous politics, with indigenous faculty members in two different subfields
- critical political theory and identity politics
- democratic theory and practise
- political behaviour, parties and elections
- comparative public policy and institutions
- environmental politics
- international norms, institutions and goverance, and human security.
Quantitative Methods: we are particularly strong on quantitative methods for students using this kind of approach, with the deepest lineup of persons engaged in systematic quantitative research and the country’s most robust sequence of graduate methods courses for those students wishing to acquire a sophisticated understanding of quantitative analysis.
Regional Area Strengths: we are exceptionally strong in the study of Asian politics, the politics of the Americas, European politics, U.S. politics, and Canadian politics.
Where do our PhDs end up?
Our PhDs have been highly successful on the job market. Of the department’s 52 new PhDs during the period 2004-2013, two-thirds currently hold tenured or tenure-track academic positions. Most of the others work in governmental or NGO positions related to their PhD training. (More recent PhDs are not included here because new PhDs often take from 1-3 years to enter tenure-track academic jobs. Some hold postdoctoral fellowships; some teach in temporary positions; and some remain on campus in various capacities.).
Many UBC PhDs from 2004-present hold tenured or tenure track positions at major universities in North America and elsewhere–including University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Western Ontario, York University, University of Ottawa, University of Calgary, University of Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, University of Essex, Sophia University, National University of Singapore, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Ritsumeikan University, University of Sheffield, and Queensland University.
PhDs from 2014 to the present currently hold or have held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, University of Toronto, Queens University, and others.
Some UBC PhDs have taken positions with government agencies, NGOs, or private-sector employers—including Statistics Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, the US Department of Defense Asia-Pacific Center, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Deutschebank (London), and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, among others.
The basic program for PhD students is two years of graduate coursework, followed by comprehensive exams (one in a major and one in a minor field) which students may take in either the fall (September-October) or spring (March-April) following the completion of course requirements. Students then write a dissertation proposal by the end of their third year of study, and with its approval move on to their dissertation research and writing, which normally takes two to three years to complete.
The basic program for MA students is one year, and is scholarly rather than applied. Our program grants students a great deal of flexibility in areas of concentration, and it is an excellent vehicle through which students can explore the discipline of Political Science at an advanced level and assess whether or not they possess the interests and capabilities to pursue a PhD in Political Science. Many of our MA graduates go on to pursue doctoral studies, while others secure jobs in government, international organizations, or nongovernmental organizations.
Funding for Graduate Students
We are proud to offer funding, whenever possible, to our MAs and PhDs. Each fall, we encourage and coach our PhDs to apply for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral fellowships. Over the past decade, our Department has been extremely successful in these competitions, and an extraordinary number of our PhDs have been awarded top national scholarships, such as the Vanier and Trudeau. Furthermore, our students have garnered Canadian Consortium on Human Security Fellowships, Commonwealth Scholarships, UBC Simons Center Graduate Awards, and Killam Predoctoral Fellowships.
For more information about graduate fellowship opportunities at UBC, please see the UBC Graduate School’s awards site.
Research and Teaching
We have over 30 Full-Time faculty members, with diverse research interests and areas of excellence. There are a number of faculty with research chairs and innovative research programs, and we are strongly affiliated with multiple research centres and institutes on campus. Many of our graduate students are able to obtain Research Assistantships, and some have had the opportunity to co-author papers with faculty.
Our Department and UBC provide a number of training opportunities so that our graduate students can develop their skills as teachers. Most PhDs and MAs will have the opportunity to serve as Teaching Assistants during their time in our Department, and this provides a sustained and comprehensive experience to learn about teaching at the university level, while being mentored by a course instructor. These are paid positions and require students to work an average of 12 hours per week over the academic term.
Detailed Program Information
The details about our MA and PhD programs can be found in our Graduate Handbook. Click on the tab on the left-hand side to download our most recent Graduate Handbook.