PhD Program

Program Overview

The research-intensive Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in Political Science at UBC Vancouver will help prepare you to secure tenure-track faculty positions and prestigious postdoctoral fellowships, as well as other academic and non-academic careers.

Prospective graduate students should browse our research areas to learn about the groups of faculty members working in 30 different research fields, methodologies, and geographic regions.

Our PhD program consists of two years of graduate coursework followed by comprehensive exams following the completion of course requirements.

Students write a dissertation proposal by the end of their third year of study, and with its approval and defense, move on to their dissertation research and writing, which normally takes two to three years to complete.

We are proud to see many of our PhDs in faculty positions and in successful careers throughout the world. We value collaboration and collegiality, and we strive to create an atmosphere of trust, respect, and professional courtesy to ensure a diverse intellectual community.


UBC Political Science has significantly renewed our Canadian Politics faculty roster in recent years with the recruitment of Profs. Carey Doberstein, Sophie Borwein, and Vince Hopkins.

The Canadian Politics field at UBC is now especially equipped to supervise graduate students in the realm of public policy, public opinion and identity, inequalities in society, and how governments design and implement policies, programs, and services.

New faculty also complement the existing Canadian Politics faculty strengths in the areas of federalism (Kathy Harrison, Gerald Baier) and political behavior (Fred Cutler, Matthew Wright).

Faculty in the Canadian Politics field use survey methods, data science and experimental designs, and qualitative approaches in the course of their research.

The renewed Canadian Politics faculty at UBC will supplement department financial support packages in the doctoral program with research assistance fellowships and conference support.

Our PhD graduates have been highly successful in pursuing academic and non-academic careers.

On the academic front, UBC PhDs hold tenured or tenure track positions at major universities in North America and internationally. Our graduates have taken up  tenure-track and tenured positions at Canadian institutions including the University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Western Ontario, York University, University of Ottawa, MacEwan University, University of Fraser Valley, University of Manitoba, Memorial University of Newfoundland, McMaster University, and the University of Calgary; at U.S. institutions including the University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, Colorado State University, Georgia Tech, Soka University; and outside North America at institutions including the University of Essex, University of Sheffield, University of St. Andrews, Cardiff University, Trinity College Dublin, Tel Aviv University, Sophia University, National University of Singapore, Queensland University, Australia National University, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, and Ritsumeikan University.

Our PhDs have held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Oxford University, Duke University, and other institutions.

Many UBC PhDs have taken their doctoral training to high-level positions with government agencies, NGOs, international organizations, think tanks, and private-sector employers, including Statistics Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada, the US Department of Defense Asia-Pacific Center, Global Affairs Canada, Health Canada, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontiers, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Deutschebank, Innovative Research Group, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, among others.