Criteria for Admission

  1. Faculty Criteria

Canadian applicants  for  the  Master’s  degree  must  hold  an Honours or  Bachelor’s  degree  requiring at least four years of study with a minimum overall average in the B+ grade range (76% at UBC) in third and fourth year-level courses prescribed by the Department concerned as prerequisite to the Master’s program.  Applicants from other countries should consult requirements posted on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website (


  1. Department Criteria

a) A Superior and Relatively Recent Undergraduate  Record.  The marking practices of universities differ greatly, and UBC considers each application for graduate studies on an individual basis.  As a general rule, successful applicants will have minimum first class standing (80% or higher at UBC or equivalent) in each of the last two years of undergraduate study, in accordance with the criteria for graduate funding in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  No student with an overall average of less than 75% or its equivalent in his/her final two years should consider graduate studies in this Department.  Students from American colleges and universities which use letter grades should have at least a B+ average.  Where a graduate point system is used, students should have a grade point average of 3.3 or better on a 4-point scale in their final 2 years.  In the case of students from British universities, an Upper Second Class (or Class II, Division I) is normally acceptable for full standing in the M.A. program if the student is well recommended.  In the case of students from Asian universities, we normally require clear first class standing for the entirety of their undergraduate degree program.  A Master’s degree from Indian and Pakistani universities is usually regarded as the equivalent of an honours B.A. if the student is well recommended.  The Department does not have enough experience with continental European, African, and Latin American universities to have established grade equivalents.  Assistance in determining grade equivalents for foreign universities is provided by the Registrar’s Office and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.  The Department generally requires further preparatory undergraduate course work by students more than five years away from their most recent undergraduate training.  Exceptions will be made to this rule only in unusual circumstances, and, in most cases, only after a personal interview.


b) A Considerable Amount of Undergraduate Work in Political Science. For admission to full standing, students should usually have had significant political science coursework in the last two years of their undergraduate program. Students not meeting this criterion, but with superior undergraduate records in other disciplines, are also encouraged to apply. The Department reserves the right to require admitted students with a weak background in the social sciences to make up deficiencies with some additional coursework.

To aid the Department in evaluating the work of students from outside Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, such students may be required to provide an example of their work in English.  This will preferably be a term paper or other piece of political analysis.


d) A Serious Commitment to the Study of Political Science.  The graduate program is rigorous and concentrated.  While many M.A. students will not continue academic work beyond the M.A., they should recognize that the graduate program is designed to involve students in the development of the discipline of Political Science.


e) Economic Circumstance in Admissions.  Students’ economic circumstances will not be considered in the admissions process.  The department makes every effort to use the resources at its disposal to provide each student with sufficient financial support to meet the costs of graduate education and of living within Vancouver.


f) Equity in Admissions.  The Department strongly encourages applications from women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and aboriginal persons. In making admissions decisions with respect to applicants with comparable academic records, the department encourages the faculty members of the Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee to consider the diversity of the incoming class.  In considering applications for admission, the Graduate Admissions and Awards Committee will also look beyond the formal academic transcripts and consider work or personal experience of the applicant that may be relevant to the proposed program of studies.


  1. English Language Requirements for the M.A. Program


a) Faculty Policy:

                        There must be clear evidence that the applicant is competent to pursue studies in the English language.  Applicants whose degrees are from a country other than Australia, Botswana, Canada, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and the English speaking countries of the West Indies are required to submit a satisfactory TOEFL score of at least 550 (some departments may require higher scores) before any offer of admission is made.  Score reports more than two years old will not be accepted. TOEFL may be waived if the applicant has already passed the GCE A- level English examination with a minimum grade of “B”.


b) Department Policy:

A test of English proficiency is required for all applicants who do not have a prior degree from a Canadian institution or from a program in which English was the primary language of instruction. If your degree is from Canada or the primary language of instruction was English, you do not need to provide English-proficiency test scores. We accept either TOEFL or IELTS scores, with the minimum required scores as follows:

– a TOEFL score of 92 for the internet-based Test (iBT), with minimum scores for listening of 22, reading of 22, speaking of 23, and writing of 25. For the paper-based test (PBT), we also require the Test of Written English and require scores that are minimally equivalent to the internet-based minimum scores.

– an IELTS (academic component) score of 6.5 overall, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each of the four components (listening, reading, speaking, and writing)

We cannot consider the application until we have the official test report.  UBC is an English language institution and as such deficiencies in English language skills will affect academic performance.  Satisfactory TOEFL and TWE scores do not guarantee that students are adequately prepared for graduate study in English.  Such proficiency ultimately is the responsibility of the student.  Students with special needs can make special arrangements with the Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE and TOEFL tests, or alternatively, apply to the graduate admissions committee to waive either requirement.


In evaluations of student performance, the Political Science Graduate Program makes no allowances for students who lack fluency in English. Academically oriented English language instruction is offered, for a fee by both the English Language Institute (ELI) and the Writing Centre on campus.  If a problem is identified, individuals may wish to defer commencement of their graduate studies to pursue language instruction, or proceed part-time while taking language courses simultaneously.