Transitions to Work

  1. Our PhD students have been very successful in obtaining both tenure-track (or equivalent) academic employment and non-academic employment that uses the expertise and analytic tools that they have gained during their doctoral studies. Please see for details about our placement record.
  2. Department policy is that no student will be encouraged to take, or be recommended for, full-time employment outside UBC (e.g., for a faculty position) before he/she has devoted at least one calendar year exclusively to his/her dissertation. Exceptions to this rule may occur, of course, but candidates should recognize that premature commitment to teaching or other employment significantly reduces the likelihood of finishing the dissertation.


Eligibility of UBC PhD Students as UBC Instructors. A PhD student may be considered for sessional employment in the Department.  The only restrictions placed on this by the university are that the student must have been “admitted to candidacy” (i.e., has completed course work, passed comprehensive examinations, and has received approval of dissertation prospectus by supervisory committee), teach no more than one course per term and have the written approval of the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  Moreover, during the period of appointment, the student “shall receive no remuneration which is contingent upon full-time status” such as TAships. The same restrictions apply to other fellowship holders, such as SSHRC and Affiliated doctoral fellows.  Within these constraints set by the university, the Department has adopted the following guidelines.


a) Eligibility: students who meet university requirements for appointment, have spent a minimum of 3 years in the PhD program and have made substantial progress towards completing dissertation requirements as determined by their supervisors.


b) Restrictions: normally no more than 6 credits per year, for a maximum of two years.  Normally, graduate students are not eligible to teach course sections that require supervision of teaching assistants.


c) Priority: Students will be considered for extra-sessional appointments, particularly in the summer term. In the case of appointments to teach courses in the winter terms, priority will be given to Sessional Lecturers in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement.


Procedures: Eligible students will be informed of teaching opportunities as they arise.  They may also propose to the Head courses for recommendation to extra-sessional studies for funding.  This will normally be in September and October for summer session courses.  The Head will make course and appointment recommendations after consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Programs.