MCRP Admissions - How To Apply

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What you need to know
Minimum Admission Requirements

The School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) adheres to the minimum academic requirements established by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies:

  • If you received your undergraduate degree from a post-secondary institution within Canada or the United States, click here.
  • If you received your undergraduate degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada or the United States, click here.
Transcripts

Please note the following required information:

  • Applicants are required to scan and upload digital copies of all official transcripts, including transcripts for study abroad semesters, non-degree studies, or credential programs. 
  • Please ensure that the uploaded documents are official transcripts and include a transcript key. (Transcript keys are often printed on the reverse sides of official transcripts.) 
  • Grade reports, marking sheets, and transcripts marked “unofficial” are not acceptable and will not be considered for review. 
  • Degree certificates are required only if the degree conferral is not listed on the transcript. 
  • Transcripts in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by certified translations. If applicable, transcripts that do not have an indication of the date the degree was conferred must be accompanied by a degree certificate (and translation, if appropriate).
  • Uploaded transcripts should be in PDF format, with each transcript complied as one PDF document. Include only one copy of the transcript key. Any additional or extraneous documents will be excluded from the final application file.

The uploaded copies of official transcripts are considered “unofficial documents”. We use the unofficial documents to evaluate applicants and make conditional offers of admission. 

Please note that applicants are not required to send hardcopies of official transcripts to the School of Community and Regional Planning office at the time of application.

For more information,  please visit the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies sections on Canadian Official Transcripts or International Official Transcripts.

GRE-Graduate Record Exam (General Test)

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not mandatory, and is only recommended in situations where an applicant’s GPA is close to the minimum and does not reflect the applicant’s true academic potential. GRE scores show students' level of reasoning skills, critical thinking and the ability to communicate in writing which provides us with additional information about the likelihood of a student's success in graduate school.

The GRE is particularly helpful in situations where applicants do not have undergraduate grades (because their program may have been ungraded), or if there are obvious gaps in an applicant’s academic record. A strong GRE score will provide the admissions committee with another data point to consider academic ability.

The GRE is widely required for graduate school applications throughout North America. We urge applicants to carefully review the guidebook that comes with the test application. It illustrates the kinds of questions on the test and helps the student practice for the test. Please see the GRE website.

Submission of GRE test scores must be followed in accordance to the instructions outlined by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies here.

Evidence of English Language Proficiency

Standardized test of English language proficiency is required unless the previous post-secondary degree is from a university where the primary language of instruction was English. 

To be eligible for admission, applicants must meet the following minimum scores:

TOEFL: 

  • Overall score of 100 or higher
  • Reading & Listening: Score of 22 or higher
  • Writing & Speaking: Score of 21 or higher

 IELTS (academic only):

  • Overall score of at least 7.0
  • Reading, Writing, Listening, & Speaking: Score of 6.5 or higher

Submission of test scores must be followed in accordance to the instructions outlined by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies here

More information on these tests can be obtained from their websites: TOEFL | IELTS.

Statement of Interest, Planning Areas, & Concentrations

Applicants to the Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) program must prepare and submit a 600-word Statement of Interest. This will help the Admissions Committee assess whether your objectives can be satisfied by the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP). We recommend you provide this statement to your referees in preparation for submitting your MCRP application.

Your Statement of Interest should outline:

  • Your interest in planning and why you have chosen it as a career
  • Any previous experience that has influenced your decision to pursue a planning career (e.g., employment and/or volunteer experiences, academic background, conferences attended, etc.)
  • Why you have chosen the School of Community and Regional Planning, in particular, for your graduate planning education
  • Any other background information you feel is pertinent

PLANNING AREAS

In developing your Statement of Interest, please think about and discuss what particular planning areas you are most interested in. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Community development
  • Urban design
  • Housing
  • Food systems planning
  • Natural resource development and planning
  • Social justice and environmental equity
  • International and urban development planning
  • Transportation planning and policy
  • Ecological planning
  • Health and the built environment
  • Land use and environmental policy
  • Sustainable and smart growth planning
  • Community resilience and disaster management planning
  • Planning law

As examples of possible areas of focus, recent graduates’ professional projects have incorporated the following planning topics:

  • Transit-oriented development and neighbourhood design
  • Public space design
  • Community resilience and disaster planning
  • Participatory urban design
  • Climate adaptation planning
  • Food systems and social justice
  • First Nations community planning
  • Affordable housing design and development
  • Developing high-density family-friendly housing
  • Planning for non-motorized transportation infrastructure
  • Cultural planning and historic preservation
  • International sustainable community and economic development

CONCENTRATIONS

The School of Community and Regional Planning also offers two concentrations that have their own required courses and program of study:  Indigenous Community Planning and Urban Design. If you are interested in pursuing one of these concentrations, please include this information in your Statement of Interest.

Resume

Each applicant must submit a resume detailing educational background, work and/or volunteer experience, publications (if any), and any academic or professional awards earned. Please include any travel experience.

Letters of Reference

Exactly three references are required for the application. Additional references will not be considered as part of the final application file.

References should be from individuals who can assess your academic or professional qualifications and your communication skills. In most cases, at least two references should be academic. If you have been away from school for several years, all references may be from non-academics who are capable of assessing your professional and, if possible, your potential academic performance. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their references submit documentation by the deadlines specified. The reference deadline is 10 days after the application deadline. Contact references in advance of submitting an application to ensure they have adequate time to provide a letter. Reference letters may be addressed to the "MCRP Admissions Committee". 

Please note that an online application must be submitted before referees receive a request to provide a reference.

There are three possible formats for references: electronic references, paper letters of reference, and paper reference forms. SCARP strongly prefers that references utilize the electronic reference system in the online application to submit a letter of reference. Please note that the system is unable to accept e-mails from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, MSN or other free e-mail accounts for referees. Letters should be in PDF format, on letterhead, with signature.

If using the electronic reference is not possible, please send paper letters of reference and reference forms to: 

School of Community and Regional Planning
Faculty of Applied Science
The University of British Columbia - Vancouver Campus  
433 - 6333 Memorial Road
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2

For more information, please visit the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies section on Letters of Reference.

Faculty Advisor

SCARP will assign you a faculty advisor, taking into account your particular interests, availability, and preferences. You're not required to contact potential advisors at the time of application.

All available faculty advisors are listed in the dropdown menu in the application. Please select three potential faculty members you'd be interested in working in your application. If you are applying to the Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) concentration, please only select Dr. Maggie Low. 

Deferred Admission

It is not possible to defer admission. If you are offered admission and decline or if you are offered admission but do not register you may apply again by submitting a new application form and paying the fee. Your admission would be considered along with others applying for that year. Admission is not guaranteed.

Time of Admission

Applicants selected by the MCRP Admissions Committee for consideration for admission will be invited to submit a video interview using automatic interview software conducted with videos and the applicant's webcam/phone camera in early March. After the submission of the video interviews, final admission decisions by the MCRP Admissions Committee will be made and offer letters will be sent in mid-March. 

Applicants admitted to the program will commence full-time studies in September. The School of Community and Regional Planning does not admit students at any other time of year. 

Other Frequently Asked Questions
Should I chose MCRP or a SCARP Research Masters?
 MCRPMAP/MScP
Number of students admitted annually35-406-8
Credits required for degree completion6034
Core course requirement1810
Thesis/projectpracticum report12-credit thesis
AccreditationsAccredited by UBC, and by Canadian and American professional planning boardsAccredited by UBC
Other program requirements / information
  • Students develop a customized plan of coursework based on identified areas of interest, or request the Indigenous Community Planning concentration
  • Internship (3 credits)
  • Planning studio (6 credits)
  • Students identify a thesis topic prior to admission elective coursework is based on research interests and thesis topic, and is planned out in collaboration with their advisor. 
  • MAP/MScP students can access all elective courses available to MCRP students with the exception of core MCRP courses and studios reserved for MCRP students only. An exception can be made for students who want to audit Foundations of Planning Theory and History
Cross-benefitsCan lead to further research (through PhD)Can lead to professional planning practice, and accreditation
Is it necessary to have a background in planning in order to apply to the MCRP?

No. The students admitted to the MCRP program come from a variety of backgrounds. It’s not necessary to have a background in Planning or any particular field to be considered for the program.
For example, here are the backgrounds of MCRP students from recent years:

MAJOR

  • Anthropology
  • Architecture & Urbanism
  • Development Studies
  • Environment & Development
  • Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice
  • Environmental Earth Sciences
  • Geography
  • Geography & Environmental Studies
  • Geography & Urban Development Studies
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Law
  • Knowledge Integration
  • Landscape Planning
  • Life Sciences
  • Marketing & Real Estate
  • Native Studies
  • Natural Resources Conservation
  • Mathematical Engineering
  • Management Information Systems & Marketing
  • Peace, Conflict & Justice
  • Political Science
  • Project Management
  • Psychology
  • Sustainable Studies
  • Urbanism
  • Urban Studies

PREVIOUS DEGREE EARNED

  • Bachelors of Architectural Studies
  • Bachelors of Arts
  • Bachelors of Arts (Honours)
  • Bachelors of Commerce
  • Bachelors of Environmental Design
  • Bachelors of Kinesiology
  • Bachelors of Knowledge Integration (Honours)
  • Bachelors of Science
  • Civil Engineering
  • Juris Doctor
  • Masters of Arts
  • Masters of Business Administration
Does the MCRP have a part-time option?

No. The MCRP is a 24 consecutive month full-time program.

Does the MCRP have graduate courses that can be done by distance or online?

No. SCARP does not offer any distance education or online courses.

How can I enhance my application?
  • Be sure your referees will write a strong letter of recommendation: The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC has a guide available to supervisors to assist them in writing strong letters of recommendation. Use this document as a guide to select your referees and to prepare them for writing a letter on your behalf. Strong letters of reference should provide specific examples of your demonstrated abilities.
  • Write a strong statement of intent. The MCRP admission page outlines the points to be included in your statement. Prepare your statement carefully.
  • Consider volunteering or finding a job shadow. If you don’t have a lot of experience in the planning profession, consider volunteering with an organization or arrange a job shadow to get better insight. Use this experience to inform your statement of intent and include it on your resume.
  • If your GPA is close to the minimum, consider writing the GRE. Although the GRE is not required, if there are any obvious gaps in your academic record, it will provide the admissions committee with another data point to consider your academic potential.  
Can I receive feedback on my application if I am not admitted?

No. SCARP does not provide individualized feedback on applications. If you wish to strengthen your application to apply in a future year, please follow the guidance provided above in the "How can I enhance my application?" section.

What funding opportunities are available to applicants?

SCARP has limited funding for students entering the MCRP: a total of $30,000 in funding to be divided among several eligible students entering the first year of the MCRP Program. The MCRP Entrance Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship and is available to international and domestic students. Students do not apply for the MCRP award, recipients are notified with their admission letter. 

  • Award and other funding opportunities open to SCARP students are posted on the Student Funding and Awards page of the SCARP website.

The UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral studies maintains a database of award opportunities open to UBC graduate students.

International students are encouraged to seek funding opportunities from their home countries.

What are the minimum GPA requirements for admission? 

SCARP adheres to the minimum academic requirements established by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies:

  • If you received your undergraduate degree from a post-secondary institution in Canada or the United States, click here.
  • If you received your undergraduate degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada or the United States, click here.
My application doesn’t meet the minimum standards for admission. Can I still apply or will my application be disqualified?

SCARP welcomes all candidates that would succeed in and contribute to the program and the School. Generally, a brief explanation of why your application does not meet the minimum standards will justify to the admissions committee why they should consider your application. The admissions committee considers all applications as a whole, and does not automatically dismiss applications based on single criteria.

Applicants should note that admission to the MCRP is very competitive. Each year the number of applicants far exceeds the number of spaces available. Meeting the minimum standards of admission does not guarantee admission to the program.

Is the GRE recommended?

The GRE is only recommended in situations where an applicant’s GPA is close to the minimum and does not reflect the applicant’s true academic potential. If there are any obvious gaps in an applicant’s academic record, a strong GRE score will provide the admissions committee with another data point to consider academic ability.

My IELTS/TOEFL score does not meet SCARP’s minimum requirements. Can I still apply or will my application be disqualified?

SCARP is obliged to require that all applicants meet the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ English proficiency requirements.

SCARP has higher requirements than the UBC minimums for its degree programs. Although an application would not be rejected outright, not meeting the posted minimums for the IELTS or the TOEFL does place an applicant at a disadvantage. We encourage students who do not meet SCARP’s minimum English proficiency scores to retake the test where possible.

SCARP welcomes all candidates that would succeed in and contribute to the program and the School. The admissions committee considers all applications as a whole and does not automatically dismiss applications based on single criteria.

There has been a change to my CV/resume since the application deadline, can I submit an updated version?

In fairness to all applicants, CV/resume changes will not be accepted after the document deadline in the application.

Can I change my reference?
  • Before the reference deadline, you can change your reference via the application portal.
  • After the reference deadline, you cannot change your reference.
Can I arrange to submit more than 3 references for my application?

In fairness to all applicants, we will only accept 3 letters of reference for an application.

When will I find out about the status of my application?

Generally, SCARP notifies successful candidates in mid-March, and throughout the month. All applicants are notified of their standing (declined admission or placement on the waitlist) in April.

Can I know my position on the waitlist?

The waitlist is not linear, but comprised of a pool of applicants. There are a number of factors that determine whether a waitlisted applicant will be offered admission. As a result, we are unable to comment on the likelihood waitlisted applicants will be offered admission.

We will notify all waitlisted applicants when the waitlist is closed and we are no longer considering making additional offers of admission.

How do I accept my offer of admission?

Accept your offer through the admissions portal. Contact grad.scarp@ubc.ca if you have any questions about the deadline to respond or conditions placed on your offer.

Where can I get my official acceptance letter?

Official acceptance letters (for records, study permits, etc) are available through the application portal.

Will UBC mail an official acceptance letter to me?

No. Acceptance letters are available through the application portal.

When will I find out about funding opportunities?

SCARP notifies entrance award recipients with their acceptance letters. If funding becomes available, SCARP will notify successful candidates by email.

If you have inquiries regarding any of the below items, please contact the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

  • Application fees
  • Online application problems
  • Minimum academic requirements
  • Transcript requirements
  • Translations of transcripts
  • Letters of Reference

Submitting your Application 

Application schedule

  • Application open: November 1, 2021
  • Application close: January 15, 2022
  • Referee deadline: January 25, 2022

Procedure

The Admissions Committee considers many factors in making admissions decisions: academic preparation, academic capability, experience, and fit with the School.

Please note the following before you proceed:

  • SCARP has updated the course requirements for all future sessions of the MCRP program, in effect as of the 2022/2023 academic year. You can refer to MCRP's main page to confirm you have reviewed the new curriculum.
  • Due to the volume of documents received we are unable to confirm receipt of documents by email or phone. Please check your online application regularly for updates.
Please review the information above carefully first.
If you're ready to apply for the September 2022 intake, you may proceed:

SUBMIT MY APPLICATION