MCRP Admissions - How To Apply

To apply for the September intake, please visit the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies below:

Application & Admission

Application open: November 1, 2020
Application close: January 15, 2021
Referee deadline: January 25, 2021

Please contact the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for the inquiries below: 

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

Application and Admission Information for the Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) program

The Admissions Committee considers many factors in making admissions decisions. Factors include academic preparation, academic capability, experience, and fit with the School of Community and Regional Planning.

***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.***

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.


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. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Community and Regional Planning office is closed and is unable to receive hardcopies of official transcripts. 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:


  • 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


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


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.


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". 

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

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

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Community and Regional Planning office is closed and is unable to receive hardcopies of letters of reference and reference forms. If using the electronic reference is not possible, please contact for assistance. 

Faculty Advisor

SCARP will assign each student a faculty advisor, taking into account interests, availability, and student preference. Applicants are 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 faculty members with whom you would be interested in working in your application. If you are interested in working with Drs. Michael Hooper, James Connolly and/or Julia Harten, please indicate this in the free form text field within the dropdrown menu in your application. If you are applying to the Indigenous Community Planning (ICP) concentration, please only select Drs. Leonie Sandercock and/or 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.