PhD Admissions: Step-by-Step

The field of planning includes many rich and diverse areas of research. At SCARP we have a small number of faculty with dedicated expertise in a subset of planning areas. Our PhD program therefore focuses on nurturing and supervising a small number of select applicants. We take great care in ensuring a good match between student, supervisor, and area of research. We invite you to follow the detailed steps outlined below.

Step 1 • Read areas of doctoral research supported at SCARP

a)  If you find your area of research interest in the list of topics supported by SCARP please continue to step 2.

b)  If you do not find your area of research in the list of topics supported by SCARP, then we encourage you to pursue a doctoral program at another department at UBC, or consider a PhD in planning at another university.

c)  If you do not find your area of research in the list of topics but want to explore a topic that is relevant to faculty research then please contact the faculty member directly with a full research statement.    

Step 2 • Identify faculty members with your area of interest and read their profiles

(identify one or two faculty members only)

Step 3 • Craft short statement of common interest with faculty

Statements should be approximately 200 words and should include the following:

    • A general description of the area of research you are interested in pursuing
    • Your past academic and/or professional experience and who your research builds on them
    • How your interests align with those of one or two specified SCARP faculty members  
    • You may also include a description of the types of theories and methods you are interested in employing to further demonstrate common interest with potential supervisors   

Step 4 • Send statement by email to PhD Chair and Graduate Administrator

(should take place between September and November)

In your email you should clearly indicate that you have completed steps 1 to 3 above and use "PhD statement of common interest with faculty" as your email subject line.

Step 5 • PhD Chair reviews statement 

(November to December)

a)     If your statement of common interest with faculty indicates that SCARP has the capacity to effectively support your doctoral studies then the PhD Chair will forward your statement to the relevant faculty member and will copy you.

b)     If your statement of common interest with faculty indicates that SCARP does not have the capacity to effectively support your doctoral studies then the PhD Chair will encourage you to pursue your studies elsewhere.

Step 6 • Potential supervisor reviews statement 

(November to January)

After reviewing your statement of common interest the faculty member, who is your potential supervisor at SCARP, will contact you to request additional information such as a CV and a draft of a 1000 word full research statement. Some prospective supervisors may also ask to speak to you directly to assess their suitability for your research aspirations.  

Step 7 • Supervisor confirms mutual interests 

(November to January)

a)     If the potential supervisor is satisfied that they are a good match for you and your interests then they will notify the Graduate Supervisor and invite you to complete a full application by February 1st.

b)     If the potential supervisor is not satisfied that they are a good match for you and your interests then they will encourage you to pursue your doctoral studies elsewhere.

Step 8 • Complete full application by deadline

(February 1st)

SCARP will only consider an applicant to the PhD program after a faculty member has confirmed their interest in that applicant. The admissions committee will therefore only consider applicants who have successfully completed step 7.

Step 9 • Committee review

(March)

The PhD Admissions Committee reviews complete applications and confirms the likelihood of success and high performance in a doctoral program. This assessment is based on past academic performance as evidenced by reference letters, transcripts, research statements, awards, and publications. SCARP will admit a student to the PhD program only when a faculty member agrees to act as the PhD aspirant's advisory committee chair and thesis research supervisor. Even a well-qualified applicant will be turned away if no faculty member agrees to supervise. We typically admit between 4 and 6 students each year but this number varies and in unusual circumstances we may make no offers of admission;

Step 10 • Decision and admission offers

(March to April)

 

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