PhD: Invited Application Requirements

Admission Inquiries:

Phone: 604-822-4422


For general information on how to apply
to a UBC Graduate Program refer to the
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Website

Application & Admission





The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Website includes information on the following:

  • Application fees
  • Online application problems
  • Minimum academic requirements
  • Transcript requirements
  • Translations of transcripts
  • Electronic or paper references, etc

    Application and admission information specific to the PhD program

    The Admissions Committee considers many factors in making admissions decisions. Factors include academic preparation, academic capability, experience, and fit with SCARP.

    ***Due to the volume of documents received we are unable to confirm receipt of documents by email or phone. Please check the online application supporting document checklist if you have officially applied to the program.***


    SCARP requires applicants to scan and upload digital copies of all official transcripts (and/or degree certificates and translations). Please ensure that the uploaded documents are official transcripts and include a transcript key. Note that 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.

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

    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).

    For more information, see the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies webpages on Canadian Transcripts or International Transcripts.

    Please note that we do not require applicants to send hardcopies of official transcripts to SCARP at the time of application.


    Institution Code: 0965; Dept. Code: 4402

    Although the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not mandatory, we strongly encourage applicants to SCARP to write the exam. 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 students do not have grades (because their program may have been ungraded), or when grades do not reflect a student's true potential as a graduate student. 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.


    Standardized test of English language proficiency is required, unless the applicant holds a Master’s Degree in Planning or Social Science from a university where the primary language of instruction was English.

    Please note that the English Proficiency Requirements for the PhD in Planning program are higher than the UBC minimums.

    SCARP requires the following minimum scores:


    • Overall score of at least 100
    • Reading/listening score of at least 22
    • Writing/speaking score of at least 21


    • Overall score of at least 7.0 with no component test score less than 6.5

    More information on these tests can be obtained from their websites: TOEFLIELTS.


    PhD applicants must prepare and submit a 1,000-word research statement. The statement should outline the thesis project you wish to undertake, the research methods you expect to use, and how the work builds on or draws from your previous training or experience. The research statement allows us to assess whether your objectives can be satisfied within the School. Please provide this statement to any potential supervisors.

    In the online application, this statement is uploaded as the “statement of intent”.


    Applicants must provide a copy of their master's thesis or research paper at the time of application.


    Each applicant must submit a resume detailing educational background, work experience, publications, and academic or professional awards earned. 


    References for SCARP 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. 

    There are three possible formats for references: electronic references, paper letters of reference, and paper reference forms. SCARP prefers that references utilize the electronic reference system in the online application. For more information, see the grad studies website on Letters of Reference.

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


    It is not possible to defer admission. If you are accepted 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.


    Students admitted to the program will commence full-time studies in September. We do not admit students at any other time of year.