This strong and robust degree program is designed:
- For students who are interested in a career in planning or a possible interest in doctoral studies
- As a platform for high-level planning and public-policy work
- To provide a richer theoretical understanding of complex issues in city and community planning, environmental planning, and international development planning, as well as intensive study of instructive case studies.
- To be completed within 24 months, incorporating a selection of course work (including a theory course and thesis workshop), and a thesis prepared with the guidance of a supervisor and second committee member. Successful applicants will work closely with a faculty supervisor, who should be identified in your application.
MAP and MScP represent the same degree program, described below. Upon graduating, you receive a Master of Arts in Planning (MAP) if you entered the program with a Bachelor of Arts degree, or a Master of Science in Planning (MScP) if you entered the program with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Research Masters degree programs are not formally accredited by the Canadian or American boards. Those seeking a degree accredited by professional accreditation boards would apply to the School’s Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) program.
Should I choose a SCARP Research Masters program or SCARP's Master of Community and Regional Planning Program?
|Number of students admitted annually||35-40||6-8|
|Credits required for degree completion||60||34|
|Core course requirement||18||10|
|Thesis/project||practicum report||12-credit thesis|
|Accreditations||Accredited by UBC, and by Canadian and American professional planning boards||Accredited by UBC|
|Other program requirements / information|
|Cross-benefits||Can lead to further research (through PhD)||Can lead to professional planning practice, and accreditation|
Program Courses, Structure, and Requirements
MAP/MSCP students can access all elective courses available to MCRP students except core MCRP courses and studios reserved for MCRP students only.
|PLAN 558: The Role of Theory in Planning Research||3|
|PLAN 559: Design of Planning- and Policy-oriented Research||3|
|PLAN 560: Master's Thesis Workshop||1|
|Any non-SCARP UBC course re: qualitative research methods (if approved first by supervisor)||3|
|12 credits of approved courses tailored to your interest, in careful consultation with your advisor.||12||12|
|PLAN 549C: Master's Thesis||12||12|
Note you must spend your first year in residence taking required and elective courses.
Faculty members who are available to supervise students and areas for Research Masters (MAP/MScP) thesis supervision are listed below:
- Transnational social movements, particularly involving Southeast Asian countries;
- Political economy of transnational development trends, particularly in Southeast Asia;
- Comparative community development and social planning in developing country contexts
- Building inclusive economies in a post-covid world
- The role of social science research in policy change
- Searching for academic knowledge that makes a difference
- Strategic planning and transformative change
- Creating institutional environments for organisational innovation
- University and Community partnerships, developments in theory and practice
- Natural hazard risk, disaster impacts, and recovery
- Approaches to reducing risk and enhancing resilience
- Urban infrastructure systems (e.g., energy, water, transportation)
- Climate change adaptation
- Social-ecological conflicts in urban environments
- Urban greening
- Urban institutional change
- Urban analytics
- Densification, Displacement, Post-disaster rebuilding
- Indigenous community planning
- Indigenous planning
- Indigenous research methodologies
- Climate change and Indigenous knowledge
- Public engagement and climate change planning
- Equity and inclusion in planning practice
- Measurement and visualization in urban design
- Land use and environmental planning
- Smart growth
- Plan evaluation and implementation
- Natural hazard mitigation
- Smart cities
- Urban systems
Please review all information on requirements before you proceed here.
I've chosen a Research Masters program. How do I apply?
- Only invited applications will be considered.
- The Admissions Committee considers many factors in making admissions decisions. Factors include academic preparation, academic capability, experience, and fit with 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.
- 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.
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 would like to apply for the September intake, please review the following steps:
- Read SCARP's minimum requirements for admission in the program overview tab.
- Complete Pre-Application by November 30 - Prospective applicants must complete a short Research Masters Pre-Application questionnaire.
- Receive Invitation to Apply by December 15 - Prospective applicants will be notified on whether they are invited to submit an official application.
- Submit Full Application by February 1 - Deadline for official Research Masters application by invited applicants only. Uninvited applications will not be considered.
- Receive Admission Decision in early April - Applicants will be notified of admission and funding decisions at approximately this date. Date may shift slightly to coincide with relevant funding announcements.
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.
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
More information on these tests can be obtained from their websites: TOEFL | IELTS.
Submission of English language proficiency test scores must be followed in accordance to the instructions outlined by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Research Statement of Intent | Proposed Thesis Topic
Applicants are required to prepare and submit a research statement of intent/thesis proposal (approximately 1,000 words). 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.
Sample of Academic Research & Writing
Each applicant must also submit at least one sample of academic research and writing. An undergraduate thesis, previous academic publications, or previous academic project are all acceptable writing samples.
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 "Research Masters 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.
At time of admission
- Applicants selected for consideration for admission will be invited to an interview with their prospective research supervisor and Program Chair. Final admission decisions will be made after the interview.
- 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.
Complete pre-application: November 30
Application open: December 15
Application closes: February 1
Referee deadline: February 10
Please contact the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for any of these inquiries:
- Application fees
- Online application problems
- Minimum academic requirements
- Transcript requirements
- Translations of transcripts
- Letters of Reference