We are looking for bright, ambitious and creative applicants who are ready to navigate complex policy problems and drive positive global change. UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) program will equip you with the critical knowledge, skills, and experience you need to drive positive policy change in industry, governments, and non-profits anywhere in the world.
Are you from another region of the world? We value the diversity that our students bring from across Canada and the world and take steps to encourage and support applicants from any background to our program. Click to open the infographic.
Tackling today’s global issues requires diverse thinking, creative problem-solving and rigorous academic training. As the MPPGA program is rooted in a multidisciplinary approach to policy challenges, we welcome applicants from a variety of undergraduate degree programs. Your four-year undergraduate degree is a foundational component in your application to the MPPGA program. The program looks to you, the applicant, to demonstrate how your degree has prepared you for success in this program.
Past and current students in the program come from a variety of academic backgrounds, which include (but are not limited to) political science, international relations, economics, law, urban design, and engineering.
Normally, applicants for a master's degree program must hold the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree from UBC including one of the following:
- A minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC) in third- and fourth-year courses.
- Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) in the field of study.
Alternatively, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above but who have had other significant formal training, relevant professional experience, and/or otherwise possess demonstrable knowledge or expertise that would prepare them adequately for successful study in a specific graduate program, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the appropriate graduate program and approval of the Dean of UBC's Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Demonstrated knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics/quantitative methods at the introductory level at a post-secondary institution, preferably taken within the last 5 years. At minimum, we would like applicants to have the level of economics or statistics/quantitative methods knowledge normally acquired from a 100-level (1st year) introductory course.
We receive a number of applicants who did not take economics or statistics/quantitative methods courses in university but have gained this knowledge through their professional experiences. If this applies to you, please make that explicitly clear on your application.
If you are concerned about your level of knowledge regarding economics and statistics/quantitative methods, we encourage you to enroll in a class at your local university or online. We recommend enrolling prior to submitting your application so that the course will appear on the transcripts you include in your application. Please note, courses do not need to be completed before you submit your application.
The MPPGA Program Office has compiled a list of acceptable courses (see below) to assist you in understanding which academic courses (offered in person or online, e.g. Coursera, Edx) might be the most suitable to prepare you in economics and statistics/quantitative methods.
As we welcome a growing number of international students, we have included at least one university per continent. Similar courses from institutions not found on the list are also acceptable.
The MPPGA program is conducted in English and you will need to have an excellent grasp of technical and conversational English to be successful in the program. If you are an international student whose degree did not come from an English speaking program and institution, we welcome your test scores from TOEFL and IELTS with the following scores achieved within the last 24 months:
- TOEFL: 600 (paper version) or 100 (online version) with no component scores below 22
- IELTS: minimum overall band score of 7.0 with no component scores below 7.0
Ideally, applicants to our 20-month program will have at least two years of relevant, professional experience. Experience can be obtained in any number of ways and include full or part-time work, internships, co-op placements, volunteering, and more.
Whether you are a mid-career professional looking to enhance your career or are applying from your undergraduate program, the MPPGA program looks to you to explain how your professional experience has helped prepare you to succeed at the graduate level.
MPPGA applicants have a few different ways to tell us about their relevant, professional experience:
- You are encouraged to discuss it in your essay statements — connect the dots and tell us how your experience has prepared you for the MPPGA program.
- Upload your current resume which should detail your work and/or volunteer history.
- Discuss your professional experience as it relates to policy and global affairs with your referees as they may wish to mention it in their letters of recommendation.
For those who wish to do so, you may also include links to your professional social media accounts in your online application.
Three letters of recommendation from qualified persons are a required component of your application. It is understood that you may wish to have a supervisor write a letter on your behalf. The following guideline can help guide you on obtaining and submitting the right letters. If you have been out of school for:
- 1-5 years, minimum 2 academic references
- 5+ years, minimum 1 academic reference
Your remaining references should be professional and/or community references. Please note a maximum of one community reference may be used. A community referee should know you well, and be equipped to speak to your skills and experience as they relate to the fields of public policy and global affairs. Examples may include but are not limited to a community leader, volunteer supervisor or advocacy lead. You should ensure they speak to at least one of: community service, activism, social responsibility or policy work.
While it is ultimately up to you, the applicant, to determine who you would like to list as your referee, we do recommend that every referee, academic, professional or community, write a detailed letter discussing why your skills, the work you did (or completed in their class), and/or your academic, professional or community interests, make you an ideal candidate for UBC's MPPGA program.
Please keep in mind that while professional and community references are acceptable, this is an academically rigorous program and we suggest including at least one reference letter from a professor.
There are two important points about your referee to be aware of:
- You will be asked to provide your referee’s name and contact information in the application form. Your referee must have an institution / company email address to have access to a secure online platform to submit their reference letter. If your referee only has a free email account like Hotmail, Gmail etc. they will not have access to the secure online system. They will need to mail in a hardcopy / paper copy of the reference letter. Please note that hardcopy reference letters should be on official letterhead, and need to be signed. Letters must be mailed directly from the referee to our MPPGA program office in a sealed and endorsed envelope. Our MPPGA program office address is:
Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs
#164-1855 West Mall, UBC
- Your referee will receive a secure link to the online reference platform to upload their letter only after you have completed, paid for, and submitted your application. Be aware of this timing if you are submitting an application close to the deadline.
Deciding to pursue a graduate degree can be a big decision for an applicant and their family. There are tools and resources at UBC and within the MPPGA program to help you understand the cost of joining the program and living in Vancouver, as well as the scholarships and awards available to you.
The MPPGA program’s tuition and fees for the program can be read in detail on our Tuition and Funding page. To help you understand your budget and financial need, consider using the comprehensive cost-of-living calculator.
The MPPGA program has a limited number of merit-based scholarships for domestic and international students. These scholarships are competitive and vary in amount and should not be considered as the sole source of funding for the program. All applicants to the MPPGA program will be considered for an Entrance Scholarship. In addition to the program’s entrance scholarships, we have compiled some of the scholarships and awards available at UBC and beyond the university.
It is important to know that many scholarships and awards both at UBC and externally can be applied to before being admitted to the MPPGA program. We encourage you to seek out these opportunities early to help you be financially prepared for the program.
Many students seek additional financial support from banks, government loans, family, foundations and other forms of sponsorship. We encourage applicants to learn of financial resources available to you and to seek out financial support where needed.