Application Process

Thank you for choosing to apply to the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs program at the University of British Columbia.

The applications for the Fall 2024 intake are now CLOSED.
The Reference Letter deadline will be on January 31st. 

Preparing to Apply

Before you begin the online application process, you will need to:

Be prepared to provide names, locations and dates of study for all of the post-secondary institutions you have attended.

You are required to scan and upload a copy of your official transcript for each post-secondary institution you have attended. Note that pictures / screenshots, unofficial academic records, pictures, etc. of your transcript are not acceptable.

You are also required to upload a current resume.

For those who wish to do so, you may provide links to your professional social media accounts in the application form.

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.

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
Vancouver BC
V6T 1Z2

  • 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.

The online application includes the following questions:

What public policy and global affairs challenge has personally motivated you to pursue an MPPGA degree? What contribution do you see yourself making to resolve this challenge in the next 10 years? (Maximum Length – Characters = 1200)

Please refer to The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Select one of the 17 SDG that aligns with your area of interest and suggest how specific innovative policies can accelerate achievement of this goal in a specific geographical context (local, regional or global) (Maximum Length – Characters = 2600)

Please provide a brief statement of your academic and/or professional goals and how these align with this graduate program. (Maximum Length – Characters = 1200)

Professional or other real-world experience is considered an asset for applicants to the MPPGA program. Please speak to one or more of your experiences and to how it relates to the fields of public policy and/or global affairs. As appropriate, you may choose to draw from professional jobs, activism, community involvement or volunteer work. (Maximum Length – Characters = 1200)

The School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC has a strong commitment to diversity, and sees it as one of our community’s greatest strengths. We strongly encourage applicants to provide a brief statement reflecting on how their past experiences have shaped how they might contribute to furthering equity, diversity, and inclusion in the SPPGA community and in their future work. (Maximum Length – Characters = 1200, optional)

Your response should provide additional information beyond what can be inferred from the rest of your application materials. This is your chance to tell us why you are the right fit for UBC’s MPPGA program.

There is a place on the application form, “Additional Information”, that allows you to briefly explain any discrepancies on your record. For example, you may have had a term of a lower GPA due to an illness. This section is where you can explain that to the Admissions Committee.

In Year Two of the MPPGA program, you have the opportunity to tailor your learning with electives in one of three streams or design your own stream:

  • Stream One: Development and Social Change
  • Stream Two: Resources, Energy and Sustainability
  • Stream Three: Global Governance and Security

You will be asked to declare your stream choice in your application.

How to Apply

Applying to the MPPGA program is a four-step application process.

Create an account to log in and fill out the UBC Graduate Studies Online Application.

The application form is where you will enter your biographical and educational information and your application essays. We encourage you to review the questions in advance and take time to prepare your responses. Once your application has been submitted, it cannot be changed. Unsubmitted applications will expire after 30 days of inactivity.

Official transcripts for all courses, including the degree courses, exchange courses, zero-credit courses, transfer credit courses completed at a different institution other than the home institution, etc.

You are required to upload the following documents to the online application system:

  • Official transcripts for all courses, including but not limited to exchange courses, zero-credit courses and courses completed at an international institution
  • Official degree certificates for any degrees that are not indicated on your transcripts
  • C.V. detailing your qualifications and experience
  • English language test scores from the TOEFL or IELTS  (international students only) provided the test was taken 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

PDF and Microsoft Word documents are the preferred format for uploaded documents. If any individual document is more than one page long, it must be uploaded as one PDF / Word document.

Documents uploaded to the application system are sufficient for the purpose of adjudication. Official hardcopies of each academic document will be required for those offered admission to UBC.

Note: If you are, or have ever been, a UBC student or alumni, please indicate your student number in your online application and the MPPGA Program Office will download your official UBC transcript directly.

You are required to provide three letters of recommendation. To be considered official, letters must be submitted by referees in one of two ways:

  • Online: You must provide the referee's valid institutional or company email address (no Gmail, Hotmail or similar addresses) for each referee when you apply.
  • It is important to note that referees will not be contacted until after you have submitted your application and paid your application fee.
  • Once you have submitted your application, your referees will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their letters. If they are eligible to submit online, they will receive a secure link prompting them to upload their letters of reference directly to the online application system.
  • Mail: 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 program office address is:

Master of Public Policy & Global Affairs
#164-1855 West Mall, UBC
Vancouver BC
V6T 1Z2

Note: Letters mailed by applicants and emailed letters sent by anyone are not acceptable and cannot be used to gain admission to UBC.

Upon completing your online application, you will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $114 CAD (domestic students) or $168.25 CAD (international students). The fee may be waived if you are an international applicant with citizenship and a current mailing address in one of the world’s 50 least-developed countries, as declared by the United Nations. Learn more.

*Note that application fees are subject to change and our website may not reflect the most up-to-date costs. For current application fee amounts please see the UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

After Applying

As soon as you submit your application to UBC, you can apply for UBC Housing.

UBC offers on-campus housing specifically for graduate students at UBC-Vancouver, as well as a family housing option, and is managed through the University’s Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

UBC Housing also offers two residential graduate colleges with accommodation exclusively for graduate students, visiting scholars, and postdoctoral scholars. These colleges require a separate application and include compulsory meal plans:

St. John’s College offers residential membership to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting scholars and students who share an interest in international research and global change and are committed to cultural diversity.

Green College is home to 100 graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and visiting artists and academics—a vibrant community with a 20-year tradition of promoting interdisciplinary conversations.

Please note that on-campus UBC Housing is not guaranteed for MPPGA students, and it is in high-demand (especially family housing). You do not need to wait for an offer of admission to apply for housing and can apply for UBC Housing as soon as you apply to the MPPGA program.

Graduate school is an investment, and it is important to ensure you are financially prepared for tuition, fees, living expenses, and other program- or living- related expenses that may arise for the duration of your studies. In addition to applying for the MPPGA entrance scholarship, you can and should look for funding opportunities before receiving an offer of admission from MPPGA.

You can estimate the total costs associated with your graduate degree through UBC Graduate School’s cost of living calculator. You can find the MPPGA program listed under “Policy – Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs”.

Decisions regarding MPPGA scholarships are made at the same time as admissions decisions. MPPGA scholarships should not be considered the sole source of funding for the program.

Learn about your tuition and fees.

After Admission

After carefully reviewing the letter offering admission to MPPGA, you will need to accept or decline the offer through the online system. If a deadline is indicated, then you need to accept or decline before the deadline. An acceptance deposit of $3000 must be paid when you accept the offer of admission, and the deposit will be credited towards your first tuition instalment.

If you are offered an entrance scholarship along with your admission offer, you will need to accept or decline the scholarship at this time too.

Once admitted to the MPPGA program, you need to send the following documents to UBC Graduate Studies:

  • Official transcripts for every academic institution listed on your application
  • Official degree certificates for every academic institution listed on your application, if applicable
  • Official English translations for your transcripts and degree certificates, if applicable

If accepting the offer of admission, follow instructions provided in the admission letter closely, as hardcopies of your academic documents need to be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to formalize your admission.

Hardcopies can be sent to:

UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
170-6371 Crescent Road
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2

If you are an international student and do not already have a visa, you should immediately apply for a Study Permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Your admission letter, in the PDF format available through the Student Service Centre (SSC), can be used to apply for a study permit online.

Throughout the summer, MPPGA program staff will be sending you a series of emails with instructions for registration, details on applying for housing (if you haven’t already), and your orientation schedule.

Program staff will also ask you to provide a bio and photo, and to fill out a new student survey.

Review and refresh your knowledge and/or skills on microeconomics, macroeconomics, and statistics in preparation for your MPPGA courses.

If you have not already found housing or been offered residence through UBC Housing, consider exploring off-campus housing or other on-campus housing not offered through UBC. Visit UBC Housing’s page on off-campus housing for good websites to check out, links to the BC Tenancy Act (and other rights tenants should know), descriptions of the Vancouver neighbourhoods and things to consider before you rent, and more.

UBC Housing also has a page featuring more on-campus housing, but these rentals are not operated by UBC Housing.

Ensure financial preparedness by continuing to explore funding for your studies and living expenses.

Once you get to Vancouver, you will want to pick up your UBC student ID card from the bookstore, and collect your transit pass. If your courses require textbooks, you can either order online or buy them from the UBC bookstore.

The UBC Card is your official UBC ID and library card, and it comes with other benefits as well, such as access to the gym, labs, and other secure areas on campus. When you have enrolled in at least one course, you can apply for your UBC Card.

Included in your UBC student fees is a transit pass, known to UBC students as a U-Pass. The U-Pass provides unlimited transit services within Metro Vancouver. Eligible students can load the U-Pass BC onto Compass Card, which is the physical transit card you carry around.

If your MPPGA courses require textbooks, the program will inform you of this over the summer. You are welcome to order the textbook online through Amazon (or another online store), or you can pick up a copy from the UBC bookstore when you get to campus. The UBC bookstore also offers online purchases and reserves, as well as rental option that helps cut down on the cost of textbooks.

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