SCARP is interested in attracting students to its Ph.D. program who are interested in topics broadly related to the transition to sustainability through the democratization of planning approaches. Under this broad umbrella, our faculty have diverse interests, ranging from sustainable transportation studies to disaster preparedness, community development, and social planning, poverty alleviation at home and abroad, negotiation and mediation of land and resource conflicts, the ecological footprint, risk analysis, managing multicultural cities and regions, cross-cultural and indigenous planning, community-based urban design, urbanization and its challenges in East and Southeast Asia to name just a few of our faculty's research interests. Our research approach is inherently interdisciplinary and spans qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
SCARP's Ph.D. program provides students with a collegial and convivial environment in which to pursue interdisciplinary research at the intersections of planning theory and practice. We aim to foster planning scholars and practitioners who can think critically, research inventively, and communicate their ideas effectively.
Each year we seek to admit 4 or 5 students, and there may be up to 20 students in residence each year. We have developed a lively Ph.D. culture at SCARP with a monthly forum, lecture series organized by students, and the annual SCARP Student Symposium, organized by students and held every February on a topic of contemporary interest.
The SCARP Ph.D. is primarily a research degree, with a flexible component of course work (view specific Required Courses). Doctoral students work under the guidance of a Supervisory Committee consisting of at least three faculty members, including the Research Supervisor. Students must satisfactorily complete course work, two comprehensive examinations (theory and substantive), a research prospectus, a two-year residency, and write and defend a Ph.D. thesis. Overall, Ph.D. candidates should expect to spend at least 3 years in the completion of their degree requirements. Typical programs run 4-5 years.
The SCARP Ph.D. program is governed by the general policies and procedures of the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) and their more specific elaboration by SCARP.
Applicants to our Ph.D. program must hold a Master’s Degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized graduate program in planning or a closely related field, and should preferably have work experience.
SCARP emphasizes the importance of language skills - this reflects Canada's officially bilingual status and recognizes that as planning issues become increasingly global, it is critical for planners to command more than one language. Accordingly, students with skills in languages other than English will receive special consideration, though language competence beyond English is not a formal prerequisite. If a student's research will involve communication in other languages, we will require evidence of appropriate skills.
While graduates of SCARP's Master's programs can apply without prejudice to the Ph.D. program, experience suggests that it is preferable for such students to broaden their academic experience and intellectual horizons by seeking admission to a suitable program elsewhere.
22 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 22 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):
Sample employers in higher education
University of British Columbia (3)
University of Glasgow
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
University of Toronto
University of Manitoba
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University
Universite de Montreal
Sample employers outside higher education
United Nations - Development Program
Sample job titles outside higher education
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements.
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - Internet-based
Overall score requirement: 100
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 7.0
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is optional.