Students interested in the Department of Asian Studies graduate programs must meet the minimum admission requirements and application procedures below.

MA Admission Requirements

In order to be considered into the MA Asian Studies program at UBC, applicants must have the following:

  1. A Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited university-level institution.
  2. At least four years of study in a relevant discipline with a B+ average in 300 and 400 level courses (for Canadian and U.S. Master’s applicants) and B+ overall average for international applicants.
  3. Reading competence in the language most useful for proposed graduate work. This also consists of three to four years of previous, relevant coursework.

PhD Admission Requirements

In order to be considered into the PhD Asian Studies program at UBC, applicants must have the following:

  1. A Master of Arts in Asian Studies or an equivalent in a related field from an accredited university-level institution.
  2. Overall B+ average in your master’s degree program (76% at UBC).
  3. Candidates must have an adequate command of one of the following languages: Chinese, Japanese, Hindi/Urdu, Punjabi, Sanskrit or Korean. In the case of Chinese, this means a competent reading knowledge of both modern and classical forms.

Application Procedures

Interested applicants must complete the following in order to be considered into either Asian studies graduate programs:

  • Online UBC graduate school application
  • Research proposal
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • Three Reference Letters
  • English language competence


Next admission is Winter 2021 (starting September 2021).

Application deadline: November 30, 2020.

The on-line application system is open between October 1st and November 30th. Before October 1st you may preview the application.

Please be advised that we don’t accept late applications and we don’t have January or May admissions.

Apply online at A non-refundable application fee   made payable to U.B.C. Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is required.

The online application requires credit card payment via Visa or Mastercard, or Interac/debit card payments from individuals with banking accounts at Scotiabank, Royal Bank, or TD Canada Trust.

More at

Interested students must submit an online application through the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Here, you will be able to attach the required documents before submission.

Please keep in mind that there is a non-refundable application fee.

This is a short outline of your proposed area of study and specific topic of research, maximum 600 words. Be sure to include the geographic area, discipline and time period of your proposed research in the outline. Please be specific as your research proposal will determine which professor will supervise you, suitability to the program as well as its feasibility.

Your application cannot be assessed if your research topic is not clear.

In your application, copy and paste your proposal into the box labelled “Please provide a brief statement of your academic and/or professional goals and how these align with this program (Free Text). Alternatively you may upload your statement below.”

You may also, optionally, submit a one page, PDF document containing a bibliography of works referenced in your proposal. To upload it, use the link marked, “Please attach a brief statement of your academic and/or professional goals and how these align with the graduate program (statement of intent).” Note: do not use this link to upload your research proposal.

You are welcome to contact our professors in your field of study if you need assistance with your research proposal or would like one of them to act as your research supervisor. In your application from the drop down menu, please do not choose more than two professors as potential supervisors. However, even if a professor agrees to supervise your studies, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be accepted into a program.

Please upload all your transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended along with their grading scales. These uploads must be scanned, digital copies of the institutions’ official transcripts.

Please do not send paper copies of your documents unless you are asked to do so.

If you are asked to submit paper documents, please submit the following to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies:

  1. One paper copy of official degree certificates and transcripts in the language of instruction for each postsecondary institution attended.
  2. One paper copy of official English translations of degree certificate(s) and transcript(s) for each non-English institution.

If you have participated in an exchange program, you need to submit transcripts from that university as well.

A minimum of three references are required. References should come from individuals who are prepared to report on your academic ability and qualifications. Please be advised that our department does not accept references sent by email as an attachment.

There are three possible formats for references:

  • Electronic reference (“e-ref”) system: In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. Additionally, you need to send a request through your application. From here, a unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing them to submit or upload an online reference on a secure site.
  • Paper reference forms: Your referee may fill out a general reference form from UBC and mail it directly to our department address.
  • Paper letters of reference: Paper letters of reference should be written on the referee’s official letterhead and must be mailed directly to our department address in a sealed envelope.

Applicants from a university where English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency in the English language. Applicants can take either the TOEFL or IELTS exam for this requirement. UBC requires that your official score meet the following standards and be submitted electronically from the test centre. Please take a language exam well in advance of our deadline because it takes up to one month for the result to reach us.

Reading Writing Listening Speaking Overall
TOEFL 22 21 22 21 90
IELTS 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.5

On the IELTS application form you will be asked to specify institutions where you would like the results being sent to. To ensure UBC receives your results correctly, you have to use the following details on the application:

Name of institution: The University of British Columbia

Name of person/department: Graduate School Admissions

Address: 170-6371 Crescent Road, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2, Canada

Official TOEFL score reports must be issued to UBC DIRECTLY from the Educational Testing Centre. he University of British Columbia Institution Code is 0965 and our department code is 99.

Your writing sample can be any paper or publication that you’ve produced up to 25 pages and less than 10 MB.

Admissions FAQs

Next admission is Winter 2021 (starting September 2021).

Application deadline: November 30, 2020.

All other application information can be found under the "Application Procedures" tab further up on this page.

The Graduate Advisor will review your completed application and determine which department faculty member(s) would be the most appropriate supervisor for your proposed program of research. The application file is then passed to the proposed supervisor, where they will determine if the proposed research is relevant to their area of expertise. If it is, they will inform the Graduate Advisor that they are willing to supervise you if admitted.

Application files that do not have a willing supervisor go to each of the four members of the graduate committee. The committee members indicate whether they think an applicant should be accepted or rejected.

The committee assigns a number grade to each of the three aspects of the file: transcripts, research proposal and letters of recommendation. They then rank the applicants according to the aggregate scores and then make their final decision. The committee cannot admit all qualified applicants, decisions are also influenced by available funding and other considerations.

Important note to students with three-year bachelor’s degrees from European institutions (except UK): European bachelor’s degrees of three years’ duration are considered on a case-by-case basis for graduate admission eligibility. There can be no definitive answer about the admission eligibility of your degree until you have submitted an entire application package.

If you are offered admission conditional upon receipt of official documentation, you must provide UBC with one set of official transcripts for every postsecondary institution you have attended for the equivalent of one year or more of full-time study. UBC reserves the right to require any individual applicant to provide official transcripts for study of less than one year duration.

UBC DOES NOT accept the following:

  • photocopies that have not been stamped, attested and endorsed by the Registrar at your home university
  • documents in envelopes that have been opened
  • documents that do not arrive in sealed envelopes endorsed by the issuing institution or certified translator
  • documents that arrive without the official seal of the university
  • photocopies notarized by a notary public
  • photocopies endorsed by a lawyer, professor, judge etc.
  • unofficial translations
  • non-literal translations

Canadian Permanent Residents are required to provide proof of immigration status and date of landing by submitting a copy of the Record of Landing Form or a copy of their Permanent Resident card.

Quick Links

On this page
    Back to toparrow_upward