How to Apply

You will fill out an application form, scan and upload digital files (.pdfs ONLY although in the application you will see that other formats are allowed) of the documents below in the application system and will be advised later on whether paper documents are required.

If you are offered admission, you will be asked at that time to submit official documents directly to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

If paper documents are required:

Send one set of official copies of your transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended directly to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies except for UBC transcripts (please see details below).

All transcripts must arrive at UBC in envelopes which have been sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution.

If the official transcript does not indicate the degree name and the degree conferral date, then one official copy of the degree certificate is required.

Current and former UBC students: you do not need to submit official UBC transcripts as part of your graduate application package. However, be aware that you are still responsible for submitting transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions that you have attended (e.g., exchange year, transfer year, etc.).

Documents submitted in support of applications become the property of the University and may not be returned to the applicant or student. Students who submit irreplaceable material may request the return of that material. Such requests must be submitted with the original material. The office to which the material is submitted will return the material as soon as possible and not later than six months after the student’s graduation or last registration.

Applicants should direct all correspondence to the Graduate Secretary at the Department of Asian Studies at asia.graduate[at] and not the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

The department will create your file after you submit an application. If you haven’t submitted an on-line application), we are not able to answer your inquires about documents.

Next admission is winter 2020 (starting September 2020).

Application deadline: November 30, 2019.

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.

  1. Apply on-line 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

  1.  Research Proposal

This is a short outline of your proposed area of study and specific topic of research. In other programs or universities this document might be called a “statement of intent” or “description of research interests”. Select and propose a single topic of research and describe your proposed research in a statement of up to 600 words. Make clear the geographic area (e.g., China, India, etc.), the discipline (e.g., literature, religion, visual culture), and time period (e.g., modern, or 9th to 11th centuries) of your proposed research. Since the Research Proposal is used for determining which professor will supervise your research and will be read closely to assess its suitability to the program and its feasibility, please be specific.

NOTE: Your application cannot be assessed if your research topic (geographic area, academic discipline, and time period) is not clear.

To submit the Research Proposal, first compose it in a text editor/word processor. Then, in the “Experience and Interests” tab of the application web page, copy and paste the contents into the box labeled “Please provide a brief statement of your academic and/or professional goals and how these align with this graduate program (Free Text) Alternatively you may upload your statement below.”

You may also, optionally, submit a bibliography of works referenced in your proposal. This should be a PDF document, one page maximum. To upload it, use the link marked “Please attach a brief statement of your academic and/or professional goals and how these align with this graduate program (Statement of Intent).” (Do not use this link to upload your research proposal, which should only be entered into the Free Text box).

You may optionally use the box below labeled “Please describe any research and/or work experience (including publications, etc.) you’ve undertaken that is relevant to your proposed field of study” to describe, in up to 300 words, past experience that is relevant to your proposed studies, including participation in research activities and relevant publications.

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. You might send to the potential supervisor a very short research proposal. 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.  .

Those interested in Asia-related studies outside of the disciplines covered by Asian Studies (including modern history, political science, commerce, economics, geography, fine arts, anthropology, and sociology) should apply to the relevant program. In special cases, PhD degree programs can be arranged jointly between Asian studies and other departments. For interdisciplinary programs, please contact the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program

  1. Transcripts covering ALL previous post-secondary studies UPLOADED to your application as .PDF not .tiff or .jpeg files

Please upload all your transcripts separately including the grading scale for each transcript (see instructions). Scan the back of the transcript if the grading scale is not on the front page.

You must scan and upload digital copies (.pdfs) of official required documents ( not electronic transcripts)  in the application system. The scanned transcripts must be copies of your official transcripts, which usually means that you must order official transcripts from your institution(s), open the envelopes, and then scan and upload copies to the application system. Since this requires you to break the official seal on the transcripts, these are considered “unofficial documents”. These uploaded copies of your official documents will be used for the initial evaluation of your application.

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 also require any individual applicant to provide official transcripts for study of less than one year duration.


Your application will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee as soon as it is complete including: an online application, all transcripts uploaded (including transcripts on exchange studies), permanent resident card (if needed, both sides), language proficiency exam test result (if needed), reference letters and writing sample. We would suggest that you ask your referees to submit letters electronically. It will allow us to review your application earlier.

Since we cannot admit all qualified applicants, the committee decides how many of the qualified applicants can be admitted in a given year, based on available funding, supervisors and other considerations.

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

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

If you have participated in an exchange program, you need to submit transcripts from your home university as well as transcripts from the university on exchange.

IMPORTANT: To be considered official, academic records should be sent directly to UBC  -Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies from each of the issuing institutions you have attended. The documents need to be in official university envelopes that are stamped, sealed and endorsed by the institution(s).

If your university doesn’t mail transcripts, you can collect them and send them to us, but all envelopes need to be sealed and endorsed by the issuing institutions.

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

DO NOT send academic records that are not in sealed and endorsed envelopes.

If your university cannot issue multiple copies of transcripts please follow the required procedure:

  1. Reference letters

A minimum of three references are required. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Please be advised that our department DOES NOT accept references sent  by email as an attachment. Therefore, please do not ask your referees to send their letters as attachments to either email addresses: asian. studies[at] or asia.graduate[at]

There are three possible formats for references:

Electronic references (“e-ref”) system: In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. (Please note, that we are unable to accept e-mails from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, MSN, and or other free e-mail accounts for referees.)

YOU, not the department, need to send a request through your application. A unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing them to log in to a secure site and submit an online reference or upload a reference document as an attachment.

Paper reference forms: UBC provides a general reference form. Your referee may fill out this form and mail it directly to our program (address below) in a sealed and endorsed envelope.

Paper letters of reference: Your referee may wish to send a paper letter. Paper letters of reference should be on referee’s official letterhead and must be mailed directly to our program (address below) in a sealed and endorsed envelope.

We preferred having electronic references because your application will be reviewed faster and more easily.

The deadline for submission is on December 15th. After that date the on-line submission will be closed and mailed reference letters will not be accepted.

  1. English Language Competence

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Test scores must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application, and the official test scores ordered from the testing agency are required for application.


component overall
reading writing listening speaking
TOEFL 22 21 22 21 90
IELTS 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.5


A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is required with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component of the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.

UBC requires an official score to be sent to us electronically from the test centre.

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. ( or call1-800-257-9547). The University of British Columbia Institution Code is 0965 and our department code is 99.

Please take a language exam well in advance of our deadline because it takes up to one month for the result to reach us.

We do not accept late submissions of the test scores (after November 30th deadline) .

  1. Writing sample (up to 25 pages and less than 10MB) PHD applicants only
  2. Permanent Residents

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 both the front and back of their Permanent Resident card.

Since all necessary information is on our website, we don’t send out application packages.

If you have further questions after reading the information on the website, please contact Ms. Tina Wong, Graduate Secretary in the Asian Studies Department.

University of British Columbia
The Department of Asian Studies
607 – 1871 West Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2

Phone: 604-822-5728

Email: asia.graduate[at]

Please be advised that we don’t return long distance calls.

The results of admission are usually known in early March.