PhD Program - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following are some of the most common questions asked by applicants to our program. If you do not find the answer to your question on this sheet, please feel free to contact the Graduate Program office either by email ( or by telephone (604) 822-6449.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If my first degree is completed in a language other than English but I have completed additional coursework or another degree in English can the TOEFL or IELTS requirement waived? 

It is up to the discretion of the Graduate Committee to determine, upon careful review of the complete application file, whether to waive the English-language test requirement.

2.  My first degree (law degree) was completed in English, how do I prove that? 

If you can prove that your first degree was completed in English, we will waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. You can either ask the registrar from your university to provide a letter attesting that English is the medium of instruction or ask one of your referees to indicate this in their reference letter.

3. Do you accept professional references in lieu of academic references? 

The Graduate Committee prefers to receive academic references as academic referees may be better placed to provide an evaluation of your academic strengths and provide a rationale as to why they feel that you would be successful in a research-based PhD program. If for some reason you do not have an academic referee we will accept a professional reference.

4. What is the tuition for the PhD program? 

Please refer to the UBC calendar at:

5. Do I need to find a supervisor prior to applying for admission to the program?

You do not need to find a supervisor prior to applying to the program, however we do encourage applicants to contact potential thesis supervisors to gauge interest and find out whether that faculty member is accepting new graduate students.  The Graduate Committee requests that a list of two or three possible thesis supervisors, drawn from our faculty listing be submitted with the application.  Every effort will be made by the Graduate Committee to locate a suitable supervisor for your particular research topic.

6. How do I decide what to complete my PhD thesis in?

You should choose a topic that you are interested in completing advanced research in not based on what is the current “hot” research area or what might guarantee you admission to the program.  A potential thesis supervisor will be looking for originality in your thesis proposal.  Will your thesis be leading edge, something that is a different perspective that what is currently available in the available literature.  

7. I am an international applicant, do you accept international students?

 Yes we have students from various countries.  Approximately 55% of the student body in our research-based PhD program are international students.

8. Is there awards and scholarship funding available?

There are various sources of awards and scholarship opportunities for the PhD program.  The Graduate Program at Allard Hall will automatically consider all successful applicants who have been offered admission to the PhD program for any funding that we have available. In addition if you are an international student, UBC will automatically grant an International Tuition Scholarship of $3200.00 per year for the duration of your program.  There are no separate applications for both the internal Graduate Program at Allard Hall funding or the UBC International Tuition Scholarship.

9. How many intakes per year do you have? 

The PhD programs begin in September and we only admit students once per year for both programs. Please refer to the Graduate Admissions section of the law school's website.