Letter to Applicants

Thank you for your interest in our Ph.D. program. We enclose a descriptive brochure which will answer some of your questions, as well as a packet of the necessary application material.

Since there are often misconceptions with respect to the basic objective of the Ph.D. degree, we want to be sure that you understand that our program has a fundamental research emphasis. If your objective is to obtain a higher qualification for a managerial career, then a Ph.D. degree in the Sauder School of Business is not appropriate.

You should know that the basic orientation in our Ph.D. program is quite different from that of the MBA program at UBC or elsewhere. While MBA programs are intended to prepare students for professional management careers, our Ph.D. program is designed to prepare them for careers in research and teaching at the university level or as high- level specialists in government and industry. Rigorous research in management is built upon intensive study of the economic, quantitative and behavioural disciplines that provide the foundation for research in the area of interest.

Our School presently offers eight divisional programs, as well as a more flexible program for those whose objectives do not readily fit one of the eight distinct fields. The basic programs are:


In all of these programs, the first year is largely spent in learning the fundamental cognate research disciplines, before the student proceeds to advanced work in the chosen area of research.

For the student who wishes to combine study in one of the above areas with a significant research emphasis in other business fields such as International Business or Transportation and Logistics, we also offer a cross-field program. Students who wish to apply for admission in this category should be particularly careful to clarify their research interests, and to relate them to a proposed study program.

Because of the focus upon the underlying research discipline, the majority of the students admitted to our program have degrees in areas other than business. These typically include: Economics; Operations Research; Mathematics; Computer Science; Psychology; Physics and various branches of Engineering. The majority of entrants possess a Master's degree. However, the rules do allow us to admit an applicant with an outstanding record directly from a Bachelor's program.

We are often asked about financial support, which is an important issue for someone contemplating a long program of studies. We support almost all students who are admitted - unless, of course, they already have a fellowship or other source of support at the time of admission. This year our typical first year support level is C$30,000 plus tuition fees. The basic support took the form of a fellowship of C$20,000, plus a summer research assistantship of C$10,000. During subsequent years, financial support is provided by a combination of fellowship and R. A. and T. A. appointments. Many students obtain fellowships or scholarships from UBC or from external granting agencies.

The admissions criteria include prior academic record, the results of GMAT or GRE test scores, reference letters (and for students from non-English speaking countries, a TOEFL score taken within the past two years). The TOEFL score must exceed 600 on the paper-based test or 250 on the computer-based test or 100 on the internet-based test. Information about other acceptable English Proficiency Exams can be found at the PhD Program website. We also take into account the available resources in the area to which the student has applied, and our ability to provide the student with the kind of resources which his or her research objectives appear to demand. We expect a first class (or equivalent) record, tests in the top decile and very strong recommendations.

Early application is strongly recommended. Individuals are encouraged to apply on-line via the Ph.D. program website. Please note that UBC uses a rolling admissions process, in which applications are evaluated in the order they are completed. Applicants needing earlier notice are encouraged to inform the Director of their situation.

The application deadline for all applicants (international, Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada) is

  •  December 31

It is expected that new students will enter the program at the start of the academic year (September).

There are many external fellowships and scholarships available to Doctoral students but they usually have very early deadlines. For Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, please contact the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in August/September to find out about their deadlines. Inquiries should be addressed to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 350 Albert Street, Box 1610, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6G4 Tel: (613) 992-0691 or visit their website at Candidates in Management Science should contact the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), 350 Albert Street, Ottawa, ON, K1A 1H5 Tel: (613) 995-5992 or visit their website at Students in Management Information Systems may qualify, depending on research interests, to NSERC or SSHRC. International students should contact their home University Awards Office for information on fellowships and scholarships.

Finally, we are often asked: "How long?" Our experience is around five years to completion of the degree, of which about two years is coursework and the remainder is the time needed for the dissertation.

We would be glad to provide additional information should you need it.


Ralph Winter
Director, Ph.D. and M.Sc. Programs