Take the next step in advancing your anthropology career by applying to our Master of Arts (MA) or our Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree programs at UBC Vancouver, British Columbia.

We look for applicants with developed intellectual interests and abilities, a strong commitment to their area of study, and interests that fall within the current interests of our department.

If applicants have questions about the match between their interests and those of the department, they should contact the Graduate Program Manager at It is also helpful for applicants to discuss their program with potential supervisors before making a final application.

Admissions to our graduate programs are competitive and we consider applications in terms of available faculty and resources.

2023 Application Deadline: MA and Ph.D. applications must be submitted by December 15, 2023. 

The Department of Anthropology is a competitive graduate program with application numbers that go above spots we have available to offer. Before applying to our graduate program, please consider the admission requirements and deadlines:

Application for MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology is now open:

Program Start Date – Sept 1, 2024
Application Deadlines (International) – December 15, 2023
Application Deadlines (Domestic) – December 15, 2023

MA Application Requirements

UBC Anthropology welcomes Canadian and international applicants from a broad spectrum of anthropological sub-disciplines, such as archaeology, socio-cultural anthropology, museum and visual anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.

Applicants must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree with a major, honours or concentration in anthropology or the equivalent.

Applicants to the MA program must have completed at least 12 credits in senior anthropology courses with a minimum average of 80 (“A-”). The courses should cover a broad range of anthropology, including at least three credits of archaeology or physical anthropology, six credits in ethnography, three credits in methods, and, if possible, at least three credits of anthropological theory, and three credits in museum and visual anthropology.

Highly qualified applicants lacking one or more of these requirements may have courses in contiguous fields accepted as equivalents or may be required to take such courses as part of their program of study.

Outstanding candidates with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines, but with substantial background related to anthropology, or who are missing one or more of our admission requirements, are occasionally admitted on the condition that they complete a number of additional courses in anthropology.

PhD Application Requirements

Admission to the PhD is open to candidates with an MA in anthropology, although we may, in special circumstances, admit students with a master’s degree in a related subject. Candidates without a MA will not be admitted.

In all cases, students applying for the PhD should possess substantive previous training at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels in anthropology or a related discipline, such as sociology, geography, history, or political science.

They are also expected to have had undergraduate preparation equivalent to that of the UBC major in anthropology. Outstanding candidates who are missing one or more requirements may be required to take such courses as a condition of entry or as part of the program of study.

Admission to the PhD program is by application and requires an evaluation of the applicant’s previous work and capacity to pursue and complete original research. Students completing their MA at UBC must also formally apply in order to be considered for the PhD program.

The PhD in anthropology requires a major research project (normally involving fieldwork) and writing a dissertation. We thus seek applicants with developed intellectual interests and abilities, and a strong commitment to their area of study.

Applicants should outline their proposed dissertation research in their statement of intent in clear, non-technical language and provide a sample of written work (if possible) that demonstrates preparation for PhD level research.

Application Procedure

Step 1: UBC Application for Graduate Admissions

To be considered for September entry, please submit your completed application, including all supporting documents, reference letters and official, endorsed transcripts, by the deadline. The deadline for applying to the Anthropology graduate program is usually early-to-mid December. Early submissions are encouraged. Also, we highly encourage Canadian applicants to apply for the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s (CGS-M) when applying to the UBC Anthropology program.

Step 2: Submit required documents by the application deadline

The most important first step in applying for admission to our graduate program is finding and approaching a potential supervisor in the department. This gives you an opportunity to discuss the research you are interested in completing as a graduate student and to determine if there is a good ‘fit’ with faculty expertise. However, all admissions decisions are made by the Anthropology Graduate Studies Committee and are only communicated after the application deadline following full review of all submitted applications.

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.

If you are admitted to our program, two copies of official transcripts of all previous academic work from each university or college attended are required, including for courses taken but not yet completed.


  • A minimum overall average of 76% (“B+” in UBC grading system) in third- and fourth-year courses.
  • Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses of at least 80% (“A” in UBC grading system) in the field of study.

Alternatively, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had other significant formal training, relevant professional experience, and/or otherwise possess demonstrable knowledge or expertise that would prepare them adequately for successful study in a specific graduate program, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the appropriate graduate program and approval of the Dean of UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Applicants will be asked to upload transcripts with their grade key (usually located on the back of the transcript). Even if the applicant does not yet have final marks on the transcript, we still require a copy as evidence of registration and academic progress.

If you are admitted to our Graduate Program, you are required to submit 1 copy of all official transcripts from the issuing institution to the UBC Anthropology Department, and 1 copy to UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by postal mail.

Three reference letters are required for a complete application. The three references the applicant chooses should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Your prospectus should be around 500 words (two pages, double-spaced). It should indicate your proposed area of study, outline what research you plan on undertaking in graduate studies, how you plan to accomplish your research, who you wish to work with, etc. Essentially, it outlines your research interest and intent at the graduate level.

The writing sample is to assess your writing. It is appropriate but not necessary for it to be on the topic of your proposed graduate work.

If you are applying for the MA program, an undergraduate upper-level major paper is appropriate.

If you are applying for the PhD program, we prefer to have students submit some portion of their MA thesis or major paper.

Please try to limit your writing sample to 20 pages double-spaced. If you wish to submit a writing sample that is longer than 20 pages, please include a rationale for doing so in your submission.

Provide details of education, academic awards, relevant work experience, relevant volunteer experience, publications, conference presentations, workshops, etc.

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