Prospective Students

Are you a creative and ambitious global citizen with a passion for public service? Do you want to sharpen your policy skills and lead the change you envision? Are you ready to take the next step in your policy career?  We are looking for bright, ambitious and creative applicants who are ready to navigate complex policy problems and drive positive global change. UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) program will equip you with the critical knowledge, skills and experience you need to drive positive policy change in industry, government and non-profits anywhere in the world.

Are you coming from another region of the world? At UBC, international students make up approximately 25 percent of the graduate student body. We value this diversity and take steps to encourage and support international applications to our graduate program.

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Why the MPPGA?

The MPPGA uses a mix of real-world case studies, field-based experiences and workshops to help you refine your skills across the policy lifecycle, from design and analysis through to implementation and evaluation. Core classes build fundamental knowledge, a choice of three streams lets you focus your learning and the Global Policy Project gives you the opportunity to apply your skills in the real world.

Why UBC?

As a MPPGA student, you will study alongside leading academics and top students from across the globe at one of the top 40 research universities in the world. UBC’s location in an Asia Pacific gateway city, its reputation as a sustainability pioneer, and the interdisciplinary expertise of its founding partners offer a unique perspective on global public policy that is unmatched anywhere else.

Wondering if UBC’S MPPGA program is the right fit for you? Curious if your previous degree is applicable to the MPPGA? Review this page to learn what the MPPGA program is looking for in your application materials. We cover academic background, professional experience and more to show you how you can prepare your best admission package.

Tackling today’s global issues requires diverse thinking, creative problem-solving and rigorous academic training.  As the MPPGA program is rooted in a multi-disciplinary approach to policy challenges, we welcome applicants from a variety of undergraduate degree programs. Your four-year undergraduate degree is a foundational component in your application to the MPPGA program.  The program looks to you, the applicant, to demonstrate how your degree has prepared you for success in this program.

Past and current students in the program come from a variety of academic backgrounds, which include (but are not limited to) political science, religion studies, law, economics, urban design, international relations, and engineering.

You can learn more about the academic backgrounds of our students by reading their profiles: 2017 MPPGA Cohort.

Normally, applicants for a master's degree program must hold the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree from UBC including one of the following:

  • A minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC) in third- and fourth-year courses.
  • Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) 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 the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Review the requirements for graduates from a Canadian or US institution

Review the requirements for graduates from an international institution

If you are not certain how your country’s grading scale compares to UBC’s, visit the UBC Graduate School website to find UBC’s minimum academic requirements for your country.

Demonstrate knowledge of microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics/quantitative methods at the introductory level at a post-secondary institution, preferably taken within the last 3 years. At minimum, we would like applicants to have the level of economics or statistics/quantitative methods knowledge normally acquired from a 100-level (1st year) introductory course.

We receive a number of applicants who did not take economics or statistics/quantitative methods courses in university but have gained this knowledge through their professional experiences. If this applies to you, please make that explicitly clear on your application.

If you are concerned about your level of knowledge regarding economics and statistics/quantitative methods, we encourage you to enroll in a class at your local university or online. We recommend enrolling prior to submitting your application so that the course will appear on the transcripts you include in your application. Please note, courses do not need to be completed before you submit your application.

The MPPGA Program Office has compiled a comprehensive summary (see below) to assist you in understanding which academic courses (offered in person or online, e.g. Coursera, Edx, MITOpencourseware) might be the most suitable to prepare you in economics and statistics/quantitative methods. As we welcome a growing number of international students, we have included at least one university per continent. Similar courses from institutions not found on the list are also acceptable.

The MPPGA program is conducted in English and you will need to have an excellent grasp of technical and conversational English to be successful in the program. If you are an international student whose degree did not come from an English speaking program or institution, we welcome your test scores from TOEFL, IELTS and MELAB with the following scores achieved within the last 24 months:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper version) or 100 (online version) with no component scores below 22
  • IELTS: minimum overall band score of 7.0 with no component scores below 7.0
  • MELAB: minimum overall score of 8

Ideally, applicants will have at least two years of relevant, professional experience. That experience can be obtained in any number of ways and include full or part-time work, internships, co-op placements, volunteering and more.

Whether you are a mid-career professional looking to enhance your career or are applying from your undergraduate program, the MPPGA program looks to you to explain how your professional experience has helped prepare you to succeed at the graduate level.

MPPGA applicants have a few different ways to tell us about their relevant, professional experience. One, you are encouraged to discuss it in your essay statements - connect the dots and tell us how your experience has prepared you for the MPPGA program. Two, upload your current resume which should detail your work and/or volunteer history. Three, discuss your professional experience as it relates to policy and global affairs with your referee as they may wish to mention it in their letter of recommendation.

For those who wish to do so, you may also include links to your professional social media accounts in your online application.

Three letters of recommendation from qualified persons are a required component of your application. It is understood that you may wish to have a supervisor write a letter on your behalf and the following guideline can help guide you on obtaining and submitting the right letters. If you have been out of school for:

  • 1-2 years, all 3 letters should come from professors
  • 3-5 years, 1 letter may come from a supervisor
  • 5+ years, 2 letters may come from a supervisor

While it is ultimately up to you, the applicant, to determine who you would like to list as your reference, we do recommend that every referee, academic and professional, write a detailed letter discussing why your skills, the work you did (or completed in their class), and/or your academic and professional interests, make you an ideal candidate for the MPPGA program.

Please keep in mind that while professional references are acceptable, this is an academically rigorous program and we suggest including at least one reference letter from a professor.

Deciding to pursue a graduate degree can be a big decision for an applicant and their family. There are tools and resources at UBC and the MPPGA to help you understand the cost of joining the program and living in Vancouver, as well as the scholarships and awards available to you.

The MPPGA program’s tuition and fees for the program can be read in detail on our Tuition and Funding page. To help you understand your budget and financial need, consider using the comprehensive cost-of-living calculator.

The MPPGA program has a limited number of merit-based scholarships for domestic and international students. These scholarships are competitive and vary in amount and should not be considered as the sole source of funding for the program.

In addition to the program’s entrance scholarships, we have compiled some of the scholarships and awards available at UBC and beyond the university. You can read more about them on our Tuition and Funding page.

It is important to know that many scholarships and awards both at UBC and externally can be applied to before being admitted to the MPPGA program. We encourage you to seek out these opportunities early to help you be financially prepared for the program.

Many students seek additional financial support from banks, government loans, family, foundations and other forms of sponsorship. We encourage applicants to learn of financial resources available to you and to seek out financial support where needed.


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