The PhD Program in Business Administration at the University of British Columbia welcomes applications from intelligent, motivated and creative individuals planning research-oriented academic careers. We encourage people with strong backgrounds in mathematics, statistics, computer science, economics, psychology, and other social sciences and physical sciences to apply.

In the admission decision, several factors are considered: the rigour of undergraduate and graduate programs completed, academic performance, the strength of letters of recommendation, scores on the GMAT or GRE examinations, and the quality of the applicant's statement of purpose.

A Master's degree is typical but not an absolute requirement for entry to the program. In exceptional cases, applicants from countries where the first degree is often the standard basis for admission to a doctoral level program, direct admission to UBC's PhD program may be permissible on the basis of the first university-level degree with first class standing.

Applicants are required to submit the following:

Graduate Management Aptitude Test and/or the Graduate Record Exam scores
Official copies of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) and/or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required. The former is preferable for all areas except Management Science, where the latter is preferred.   Applicants who are applying for our PhD Program specializing in Strategy and Business Economics can submit either a GMAT score or a GRE score.  There are no official cut-off levels for these scores, but the average score of successful applicants is about the 95th percentile. Official GMAT scores must be sent to the PhD Office (please ask them to send it to the UBC, Sauder School of Business, PhD Program or LQS-CP-45). Official GRE scores should be sent to 0965 (Institution Code); 4201 (Department/Subject Code).

Test of English as a Foreign Language or the International English Language Testing Service or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery
Applicants from a university outside of 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. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to the PhD Program are:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum score of 100 (internet version) or 250 (computer version) or 600 (paper version).  Please arrange to have the official results sent directly to the Sauder PhD program office using the following institution code for UBC: 0965 and give the reason for taking the TOEFL "to enter a college or university as a graduate student".
  • IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing Service): minimum overall band score of 7.0 with no other component score less than 6.5. 

    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
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): minimum overall score of 84.  Please arrange to have the official scores sent from the testing agency to PhD Program.

Because of the rigorous nature of the doctoral program, a student cannot expect to develop significant skills at the same time courses are being taken. English proficiency is necessary.


To expedite the admissions review process, you can upload a scanned copy (PDF format) of the OFFICIAL transcripts and degree certificates for each post-secondary institution that you have attended (including exchange programs).  We can then use the scanned copies of the official transcripts to review your file.   

If the official transcript has information written on the back of the document (for example, a marking key), please upload a scanned copy of the back of the transcript.  We also need to receive the information written on the back of the official transcript.

Official transcripts and degree certificates issued in a language other than English must also be accompanied by a certified English translation.  Information about the translation of transcripts can be found at this website

Applicants who have been offered admission to our PhD program will be required to submit all the official transcripts and degree certificates in sealed envelopes that have been endorsed by the issuing universities.  Further instructions regarding the delivery of the official transcripts and degree certificates will be given to the admitted applicants at the time of admission. 

If it takes a long time for the issuing institution to generate another set of official transcripts and degree certificates (and certified translations if required), it is strongly recommended that you order extra official transcripts and degree certificates (and certified translations if required) in sealed official envelopes in advance.  You will need to open one official set to scan the official documents.  In the event that we ask you to send in the official documents, you will be able to send the other set of sealed official documents immediately.

Letters of Recommendation
Applicants should arrange for three letters of recommendation supporting their application. The PhD Committee prefers that recommendations be written by people who know the demands of rigorous, research-oriented doctoral program and can comment confidently on the applicant's ability to complete the program successfully as well his or her potential as a researcher. This usually means that referees are academics familiar with the applicant's scholastic and research potential. Where applicants have been away from an academic environment for an extended period of time, non-academic references may be substituted. In this case, care should be taken to emphasize to the referee that the applicant's academic research potential, rather than managerial or teaching capability, is of primary interest to the PhD Committee.

Referees will be able to submit e-references.  The applicant must enter each referee's e-mail address on the online application form.  Please note that for referees, we are not able to able to accept free e-mail accounts such as those with gmail or yahoo email addresses.  After you have submitted the online application form, the referees will be asked to submit their reference using a secure link.  They can use the online reference form or they can choose to upload a reference letter.

If the referee prefers not to use the e-reference system, the referee must mail the original signed (in ink) reference letter in a sealed envelope that has been endorsed (signed) by the referee.  The original signed reference must be mailed to the PhD Program Office

Supplementary Application/Statement of Intent

Please submit a statement of intent outlining your academic goals and how these goals align with the Sauder graduate program to which you are applying.  Please include answers to the following questions in your statement: 

  • What research topics or areas interest you?  How have your prior academic training and/or work experience influenced your research interests?
  • State your career plans.  Describe how a PhD program fits into these plans.
  • Give a candid appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses with special reference to the qualities that will contribute to success in a doctoral program.
  • Please explain why Sauder is a good match for your research interests and plans.  To which other schools are you applying?
  • Please provide any other information which you think would be helpful in assessing your capabilities and motivation to do independent research at the doctoral level.

For guidance, note that statements of intent are typically two to three pages long. 

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Please submit an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV) detailing your academic and work history, any academic awards, and noting any relevant research experience or coursework.

Applicants are encouraged to submit supplementary information, such as a copy of research done for a previous degree or in a business setting, that they believe shows evidence of academic potential. Supplementary documentation of this nature is welcomed, but cannot be returned.

It is expected that new students will enter the program at the start of an academic year (September). Early application is strongly recommended.


Application for Admission
The application deadline is December 31 (for international applicants, Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada)

Fellowships and Scholarships
To be considered for University fellowships and scholarships, applications must be complete by December 31. Applicants in this group will usually be informed of the admission and financial aid decisions during March. Applicants needing earlier notice are encouraged to inform the Director of their situation.