Take the next step towards advancing your career by applying to our Master of Science (M.Sc) or our Doctoral (PhD) degree programs at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.

Application Period

The application period opens each year on October 1 with the deadline of January 15.

All supporting documents for your application (transcripts and referee letters) must be submitted by January 30

Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed or considered for admission.

Note: There is only one intake (in September) per year.


Your application for admission is also considered an application for financial aid; learn more about funding.

View Funding

Admission Requirements

The Oceans and Fisheries (OCF) Master's program is a 2 year, full-time program that provides students with the opportunity to broaden their academic and research experience.

The Program is the only M.Sc. program in Canada that offers both 18-credit thesis and 12-credit thesis streams, and provides interdisciplinary training in both ocean and fisheries science.

The M.Sc. degree requirement is a minimum of 30 credits, including either a 12-credit thesis (FISH 549A) or an 18 credit thesis (FISH 549B).

Prior Degree Requirements

BA or BSc is required, with minimum grade averages set by UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS).

Minimum academic requirements:

English Proficiency Requirements

Reading Writing Listening Speaking Overall
TOEFL 22 21 22 21 100
IELTS 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5 7.0

The Oceans and Fisheries (OCF) Doctoral Program is a full-time program consisting of courses and research. It draws on the broad and extensive expertise of IOF faculty and responds to the emerging need for expertise to manage fisheries and other resource use activities on Canada’s coastlines, marine territory and inland waterbodies. In the process, the program will foster cutting-edge research on marine and freshwater systems, and address national and global priorities in environmental science and technologies, and natural resources and energy.

The program is expected to take four years, and provides a student with demonstrated academic and research ability an opportunity to develop and strengthen his/her research capabilities and knowledge to a more advanced level. Candidates are required to pass a comprehensive examination on their research area within 24 months of their program start date and then focus on their doctoral dissertation.

Prior Degree Requirements

A Master's degree (or equivalent) from an approved institution with clear evidence of research ability or potential, with minimum grade averages set by UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS).

Minimum academic requirements:

English Proficiency Requirements

Reading Writing Listening Speaking Overall
TOEFL 22 21 22 21 100
IELTS 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5 7.0

How to Apply

Procedure for both M.Sc & Ph.D. programs

While a prospective student is able to apply to the program independently, it is best to identify a potential supervisor(s) from the IOF faculty list.

Students will not be admitted to the OCF graduate program unless a faculty member has agreed to accept them into their laboratory group/research unit.

Applicants should contact potential supervisor(s) to discuss their backgrounds, their future research plans, and to provide them with draft versions of the items that are part of the online application (i.e., transcripts, letters from referees, etc.).

It is highly recommended that the potential supervisor(s) supports and encourages an application before proceeding to the next step.

Statement of Intent

This outlines your research experience, your proposed research project (or ideas), and explains your interest in working with the particular faculty member(s). As indicated above, it helps if you mention that you have been in contact with your potential supervisor(s) and that they are aware and supportive of your application.


You must obtain an official paper transcript from every post-secondary institution you have attended. Student requirements may differ for:

Domestic students

International students

Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Three (3) Letters of Reference

You are required to submit three confidential letters of reference. The referees should be faculty members who have supervised your studies and/or research in the past and who can provide a report on your academic abilities and qualifications. It is also acceptable if one or more of your referees knows you in a professional context.

Note: UBC's online application system will only notify your referees to write their letters once your application is complete and has been submitted online. It is very important that applicants complete and submit their applications online with enough time for us to contact your referees, for them to submit their letters of recommendation, and for us to receive their letters before the admissions deadline of January 30. Applications with missing reference letters will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

English proficiency exam scores

If you are applying from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language, you must provide English language proficiency examination results as part of your application.

For details on the English Proficiency score levels, please review the requirements for your program (above).

Note: UBC requires an official score to be sent electronically from the test centre. On the IELTS application form you will be asked to specify institutions where you would like the results to be sent to. Use the following details:
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

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Application Reminder

The application period opens each year on October 1 with the deadline of January 15. All supporting documents for your application (transcripts and referee letters) must be submitted by January 30. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed or considered for admission.

Note: There is only one intake (in September) per year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

All students are registered as full-time graduate students.

We do not have a part-time studies option.

Yes. We do not require a degree from a specific program/field to apply to our program.

Our program is interdisciplinary; we have students with backgrounds in zoology, economics, ecology, forestry sciences, environmental sciences, oceanography, anthropology, sociology, geography, resource management, law and biology.

Not at this time.

It is something that we are hoping to implement in future, however this will not occur in the short term. For now we only offer the M.Sc. option.

Yes. Please review the "How To Apply" section (above).

For further information on what degree requirements you need to apply to the OCF program, please visit G+PS's Minimum Academic Requirements sections:
Canadian or US credentials
International credentials


And again, yes.

Oh, and by the way, YES!

All applicants should review the profiles of IOF faculty to identify potential research supervisors, and to contact them directly (best by email). Reaching out to potential supervisor(s) will help determine if you will be an appropriate academic and working match. We suggest:

  • Sending a short email to your potential supervisor explaining who you are, what your research interests are or what your proposed thesis will address, and how that relates to their work/why you have selected them to contact. If you are contacting more than one faculty member, please indicate that, as well as whom you are contacting and why.
  • Do not send them a vague email that simply includes your curriculum vitae. You want to create a relationship and making them work too hard to find out information about you is not a great place to start.
  • Do not spam all faculty members. Sending emails to all IOF faculty members will not endear you. Only contact the specific faculty member(s) you are interested in having as a potential supervisor(s).
  • Follow up with the faculty member(s) if you do not hear back from them within a reasonable timeframe. They are very busy people and receive many emails; a gentle follow up is appreciated!

Please note: Admissions decisions are made solely by IOF's Admissions Committee, and they will not accept a student who does not have agreement from a faculty member that they will support funding for that student.

No. You can NOT make changes to your online application once it is submitted.

This applies to the application itself as well as documents you have uploaded, so please make sure you upload the final version of your required documents before submitting your application.

If you have issues uploading required documents to your application, please contact the IOF Graduate Program Officef.

Scanned copies of your official academic documents must be submitted to the online application system. Please submit them as one PDF file, which must include the front and back of every page of your official transcript or academic document. Unofficial transcripts or documents are not accepted.

Do not send paper copies of transcripts/academic documents to IOF. Only submit them through the online application system.

If you are admitted to the program, the official paper documents that you submitted must be validated.

Yes. For both M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, the IOF covers the cost of tuition. HOWEVER, students are responsible for paying their tuition and assessed UBC student fees directly.

More details on funding policies for your program, as well as information on various tuition fees, is available in the Funding section.

We are a graduate program with no undergraduate courses and therefore cannot offer Teaching Assistant (TA) positions directly. However, our students have found TA positions in other departments such as Zoology, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Land and Food Systems, Geography, and via the Environmental Sciences (ENVR) program.

Many students receive paid Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) directly from their supervisor’s research grant. This represents a major way in which a student’s pay is brought from the amount given by teaching assistantships and awards to the total salary required by the department. Graduate students may be hired as a Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA) for work unrelated to their degree and these wages may be counted towards their minimum level of support depending on circumstances

For more details, check out the Funding section.

Please visit our Funding section for information about various award opportunities.

G+PS also has a database of their awards opportunities

It is also recommended you look for funding opportunities from your home country, your previous work affiliations and/or from organizations related to your field of study.

We cannot advise you on tax issues.

We suggest you review the following resources:

Have more questions?

You may want to review the FAQs on the G+PS website.

IOF specific Questions?

Please email us any questions you might have. During the application period (January to March), the turn-around time for emails is about 5 to 6 business days.

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