General Admission Questions

The online application system for the September 2023 OCF program will open on October 1, 2022 and close on January 15, 2023. Transcripts and referee letters must be submitted by January 30, 2023. This provides several months for applicants to prepare and submit a complete application.

The IOF admits students once per year, for a September program start.

For more information visit our How to Apply page.

The online application system for the OCF program will close on January 15, 2023. Transcripts and referee letters must be submitted by January 30, 2023. For more information visit our How to Apply page.

All applications that are complete and submitted by the application close deadline will be considered for admission for the following September.

The application close date is firm; no late applications are accepted or exceptions made after this deadline.

Students start their OCF graduate program (M.Sc. or Ph.D.) in September.

We strongly prefer not to offer January admissions, however we may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

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.

To apply for the M.Sc. program, you must have completed a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an approved institution prior to starting the OCF program.

To apply for the Ph.D. program, you must have a Master's degree (or equivalent) from an approved institution with clear evidence of research ability or potential prior to starting the OCF program.

For more information on UBC graduate program basic admissions requirements, please see: G+PS Admission Requirements.

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. For further information on what degree requirements you need to apply to the OCF program, please see these sections:


And again, yes.

Oh, and by the way, YES!

All applicants are strongly encouraged to review the profiles of our faculty to identify potential research supervisors, and to contact them directly via email.

Reaching out to potential supervisor(s) will help you 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 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 Officer at graduate.program@oceans.ubc.ca.

Admission Requirements

The minimum overall average required by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) is:

Students with averages slightly below these standings may be considered, however you will need to provide an exceptional thesis proposal and exceptional letters of reference with your application in order to be competitive.

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.

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

Transcripts must be submitted by January 30, 2023.

We require three (3) letters of recommendation, preferably from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications. If one or more of your referees knows you in a professional context, this is also acceptable.

All reference letters must be submitted via the online application system by January 30, 2023, and here are instructions for the applicant and referee(s) to follow.

Note: The online application system will only notify your referees to write their letters once your application is complete and has been submitted online. Therefore, it is very important that applicants complete and submit their applications online with enough time for your referees to be contacted, be able to comfortably write their letters of recommendation and for us to receive their letters before the admissions deadline. Applications with missing reference letters will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

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. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application. Further information on these tests.

We require the following scores:

English Proficiency Requirements

Reading Writing Listening Speaking Overall
TOEFL 22 21 22 21 100
Test scores must be official and directly from the testing agency; photocopies of TOEFL scores are not acceptable.Please ensure that you include the following on your TOEFL sheet:

  • The University of British Columbia's institution code 0965
  • The reason for taking TOEFL: "to enter a college or university as a graduate student"
  • UBC accepts either an official paper score report sent directly to the university from the testing center or an electronic submission.
IELTS 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5 7.0
UBC requires an official score to be sent electronically from the test center. 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

Financial Information & Funding

Yes. While UBC has a minimum funding policy for Ph.D. students but no minimum funding policy for M.Sc. students, the IOF has a funding policy that guarantees a minimum level of support to all Ocean and Fisheries (OCF) students.

One of the IOF’s requirements for admission of a graduate student is proof of this minimum level of support, either through an award held by the prospective student or grant funds held by the Faculty member that wishes to recruit the student. Support can be in the form of a combination of awards/scholarships, teaching assistantships (TA), or research assistantships (GRA) paid from the supervisor’s research grants or awards/scholarships.

Current details can be found in the Funding section.

Yes. UBC has a minimum funding policy for Ph.D. students, which the IOF supplements for all Ocean and Fisheries (OCF) doctoral students. The IOF requires all incoming Ph.D. students to be funded for each year for for the first four years of a Ph.D. degree. The guarantee of provision of funding for year 2-4 will require that the student achieve satisfactory progress in the previous year of study.

Current details can be found in the Funding section.

Yes. For both Masters and Ph.D. students IOF covers the cost of tuition. HOWEVER, students are responsible for paying their tuition and assessed UBC student fees directly. They will be reimbursed for this amount as part of their regular funding.

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 additional pay for work unrelated to their degree, and these wages may be counted towards their minimum level of support depending on circumstances

Please check out the Graduate Research & Teaching Assistantships 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?

Review other Admission FAQs on the G+PS website.


Eden Raines
Graduate Program Officer
Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
AERL 2202 Main Mall
Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4
Tel: 604-822-2731
Email: graduate.program@oceans.ubc.ca