PhD Browser

Doctor of Philosophy in Planning (PhD)

University of British Columbia
School of Community and Regional Planning. Faculty of Applied Science
Vancouver, British Columbia
Urban Studies & City Planning

SCARP’s PhD Program provides students with a collegial and convivial environment in which to pursue interdisciplinary research at the intersections of planning theory and practice. We aim to foster planning scholars and practitioners who can think critically, research inventively, and communicate their ideas effectively.


Each year we seek to admit 4 or 5 students, and there may be up to 20 students in residence each year. We have developed a lively PhD culture at SCARP with a monthly forum, lecture series organized by students, and the annual SCARP Student Symposium, organized by students and held every February on a topic of contemporary interest.


The SCARP PhD is primarily a research degree, with a flexible component of course work (view specific Required Courses). Doctoral students work under the guidance of a Supervisory Committee consisting of at least three faculty members, including the Research Supervisor. Students must satisfactorily complete course work, two comprehensive examinations (theory and substantive), a research prospectus, a two-year residency, and write and defend a PhD thesis. Overall, Ph.D. candidates should expect to spend at least 3 years in the completion of their degree requirements. Typical programs run 4-5 years.


The SCARP PhD Program is governed by the general policies and procedures of the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) and their more specific elaboration by SCARP.




Applicants to our PhD Program must hold a Master’s Degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized graduate program in planning or a closely related field, and should preferably have work experience.


SCARP emphasizes the importance of language skills – this reflects Canada’s official bilingual status and recognizes that as planning issues become increasingly global, it is critical for planners to command more than one language. Accordingly, students with skills in languages other than English will receive special consideration, though language competence beyond English is not a formal prerequisite. If a student’s research will involve communication in other language(s), we will require evidence of appropriate skills.


While graduates of SCARP’s Masters programs can apply without prejudice to the PhD program, experience suggests that it is preferable for such students to broaden their academic experience and intellectual horizons by seeking admission to a suitable program elsewhere.


International students should visit the UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for application and admission for international students for additional information about admittance of students from your home country. Unless an International student holds a Master’s Degree in Planning or Social Science from an English language University, the student must achieve minimum scores or higher in the TOEFL or IELTS.




Areas of doctoral research supported by SCARP


-Air quality issues

-Approaches to reducing risk and enhancing resilience

-Climate change adaptation

-Comparative urbanism

-Equity and inclusion in planning practice

-Field experiments and experimental methods

-Health and community design

-Impact evaluation

-Land use

-Land use and environmental planning

-Measurement and visualization in urban design

-Natural hazard mitigation

-Natural hazard risk, disaster impacts, and recovery

-Periurbanization in Asian contexts

-Plan evaluation and implementation

-Public engagement and climate change planning

-Regulatory informality in urban development

-Smart cities

-Smart growth

-Sustainable transportation

-Transportation planning

-Urban governance and institutional change in Asian contexts

-Urban infrastructure systems (e.g., energy, water, transportation)

-Urban river restoration.

-Urban systems.

-Water policy and water demand management.


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Admission Requirements



The field of planning includes many rich and diverse areas of research. At SCARP we have a small number of faculty with dedicated expertise in a subset of planning areas. Our PhD program therefore focuses on nurturing and supervising a small number of select applicants. We take great care in finding a good match between student, supervisor, and area of research and invite you to follow these steps:


1. Read SCARP’s minimum requirements for admission in the PhD program overview page.


2. Complete Pre-Application – August 15, 2019 to November 14, 2019 – Prospective applicants must complete a short PhD Pre-Application questionnaire.


3. Receive Invitation to Apply – December 6, 2019 – Prospective applicants notified whether they are invited to complete a full application.


4. Submit Full Application – February 1, 2020 – Deadline for full application by invited applicants only. Uninvited applications will not be considered.


5. Receive Admission Decision – April 1, 2020 – Applicants will be notified of admission and funding decisions at approximately this date. Date may shift slightly to coincide with relevant funding announcements.







Allow yourself 45 to 60 minutes to complete the online application. In order to submit an application to a graduate program, you must first create an account. This account will allow you to save your application and continue it at a later date, as well as work on multiple applications at the same time.




A non-refundable application fee is required for each program to which you apply. The online application requires payment by Visa or Mastercard, and also accepts Interac/debit payments from individuals with banking accounts at Interac network members.


The application fee is waived for international applicants whose citizenship and correspondence address are located in the world’s 50 least developed countries, as declared by the United Nations. For more information, see Application Fees. If you are eligible for the fee waiver, you will not be asked for a fee when you complete the online application.


Students applying to graduate programs in the Department of Chemistry are not required to pay an application fee. The fee is paid for by the department. This occurs automatically when you submit your application.






IMPORTANT: Individual graduate programs may require different components. Be sure to check the program web site for specific requirements.


– Online application and application fee


– Transcripts from all past post-secondary study. (Domestic and international student requirements may differ)


– Letters of reference


– English proficiency exam scores (if required)


– GRE or other test scores (if required)


– Criminal record check (if required)


– Statement of interest (if required)


– Finding a research supervisor (if required)


– Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.


Please also see the «Required Documentation» section related to master’s and doctoral admissions in the UBC Academic Calendar

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General information
Not Confirmed
+1 604-822-4422
433 - 6333 Memorial Road Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z2
Campus Location
The information of this PhD was extracted from the Official Website of the program.
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