Forestry Grad Program Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Applicants

1. I’m interested in pursuing a graduate degree, but I don’t know which program is a good fit for me. Where should I start?
If you are just beginning your search and wish to know more about the graduate degrees offered by UBC Forestry, visit the following websites:

2. What is the difference between the thesis-based (MSc/MASc) and the course-based (MF, MGEM, MIF, MSFM) Master’s programs?

The Forestry MSc/MASc programs are research intensive and focus on completion of a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member.  Students receive training in research techniques, and also make contributions in their own right to the body of knowledge.  Securing the interest of a prospective faculty supervisor is a vital step in the MSc and MASc application process and interest must be confirmed before you submit the online application. Detailed information is available on our website: MSc/MASc program.

The MGEM, MIF and MSFM programs are professional degrees that provide advanced training and professional career development skills.

  • The Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management (MGEM) degree is designed for foresters, ecologists, conservation managers and other practitioners worldwide seeking to improve their understanding of geospatial theory, methods, application and tools.
  • The Master of International Forestry (MIF) degree responds to an international demand for people who can cope with the complexities, politics and finances of forest- and land-related businesses in both developing and developed countries, and pays specific attention to international forest governance, policy, corruption and institutional reform.
  • The Master of Sustainable Forest Management (MSFM) degree is designed for students whose career objective is the area of professional forestry (it meets the core academic requirements for certification of the member agencies of the Canadian Federation of Professional Foresters Associations and the Society of American Foresters).

The MF degree is a course-based program offered as part of a concurrent degree partnership with other European and Canadian Universities called TRANSFOR-M. It provides MF students with the opportunity to explore Forestry from a broad perspective in both Europe and Canada.

3. What are the academic and program admission requirements?
Admission requirements vary depending on the degree.  Visit these links for specific information:

4. My GPA does not meet the minimum requirement. Can I apply anyways?
Given that the number of applicants to our graduate programs exceeds the number of positions available, even a record that satisfies basic entrance requirements does not guarantee admission. In exceptional cases we may recommend admission to an applicant outside of our minimum requirements, based on their supplementary academic studies, work experience (if applicable) and referee reports. Exceptions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and will only be considered upon the submission of a complete application.

5. Do I meet the English Language Proficiency requirement if I’m living in Canada?
Residency does not meet our English Language Proficiency requirement. If your degree is from a university outside of Canada in which English is not the language of instruction, you must provide an official language proficiency test score as part of your application. Please refer to our program admission requirements pages for detailed information on minimum scores and acceptable tests

6. Is the GRE required?
No, the GRE is not required for any Forestry graduate program application.

7. How long are the thesis-based and course-based programs?
The average time for PhD degree completion is five years, MSc/MASc is three years and course-based programs are normally 9 to 10 months in duration.

8. Does the Faculty of Forestry provide any part-time job opportunities for students?
There are many opportunities for graduate students to work on campus, visit the careers page for more information.  Forestry faculty members may hire their thesis students as Research Assistants, as part of their financial support package. Teaching Assistant opportunities also exist. Students in the course-based master’s programs have intensive academic schedules and we usually do not recommend part-time employment during completion of these degrees.

9. What types of scholarships are available to students?
For thesis-based students, review our financial information page for more details

For students in the course-based Master’s degrees, review the “Tuition & Funding” link for the degree you are interested in. Note that merit-based award opportunities for course-based Master’s programs is very limited.


10. How do I apply?
Steps for completing an application vary depending on the degree program. Review the specific admission requirements and application procedure first, before starting your online application.

11. Can you recommend a faculty member to contact for my thesis-based graduate application?
It is the MASc, MSc and PhD applicant’s responsibility to secure a prospective research supervisor for their thesis-based program application. Do not submit an application if you have not received confirmation from a prospective supervisor that they will review your application. The list of prospective supervisors, their specific areas of research and contact details are also available on our website, in Step #1 of the “How to Apply” page.

12. Do course-based master’s programs require a supervisor?
No.  Course-based master’s students (MF, MGEM, MIF, MSFM) do not complete a thesis and do not require a research supervisor.

13. What supporting documents do you require for my application?
You will need to scan and upload digital files (.PDFs) of your official documents to your online application. Please refer to our How to Apply pages for a list of the required documents for your application. Transcripts from all your post-secondary institutions are required. Note: UBC transcripts do not need to be submitted.

14. Do you accept references by email?
No, we cannot accept references by email for security reasons.

15. How can my referees submit their references?
Referees are contacted via an automatic email (that you entered on your online application) with detailed instructions on how to submit a reference through the online application portal. Note: referees whose email addresses are from web-based free email accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. will not be able to upload their reference submission but instead will need to mail in their reference letter. It is best to use institutional email addresses for your referees.

16. How do I apply for housing?
If you will be moving to Vancouver to attend UBC, we encourage you to apply for on-campus housing. Because demand is high, it is recommended to apply at the same time you submit your Forestry program online application. (The UBC Housing online application system is separate from our Forestry program online application). UBC Housing accepts their applications any time; you do not have to wait for an offer of admission. See the Housing website for complete information.


Post Application

17. When will I know if I’m accepted?
Notification will be sent as soon as a decision is made. The turnaround time from submission of a complete application to notification of admission or refusal can vary widely, but on average is approximately 3 to 6 weeks. For thesis programs, admission decision timelines can vary widely, depending on the prospective supervisor.

18. Can I defer my acceptance to another year?
Applications and Offers of Admission are valid only for the specific start date that you applied for and cannot be deferred from one year to another. If applicants need to reapply, some submitted documents (e.g., transcripts, CV, intent letter, questionnaire, reference files, etc.) may be reused, depending on the length of time of reapplication.

For thesis programs, on a case-by-case basis a change of start date may be possible to the following term (e.g. from September to January) within the same academic year.

19. I’ve received my offer of admission letter and see there are conditions. What does this mean?
If you have been offered admission to UBC, it may be a conditional offer that is based on your electronic application with uploaded unofficial academic transcripts. To complete your admission, UBC must now receive and verify official versions (normally paper) of your transcripts and, if appropriate, degree certificates and English language translations. Please check your online application account for your list of required documents. You will be allowed to register in your graduate program after these documents have been received and approved by UBC. Failure to fulfill the conditions placed on your admission may lead to the revocation of the offer or the suspension of UBC registration status and University sponsored funding until admission condition requirements are fulfilled.

20. How long does it take for UBC to receive my documents?
Please allow at least 3 weeks after sending your documents for UBC to update your online account.

21. I’m a UBC graduate, do I need to submit transcripts?
No, if your degree is from UBC you do not need to submit your UBC transcript. But if you attended other post-secondary institutions (i.e., exchange year, study abroad, etc.), you may be required to submit these documents. You will be notified via your online application account which documents are required.

22. I have official transcripts that I scanned for my application. Can I send these in to meet my conditions?
No, once transcripts are opened they will not be considered official documents. All transcripts must arrive at UBC in official university envelopes which have been sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution or sent via secure electronic delivery (NOT email) by the issuing institution. For transcripts sent via secure electronic delivery directly from the issuing institution, send to this email: graduate.sas@ubc.ca.

23. Why does my online account say transcripts are still required after I have sent them?
You can track the progress of your documents via your online application account. It can take at least 3 weeks to receive and validate your documents before your online account is updated.

24. My online account says I need to send a degree certificate, but I don’t understand why this is required if I sent in my transcripts?
If your official transcript does not indicate the degree name and the degree conferral date, then an official copy of the degree certificate is required.

25. What is required for translated transcripts and documents?
If the official transcripts are issued in a language other than English, then you must also:

  • arrange to have sent to UBC one set of all official transcripts issued in their original language
  • obtain a certified literal English translation of your transcripts from your home university’s translation service or certified English translator
  • send the literal English translation to UBC in sealed envelopes endorsed by your university or certified translator

For more information on international document requirements, visit our international student transcripts page

26. I’m ready to send my official documents, where should I mail them?
Please send one copy of all required documents to:
Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
University of British Columbia
170-6371 Crescent Road
Vancouver, BC V6T1Z2 Canada

27. Transcripts for thesis-based program applications (PhD, MSc/MASc)
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may not require all post-secondary transcripts to meet conditions of admission. However, it is advantageous for thesis-based program applicants to send a copy of all their official documents to the Faculty of Forestry in case they are required for future award competitions.

28. Why is a non-refundable acceptance deposit required for some course-based master’s programs (MGEM, MIF, MSFM)?
A non-refundable acceptance deposit of $1,000 CAD secures your seat in the program and is payable after notification of acceptance into the MGEM, MIF or MSFM program. The acceptance deposit will be credited towards the first tuition installment, but if the student does not commence the program the deposit is forfeited.

29. How do I pay my tuition?
Students can pay their tuition a number of ways, visit the Paying Tuition for full details.

30. How do I apply for a study permit?
UBC International Student Advisors may be able to assist you with your study permit questions, visit the Immigration page for more information and to contact an advisor.