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MHSc Application FAQs


What transcripts don't you accept?
  • notarized copies
  • photocopies
  • original transcripts in a language other than English or French with no translation - note that French language transcripts are accepted from Canadian universities only
  • translated transcripts without the original language (we need both!)
    This is Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies policy.
Do you accept electronic transcripts?

Yes. At the time of the application, please upload scans of your official transcripts (in PDF format) from all colleges and universities attended, including all front and back pages, in the online application system. Please do not mail official transcripts to our office. Applicants who are offered admission to the program will be instructed to mail official transcripts to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Can I apply if I have completed my undergrad degree, or will complete my degree by April, but my transcript does not indicate that it has been conferred?

This is a common occurrence and applicants may apply to the MHSc Program by the application deadline. The Admissions Committee will evaluate the applicant based on the most recent official transcript (scanned and uploaded to the application) and may offer admission to the program based on these transcripts. This offer will be conditional and subject to the applicant meeting our admission requirements based on the official, final transcript that also indicates the student has successfully completed the degree requirements.

I use an agency that compiles all transcripts and references for me. Will you accept transcripts and references from the agency or do I need to get originals sent to you?

We do not accept transcript information that has been collected and summarized by an agency. All transcripts uploaded must be original, in duplicate, and if not in English, accompanied by a translated copy. This is Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies policy.

I've taken some previous graduate-level coursework. Can I transfer any of it into my MHSc degree?

Generally, MHSc students can transfer up to 6 non-SPPH credits towards the MHSc degree. Please note that this is considered on a case-by-case basis and will only be considered once a student is in the program. All students must receive approval from the MHSc Program Director to transfer previous graduate-level courses to the MHSc degree. In addition, please keep in mind the following criteria that must be met:

  • The courses were not used to satisfy the requirements of another degree
  • The courses were not used as a basis of admission to the graduate degree program
  • At least a B standing (UBC 74%) was obtained in the courses
I did one semester abroad during my undergrad. Do I need to submit transcripts from that university?

If your undergraduate transcript does not include the course number, title and final grade achieved from the institution attended abroad, official scans of transcripts from all institutions attended must be uploaded by the application deadline.


How is my GPA for admission calculated (credentials from Canada & U.S.A.)?

All 300 & 400 level courses, irrespective of what year they were completed.

How is my GPA for admission calculated (credentials from outside of Canada & U.S.A.)?

All undergraduate courses are used to calculate the GPA. As an international student, there are specific requirements for each country, which can be found online at the UBC Graduate Studies Web site. Please follow this link, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select the country. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements set out for their particular country/university.

I have two or more degrees, which will be used for my GPA for admission?

We will use all eligible degrees to calculate GPA for admission. For example, if an applicant has two Degrees (at any level), and only one degree meets the minimum academic requirement set out by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the applicant is eligible for admission. If both (or all) degrees meet the minimum requirement, then the applicant is eligible for admission. If neither/none of the Degrees meet the minimum academic requirement, the applicant is not eligible for admission.

Does the course I use to meet your quantitative admission requirements count towards my GPA?

The mathematics or statistics course you use to meet our quantitative admission requirements will only count towards your GPA if it is a 3rd or 4th year-level course.

Do I have a chance of getting in the program if my GPA is under a B+ (or equivalent)?

Generally speaking, if applicants don’t meet the minimum academic requirements, they are not eligible for admission to any UBC graduate program. However, if an applicant has taken a couple of additional undergraduate or graduate courses and achieved a B+ or higher to demonstrate academic ability, AND the applicant has an extensive track record of working in public health, excellent reference letters and a focused letter of intent, the MHSc Admissions Committee will review the application and if successful, write a letter requesting consideration of the applicant by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may or may not respond affirmatively to the letter.

Application Deadline

How strict is the application deadline?

The deadline is firm for the completion of the online application as well as the receipt of all application documents. This is due to the high volume of applications we need to process and our responsibility to meet deadlines set by UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

My referee can't get the reference in on time, can he/she email it after the deadline?

No. The application deadline cannot be extended for anyone due to time constraints on the MHSc Admissions Committee. Applicants must choose a referee who can get the reference letter to the program office (online or by mail, see “References” section) on time. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure their referees have sent references in on time.


Do I require a supervisor?

No. The MHSc program does not require a supervisor.

Letter of Intent

How long does the LOI need to be?

The LOI should be about 700 words.

What should be in the LOI?

Applicants should use the letter of intent to articulate their reasons for pursuing the MHSc at UBC. It should identify how the applicant will use the skills and knowledge gained in the MHSc program to pursue their career goals. It’s important not to duplicate information in the curriculum vitae.

To whom do I address the LOI?

Applicants can address their LOI to the MHSc Admissions Committee.


What should be in a reference letter?

We ask that referees provide comments that offer a picture of the applicant's abilities and potential to succeed as a graduate student. Specifically, we seek input on the applicant’s:

  • Academic ability and initiative
  • Critical thinking and complex problem solving skills
  • Ability to interpret and communicate data clearly and effectively
  • Demonstrated compassion, professionalism and integrity

If possible, please provide examples for your assessment of the applicant on these criteria. It is also useful to provide information on the context in which you have got to know the applicant (e.g., work environment, applicant’s role and responsibilities or the educational/course setting). The admissions committee finds it helpful if the referee can compare the applicant to other students or staff in a quantitative way, i.e. this student is in the top 10% of students I have previously taught or supervised in the past number of years.

Do you accept electronic references?

Yes. Referees have the option to complete an electronic reference in the online application system, or write and upload a letter. If applicants list the referee’s email address on their application, an email will be sent to the referee after the applicant has submitted the application. Emails must come from a business email account (eg. @ubc.ca). The reference will come to us instantaneously, avoiding the hassle and delay of mailing. Referees with web-based email addresses (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail) can not complete the electronic reference in the online application; they must send a paper copy of the reference to the Program Office. Please note that applicants must submit their application online well in advance of the deadline so their referees have enough time to complete the reference.

If a referee is going to send a letter or the reference form by mail, here are some rules and guidelines: First, it should be typed on official letterhead. Secondly, the document should arrive in an envelope with the reference’s signature over the seal. If an applicant collects the letters from their referees, please ensure that the signature is unbroken. We cannot accept references that don’t have a signature over the seal. This is Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies policy.

I don't have any recent academic references. Can I use work references instead?

We prefer academic references, but would also accept a reference that speaks to your potential to perform in an academic environment.

Do my referees have to use the electronic reference or can they write a letter?

Referees can write and upload a letter in lieu of the electronic reference.

How can I re-send the notification to my referee about e-references?

Referees now receive automatic reminders 10 days prior to the earliest referee deadline. Applicants also receive automatically generated emails about the status of their references anytime through the online system, e.g. when the reference is submitted, a referee declines, or the referee address has failed.

Can I change my referee after the application is submitted?

You have the option to change a referee in your online application yourself. Alternatively, you can submit a request to change the referee in your application by contacting mhsc@ubc.ca, clearly indicating who will no longer be sending through a reference letter and details on the replacement referee.

Quantitative Requirement

Do I have to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

MHSc applicants will need to take the GRE if they have not completed an undergraduate math or statistics course OR if the final grade for the math/stats course was below a B+ (76% at UBC) or more than 10 years old. Applicants can use the following codes to submit scores electronically to UBC: Institution Code 0965, Department Code 0616. Please note that official scores must be received by UBC by our deadline.

How do I find out if my math or statistics course meets your requirement?

Applicants can review the list of approved and not approved courses on our site to find if your course is on the list. If the course is not on the list, please email the course outline to mhsc@spph.ubc.ca and we will confirm eligibility. Please note that providing the name or a brief description of the course taken is not sufficient for an assessment to be made.

Can I apply if I am taking a statistics or math course that is in-progress and the grade has not been obtained by the application deadline?

It is recommended that the quantitative requirement is met by the application deadline. Applicants may apply to the MHSc program if they are currently taking a math or statistics course, although this course MUST appear on your official transcript that you send in to the program office. Any applicant who does not meet the quantitative requirement by the deadline will be pre-screened. If the Admissions Committee agrees to offer a place in the program, the offer may be conditional to completion of the course and achieving the minimum of a B+ (76% at UBC). Please note this is done by a case-by-case basis.

How do I find out the status of my application?

Please note that applicants can only check their document status by logging into their online application. All applicants will be notified formally via email by the end of April/early May as to their official application status.

When will I find out if I was accepted to the program?

An email will be sent to each applicant in due course indicating the final status of your application. This is not available on the online checklist (which is just to see document status). Letters start to go out in March and can still be going out until May. It is a lengthy process and we do our best to keep applicants updated as soon as possible.

Admission Process

Does the MHSc program have rolling admissions?

No, the program has one intake per year, in September. An opening and closing date for the admissions period will be posted on the website well in advance. The Admissions Committee meets after the deadline to review all complete and eligible applications.

Can I send documents, such as reference letters, to the program office before I apply online?

No, please do not send documents to the program office prior to applying online. The MHSc program prefers to receive all documents, including references, via the online application system.

Do you give preference to local applicants?

The School of Population and Public Health does not have a limit to out-of-province or international students. We rank all completed applications and applicants are admitted based on merit.

If I applied last year to the MHSc, can I use the same documents?

Previous applicants may indicate on the appropriate place on the application form which specific files they would like pulled from our archive. We can pull transcripts that have not changed. We can also pull references from the previous year if necessary, although current, updated reference letters are recommended. An updated Letter of Intent is required in the online application.

I am an Aboriginal applicant - is there anything I should do to inform you of this?

The online application includes a "Citizenship Information" section to note if an applicant is of Canadian Aboriginal Ancestry if they so choose.

Tuition and Fees

Can my application fee be refunded?

UBC application fees are non-refundable. Please see the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies application fee policy for further information, as individual programs do not manage fees.

How much is tuition?

This information can be found on the UBC Calendar. Tuition fees are subject to change.

Are any scholarships offered for applicants? Where do I find more information?

Students are automatically considered for GSI funding upon admission into the program, though unfortunately there is limited funding available. Students are encouraged to investigate and apply for other external sources of funding. Please see the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for a list of awards and financial aid: http://www.grad.ubc.ca/awards