Designing for People | How To Apply
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How to Apply


Students apply to the Designing for People (DFP) training specialization after being accepted to a participating UBC department for a Masters or PhD degree, and identifying a DFP faculty supervisor to sponsor them. Participating departments include Computer Science, Engineering, Architecture, Nursing, and Library & Information Sciences. Students from other disciplines who plan thesis research involving interactions with technologies are welcome to inquire. All prospective students should seek out a potential faculty sponsor prior to their application to DFP.


The DFP training specialization is cross-disciplinary and intended to accommodate the diverse backgrounds of students wishing to enter it. Students who apply must satisfy the admissions requirements of UBC Graduate Studies as well as their home department. Students entering the specialization minimally have a Bachelor’s degree meeting competitive standards. Applications to UBC must be submitted to the respective UBC department or school’s program. Students from countries where undergraduate degrees are not taught in English are required to take an English-proficiency exam, with the results submitted by the deadline for application. [Further information for international students ]

Identifying a Faculty Sponsor

Because a key step in admissions is identifying a faculty member who will sponsor your application, the requirements of the faculty member are ultimately an important factor in determining if you are eligible. You must directly contact your potential faculty supervisor. To maximize success, carefully consider your research and training interests and target your contact to the most appropriate individuals, explaining your motivation for approaching them. A curriculum vitae is highly recommended for an initial inquiry. If interested, the faculty member will follow up and tell you what other information they require to evaluate you.

Apply to a Home Department

With a tentative sponsor in mind, apply to your natural participating UBC home department following their regular procedures. Consult application information available at that department’s website.

Apply to the DFP Specialization

Once admission to a participating home department has been offered and a faculty sponsor identified, but before your arrival at UBC, you will complete a formal but lightweight application explaining your motivation and the general area of thesis research you plan to undertake, as well as documentation of past academic excellence. This application will be reviewed, along with a sponsorship letter from your faculty supervisor, for admission to the DFP Core courses prior to your matriculation at UBC.

[Application materials to come.]

Complete the DFP Specialization

The DFP Specialization will be awarded upon successful completion of the specialization requirements, which generally takes place by Year 2 of your graduate program regardless of PhD or Master’s designation.


Participating UBC units have a variety of graduate funding models, as befits their disciplines. For all, funding is available through the DFP specialization to supplement faculty supervisors’ research grants for DFP trainee research assistantships, to be applied in the manner most suitable for their model. Please inquire to your prospective faculty supervisor about funding.

Application Deadlines

The specialization starts in September of the given year. We recommend that you contact potential faculty supervisors 2-4 months before the relevant application deadline (i.e., September to November of the year prior to matriculation).

All applications must be submitted before the deadlines indicated below. This allows time to meet scholarship application deadlines and for space and supervisory commitments to be planned. International students should be aware that it may require up to four months to process visa applications. Submit early!

For all programs, application by December 31 of the previous year is highly recommended for top consideration. For Fall 2018 matriculation, final deadlines are:

  • Domestic (Canada citizen or PR) students: February 2, 2018
  • International students: March 2, 2018