How To Apply

The Designing for People Research Cluster is concluding in April 2024. Please note that we are no longer accepting new students, and the information provided here is for archival purposes.

Overview of the DFP CREATE Application and Completion Process

Apply first to a participating UBC academic unit (your "home" UBC department or school’s doctoral or Master's program). After receiving an offer, identify a DFP faculty supervisor from your home unit who will supervise your research thesis (or major project) on a DFP-related topic; then apply with your supervisor to the DFP CREATE (an enrichment of your home unit's program). Within the first 1-2 years of your home grad program, complete the DFP CREATE's program requirements, and receive a certificate which you can list on your CV. Continue to be an active DFP Alum for the remainder of your time at UBC, and afterwards. 

Timing and Deadlines for DFP CREATE

Each DFP Training Program cohort begins in September of a given year. We recommend that you contact potential faculty supervisors 2-4 months before the relevant graduate application deadline (i.e., for a September 2023 program start, then October ’22 to January ’23). 

Apply to the DFP CREATE between receiving your UBC admission and Fall 2023. You may apply before you decide on your UBC offer. Applications are accepted in two rounds as described below.

  • early February 2023: DFP CREATE Applications for the 2023 DFP cohort open.
  • early May 2023: Intake deadline. Applications received after this deadline but before September 2023 may be considered at the discretion of the DFP CREATE director(s) if spots remain unfilled or become available.
  • mid August 2023: Deadline to request exemption from DFP Fundamentals (CPSC 544) for the offering of DFP Project in January 2024. (Without an exemption, Fundamentals must be taken in September 2023). 


The DFP CREATE Program is cross-disciplinary and designed to accommodate diverse backgrounds, so there are no specific incoming degree or prior course requirements. Students from disciplines not represented in the list of currently participating UBC academic units who plan DFP-related thesis research are encouraged to inquire about possibilities for them. All prospective students require a DFP faculty supervisor prior to their application to the DFP program.

All applicants must:

  • Satisfy the admissions requirements of UBC Graduate Studies as well as their home department.
  • Have at least a Bachelor’s degree meeting competitive standards (prior to starting at UBC).
  • Have received or accepted an offer to a graduate program in a participating UBC Unit.
  • If applying from countries where undergraduate degrees are not taught in English, take an English-proficiency exam, and submit the results by the application deadline [Further information for international students].
  • Have a DFP faculty supervisor.

Detailed Process: Applying To and Completing the DFP CREATE Program

1. Identify a DFP Faculty Supervisor

All DFP students must have a DFP faculty supervisor. In other words, the student's home program graduate supervisor must be a member of DFP.

A potential supervisor's own requirements are the most important factor to satisfy in your application. In the most common path to entering the DFP CREATE (applying in conjunction with applying to UBC), it is important to contact your potential faculty supervisor (who must be from your home unit) well in advance of applying to DFP. It is also possible to enter the DFP CREATE after arriving at UBC, and identifying a DFP faculty supervisor.

To maximize your chance of success, carefully consider your research and training interests and target your contact to the most appropriate individuals, explaining your motivation for approaching them, and highlighting your interest in the DFP CREATE. We highly recommend including your curriculum vitae in your initial inquiry. If interested, the faculty member will follow up and tell you what other information they require to evaluate you.

You can view our current DFP faculty supervisors by clicking the button below.

View DFP faculty

2. Apply to a UBC Home Program

With a tentative DFP supervisor in mind, apply to your natural participating UBC home unit following their regular procedures. Consult application information available at that unit's website. 

View participating units

3. Apply to the DFP CREATE Program

Once admission to a participating home unit has been offered and a faculty sponsor identified, complete the lightweight online DFP application linked below. The application asks you to explain your motivation for joining DFP, the general area of thesis research you plan to undertake, documentation of past academic excellence, and contact information for your DFP supervisor.

After you submit your application form, you will be asked to email the following items to our DFP admin (

  1. CV or Resume
  2. Transcript 
  3. Research Statement
  4. Your completed 544 Skills Inventory form

Once we have received these documents from you, we will request a letter of support from your DFP faculty supervisor.

4. Complete the DFP CREATE Program

Duration: You will generally complete all of the DFP CREATE's program requirements by two years into your graduate program regardless of your graduate program or degree.

Timing: When possible, take the DFP Core in Year 1 of your program, to get maximal benefit; however, we recognize that some of the participating programs' requirements preclude starting DFP Core until Year 2.

5. Get Certified

Upon completion of the Program, you will be awarded with a DFP CREATE Certificate, and are encouraged to list this designation on your curriculum vitae and other documentation of your training.

6. Be an Active DFP Alum

As you continue in your home degree program, and even following it, we strongly encourage DFP CREATE alumni to participate in the DFP community — e.g. attending (or perhaps giving) DFP@UBC seminars, mentoring junior students, participating in summer schools, networking with partners and community at the Design Showcase.



Pre-Application Checklist
  • Familiarize yourself with the DFP CREATE program requirements. These include a commitment to take DFP Project (CPSC 554K) in either the first or second year of your UBC graduate program.
  • Apply to your home UBC graduate program, and receive acceptance.
  • Obtain the consent of a DFP faculty supervisor for your application. Remind your supervisor that they will need to write a letter of support for you. A detailed request will be made of the supervisor once you have applied.
  • Collect your original UBC application materials: UBC ID, transcripts, research statement, and, if applicable, results of your English Proficiency exam. If your original UBC application did not require a research statement, please compose a brief (<1 page is fine) statement about your objectives for your UBC graduate studies more broadly.
  • Assess your need to take both DFP Core courses by reviewing the DFP Fundamentals Skills Inventory Form.
  • Prepare a statement (2,000 chars) about your interest in the DFP CREATE Program, to be entered into the online application form.


NSERC logo

We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Cette recherche a été financée par le Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et en génie du Canada (CRSNG).