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Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students

What is the application deadline for entry into school year 2013-2014?

January 15, 2013. That means that the Institute must have received applicants' forms, fees and all supporting documentation on or before that date.

One or more of my supporting documents might not make it to your office by January 15th; what will happen?

All supporting documents must be received in the office prior to this date in order for an application to be marked complete and reviewed.  Only applications that are complete on January 15, 2013 will be considered.

Is admission on a rolling basis? What exactly takes place in the admission process?

No. Applicants must submit all their application materials and supporting documents on or before January 15, 2013 in order to be considered for the academic year 2013-2014. Files are reviewed by the Admission Committee, which then organizes the applicants according to rank. Recommendations for admission are forwarded to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. A second review of the supporting documents is conducted by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and if the results are consistent with ours, a formal offer of admission is sent to the applicant.

What is the current TOEFL minimum score?

The current minimum scores for admitted international applicants are 600 for the paper-based test, 250 for the computer-based test, and 100 for the new Internet-based test. Scores must be from tests taken within two years of the submission date as verification with ETS can only go as far back as that period. Scores from tests taken more than two years ago are no longer valid as they cannot be validated by ETS.

I’m from a non-English speaking country but completed my degree in English; do I still need to submit a TOEFL score?

No. As long as your degree is from an English-speaking institution, a TOEFL score is not required.

I’ve taken the GRE/GMAT/LSAT anyway, should I submit the scores?

We do not require these tests scores but if you feel as though they would strengthen your application, they may be included.

I’m interested in one of the dual-degree programs; what do I have to do now?

To participate in the dual-degree program an applicant must apply to and be accepted by both the MAAPPS program and the other program.  The application process is entirely separate which means that you need to send in documents (transcripts, reference letters etc.) to both programs and adhere to both sets of rules and deadlines.  If accepted by both, you may commence the dual-degree program and if you are only admitted to one, you have the option of completing the single degree. 

I did my undergraduate degree in a totally different field than Asia Policy; would my application be considered?

Yes, you can certainly apply for the program as we do accept students with a variety of backgrounds.  We encourage you to use the letter of intent to explain why you want to be in this program and how your academic and/or work experiences have prepared you and why you are a good candidate. Typically, it is preparation in the social sciences (quite broadly speaking) that we are looking for in candidates, as that preparation is frequently quite necessary for effective policy analysis. In terms of preparation for the regional focus, i.e. the Asia Pacific, including language preparation, there is a greater variety of backgrounds that prepare candidates well for graduate study in this area.

In cases where prospective students are looking to make a significant career shift (and thus often don't have a typical formal background), we look for some reflections from the applicant on why s/he is planning to shift careers and how s/he thinks that they are prepared for such a shift despite the lack of formal training.

Who are appropriate sources for references?

We require references from at least 3 persons able to evaluate your academic performance and potential. If you have been out of school for up to 3 years, 3 academic letters of recommendation are required.  In the event that you have been out of school for 3-5 years, one of the referees may be a work supervisor or manager (forms are available in PDF at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Reference Forms). If you have been out of school for over 5 years, two of the referees may be your work supervisor or manager

What is a degree certification?

Some transcripts do not contain the information that a degree was conferred. In cases such as this, the applicant must also request their previous institution(s) to officially confirm that the applicant has indeed been awarded a degree. If in a language other than English or French, please make sure the issuing institution includes an official translation.

What is a writing sample, and am I required to submit one?

No, it is not required but you may submit a writing sample if you feel as though this will strengthen your application.

As to what a writing sample is, and what it should be about, please note that we do not specifically ask for a topic because we encounter applicants from varied backgrounds. It would be ideal if the subject matter were relevant to the program we offer, but as that is not always the case, we only ask that the submission demonstrate the applicant's capacity for post-graduate writing. We expect a lot from our entrants, foremost of which is their ability to contribute in the class discussions and to produce comprehensive material. The writing sample would be used as a gauge to determine an applicant's communication skills. It could be an article that was previously published, or a paper written by the applicant as an undergraduate. Whatever it is or its length, be aware that the submission will be judged based on several factors such as content, clarity and the like. While it is not mandatory, the submission of a writing sample is strongly encouraged because it could make the difference in favor of the applicant's admittance into the program. 

What are the backgrounds of students in the program?

Our current students are a mix of people from straight out of undergraduate programs to mid-career professionals with a range of experience.  Current or recent students are from; Canada, USA, Costa Rica, China, Korea, Italy, Russia, Japan, Nepal, Mongolia, and more.  

I’ve applied to the program; now what happens?  When will I be informed of the Committee’s decision?

Late Spring 2013.  You will be informed by email of the committee’s decision.

Can I defer an acceptance of the Admission Offer?

Deferral of admission is at the discretion of the MAAPPS Teaching Committee

I will need assistance funding my studies; what TA and RA opportunities are there?

There are several opportunities to assist with funding your studies.  Please review our website as well as the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies site as they both contain important information on funding. 

Research Assistantships do come up frequently throughout the year as we have an active research faculty.  Students are usually notified of these positions via email. 

Teaching Assistantships are new to the MAAPPS students for the 2011-12 year.  TAships at IAR will be obtained after admission and usually, after arrival on campus.

Current Students

I’ve picked my courses; do they need to be approved?

It’s a great idea to run your courses by your grad or stream advisor as they can help guide you on your selections and make suggestions where necessary. The “approval” is to help ensure that you are getting the most out of the MAAPPS program and are taking full advantage of UBC’s extensive course list.

I have questions about my course selection. I don’t know what courses to take. Who do I speak with?

While the MAAPPS Program Assistant can help you with technical issues, a good resource is your stream or program advisor. Please note that the MAAPPS program is designed to be flexible to meet each student’s individual needs. You should have at least a general idea of the types of courses you would like to take before contacting your advisor. They can help guide you or make certain suggestions but they will not pick the courses for you.

Can I take undergraduate courses?

Yes. A MAAPPS student can take a maximum of 6 credits of senior-level undergraduate courses. Please note that this is not a requirement and you are advised to take graduate level courses wherever possible.

*Please note that language courses DO NOT count for credit towards your degree but DO count towards your GPA. These are supplemental and you will not receive credit for language courses.

What are common courses/departments that students take to fulfill their credit requirements?

Keeping in mind that the MAAPPS program is flexible; designed to suit each student’s needs and interests, here are a few departments from which our students have taken courses.

How many courses can I/should I take during the academic year?

That depends. For some of our international students, they have a lot to adjust to in their first year of life in Vancouver as a graduate student, so they may wish to take 2-3 courses per term. This is also dependent on their comfort level and ability to communicate in English. For those more comfortable with English they may choose to take 4 courses per term. 

Another factor in making this decision is how quickly you would like to finish the program. 

Must I be limited to one thematic stream?

Yes. A MAAPPS student can select only one thematic stream. However, with the permission of his/her academic advisor, a student may arrange to have another stream advisor involved in the progression of his/her research track especially if there is evidence of a link between disciplines.

How long does the program take?

The MAAPPS program can be completed in a period of twelve months. Usually, a third of an entering cohort do manage to maintain this timetable. Another third finish in eighteen months, while the final third take two years to fulfill their degree requirements.

Do I have to write a thesis?

Writing a thesis is an option. However, MAAPPS students must choose between a thesis, a practicum placemen and the field research option in order to graduate. All are rather demanding and require the submission of a major paper. The thesis is certainly the lengthier of the papers to be produced by the students.

Courses

I’m a grad student in another department, can I take IAR courses?

Yes. Most courses can be available for non-IAR students. Please contact the instructor for permission. If approved, the MAAPPS Graduate Program Assistant will register you for the course. Please note, if you are interested in IAR 500 (core course) this is a year-long course comprised of a full-term class in the fall and 2 6-week modules in the second term.

Can undergraduate students take IAR courses?

Yes. Undergraduate students may take IAR courses provided they have maintained an overall B+ (76%) average in their completed third- and fourth-year courses, and who have completed at least 75% of the third and fourth year requirements for their undergraduate degree. Read more about this policy on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. Permission of the instructor is required and students need to register using a paper form found in the MAAPPS Program Office.

 

  
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