IR Admissions

Welcome to the IR major admissions page. Here you will find all the information you need to join our academic community. Discover application details, deadlines, and other important information.

Application process

The deadline to submit an application is 11:59pm on Wednesday May 15th 2024. Applicants will receive a response from the Program by early-to-mid June 2024.

Please see the ‘Admissions Requirements’ and ‘Application Instructions’ sections below for further details on the process.

Students can apply for the IR Major at the end of their second year of studies at UBC.

Students wishing to enter 1st or 2nd year studies at UBC with the goal of studying International Relations should: apply to UBC, select the Faculty of Arts as their program option, and then work on meeting the prerequisites for the IR major (noted below) during their first two years of study.

Students transferring from other post-secondary institutions to UBC for their 3rd year of studies (at least 54 transfer credits), should first apply to UBC and then apply to the International Relations major.

The IR Major Program made some permanent changes to its admission process that came into effect for students beginning the program in 2023W. Most students are still admitted based on their cumulative average. Approximately 20 new spaces were added to the program and are reserved each year for assessment based on a combination of factors, including grades and supplemental materials.

Applicants who anticipate that they will have a cumulative average (not term or year average) below 80% (or equivalent if transferring to UBC) are advised to submit supplemental materials with their application.

This change has been made to recognize that there are many students who can make a strong contribution to our program but, for a range of reasons, do not hold the cumulative average required for grade-based admission at the time of their application. Therefore, we have created an application process that does not rely solely on one metric alone (grades) in order to ensure excellent students are able to join our program and contribute to our community.

Summer courses you take following the submission of your application will not be considered towards your cumulative average. Your average will only be recalculated if you have a Standing Deferred and your grade is updated during the summer.

Admission requirements


In order to be considered for admission to the IR Major Program, students must satisfy all of the following criteria by the end of Summer Term 2 of their second year:

  • enrolment in the Faculty of Arts at the University of British Columbia;
  • completion of 54 or more credits;
  • completion of at least one of the lower level requirements below; however, it is strongly recommended that students complete all of the lower level requirements prior to entering their third year:
    • Requirement 1: Economics 101 and Economics 102
    • Requirement 2: Political Science 260
    • Requirement 3: History 102 or History 103 (only one is required for the major)
  • It is also advisable for students to have started on their IR language requirement but this can be completed in the 3rd or 4th year.
  • Courses completed in the summer will be counted towards the 54 credit total, however will not be factored in to any cumulative average calculation. Please see below for further details.

Calculation of cumulative average

  • The minimum cumulative average for admission is typically 76-78%. For students seeking admission based on the submission of supplemental materials please see the ‘Application Instructions’ section below for further details.
  • The cumulative average calculation is based on a minimum of 48 credits. For example, if an applicant has completed 60 credits at the point of application, as many as 12 of the lowest credits can be dropped from the calculation. If an applicant has completed 54 credits, only the lowest 6 credits will be removed when calculating the cumulative average.
  • Admission is based on the cumulative average obtained for all post-secondary course work attempted, with the exception of a maximum of 12 credits that may be excluded from the calculation. IB and AP credits are not included in the cumulative average calculation.
  • The IR prerequisite courses listed above and Arts writing courses (e.g. WRDS 150, WRDS 350, or ENGL 100) are not eligible for exclusion from the calculation.
  • If an applicant repeats a course, the lower grade will be dropped from the calculation. This rule extends to include IR prerequisite courses and the Arts Writing courses.
  • Summer courses completed following the submission of an application will not be considered towards your cumulative average. Your average will only be recalculated if you have a Standing Deferred and your grade is updated during the summer.
  • Please note that if an applicant has a significant number of IB/AP transfer credits and the total number of completed UBC credits is below 48 credits, eligibility will not be impacted. All completed UBC credits will be used as part of the cumulative average calculation. We will still not include your high school grades in the average calculation.

Application instructions

  1. Check that you meet the above admission requirements.
  2. Fill out the online application form.
  3. If you have attended a post-secondary institution other than UBC (exchange, summer explore, letter of permission, etc.), please send an electronic copy of your transcript to

Supplemental materials (optional)

  • a 1-2 page resume/CV (to include details such as education history, work experience, internships, volunteering, skills, interests etc.)
  • and a 500-word statement of interest. The statement of interest should include a written statement responding to one of the following prompts:

–  ‘Why do you want to enroll in the International Relations Major Program?’

– ‘Describe a lived experience you have had that will contribute to your success’ (applicants could include extra-curricular, work experience, international experiences, lived experiences)

We have intentionally not requested that applicants feel any pressure to justify their academic performance. However, applicants can reflect on their scholarly, professional, and personal challenges if they so choose in the final comment box on the application form.

If you are accepted into the program, you will be notified via email before June 15, 2024. You will be asked whether or not you accept the offer of admission into the International Relations major. We will not be able to add the International Relations specialization to your record until you have notified us you wish to accept the offer. Please make sure to check and respond to your offer email promptly as this will ensure you have sufficient time to course plan for the following Fall term.

Students not admitted to the program will also be notified by email before June 15, 2024.



If you have questions about admissions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the IR Program Manager, Adam Jelley, who is here to assist you every step of the way.

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