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

Prospective 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 during their first two years of study.

Students transferring from other post-secondary institutions who expect to have at least 54 transfer credits upon admission to UBC, should first apply to UBC* and then apply to the International Relations major.

IR Major

NOTE: Due to changes made to grading policies in the Faculty of Arts for Term 2 courses in the 2019 Winter Session, the following adjustments will be made to the 2020 IR Major admissions process. These policies are specifically for the 2020 Admission cycle and any future admission cycles will return to our standard admission policies as outlined below and in the UBC Calendar:

  1. Courses taken for Cr/D standing that ended in April 2020 (Term 2 and full Winter Session courses) can be counted towards IR program requirements
  2. IR courses, should they fall within the lowest 12 credits, will be dropped from the calculation of a student’s average. 
  3. A minimum of 36 percentage-graded credits must be used in the calculation of a student’s average for admission. Example: If you have 54 completed credits and choose to take Cr standing for 9 credits in Term 2, then a maximum of 9 lowest credits would be dropped from the calculation of your average, rather than the standard 12. 


Application Process

Students will be able to submit their 2021 IR major applications from February 1st 2021. The deadline to apply is May 15th, 2021.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should be familiar with Arts Faculty Requirements and the International Relations Program requirements. Admission to the Major Program in International Relations is not automatic. We accept approximately 150 new Majors per year.

Admission is based on the average grade obtained for all post-secondary course work attempted, with the exception of 12 credits which may be excluded from the calculation (IR classes and Arts writing classes are not eligible for exclusion). The program will automatically exclude 12 credits provided it increases the student’s average. The admission average to the program is usually 76-80% but can also be outside of this range depending on the year.

In order to be considered for admission to the IR major, students must meet all of the following requirements by September 1, 2021:

  • enrollment 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 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 their 3rd or 4th year.

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 since applying to UBC (exchange, summer explore, letter of permission, etc), please send an electronic copy of the transcript to We will access all other transcripts that you’ve submitted to UBC through your student file.

If you are accepted into the program, you will be notified by email by June 15, 2021. You will be asked whether or not you accept the offer of admission into the International Relations major. We will not be able to certify you as an International Relations major until your reply is received. Please make sure to check and respond to your offer email.

Students not admitted to the program will also be notified by email by June 15, 2021.

If you are currently applying for enrollment in the Faculty of Arts at UBC, or if you will be fulfilling your course and/or credit requirements during the Summer Session 2021, the final decision on your application will be made only after you notify the IR program that you have been enrolled at UBC and/or have completed your outstanding requirements. Please send this notification, by e-mail to irmajor.program[at] as promptly as possible.

IR Minor

Students in the Faculty of Arts may add the IR minor to their program through the SSC. Special permission is not required from the IR program to do so. Students in other faculties should approach their Faculty Advisor for instructions if they would like to add an IR minor to their program.