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.

Applicants should be familiar with Faculty of Arts degree requirements and the International Relations Program requirements. Admission to the Major Program in International Relations is not automatic.

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

Application Process

Starting in 2023W, the IR Major Program will be making some changes to its admission process. Most students will still admitted based on their cumulative average, but a small number of spaces will be reserved each year for consideration based on a combination of grades and supplemental materials.  Students interested in the major who have an average below 80% are advised to submit supplemental materials with their application.

Please check this page in September 2022 for further information about the admission process changes and the type of supplemental material you should expect to submit.

The application window for 2023W entry will open on Wednesday February 1 2023.

Admission Requirements

Admission is typically based on the average grade obtained for all post-secondary course work attempted, with the exception of a maximum of 12 credits which may be excluded from the calculation (IR classes and Arts writing classes are not eligible for exclusion). 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.

The GPA calculation will be based on a minimum of 48 credits. For example, if a student has completed 60 credits at the point of application, as many as 12 of the lowest credits can be dropped from the calculation. If a student has completed the minimum 54 credits, only the lowest 6 credits will be removed when calculating the cumulative 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, 2022:

  • 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.
  • IB and AP credits will not be used as part of the cumulative average calculation
  • If a student repeats a course, the lower grade can be dropped from the cumulative average calculation. This rule extends to include IR prerequisite courses.

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

If you are accepted into the program, you will be notified by email by June 15, 2022. 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, 2022.

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.