Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Details

The Master of Land and Water Systems is a professional program, meaning it is course-based and a thesis is not required. From the program start to finish, this graduate degree takes one year (three terms), whereas research-based graduate programs can take 2-5 years.

The professional Master’s program is ideal for students who plan to work as practitioners, managers, planners and policymakers in the natural resources field.

The MLWS program does not in itself provide recognized professional certification, but completing the program can help to meet the requirements (e.g., Articling, Internship, Professional Development Activities, etc.) of a professional certification program (e.g. BCIA, ABCFP, APEGBC, etc.).

Through the Western Deans' Agreement (WDA), MLWS students are eligible to take courses at the following universities without charge:

  • University of Alberta
  • Athabasca University
  • Brandon University
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Victoria

At this time, only elective courses may be taken at one of the above universities (300-level and up) and must have prior approval from the MLWS Academic Coordinator and your (co) Supervisor.

If you have already completed a course at an eligible university (within the last 5 years) and the MLWS program approves it, you must fill out the WDA form (see link below) to have the credit transferred to the MLWS program at UBC.

See the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for more information on the Western Deans' Agreement.

In case of any conflict, the MLWS Program Director will attempt to resolve the concern. If this is not successful, the Director will appoint a committee of three with a representative from The Faculty of Land and Food Systems, a Chair (UBC), and the co-supervisor to meet with the student.

The result will be transmitted in writing to the Director with a copy to all members and the Dean of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.

Because the MLWS program is designed to be completed over 12 months, the course work is vigorous. Students are encouraged to get as much out of this academic experience as possible, so part-time work must be carefully considered. The students' mental health and wellness must come first so they are urged to not over-commit themselves, particularly during busy times of the year (i.e. exam season).

Application and Admissions

The application period opens in September for students wanting to begin classes the following September.
Please visit our Admissions page to learn more about the application process.

Although the MLWS program has been designed to be completed in one 12-month period, there may be cases where students need to take courses in a subsequent Academic Year in order to complete the requirements for the degree.

These students will continue to pay regular installments (as indicated in the Tuition tab on the Admissions page) due in September, January and May. Tuition levels do not vary with the number of credits taken.

For students who become ill and request a leave or are required to leave for a term (or two), the regular domestic and international graduate student On-leave fee will apply.

The MLWS degree is intended for students who are looking to enhance their undergraduate education and work experience in a 12-month intensive program, to equip them to enter or return to the work force (see a diversity of Career Paths that our graduates take). While it is not designed as a “stepping stone” to an advanced research degree (i.e., Ph.D.), there are graduates of the MLWS program who are successfully enrolled in a Ph.D. program at various institutions in Canada and internationally. It is up to the intended university to review and determine if the MLWS degree is a sufficient prerequisite for entry.


Students can only register for ONE upper-level undergraduate elective course (3xx/4xx course code, 3 credits) in the MLWS program. Electives should primarily be graduate courses (5xx course code).

If a student wishes to drop a course and register in an alternative course after the add/drop deadline, the student must contact the Instructor of the new course before requesting a change in course registration.  If the Instructor agrees, they will provide requirements for the late registration. Finally, before making any registration changes, the student must contact the Academic Coordinator or Director to be discussed and approved in advance. Please note that withdrawing in a course after the add/drop deadline will result in a W standing entered on their academic transcript.

Tuition, Fees, and Scholarships

Please check the Tuition tab on the Admissions page for information regarding tuition and due dates.

There are a number of resources that provide information about scholarships. Several examples are listed below:

All international students are required to have basic and extended health insurance for the duration of their studies at UBC, as health care in Canada can cost thousands of dollars per day if you do not have valid health insurance.

You must apply for the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP) as soon as you arrive in British Columbia. Canadian students should make arrangements with their current medical plan to ensure continued coverage. Because there is a three-month waiting period to enroll in MSP, UBC provides Health Insurance for New International Students (IMED) for the first three months. Read more about IMED.

*If you already have MSP or another Canadian provincial or territorial health plan, or your studies are being funded by a third party organization, you could qualify to opt out of iMED.

Coming to Vancouver

As the Master of Land and Water Systems is a one-year program, we suggest that you explore the option of living close to, or on-campus in a UBC residence. If you have not already applied for a UBC Student Residence, it is crucial to do so as soon as possible to reserve a spot. For details, please visit here.

Please visit COVID-19 FAQ for international students to learn about how COVID-19 impacts immigration, work eligibility, and health insurance.

As the pandemic continues to change and evolve, please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) and UBC's Response for the most up-to-date information, FAQs, updates and policies.

In British Columbia (BC), proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to access certain events, services and businesses in the province. Getting vaccinated keeps everyone in BC safe, and stops the spread of COVID-19.

Starting Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, you must have at least one dose. By Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, you must be fully vaccinated.

All students, faculty and staff must complete an online, confidential declaration of their vaccination status. To learn more about BC's proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirements and UBC's vaccine clinic, please visit here.

If you have any questions about the application process for MLWS, please contact Lia Maria Dragan in the Graduate Programs Office at

If you have any other questions about the MLWS program, please contact the Academic Coordinator, Julie Wilson, at