UBC MEL MHLP Professional Leadership Master Degrees

Frequently Asked Questions

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Programs Information

All 10 MEL and MHLP programs are offered as 12-month full-time programs. The following five programs also offer a part-time option over 24 months:

The MEL and MHLP degrees start in January each year and end in December. There is no fall intake for these programs, which means it is not possible to begin your studies in September. Your program will begin with a three-day orientation before the start of classes.

The UBC MEL and MHLP degrees are delivered in-person at UBC’s Point Grey campus in Vancouver, British Columbia. On-campus learning allows you to take advantage of the many professional development opportunities and industry networking events built into the program. The programs are not offered online.

Your class size will depend on the number of students enrolled in your specific MEL or MHLP specialization, and could range from five to 30 students. Some of your engineering or health-care courses may also include students from other graduate programs. Your business leadership courses bring together students from all MEL and MHLP programs and range in size from 70 to 100 students.

UBC does not offer scholarships, awards and bursaries to students in professional postgraduate programs like the MEL and MHLP. However, there are external sources of funding that you may be eligible to apply for and receive. Students who require financial assistance may wish to consider student loans through their home provinces or countries, employer scholarships or a line of credit through a financial institution. Check out the tuition and finances page for additional information.

Co-op work experience can count toward the P.Eng. accreditation requirements. The Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program is the only MEL program that offers co-op. If students apply to participate in the 12-week co-op program, and if they are accepted and complete the work experience, they can use this towards their accreditation requirements.

Most PhD programs are looking for students who have completed a research-based master’s degree rather than a professional postgraduate degree like the MHLP or MEL, which do not offer opportunities for conducting or publishing your own independent research. That said, we have had students continue on to do a PhD after completing the MHLP or MEL.

Eligibility Requirements

No. With the exception of the Advanced Materials Manufacturing specialization, all MEL and MHLP programs require you to have three years of relevant work experience when the program begins.  To meet the professional experience requirement, your work experience must be accumulated after you completed your undergraduate degree.

If you are applying to Advanced Materials Manufacturing, you must have accumulated two years of work experience by the time the program begins.

While you must meet the professional experience requirement for your planned program of study, if you do not meet some of the other eligibility requirements, it is possible that you could be admitted. We evaluate each application on an individual basis and will consider your work experience, references and letter of intent. Watch this video to learn how to put together a strong application and the important components to include in your resume and letter of intent.

If you completed your undergraduate degree in Canada or the United States and you do not meet the academic requirement of a 76% academic average (or the equivalent if you studied outside of Canada), fill out the am I eligible to apply form before applying and our student recruitment team will advise you. You may be eligible if:

  • your academic average is very close to the minimum requirement (e.g., 73% or higher),
  • you have significant formal training or relevant professional experience, or
  • you possess demonstrable knowledge or expertise that would prepare you for successful studies in a graduate program.

It is important that your application demonstrates how your skills and abilities relate to your program of interest. Watch this video to learn more about creating a strong application that accurately reflects your leadership capabilities.

If you are unsure if you should apply, please contact our expert student recruitment specialist, Chelsea Ousey, at chelsea.ousey@ubc.ca.

No. Most health-care professionals will be considered for the MHLP in Seniors Care or MHLP in Clinical Education. Approximately half of the current MHLP students are nurses, with others working as pharmacists, social workers, physiotherapists, psychologists and physicians, to name examples. However, only clinicians or practicing health-care professionals are eligible to apply for the Clinical Education specialization.

No. While the majority of the current MEL students are engineers, other technical professionals are eligible to apply for the MEL depending on the specific program. MEL students include environmental scientists, architects, developers and urban planners, to name examples. Check the program you would like to study for its specific eligibility requirements.

Yes. If you completed your undergraduate degree at an institution where English was not the language of instruction, you must submit an English language proficiency test. This is a UBC-wide admission policy, and is true even if you have worked or lived in Canada, the US or another country where English is the only official language.

Please review the detailed English language proficiency requirements and watch this helpful video for more information.

No. Unfortunately, a completed post-baccalaureate degree (PBD) or post-degree diploma (PDD) taught in English does not satisfy UBC’s English language proficiency requirement. Please review the English language proficiency requirements and watch this helpful video for more information.

No. We do not require you to submit a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test score as part of your application to the UBC MEL or MHLP.

Understanding Degree Differences

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is exclusively for registered nurses who want to advance their nursing knowledge and clinical skills so they can step into specialized and advance practice nursing positions. In comparison, the Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) accepts students from a range of health care professions who want to develop their health care leadership skills and move into leadership positions within Seniors Care or Clinical Education.

At UBC, the MSN is taught through the School of Nursing within the Faculty of Applied Science. The MHLP is a hybrid degree, with classes taught by leading instructors from the Faculty of Applied Science and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, and its emphasis is on helping the next generation of leaders develop both health-care and business knowledge.

The MSN requires a thesis or scholarly practice advancement research project, completed with the support of an academic supervisor. In contrast, the MHLP is course-based and does not require a supervised research project.

The MSN is a 24-month full-time program with a September intake. The MHLP offers both a 12-month full-time program and a 24-month part-time program, both with a January intake.

Learn more about the MSN and the MHLP in Seniors Care and MHLP in Clinical Education.

The UBC Master of Health Administration (MHA) is designed for clinicians, managers, researchers and other health care professionals to develop core competencies and leadership skills related to health care. In comparison, the UBC Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) is designed for practising health-care professionals who want to develop their health care leadership skills and move into leadership positions within Seniors Care or Clinical Education.

The MHA is a 42-credit degree with 24 weekend courses that span the health care sector and includes health policy, systems and management. The MHLP is a 30-credit program with specialization courses specific to Seniors Care or Clinical Education. Both the MHA and the MHLP include courses taught at the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

The MHA requires students to complete a capstone project and work one-on-one with a faculty supervisor to explore and report on a health administration issue of interest to them. In contrast, the MHLP is course-based and does not require a supervised advanced research project.

The MHA is a 24-month full-time program with a September intake. The MHLP offers both a 12-month full-time program and a 24-month part-time program, both with a January intake.

Learn more about the UBC MHA program and the MHLP in Seniors Care and MHLP in Clinical Education

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) accepts professionals from all backgrounds and focuses on developing students’ business management and leadership skills. The degree prepares students to become leaders in any industry, depending on their professional experience. At UBC, MBA specializations include Technology & Analytics Leadership, Finance, Product & Service Management, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

In comparison, the Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) is designed specifically for practising health-care professionals and focuses on developing students’ health care leadership skills. The MHLP offers two specializations, Seniors Care and Clinical Education, enabling health-care professionals to deepen their expertise and step into leadership positions within the realm of seniors care or as clinical educators after graduating.

The MBA is taught at the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, with 100% of the course content made up of business courses. The MHLP is a hybrid degree, with classes taught by leading instructors from the Faculty of Applied Science and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. The MHLP focuses on developing clinical and business knowledge for the next generation of leaders in health care, with approximately 60% of the course content focusing on health care leadership and 40% of the course content made up of business leadership courses.

Both the MBA and the MHLP are completely course-based and do not include any research components.

The MBA is a 16-month full-time program with an August intake. The MHLP offers both a 12-month full-time program and a 24-month part-time program, both with a January intake.

There are also important differences to consider in tuition fees between the MBA and the MHLP.

Learn more about MBA and the MHLP in Seniors Care and MHLP in Clinical Education.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) accepts professionals from all backgrounds and focuses on developing students’ business leadership and management skills. The degree prepares students to become leaders in any industry, depending on their professional experience. At UBC, MBA specializations include Technology & Analytics Leadership, Finance, Product & Service Management, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

In comparison, the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) is designed specifically for practising professionals within engineering or professionals working in other industries related to their specialization of interest, such as environmental science, architecture or planning. The MEL cohort is made up entirely of technical leaders with professional experience as engineers, planners, architects and environmental scientists.

The MEL has eight different specializations: Advanced Materials Manufacturing, Clean Energy Engineering, Dependable Software Systems, High Performance Buildings, Integrated Water Management, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering, Sustainable Process Engineering, and Urban Systems. Within each specialization, MEL students will hone their technical skills while developing key business knowledge that will prepare them to be change-makers in their industry.

The MBA is taught at the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, with 100% of the course content made up of business courses. The MEL is a hybrid degree with classes taught by leading instructors from the Faculty of Applied Science and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. The MEL focuses on developing technical and business knowledge, with approximately 60% of the curriculum focusing on sector-specific technical skills development and 40% of the course content made up of business leadership courses.

Both the MBA and the MEL are completely course-based and do not include any research components.

The MBA is a 16-month full-time program with an August intake. The MEL is a 12-month full-time program, with 24-month part-time options available for Integrated Water Management and Urban Systems only. Both the full-time and part-time programs have a January intake.

There are also important differences to consider in tuition fees between the MBA and the MEL.

Lear more about the MBA and MEL.

The Master of Engineering (MEng) accepts students with or without professional experience, including students applying directly after completing an undergraduate engineering degree. The program is taught wholly within UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science and emphasizes advancing students’ technical knowledge.

In comparison, the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) requires applicants to have three or more years of industry experience before they are eligible to apply. The MEL is a hybrid degree with classes taught by leading instructors from the Faculty of Applied Science and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. The MEL focuses on developing students’ technical and business knowledge, with approximately 60% of the curriculum focusing on sector-specific technical skills development and 40% of the course content made up of business leadership courses.

The MEng offers eight different specializations: Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Geological Engineering, Mechatronics Design, Mining Engineering, and Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering.

The MEL also has eight different specializations: Advanced Materials Manufacturing, Clean Energy Engineering, Dependable Software Systems, High Performance Buildings, Integrated Water Management, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering, Sustainable Process Engineering, and Urban Systems.

The MEng is a 12-16 month program, depending on your chosen specialization, with an annual September intake. The MEL is a 12-month full-time program, with 24-month part-time options available for Integrated Water Management and Urban Systems only. Both the full-time and part-time programs have an annual January intake.

Learn more about your graduate academic opportunities in the Faculty of Applied Science.

The Master of Applied Science (MASc) is for engineering graduates with or without professional experience, seeking a research-based program. The MASc is often a stepping-stone towards a PhD for students who want to conduct their own research and write a thesis. By contrast, the MEL is designed specifically for practising professionals who have at least three years of professional experience in engineering or in other industries related to their specialization of interest, such as environmental science, architecture or planning. The MEL is focused on synthesizing business and technical skills for practising engineers who want to become leaders in their field and do not plan to advance their career in academia.

The MASc focuses on thesis-based research, completed with the support of an academic supervisor. In contrast, the MEL is completely course-based and does not require a supervised advanced research project.

The MASc is taught entirely through UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science. The MEL is a hybrid degree with classes taught by leading instructors from the Faculty of Applied Science and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC’s Sauder School of Business. The MEL focuses on developing students’ technical and business knowledge, with approximately 60% of the curriculum focusing on advancing students’ sector-specific technical skills and 40% of the course content made up of business leadership courses.

The MASc is a 24-month full-time program with a September intake. The MEL is a 12-month full-time program, with 24-month part-time options available for Integrated Water Management and Urban Systems only. Both the full-time and part-time programs have a January intake.

Learn more about your graduate academic opportunities in the Faculty of Applied Science.

My Application

There are three application rounds, with two open to all applicants and the third open only to Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada and Americans.

You must submit a completed application, including all three references, by the deadline. Only complete applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee. The deadlines are:

  • Round 1 application deadline: March 30, 2022 | Admission decision on May 3, 2022
  • Round 2 application deadline: June 30, 2022 | Admission decision on August 3, 2022
  • Round 3 application deadline for Canadian and American applications only: September 30, 2022 | Admission decision November 3, 2022

We recommend that international students apply by the round 1 deadline on March 30, 2022. This ensures plenty of time to apply for and receive your study permit, and it also gives you more time to plan for your move to Canada. To learn more about the benefits of applying early, we encourage you to watch this video.

Online applications are now open and we are accepting submissions for January 2023.

Online applications for studies beginning in January 2024 will open on January 1, 2023 with the last application deadline for international students on June 30, 2023.

  • Round 1 application deadline: March 30, 2023 | Admission decision on May 4, 2023
  • Round 2 application deadline: June 30, 2023 | Admission decision on August 4, 2023
  • Round 3 application deadline for Canadian and American applications only: August 30, 2023 | Admission decision October 4, 2023

No. UBC cannot accept World Education Services (WES) evaluations instead of transcripts. Your application must include scanned copies of official post-secondary transcripts for any institution you attended for one year or longer. If you are admitted into the program, you will need to send us your official transcripts directly from your former institution(s).

You can make only very limited edits to your online application after it has been submitted. Any changes must be made before the application deadline.

To upload new versions of your resume or letter of intent, log in to MyApplication and upload the updated documents.

If you need to update your address, log in to MyApplication and select “Update Personal or Contact Details.”

For changes to personal information such as citizenship, date of birth or name, please contact graduate.apply@ubc.ca and include the appropriate documentation (e.g., birth certificate) to support your request.

To learn more about making changes to your application, such as uploading new versions of documents and changing referees, we recommend you watch this helpful video.

To check the status of your application, including the status of your reference requests, please log in to MyApplication.

If you are wondering if we have received your mailed-in documents, please allow for five business days after the expected delivery date for your documents to be received and processed by the UBC MEL and MHLP team. Processing times for confirming documents received at peak times can be longer. Please check MyApplication regularly, as contacting us will only delay processing times.

You will be notified by email when a decision has been made. You can expect to find out if you have been accepted by the following dates:

  • Round 1 application deadline: March 30, 2022 | Decision notification on May 3, 2022
  • Round 2 application deadline: June 30, 2022 | Decision notification on August 3, 2022
  • Round 3 application deadline for Canadian and American applications only: September 30, 2022 | Decision notification November 3, 2022

Decisions can only be made on completed applications. Be sure to check your junk, spam and promotions folder to ensure you do not miss notifications or requests for additional information from the UBC MEL and MHLP team.

No. Your C$5,000 non-refundable deposit confirms your acceptance of the admissions offer and holds a spot for you in the UBC MEL or MHLP program. However, if you are an international student and you are unable to obtain a study permit for reasons out of your control, the deposit will be refunded upon proof of your inability to obtain your study permit.

Yes, we encourage you to reach out if you have any questions. Please email our student recruitment specialist, Chelsea Ousey, at chelsea.ousey@ubc.ca

My References

You need to provide contact details for three referees as part of your application. It is important that you select relevant referees who can help you create a strong application. We recommend that you choose one academic and one professional referee. The third referee can be anyone of your choosing, other than a friend or family member.

Your professional referee should be someone who supervises or manages you and your work. Because the MEL and MHLP are rigorous academic programs, we are also looking for an academic referee who can speak to your abilities as a student. If it’s been more than ten years since you have graduated and you do not have an academic referee, you can choose a second professional referee instead.

Your third referee could be someone who can speak to your professional, academic or volunteer experience. Please note that we do not accept personal references from friends or family members.

To learn more about what makes a good referee and the requirements for submitting their application online, we encourage you to watch this helpful video.

It is recommended that you submit your application, which includes your referees’ contact information, well in advance of the application deadline. Ask your referees how much time they need to prepare their reference. Typically, referees will appreciate two to four weeks to complete the references. This means that you will want to submit your complete application several weeks before the actual deadline.

However, if you need more time to work on your letter of intent or resume, you can submit your application (which would include filling out your personal information, uploading required documents, including contact information for three referees and paying the application fee) at any time. Once you submit this information, we will automatically contact your referees.

You can then complete your letter of intent and resume and upload them prior to the official deadline. Keep in mind that all documents – including reference letters or forms submitted by your referees – must be received before the application deadline. We cannot review your application until it has been completed, with your three references, letter of intent and resume uploaded.

The online application system, MyApplication, will ask you to provide a business, academic or institutional email address for each of your three referees. Once you pay your application fee and submit your application, your referees will be emailed instructions and asked to complete an online reference. They will have two options: fill out a reference form or upload a reference letter.

If you provide a personal email address for a referee, such as Gmail, Hotmail or yahoo, your referees must submit their reference by mail. This may result in delays in processing your application. We strongly recommend that you provide a professional email address for each referee.

It is your responsibility to ensure the referees submit their references by the application deadline. Detailed instructions are provided in the email sent to your referee.

If your referee says that they did not receive the reference request email, please ask them to check their email junk or spam folder.

You can also re-send them the email notification by going to the “manage references” section after logging in to MyApplication.

If you would like to change your referee, go to the “manage references” section within MyApplication. You can only replace a referee once.

Part-Time

Part-time study options are offered in the following five programs:

The part-time option is offered over 24 months rather than 12 months for the full-time option.

The tuition fees are the same whether you choose to study full-time or part-time. If you study full-time, you will pay in three equal instalments in January, May and September. If you study part-time, you will pay in six equal instalments, in January, May and September two years in a row.

Generally, you will complete your business leadership classes and two technical or health-care courses in the first year of the program. In the second year, you’ll typically complete the remainder of your core engineering or health-care courses.

The Master of Engineering Leadership is a comprehensive professional graduate degree. The program is demanding and requires you to attend classes and events, work on group projects, study and complete assignments outside of class time.

For our full-time 12-month programs, we do not recommend working while studying, as it will likely hinder you from achieving your academic goals.

Further, in August, all UBC MEL students must take APPP 504: Business acumen for technical leaders. This intensive three-week course requires daily attendance.

MEL students who want to continue working may want to consider part-time studies. The part-time study option makes it more feasible to work part-time. Part-time options are available for Dependable Software Systems, Urban Studies and Integrated Water Management.

If you’re considering working while studying, this comprehensive article will help you understand both the benefits and considerations of managing a healthy work-life-study balance.

The Master of Health Leadership and Policy is a comprehensive professional graduate degree. The program is demanding and requires you to attend classes and events, work on group projects, study and complete assignments outside of class time.

The program is offered in a stacked schedule, with full-time students typically attending classes for two full days per week. This provides some flexibility for health care professionals to continue part-time work or casual work. For example, you might work one or two days a week when you are not on campus.

The part-time program is more flexible, and students attend courses for two half-days per week. Part-time options are available for both Clinical Education and Seniors Care.

Part-time students often work up to a 0.8 schedule, or four days a week, throughout their 24-month program.

In August, all MHLP students must take APPP 504: Business acumen for technical leaders. This intensive three-week course requires daily attendance. If you chose to work while studying, you will need to book these three weeks off work.

If you’re considering working while studying, this comprehensive article will help you understand both the benefits and considerations of managing a healthy work-life-study balance.

COVID-19 FAQs

As a result of a Public Health Order, effective August 25, 2021, people must wear non-medical masks in all indoor public areas at UBC Vancouver campus, including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms and labs.

UBC has prepared and equipped learning and study spaces for in-campus learning, with careful considerations in following the requirements of BC’s Restart plan.

Further, UBC requires all students, staff and faculty to declare their vaccination status. COVID-19 rapid testing is required for any students, staff or faculty who haven’t yet been vaccinated or choose not to declare their vaccination status. You can find more detailed information, including how to submit your declaration here.

Getting vaccinated is easy and safe. COVID-19 vaccinations are free for all UBC students, including international students. Information on where and how to get vaccinated for COVID-19 can be found here.

On September 13, 2021, the BC provincial government implemented the BC Vaccine Card and required people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access restaurants, indoor sporting events, concerts, theatres, fitness centres and more. To participate in these activities on campus, students, staff and faculty must show their BC Vaccine Card. You can read the full announcement from the provincial government here.

Students from BC can save the digital version of the BC Vaccine Card to their phone or tablet, or print a paper copy to show as needed. You can download your BC Vaccine Card here.

Out-of-province students must show a provincially or territorially officially recognized vaccine record and valid government photo ID.

International students must show the proof of vaccination they used to enter Canada and a passport.

You can find more detailed information on what is accepted as official proof of vaccination here.

Getting vaccinated is easy and safe. COVID-19 vaccinations are free for all UBC students, including international students. Information on where and how to get vaccinated for COVID-19 can be found here.

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