Faculty & Staff


Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science

Our world needs more people who can work at the intersection of multiple disciplines — leaders who have both the interdisciplinary technical skills and the strategic business acumen to drive innovation and develop solutions to today’s most pressing problems.

Graduates of UBC’s Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Policy and Leadership (MHLP) programs are just these individuals. We designed these one-year programs for forward-thinking students seeking an interdisciplinary education that will move them to the front of their fields.

The unique program clusters we’ve created empower faculty and students to do work that crosses disciplines, and this has generated exciting research and learning opportunities. The MEL in Urban Systems, for example, brings together the School of Community and Regional Planning with civil engineering, and the MEL in Clean Energy Engineering connects virtually all of the engineering disciplines to help us make the shift to a lower-carbon future. And these are just two of the seven innovative programs offered through the MEL

Our two programs in the MHLP — Seniors Care and Clinical Education — have seen tremendous demand from students seeking the health care, policy and personal leadership skills to lead the transformation of the health-care sector.

Students in all MEL and MHLP programs benefit from an in-depth technical education, and this is balanced by courses offered through the UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School that develop their professional skills as project managers and business leaders. This integration of technical and business skills represents a unique offering — and makes our graduates very attractive to organizations across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

We developed each program in close partnership with industry to ensure that our graduates are prepared to meet current and future needs. This strong industry connection is also evident in the opportunities we’ve created for industry-initiated project-based coursework, experiential learning and in the professional experience and insights of our outstanding faculty and guest speakers.

We began offering these programs in January 2016, and they have attracted an international group of students with a wide range of industry experience. This diverse student network is yet another strength of our programs, and it will continue to grow and evolve with each graduating class.

As one of the world’s top 20 public universities, UBC attracts the very best students and faculty. This makes our campus an outstanding place to research, teach and learn. Our students live and study in a city renowned for its natural beauty, and the surrounding area offers tremendous opportunities to achieve a healthy work-life balance.


Dr. James A. Olson, PhD, P.Eng., is a professor of Mechanical Engineering and the dean of the UBC Faculty of Applied Science. He was the past associate dean of Research and Industry Partnerships, director of UBC’s Pulp and Paper Centre and is an internationally recognized forest products researcher who has been actively involved in the transformation of the forest sector into a vibrant diversified bio-products industry.