Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) offers a breadth of support to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows – from education and professional development to health and wellbeing. These are just some of the projects and initiatives G+PS has developed in support of this work.
Commitments and updates
Strategic Plan 2019-2024
Graduate and postdoctoral education and research are core to the university’s mission as an exceptional research-intensive educational institution, and to its vision to “inspire people, ideas and actions for a better world.” Learn more about our strategic plan and key priorities in the section Strategic Plan & Priorities.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) is engaged in discussion and actively working on initiatives related to UBC graduate students identifying as belonging to marginalized and/or underrepresented groups, such as Indigenous, Black, Persons of Colour (IBPOC), LGBTQ2S+ and persons with disabilities.
Initiatives and projects
Graduate housing and community needs
Development of a Graduate Student Precinct
In consultation with other stakeholders, G+PS has engaged in several projects to improve graduate student spaces on campus and to establish a graduate student precinct in the north-west quadrant of the UBC campus. This area already serves graduate students in multiple ways with facilities and service providers such as Koerner Library, 2 Graduate Student Colleges, the Graduate Student Centre where G+PS and GSS provide services for graduate students.
- Koerner Library: home to the Research Commons which is a space dedicated to graduate student use with bookable spaces, special software and a digital scholarship lab. Koerner Library’s lower level is scheduled to be upgraded for graduate student use.
- Renovation of Thea Koerner House (North Wing) to provide a Graduate Life Centre for students.
- Assessment of graduate student needs to inform expansion of St. John’s College and development of the Lower Mall Precinct, guided by Campus Vision 2050 and the updated Housing Action Plan.
The hope is to establish a Graduate Student Precinct to guide development of facilities over the long-run in a coordinated and cohesive manner to optimize use of space and service delivery for the benefit of graduate students.
Housing and community needs
Planning for student housing expansion is underway. Guided by Campus Vision 2050 and the updated Housing Action Plan, plans are to increase on-campus student housing with at least 3,300 new beds and 1,000 replacement beds as a priority, along with identifying sites for additional student housing in the long term. This includes an expansion of graduate student housing. In collaboration with Student Housing and Hospitality Services, and St. John’s College, G+PS is collaborating on the proposed expansion of St. John’s College, a residential college for graduate students on the Vancouver campus. This project is still in the early stages, with the Graduate Student Housing and Community Needs Survey launched in January 2024. Results from this survey will shape the planning and design of graduate student housing and amenities (e.g. food options, study spaces, bookable spaces, fitness and exercise facilities, etc.).
Launch of the Graduate Life Centre
The Graduate Life Centre is a collaborative project between the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS), the Graduate Student Society (GSS) and the Vice-President Students, which seeks to revitalize Thea Koerner House (TKH) to serve the needs of today's graduate student community holistically. The renovated first floor opened in January 2024, and provides graduate students with much-needed social space, self-dining options, and a child-friendly space. Future phases will renovate the other floors of the building and add bookable rooms for academic, social, and cultural needs.
Public Scholars Initiative
Inaugurated in 2015, the UBC Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) is designed to support UBC doctoral students as they strive for purposeful social contribution, produce new and creative forms of scholarship and dissertations, and explore diverse career pathways. With the PSI, UBC seeks to assist PhD students as they rise to address complex challenges in new, collaborative, and engaged ways.
Three minute thesis
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that assists current graduate students with fostering effective presentation and communication skills. Participants have just three minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research project to a non-specialist audience. Founded by the University of Queensland in 2008, the popularity of the competition has steadily increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 350 universities across 59 countries worldwide. UBC, one of the first universities in North America to host a 3MT competition, has been presenting 3MT since 2011.
Effective Mentorship of Racialized Graduate Students
Inspired by a blog by graduate student Dwayne Tucker, this initiative focuses on the complexities and gaps in the mentorship of racialized students at UBC by calling on a constellation of graduate students, mentors and experts. This initiative allows racialized graduate students at UBC to have their voices heard, and their experiences acknowledged and shared with UBC administration, faculty and beyond in an attempt to enhance racialized graduate experiences at UBC.
PhD Connections is a series of by-invitation events for first year PhD students hosted by G+PS. Also invited are senior PhD students from across campus and the Graduate Student Society as well as staff from the UBC Career Centre, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, Health Promotion and Education, the Research Commons, the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, and International Student Development. This informal gathering happens two to four times per year and provides an opportunity for first-year PhD students to connect with each other and with senior graduate students and key staff with the goal of helping them to thrive in their program at UBC. Each session is themed and begins with brief presentations/words of wisdom from the Dean and Vice-Provost and an Associate Dean from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, followed by advice from staff attending, then networking and conversation. Topics include getting off to a good start, finding and building community, involvement with opportunities on campus, strategizing for success in graduate school, and building effective relationships with supervisors.
G+PS wellbeing initiatives
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has committed to taking a holistic, integrated, and student-centered approach to wellbeing—creating a cultural shift that makes the University a better place to live, work and learn by embedding it across the institution. Graduate programs have a particularly important role to play in championing wellbeing and exploring its impact on academic excellence. With this in mind, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies partnered with the Office of the Vice-President Students and graduate student representatives to identify graduate-specific mental health and wellbeing needs, resulting in the Graduate Student Wellbeing Status Report (2017). Since then, G+PS has continued to collaborate with Health Promotion and Education and Counselling Services on a number of wellbeing focused pilots and initiatives to engage specifically with graduate students, faculty and staff and find better ways promote and support graduate student mental health and wellbeing across campus.
Graduate Student Wellbeing Ambassadors
Graduate school can be an exciting and challenging time. Some students may experience wellbeing challenges, including managing stress, navigating support, finding time for self-care (sleep, exercise, nutrition) and balancing personal and academic responsibilities. Research shows that peer support can be an important tool in helping students thrive academically, socially and emotionally—that’s where the Graduate Student Wellbeing Ambassador program comes in!
The Graduate Student Wellbeing Ambassador (GSWA) program aims to build individuals’ capacity and knowledge for UBC Vancouver graduate students in peer roles to enable them to share information on wellness services and resources with their peers. The GSWA program plays a key strategic role at UBC in supporting the Health Promotion & Education Unit (Student Health & Wellbeing) in their effort to build capacity of the campus community to support and promote student wellbeing.
Wellbeing Liaisons Program
The Wellbeing Liaison program plays a key strategic role at UBC in supporting the Health Promotion & Education Unit (Student Health & Wellbeing) in their effort to build capacity of the campus community to support and promote student wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Liaisons Program aims to establish a resource person within Faculties and units, who will share information on student wellness services and resources with colleagues.
Support Group Series for Graduate Student Mental Health and Wellbeing
In 2019, G+PS partnered with Health Promotion and Education and Counselling Services to pilot a new initiative designed to offer additional mental health and wellbeing support geared specifically towards graduate students and centered on known stressors many graduate students are faced with. This pilot was created out of the identified need for more strategic mental health support for graduate students as highlighted in the Graduate Student Wellbeing Status Report (2017).
Bringing together additional key campus partners to help support these facilitated support group sessions, the goals of each was to identify and address key mental health concerns, foster resiliency, develop proactive coping strategies, identify resources, and create social connections through discussions.
For the first year, each support session focused on a different theme known to be an area of heightened stress for graduate students, including:
- Work Life Balance
- Careers and Graduate Student Wellbeing
- Graduate Supervisory Relationships
- Procrastination and Perfectionism
- Financial Pressures
- Imposter Syndrome
Going forward, the sessions are being run through Graduate Pathways to Success as the “Graduate Wellness Discussion Series.”
Plans and Reports
Intercultural fluency project
In 2018, approximately 65 UBC faculty, staff and graduate students came together for a half-day symposium to explore the role of intercultural difference on an increasingly global and diverse campus. This symposium explored the role of intercultural understanding in the graduate student-supervisor relationship.
Forum on mentoring indigenous graduate students
In 2017, approximately 75 UBC faculty, staff and students came together for a forum on Mentoring Indigenous Graduate Students at the First Nations House of Learning.
Great Supervisor Week
Between 2017 and 2019, G+PS organized an annual Great Supervisor Week during which graduate students were encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and the website. UBC Great Supervisor Week was first held in 2017 to celebrate outstanding mentors.