Initiatives, Plans & Reports

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies offers a breadth of graduate student and postdoctoral fellow education and support. Below are some of the initiatives originating from our office, as well as previous strategic plans for the unit and reports on the progress of these projects.

COmmitments and updates

As anti-Black racism protests and resistance movements have taken hold across the world in recent months, we in Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) have been reflecting deeply on the historical and pervasive nature of this racism - globally, in Canada and here at UBC.  From violent acts, to systemic injustice, stereotyping, and subtler insults and microaggressions, the manifestations of anti-Black racism continue to affect the lives of our citizenry and our university community. In this message, we reflect on what this means and could mean for members of the UBC graduate and postdoctoral community, and for higher education more broadly, as well as make commitments to listen, learn, unlearn through a number of efforts.

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Strategic Plan 2019-2024

You may view our strategic plan and key priorities in the section Strategic Plan & Priorities.


Initiatives and projects

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.

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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.

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Great Supervisor Week

Each year in May G+PS organizes Great Supervisor Week during which graduate students are encouraged to give kudos to their supervisors through social media and our website. The annual UBC Great Supervisor Week was first held in 2017 to celebrate outstanding mentors. #GreatSupervisor week started at the University of Calgary in 2014, and we are grateful to them for their inspiration and support in this initiative.

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Forum on mentoring indigenous graduate students

On August 17, 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. UBC has a stated commitment to Aboriginal education and to respect Indigenous knowledge and cultures, as well as a resolution to build upon the strengths of the university to more fully address the needs of Indigenous communities in British Columbia, Canada, and the world. In this forum, UBC acknowledged its responsibility to Indigenous graduate students, particularly in relation to UBC’s priorities for this next century. The participants addressed ways we might enact this responsibility across the institution by examining exemplars of success as well as key challenges.

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Intercultural fluency project

On May 10, 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 was the culminating event of a cross-campus initiative funded by the Equity Office to explore the role of intercultural understanding in the graduate student-supervisor relationship.

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PHD Connections

PhD Connections is a lunch series hosted by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at St. John’s College. Senior PhD students from various programs and the Graduate Student Society as well as staff from the Centre for Student Involvement & Careers, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, Health Promotion and Education, the Research Commons, the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication, and International Student Development are invited. Special guests such as Graduate Advisors, Associate Deans, and the VP Students are often included. This informal gathering happens four times per year and provides an opportunity for 1st year PhD students to connect with senior graduate students and key staff with the goal of helping them to thrive in their PhD at UBC. Each lunch is themed and begins with a brief presentation followed by conversation. Topics include welcome and sharing of ideas for getting off to a good start in your program at UBC, how you can find or build community, and get involved with opportunities, on campus, how to strategize for success in graduate school, and how to build an effective relationship with your supervisor.


Plans and Reports