Four Year Doctoral Fellowship Guidelines

Guide for 4YF Award Holders

Eligibility for Funding
  • Four Year Fellowships may be held by full time PhD students, full time MD/PhD students during the PhD portion of their program, and full time DMA students.
  • Four Year Fellowships may be held by domestic and international students
  • Four Year Fellowships funding is conditional on the recipient maintaining satisfactory academic progress
Selection of 4YF Recipients

Students become 4YF recipients in one of three ways:

  • Graduate programs select 4YF recipients from among their eligible incoming and continuing students (4YF-G)
  • Eligible students who are awarded a Killam Doctoral Scholarship or a Li Tze Fong Fellowship through the annual Tri-Agency / Affiliated Fellowship competition automatically become 4YF recipients (4YF-U)
  • Eligible students who are awarded the following doctoral-level Tri-Agency awards automatically become 4YF recipients: Vanier Scholarships, Doctoral Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGSD), CIHR Doctoral Research Awards, NSERC Doctoral Postgraduate Scholarships (PGSD), and SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships (4YF-T)
Award Notification and Acceptance
  • 4YF-G recipients will receive initial notification of a Four Year Fellowship offer from their graduate program. Awardees should respond to the graduate program’s offer as directed in the offer letter.
  • Graduate programs will notify Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral studies about each accepted 4YF-G offer
  • The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will assign all Four Year Fellowships on the Student Information System. This will generate an online offer of award through the Student Service Centre. Students are required to accept the online offer of award.
Award Start Dates
  • The award start date for 4YF-G recipients will be determined by the recipient’s graduate program. Possible start dates are 1 May, 1 September, and 1 January.
  • The award start date for 4YF-U recipients will be 1 September.
  • The award start date for 4YF-T recipients will be the start date of their doctoral-level Tri-Agency award
Duration of Funding
  • 4YF recipients (all types) retain their 4YF status and funding for a maximum of four years from their 4YF start date (total duration of 4YF, external scholarship funding and/or internal scholarship funding awarded through a university‐wide competition, if applicable) or until the end of the fifth year of their doctoral program, whichever comes first
    • Example 1: Student who begins her PhD program in September 2012 and also takes up her 4YF-G in September 2012 will remain a 4YF recipient until 31 August 2016 (four years in total).
    • Example 2: Student who begins his PhD program in May 2014 and takes up his 4YF-U in September 2015 will remain a 4YF recipient until 31 April 2019 (40 months in total, to end of fifth year of doctoral program).
    • Example 3: Student who begins her PhD program in September 2015 and also takes up her 4YF-G in September 2015, and who is subsequently awarded an Affiliated Fellowship for the period of September 2018 to August 2019, will remain a 4YF recipient until 31 August 2019 (four years total duration of 4YF and internal scholarship funding awarded through a university‐wide competition).
    • Example 4: Student who begins his PhD program in May 2015 and who is subsequently awarded a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship for the period of September 2018 to August 2019 will remain a 4YF recipient until 31 April 2020 (20 months total duration of 4YF and Tri-Agency scholarship funding, to end of fifth year of doctoral program).
    • Example 5: Student who begins his PhD program in September 2015 and who is subsequently awarded an NSERC CGSD for the period of May 2016 to April 2019 will remain a 4YF recipient until 31 August 2019 (four years total duration of 4YF and Tri-Agency scholarship funding).
  • Previous doctoral studies at another institution
    • Previous doctoral studies at another institution will not be counted when assessing duration of 4YF status for 4YF-G recipients
    • Consistent with the eligibility criteria for the annual Tri-Agency / Affiliated Fellowship competition, previous doctoral studies at another institution will be counted when assessing duration of 4YF status for 4YF-U recipients
    • Previous doctoral studies at another institution will not be counted when assessing duration of 4YF status for 4YF-T recipients if those previous doctoral studies are not applied toward the student’s UBC doctoral program
  • In the case of students who transfer directly from a Master’s program to a doctoral program without completing the Master’s program, eligibility for 4YF funding (all types) will be counted from the date of transfer to the PhD program
Award Values
  • Stipends
    • Effective 1 May 2015 award holders with no external scholarship funding will receive a maximum stipend $18,200 per year.
    • Students offered both 4YF funding and internal scholarship funding awarded through a university-wide competition (e.g., Killam Doctoral Scholarship, Affiliated Fellowship, Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship, Rick Hansen Fellowship, etc.) will be required to accept the internal scholarship funding. If the value of the internal scholarship funding is greater than the value of the 4YF stipend, the student must decline the 4YF stipend (only for the period when the student is receiving internal scholarship funding). If the value of the internal scholarship funding is less than the value of the 4YF stipend, the student will receive the difference between the 4YF stipend and the internal scholarship funding. As outlined in the 'Duration of Funding' section above, 4YF recipients may be eligible to receive 4YF stipend funding once their internal scholarship funding ends.
    • Students offered both 4YF funding and external scholarship funding (including third-party sponsorship funding such as home government funding) will be required to accept the external scholarship funding. If the value of the external scholarship funding is greater than the value of the 4YF stipend, the student must decline the 4YF stipend (only for the period when the student is receiving external scholarship funding). If the value of the external scholarship funding is less than the value of the 4YF stipend, the student will receive the difference between the 4YF stipend and the external scholarship funding. As outlined in the 'Duration of Funding' section above, students designated as 4YF holders may be eligible to receive 4YF stipend funding once their external scholarship funding ends.
    • Students may hold 4YF funding together with award funding recommended by their graduate program (e.g., Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) funding, etc.)
    • Students may hold 4YF funding together with graduate research assistantship (GRA) stipend funding.
  • Tuition
    • Tuition for 4YF recipients is not waived; rather, a tuition award equal to the tuition assessment will be applied against the student’s tuition charges.
    • For students in specialized doctoral programs (e.g., MD/PhD, MPT/PhD) whose tuition assessments differ from those of standard PhD programs, the value of the 4YF tuition award will not exceed the tuition assessment for standard PhD programs.
    • In order to receive the 4YF tuition award, the total of student’s external scholarship funding (excluding research allowance) and 4YF tuition award may not be greater than $35,000. If the total of a student’s external scholarship funding and 4YF tuition award is greater than $35,000, the 4YF tuition award will be reduced accordingly.
      • Example 1: Student has external scholarship valued at $33,000. The amount of the 4YF tuition award will be reduced to $2,000, so that the total of the two awards does not exceed $35,000.
      • Example 2: Student has external scholarship valued at $35,000. Student will not be eligible for the 4YF tuition award.
      • Example3: Student has a CIHR CGSD fellowship valued at $30,000 stipend and $5,000 research allowance. Student is eligible for 4YF tuition award not exceeding $5,000.
    • 4YF recipients whose tuition is paid by a third-party sponsor will have their 4YF tuition support reduced by the amount of third-party sponsorship support.
  • All students designated as 4YF holders, including those who are not currently receiving 4YF funding from UBC because they are receiving external scholarship funding, will be listed as 4YF holders on SISC and on their transcripts.
    • Example 1:
      • Year 1: student has NSERC PGSD ($21,000 stipend) and 4YF tuition award
      • Year 2: student has NSERC PGSD ($21,000 stipend) and 4YF tuition award
      • Year 3: student has NSERC PGSD ($21,000 stipend) and 4YF tuition award
      • Year 4: student has 4YF stipend ($18,200) and 4YF tuition award
    • Example 2:
      • Year 1: student has 4YF stipend ($18,200) and 4YF tuition award
      • Year 2: student has 4YF stipend ($18,200) and 4YF tuition award
      • Year 3: student has SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship ($20,000 stipend) and 4YF tuition award
      • Year 4: student has SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship ($20,000 stipend) and 4YF tuition award
    • Example 3:
      • Year 1: student has NSERC CGSD ($35,000 stipend)
      • Year 2: student has NSERC CGSD ($35,000 stipend)
      • Year 3: student has NSERC CGSD ($35,000 stipend)
      • Year 4: student has 4YF stipend ($18,200) and 4YF tuition award
Payment of Funding
  • 4YF stipend payments for all students will be paid through the Student Information System. Stipend payments will be made at the start of each term (September, January, and May). Payments will first be applied against outstanding tuition and fees, and any amount remaining will be issued to the student through Electronic Funds Transfer (if the student has EFT set up in SSC) or as a cheque. Further payment details will be provided in the Notice of Award issued by SISC.
  • Tuition awards will be paid through the Student Information System at the start of each term (September, January, and May)
Requirement to Apply for Other Funding
  • 4YF-G and 4YF-U recipients who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents are required to apply each year for Tri-Agency funding, if they are eligible to do so. If they do not, they will forfeit their remaining 4YF funding.
  • 4YF recipients who are international students are not required to submit an application to the annual Affiliated Fellowship competition (held each fall), but they are eligible to do so if they wish to compete for Affiliated Fellowships with higher stipends (such as the Killam Doctoral Scholarship).
Progress Reports
  • Four Year Fellowship funding is conditional on the recipient maintaining satisfactory academic progress
  • All 4YF recipients – whether or not they are currently receiving 4YF stipend and/or tuition funding – must submit annually to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies a progress report using the template available on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. Failure to submit a progress report will result in award payments being suspended until a satisfactory progress report is received.
  • Progress reports are to be submitted according the following schedule:
    • 4YF start date - May / Progress report deadline - 15 March
    • 4YF start date - September / Progress report deadline - 1 June
    • 4YF start date - January / Progress report deadline - 15 November
Interruption and Termination of Funding
  • Award Overpayment: 4YF recipients will be required to return any amounts issued to them for the time period after their effective completion or withdrawal date.
  • Completion of Program: Awards are prorated to the end of the month in which students complete their degree program, which is normally the date the final copy of the student’s thesis is accepted by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. To assist in avoiding overpayments, students are asked to advise Graduate Awards of their completion date in a timely manner.
  • Withdrawal from Program: Awards are prorated to the effective date of withdrawal from a degree program. To assist in avoiding overpayments, students are asked to advise Graduate Awards of their withdrawal date in a timely manner.
  • Leave from Program: 4YF recipients are not eligible to receive their award during academic terms in which they are officially on-leave from their program. Students are asked to advise Graduate Awards to arrange for the suspension of their award payments until their return from on-leave status. The original 4YF end dates will be extended by the period of the leave, with the result that students will receive the same amount of 4YF funding as they would have without the leave/interruption.
  • Transfer from Doctoral to Master’s Program: 4YF recipients who transfer from a doctoral program to a Master’s program (or any non-doctoral program) will have their 4YF funding prorated to the effective date of transfer. To assist in avoiding overpayments, students are asked to advise Graduate Awards of their intention to transfer in a timely manner.
  • With the approval of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, it may be possible to interrupt a student’s 4YF payments for non-academic reasons that do not result in corresponding academic leave. An example of such a situation is when a student interrupts (optional) their 4YF funding for relevant work experience or to take up a MITACS Accelerate Internship, but do not take a corresponding academic leave from UBC. In these and similar circumstances, the original 4YF end date may be extended to account for some or all of the interruption in 4YF funding. Normally, however, such interruptions will be limited so that the revised 4YF end date does not extend beyond the fifth year of the recipient’s PhD program. To request this type of interruption, students are to complete and submit a 4YF Interruption Form, available at https://www.grad.ubc.ca/forms.
Transferring between Doctoral Programs

With the approval of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, 4YF (all types) recipients may transfer from one closely related UBC doctoral program to another (e.g., from Civil Engineering to Mechanical Engineering: Zoology to Applied Animal Biology; Plant Science to Botany; Statistics to Mathematics) without losing 4YF funding.

Internships

Provided 4YF recipients maintain their PhD registration they may continue to receive 4YF funding during paid and unpaid internships and co-op work terms, provided they are a requirement of the student’s program of study. In the case of internships that are not a requirement of the student’s program of study, the student can request an interruption (optional) as described in the 'Interruption and Termination of Funding' section above.

Employment

Effective March 2018, students who hold awards totalling $17,500 or more per year are no longer required to limit their number of hours of employment to an average of 12 hours per week. However, please note that award holders are expected to devote full-time hours to the research or studies for which they were funded, and are required to make satisfactory academic progress throughout their funding period.

Taxation

Income tax is not withheld by UBC for either the stipend or tuition payments. UBC will provide a single T4A form listing the stipend and tuition portions together. Students are responsible for filing income tax returns on these awards.

Guide for UBC Graduate Programs

Allocation of 4YF Places
  • Each year, 4YF places are allocated to disciplinary Faculties on the basis of a formula. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies notifies Faculties of their allocations for the upcoming year in December.
  • Disciplinary Faculties are responsible for allocating their 4YF places among their graduate programs, and for notifying the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (rather than their graduate programs directly) of those allocations by mid-January. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies then notifies graduate programs of their 4YF allocations.
Selecting 4YF Recipients
  • Once notified of their 4YF allocations by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, graduate programs may make 4YF offers to their incoming or continuing PhD, DMA or MD/PhD students.
  • Graduate programs should review the 'Eligibility for Funding' and 'Duration of Funding' sections in the Student section of the guide above before making offers to students. 4YF offers made to students who are not eligible for 4YF funding and 4YF offers that exceed the number of 4YF places allocated to the graduate program will be the responsibility of the graduate program to fund.
Making 4YF Offers to Students
  • Graduate programs may make 4YF offers directly to students, without needing to first notify the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of their selections.
  • 4YF offers should clearly outline the conditions of funding and/or refer students to this 4YF Guidelines document. Particular attention should be given to the relationship between 4YF and other scholarship funding (see 'Award Values' n the Student section of the guide above for details).
Notifying the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of Recipients
  • Graduate programs notify the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies which students have been selected to receive 4YF funding by completing and submitting a University Award Recommendation form.
  • The award number for the 4YF program is #6456.
  • The Award Value field may be left blank.
  • The 4YF start date should be listed in the Comments section (e.g., May 2019, September 2019, or January 2020).
  • To ensure smooth administration of the 4YF funding, University Award Recommendation forms should be submitted to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies eight weeks before the requested 4YF start date. Recommendation forms will be accepted outside that eight-week window; however, payment of 4YF funding to the recipient may not be in place by the requested start date.
Re-offering 4YF-G Places
  • Applicable to all 4YF-G awards (regardless of award start date):
    • If a graduate program offers a 4YF place to an incoming student, and that student chooses not to come to UBC, the graduate program may offer the 4YF place to another student.
    • If a student is offered a 4YF by their graduate program and is subsequently offered Tri-Agency doctoral funding later that same spring / summer, the 4YF place is freed up and the graduate program may re-offer that 4YF place to another student (the original student remains a 4YF holder by virtue of being awarded Tri-Agency doctoral award funding).
      • Example:
        • student offered 4YF by grad program in Feb 2013, to start in Sep 2013
        • student offered SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship in mid-April 2013
        • 4YF place can be re-offered by grad program to another student
  • For all 4YF-G awards with a start date before 1 May 2019:
    • If a 4YF holder is offered Tri-Agency doctoral funding after that the original spring / summer when they were also offered their 4YF funding, the 4YF does not return to the grad program to be re-offered.
      • Example:
        • student offered 4YF by grad program in Feb 2013, to start in Sep 2013
        • student offered SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship in mid-April 2014 (one competition year after 4YF began)
        • 4YF place cannot be re-offered by grad program to another student
    • If a 4YF holder withdraws from or completes their doctoral program before the end of their 4YF funding period, the remaining 4YF funding:
      • returns to the general 4YF budget and is not available to re-allocated by the graduate program if the student has received more than 4 months of the funding
      • returns to the graduate program to assign if the student has received 4 months or less of the funding
  • For all 4YF-G awards with a start date of 1 May 2019 or later:
    • 4YF stipend funding that is freed up when 4YF recipients are subsequently awarded Tri-Agency or other external scholarship funding will be retained by the graduate program, rather than returned to the central pool for reallocation. For example, if a student is awarded a Tri-Agency doctoral award at the end of their first year, roughly 3/4 of the 4YF stipend (exact amounts depend on timing of awards, etc.) will be returned to the graduate program’s pool of available 4YF places. As these “partial” 4YFs accumulate to make up a full 4YF, the freed up 4YF place can then be offered to another student. Please note that 4YFs will continue to be offered as four-year commitments of stipend and tuition (rather than partial 4YFs).
    • 4YF stipend funding that is freed up when 4YF recipients subsequently (i) complete their program early, (ii) withdraw from their program or (iii) transfer to a Master’s program will be retained by the graduate program.
    • 4YF recipients whose transfer to another UBC doctoral program is approved will retain their 4YF funding, and no 4YF funding will return to their original graduate program.
Carry-Forward Limits
  • Graduate programs are encouraged to offer all their available 4YF places within the allocation year, but there may be reasons why a graduate program will want to carry forward one or more 4YF places to a subsequent year (a student defers their admission, the graduate program has only one 4YF place and no outstanding candidates, etc.).
  • Graduate programs may carry forward up to one 4YF place or 50% of their most recent 4YF allocation, whichever is greater, to the next allocation year. The carry-forward limit is not cumulative. Requests to carry forward 4YF places above the limit described above must be approved by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
    • Example:
      • Graduate program C receives a 4YF allocation of four for 2017-2018. The graduate program may carry forward up to two 4YF places to 2018-2019. In 2018-2019, the graduate program receives another 4YF allocation of four, resulting in a total pool available of six 4YF places. The graduate program may carry forward up to two 4YF places (50% of four) to 2019-2020.
Transferring between Doctoral Programs
  • With the approval of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, 4YF (all types) recipients may transfer from one UBC doctoral program to another (e.g., from Geography to Music or from Civil Engineering to Social Work) without penalty.
  • The 4YF place is still counted against original graduate program; however, when both graduate programs are within same disciplinary Faculty, the Faculty may (or may not) choose to re-allocate future 4YF places between the two graduate programs.
4YF Reports

Upon request at any time, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will provide to graduate programs a report of their 4YF allocations, list of recipients and remaining 4YF places to be allocated.

4YF Allocation Formula
  • From 2017-2018 onward, the 4YF allocations to disciplinary Faculties have been based on two factors with the following weightings:    
    • 20% - based on PhD and DMA enrolment in years 1-5, domestic and international students
    • 80% - based on success in receiving Tri-Agency doctoral awards (success of domestic students extrapolated to account for graduate programs’ international students)