Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) Guidelines

Funding Available

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) provides an annual allocation of Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) funding to disciplinary Faculties, who, in turn, allocate that funding amongst their graduate programs. Approximately $6.5 million is allocated to Faculties in October each year (and distributed to graduate programs in November) to allow Faculties and graduate programs to plan their funding for the year ahead; the funds are available to be assigned to students as of the following May (e.g., allocation received in November 2023 can be assigned to students starting in May 2024).

Disciplinary Faculties, graduate programs and individual supervisors may contribute additional funding toward their GSI funding pool. To do so, arrangements can be made to transfer the additional funds to G+PS, generally by Workday transfer along with the award recommendations submitted to G+PS. Please note:

​​​​​​For further information, please refer to the instructions here:

Further questions about transferring funds to G+PS should be directed to Brian Bella, Awards Senior Finance Assistant (

Allocation Formula

GSI funding is allocated to disciplinary Faculties based on each Faculty’s share of weighted registration over the last three years. More specifically:

Taking the November registration data for each of the last three years, each registered student "earns" the following weighting for their disciplinary Faculty:

  • PhD (in years 1 to 4): 4
  • Master's with thesis (in years 1-2): 2
  • Course-based Master's (in years 1-2): 1
  • High cost-recovery Master's: 0

Each Faculty's share of the total student registration determines the Faculty's share of the total GSI $ allocation.


Total registration at UBC

  • 3,000 PhD X 4 = 12,000
  • 2,000 Master's with thesis X 2 = 4,000
  • 2,500 course-based Master's X 1 = 2,500
  • Total = 18,500

Total registration in Faculty A

  • 250 PhD X 4 = 1,000
  • 200 Master's with thesis X 2 = 400
  • 150 course-based Master's X 1 = 150
  • Total = 1,650

Faculty A’s share of GSI = 8.9% (1,650 / 18,500)

Result: If the total GSI allocation is $6.5M, then Faculty A’s share would be $579,729.73 ($6.5M X 8.9%)


Disciplinary Faculties are responsible for allocating their GSI funding amongst their graduate programs. Faculties may choose to use the formula described above or allocate the funds according to other priorities.

Faculties and graduate programs are to establish and publish criteria by which the GSI funding will be distributed amongst their graduate students.

Recommending Award Recipients

The allocated GSI funding is retained by G+PS. Graduate programs submit University Award Recommendation forms ( to G+PS, who creates award assignments in the Student Information System (SISC).

Unless the graduate program specifies otherwise in the recommendation form, GSI awards will be paid out using the following payment schedules:

  • Summer session: Any amount - paid out entirely in one term
  • Winter session:
    • Under $1,000 - paid out entirely in one term
    • $1,000 - $5,999 - paid out in two terms (equal instalments)
    • $6,000 or greater - paid out over the three terms of the year (33.3% in September, 33.3% January, and 33.4% in May)
Carry-forward Limits

(i) If a graduate program and/or disciplinary Faculty has transferred additional funds to G+PS to be added to its GSI pool, and the graduate program has unspent funds as of mid-March, the unspent balance - up to a maximum of the funds transferred to G+PS - will be transferred back to the graduate program and/or Faculty.

Example: Graduate Program A has received a GSI allocation of $85,000 from G+PS for 2017-2018. In addition, the graduate program transferred $35,000 to G+PS, for a total GSI pool of $120,000. As of 15 March 2018, the graduate program has an unspent GSI balance of $10,000. In this case, $10,000 would be transferred back to the graduate program before the end of March 2018.

(ii) If, after funds have been returned to the graduate program and/or Faculty, there remains an unspent balance of GSI funds, graduate programs may carry forward up to 50% of their most recent base GSI allocation (the allocation received from G+PS via their disciplinary Faculty) to the next allocation year. The carry-forward limit is not cumulative.

Example: Graduate Program B has received a GSI allocation of $70,000 from G+PS for 2017-2018. The graduate program carries forward $35,000 (the maximum allowable - 50% of its base GSI allocation) to 2018-2019. In 2018-2019, the graduate program receives a GSI allocation of $72,000 from G+PS, resulting in a total pool available of $107,000. The graduate program may carry forward up to $36,000 (50% of $72,000) to 2019-2020, meaning that it must award at least $71,000 ($107,000 available less $36,000 maximum carry-forward) to its students in 2018-2019.

(iii) If needed to meet an unexpected student funding demand, graduate programs may borrow against future GSI allocations, up to the amount of their recent base GSI allocation. The borrowed funds will be subtracted from future GSI allocations. Depending on the amount borrowed, the borrowed funds may be recovered over several years’ future allocations.

Example: Graduate program C has received a GSI allocation of $75,000 from G+PS for 2017-2018. Those funds have all been awarded to students when an unexpected student funding situation comes to light. The graduate program may borrow up to $75,000 in additional GSI funding to provide the needed funds. In discussion with G+PS, the borrowed funds could be repaid in increments of $25,000 per year for three years, with the amount subtracted from future GSI allocations (e.g., the net allocations for future years would be ~$50,000 per year for three years).


In addition to providing Faculties with their allocations for the coming year in November, graduate programs may request an up-to-date GSI report at any time by contacting their G+PS Graduate Awards clerk.