As UBC continues to navigate the situation regarding COVID-19, we recognize that members of our community may have questions and concerns.
Within British Columbia, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health are leading the coordinated response to COVID-19. UBC continues to take direction from the BC Provincial Government as we plan and consider next steps.
This website contains answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to funding, assessments, dissertations, housing as well as questions with information specific to international students and newly admitted students.
You are also encouraged to visit https://covid19.ubc.ca/ for the latest updates regarding COVID-19 and UBC’s response, and students.ubc.ca/covid19 for further information on financial assistance, government assistance eligibility criteria, and various student services.
Last updated: November 30, 2021
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As the end of term nears, we at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) office wanted to check in with you, to provide reminders and new information about some key resources you may find helpful, and to send our warmest wishes for a restful and rejuvenating holiday.
This has been a term (and year) like no other. The pandemic has disrupted lives, learning, research, and health, and many of these disruptions have had, and will have, long term consequences. Please know that we, and those at all levels of the university, have worked persistently to identify these specific challenges and to devise and implement strategies to help in their alleviation. We are continuing to do so, and will notify you as ongoing efforts take shape.
At the same time, this year has seen positive change. We’ve experienced a widespread, heightened awareness of racial and other inequities that exist in our societies, and a growing commitment to address them; we’ve seen a record drop of CO2 emissions during the pandemic; we’ve discovered new and positive ways of working, learning, and interacting with one another, many of which will likely be retained well after the pandemic has ended; we’ve learned to adapt; we’ve developed an effective vaccine in record time; and we’ve re-discovered how complex, interconnected, and interdependent our world and its peoples are. We are extraordinarily grateful for all of you as the next generation of scholars, innovators, knowledge workers, and citizens who will be at the forefront of contributing to a renewed, just and sustainable world.
As we approach the break and look towards the new year, we’d also like to inform or remind you of a number of key resources that may be relevant to you.
Our FAQ page is an up-to-date listing of important information and resources related to COVID-19 as they relate to graduate students. We encourage you to visit it for any questions or concerns you may have: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/covid-19.
Finances and funding
Whether you’re a domestic or international student, if you are experiencing financial hardship, we strongly encourage you to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. ES Advisors can help you manage your individual situation and explore options for short-term critical financial assistance.
In addition, you can use the Government of Canada’s online tool to find the financial resources specific to your situation due to COVID-19.
Emergency Food Access
COVID-19 has exposed additional gaps in our current systems, with food insecurity prevalence likely to be higher with wide-spread loss of jobs and income for students. If you are a graduate student who finds yourself making the tough choice between paying bills and buying food, you may be experiencing food insecurity. It’s ok to ask for help, and it’s is important that you know you’re not alone. Support is available. Learn more.
UBC Athletics & Recreation
For the Academic Year 2020/21, UBC decided to defer the collection of the Athletics & Recreation Fee from Winter Session Term 1 (September to December) to Winter Session Term 2 (January to April). For most graduate students, this fee is assessed in three instalments totaling $230.82 ($76.94/term). The currently listed fee accounts for credits from Winter Session Term 1 and Term 2 as well as whether you are registered for full-time or part-time studies.
This fee, similar to many fees at other Canadian universities, provides core funding that is vital to the continued operation of sport facilities, maintenance of varsity athletics, and delivery of recreation programs for current and future students.
At this time, online programs and activity options are available and a number of the sport facilities are re-opened and in-person programs are available.
All post-secondary students in Metro Vancouver are required to pay the U-Pass fee. This pooled financial effort is the reason Translink is able to provide a reduced cost, subsidized transit pass specifically for post-secondary students. U-pass exemptions are available to students who are immunocompromised and/or living outside of the Metro Vancouver area. Learn more about U-Pass exemptions and opt-out options from the AMS.
If you are facing financial hardship you may be eligible for the AMS Winter 2020-2021 Subsidy which offers either a full or partial reimbursement of your U-Pass fee. You can apply for the Winter Subsidy through the following link by logging into AMS CampusBase with your CWL.
UBC Student Housing still has residence Winter Session and Year-Round Housing vacancies for Winter Term II. Be reminded: if you are interested in a Year-Round Housing contract for 2021-22 or beyond this is a great time to solidify a short term (4 month) contract and then have the ability to renew annually thereafter, hence giving you shelter security for as long as you like and are a registered student of UBC. Please note that student family housing continues to be in high demand and waitlist priority will continue to depend on the time of application as a key criterion.
Visit UBC Housing and Community Services to learn more and apply.
Library resources and study spaces
UBC students, faculty and staff now have remote access to four computer labs, with more than 80 UBC Library computer workstations for academic instructional use. Users can connect, using CWL and password, to desktop computers in one of four UBC Library labs. Access remote computers at UBC Library.
Additionally, UBC Library is providing bookable study space in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Monday through Saturday. This includes access to desktop computers, printing and scanning. Library users can make up to 5 reservations per week. Visit the Library website to reserve your space online.
Mental health and wellbeing
Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, many students may be developing feelings of fear, stress, worry and isolation—these feelings are natural when facing threats that are beyond our control. For students currently in BC, UBC Counselling Services offers virtual appointments in a variety of formats, from 45-minute drop-in sessions to group counselling programs. Visit their website for more information.
Students outside of BC can still access the new UBC Student Assistance Program (SAP). Aspiria is a free, 24/7 wellness resource for students. Services include personal counselling, life coaching, group programs, financial and legal advising, and more based on your needs. UBC SAP can help you with a wide range of concerns to support your mental, emotional, physical and financial health, and will give you the option of getting help through the website, through the mobile app or by phone 1-833-590-1328 (toll-free).
For a comprehensive list of resources at UBC, please see the new Health and Wellbeing guide.
At UBC, professional development for graduate students is a key priority to help ensure the success of our students both during and after their graduate programs. It is a shared responsibility of a number of offices and academic units on campus and includes a variety of workshops, services and resources. The Graduate Game Plan is a step-by-step guide that offers strategies for different stages of your program. For more information on programming available to you visit the professional development page or read GradUpdate, a weekly newsletter sent by Graduate Pathways to Success.
The G+PS office recently launched new features in the graduate student community to help form connections between students. You can now enter details about your academic work at UBC, such as your research topic and supervisor, as well as personal notes about yourself, such as hobbies, languages spoken, countries you have visited and your social media profile links. You can connect with peers on all these topics at these links:
- Students by graduate program
- Academic research
- Countries lived in for at least 6 months
- Hobbies / Interests
- Languages spoken and language buddies
All travelers arriving to Canada are required by the Canadian Government to quarantine (self-isolate) for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms. If you do not have an appropriate self-quarantine plan, or have COVID-19 symptoms, you will not be allowed to enter Canada. Make sure you can enter Canada by following the important steps outlined in UBC’s Guide for Students Travelling to Canada during COVID-19.
Students travelling to UBC from outside Canada who are unable to self-quarantine in their own accommodations have access to complimentary on-campus self-isolation packages on a one-time only basis until further notice. Meals are included. UBC Student Housing residents cannot self-isolate in a shared unit. This includes any space that shares a washroom and/or kitchen with another student but excludes student family housing, a studio or one-bedroom unit.
Note that due to high demand between late December 2020 and mid-January 2021 many dates for this on-campus service are sold out.
UBC is listed as one of the institutions with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan, so most UBC students can now travel to Canada if they have the required documents. See the updated Travelling to Canada Guide for details on who can travel, confirming your health insurance coverage, making self-isolation plans, and what documents to prepare for your arrival.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and other government departments are constantly revising their policies. We encourage you to visit International Student Advising’s COVID-19 FAQs for important considerations.
As we end this year, we send you our warmest wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season and new year ahead.
Dean & Vice-Provost
On behalf of all at G+PS
Winter Term 1 is less than a couple of months away, and we and those at all levels at UBC, continue to work to find ways to alleviate the challenges you face, and to ensure a productive year of grad studies. We encourage you once again to remain in close contact with your programs and supervisors so that they are fully aware of your current needs and circumstances.
We have a series of small updates to share with you. Please note that this information has also been added to the COVID-19 FAQ section on our website. Visit this website over the next few weeks and months for the most up-to-date COVID-19 related information for graduate students.
You may be wondering what life on campus will look like in September. We encourage you to consult the information on the operation of on-campus services and resources. As restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 continue to be lifted, we encourage you to refer to question A.12 of our FAQ for general information on student services, sports facilities, UBC Library, food services, and more. Please consult individual services websites for additional details.
Resumption of research activities
The Office of the VP, Research & Innovation (VPRI) consulted with Faculties and units across our campuses to inform the phased resumption of on-campus research, scholarship and creative activities, in line with public health guidance.
Faculties are now implementing their plans for stage 1 of on-campus research resumption and will soon begin stage 2. Refer to question A.13 of our FAQ for details on the gradual reopening of research facilities, including information on Behavioural Research Ethics.
Cancellation of student mobility programs
After careful consideration, UBC is extending the cancellation of all student travel for university purposes until 31 December 2020. This includes graduate student travel for international research, professional placements and conference attendance. Please see the attached message from the Office of the Vice-Provost, International, for more information.
If you planned on travelling abroad during Winter Term 1, you are encouraged to work with your program to explore alternatives to international travel. If this is not possible, you may request special authorization to travel through the Student Safety Abroad program. Question A.14 in our FAQ provides additional details.
The new Transit Subsidy Program allows for eligible students that use public transit to receive partial credit when they purchase a Translink monthly pass in July or August. The subsidy is not available retroactively for the month of June. Through this program, students with financial need would end up paying the same amount for a Monthly Pass as they would have for the UPass ($42.50), and the difference would be subsidized by the AMS/GSS/UBC as credit towards their tuition. Due to limited resources, eligibility is determined based on financial need.
To apply, students must fill out the U-Pass Subsidy Form.
UBC is currently considering options to ensure student access to affordable transportation by the start of Winter Term 1.
Athletic & Recreation fees
Please note that fees that contribute to UBC Athletics & Recreation are not payment for facility access or membership; they provide funding that is vital to the continued operation of sport facilities and delivery of recreation programs both at present and when the university returns to regular operations.
To alleviate financial stress, the A&R fee for 2020 Winter Term 1 will be deferred until Winter Term 2. Please note that in the Student Services Centre (SSC) this fee is currently shown. You can disregard this. Deferment will take effect by August 31, and you will see this reflected in the SSC then. If you have already paid the A&R fee for Winter Term 1, the amount will be credited towards your next term.
In addition, the AMS Athletics and Intramural fee of $21 will not be assessed in 2020W.
Tuition is vital to maintaining the academic continuity and operations of UBC and providing the range of supports students require now and when we are able to transition to more in-person learning. UBC’s commitment to providing quality learning experiences and services has not changed as we adapt to current circumstances and offer new modalities of delivery to keep you, your fellow students, faculty, and staff safe during COVID-19. Given this and the commitment to increased student financial assistance, tuition rates will remain and be assessed, as approved by the Board of Governors in December 2019.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
We would like to remind you of two extensions that have been granted with regards to Summer Term 1, in response to COVID-19.
Summer Term 1 tuition deadline
Enrolment Services has extended the Summer Term 1 tuition deadline to June 15, 2020. In the SSC, the payment deadline will still show as May 13, 2020 (to reduce the course and registration impacts), but students can disregard this.
Adding/dropping Summer Term 1 courses
The course add/drop date is May 15. For 2020 Summer Term 1 only, UBC has extended the drop deadline by one week to May 22, to allow you more time to evaluate the online course format. This extension will not apply to Summer Term 2. If you need to drop a course between May 16 and May 22, please contact your graduate program office by email and provide your student number and the course information (subject code, course number, and section) for the course(s) you wish to drop without a W on your transcript. The last day to add a course for Summer Term 1, or to switch your registration between credit and audit, remains May 15 and the last day to drop a course for Summer Term 1 with a W on your transcript remains May 29. You can find out more about drop deadlines and tuition refund amounts for summer session on students.ubc.ca.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
We are aware that many of you are experiencing especially difficult challenges right now, and many at the university have been working continuously to find ways to alleviate some of the financial burdens you face. Today, we are happy to announce the implementation of two UBC initiatives to provide funding support to graduate students.
The first is an enhanced Graduate Student Emergency Bursary, overseen by Enrolment Services, for which all graduate students (domestic and international) registered for the May-August 2020 session are eligible to apply. This is a needs-based financial support program for the period of May through August 2020, and entails a streamlined application process. The emergency bursary funding is intended to help fill the gap after all other supports are considered, and in many cases will not cover the entire shortfall that students expect to encounter. Depending on other sources of funding and personal circumstances, funding may range from zero to approximately $3,000 for the summer term.
You can expect to receive an invitation to complete an online questionnaire that will help Enrolment Services assess your eligibility and make a funding decision. These invitations will be sent on a staggered schedule in the coming week to help Enrolment Services Advisors manage the volume of submissions.
Secondly, the President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award recognizes the significant contributions of PhD students to the research activities of the university. This is an ongoing award, starting in the 2020 summer term, which will be provided to all PhD students except those who have their tuition paid by an external sponsor. For the first year of its implementation, the award amount will be equivalent to 17% of students’ tuition; in the case of international students, the tuition amount will be determined after deduction of the International Tuition Award. The first instalment of the awards will be automatically assigned by mid-May 2020; students do not need to apply. For further information, please visit: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/awards/presidents-academic-excellence-initiative-phd-award.
As we navigate through this difficult time, we are continuing to explore other means to support graduate students, and will keep you informed as updates become available.
Kate Ross, Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services and Registrar
Susan Porter, Dean and Vice-Provost, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
I and many others have been thinking continuously about you over this difficult time, and I sincerely hope that this finds you and your loved ones well and managing as best you can. Since my last letter we, and those at all levels at UBC including your fellow students, have continued to work tirelessly to identify the complexities of this unprecedented situation and to consider means to alleviate the challenges many face. Please bear with us as we weigh the innumerable ‘unknowns’ and make decisions that may affect the university for years to come.
At the end of this letter, you will find updates from our office and elsewhere of the many resources and actions that have been taken so far to support graduate students.
While we have heard of the experiences of many students through their programs, we would also like to hear directly from you. To facilitate that, we will be working with your Faculties in the near future to arrange or to join pre-arranged virtual town halls of graduate students. I and my colleagues in the G+PS office very much look forward to engaging with you more directly in this way.
As we as a community and society navigate this time together, I am constantly struck by the ways it has changed the way we think, relate to one another, and perceive the world. I genuinely believe it will change us, and reshape our approaches to graduate education and higher scholarship in many ways. It is clear that the learning you are engaged in now is more important than ever. I wish those at every stage of their programs the very best.
Dean and Vice-Provost,
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
- The G+PS website COVID-19 FAQ is constantly being updated with information and resources.
- Please also see the site for all UBC students, students.ubc.ca/covid19, that has further information on financial assistance, government assistance eligibility criteria, and various student services.
- On Monday, April 6, we updated programs with changes to important deadlines affecting graduate students, including those pertaining to dissertation submission, graduation application, and final grade submission by instructors and/or programs. To view these dates, visit the Announcement section on our COVID-19 FAQ page.
Summer Term 2
- In light of the ongoing situation, and in continued support of physical distancing, UBC announced on April 17, 2020 that Summer Term 2 courses (July 6 - Aug. 13) at UBC Vancouver, UBC Okanagan and UBC Robson Square will also be online. Read this announcement in full.
- Please note again that Enrolment Services has extended the Summer Term 1 tuition deadline to June 15, 2020. In the SSC, the payment deadline will still show as May 13, 2020 (to reduce the course and registration impacts), but students can disregard this.
- A reminder that both domestic and international students who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) are strongly encouraged to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. All emergency funding requests/applications should go through Enrolment Services.
- If you are a graduate student who cannot do the work required by your program because of limited access to a computer, the Vancouver campus has a small supply of loaner laptops that may be available to you. These are basic laptops, meant to be returned at a later date. Alternatively, Enrolment Services will offer up to $350 in the support of new technology, in lieu of the loner laptops. Other small costs such as a webcam or a month's worth of internet fees may also be covered. Enrolment Services will apply discretion if appropriate, to go over the $350 cap, on a case by case.
- Eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program continues to be clarified.The program is intended to provide temporary income support ($500 a week for up to 16 weeks) for those who stopped working because of COVID-19. To be eligible, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number. Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents - including international students - may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.
- UBC Counselling Services and Student Health & Wellbeing are organizing online support group sessions for graduate students focused on staying connected and drawing on resilience for managing this challenging time. Register for sessions on Thursdays, from April 16 to May 28, at 2:00 p.m. PST for an hour.
- In addition to the mental health services and resources available to students that we communicated in a previous message, the provincial government has announced a new mental health service available for BC post-secondary students. Here2Talk provides all students currently registered in a BC post-secondary institution with access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone, and web.
See the G+PS website for updated virtual professional development opportunities. To stay informed on upcoming online workshops, services, and resources, subscribe to GradUpdate weekly emails or follow us on Twitter @UBCGradSchool.
During these unprecedented times, we recognize the importance of continued and regular communication.
In the coming weeks, through the period of remote work and research curtailment, and then as needed in the subsequent period to address ongoing concerns, I will be sending out weekly updates on behalf of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies on COVID-19-related issues and developments.
We, and those at all levels at UBC, continue to work to find ways to alleviate the challenges you face, and we encourage you to remain in close contact with your programs and supervisors so that they are fully aware of your current needs and circumstances.
Since my last email on Friday, March 27, 2020, there has been a series of updates to our COVID-19 FAQ. Please also see the newly established site for all UBC students, students.ubc.ca/covid19, with information and resources on financial assistance, government assistance eligibility criteria, and various student services.
- UBC has extended remote work arrangements and on-campus research curtailment until the end of April, when the situation will be reassessed, based on information about COVID-19, and in conjunction with our government and health stakeholders. Visit the VPRI website for more information on research curtailments.
- The Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) has created a page on their website providing information on UBC behavioural guidance during the COVID-19 research restrictions. Please be aware that, as the current situation is very fluid, the interim policies communicated may change. Should you have any questions about these policies or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact Jean Ruiz, Sr. Research Ethics Analyst at email@example.com at the UBC Vancouver Campus. Visit the Clinical Research Ethics Board (CREB) website for guidance around clinical research ethics during COVID-19.
- For those in research-based programs, we want to reiterate that while we recognize research projects for many have been put on hold for diverse reasons, we encourage you and your supervisor(s) to explore other opportunities for furthering your research, academic progress, and/or professional development throughout this time of curtailment. We have added suggestions to our General FAQ. As noted in the last email, we also realize that progress is very challenging for many, with unanticipated commitments and circumstances that prevent your full attention to your studies. Please remember, then, that we have effectively extended times to reach milestones, such as program completion and doctoral comprehensive exams, by at least one term.
- Students in Winter Residence
Students who are unable to leave residence may continue to stay in residence for the duration of their contract (up to April 30, 2020). If you believe you require housing following the end of your contract, please apply immediately for summer stay through.
- Students in Year-Round Residence
Year Round Residences remain open. UBC is currently in the process of sending new contracts for 2020-2021. Students will be able to stay in residence beyond the end of their current contract if they have accepted a new contract for May 2020-April 2021.
Please be assured that UBC, in keeping with recent provincial government directives, will not apply the annual rent increase that typically occurs in May. To be clear, rent in year-round and summer residences will not be increased; 2019-20 contract rates will continue to apply until further notice.
- Leaves of absence and housing eligibility
If you’re a graduate student in Winter Session and might take a COVID-19 related leave of absence during the summer, you are eligible for summer stay-through in Fairview Crescent. Please ensure you apply by April 12 as Student Housing can guarantee you will receive an offer if you apply by this date. You can apply through your UBC Student Housing Online Services Centre.
Students also have the option to sublet from a student with a Year Round Residence Contract. Information regarding sublet guidelines and application process as well as a link to a sublet forum can be found here.
If you’re a graduate student in Year Round Residence and might take a COVID-19 related leave of absence during the summer, you will not need to move out of UBC residence, if you continue to be eligible for Year Round Residence for the following fall. In this case, you will be able to simply accept a new Year Round Residence Contract and stay in your residence. Students living in Year Round residences are not required to be studying full-time during the summer months. Any leave that is COVID-19 related won’t impact your eligibility.
Otherwise, summer stay-through, or subletting from a Year Round resident who has signed a new contract offer, would be an option for students in this situation that are not eligible for a new Year Round Residence Contract. Please note that, if you have not already done so, student families residing in Acadia Park that will not continue to be eligible in the fall but need accommodation past April 30, should contact Student Family Housing as soon as possible to discuss continued accommodation in their residence through to August.
If you will be completing your graduate program by April 30, but cannot leave Canada due to travel restrictions, you will be able to get temporary accommodation in Summer Residence at Fairview Crescent provided you apply by April 12. You also have the option to look for a sublet. Please get in touch with UBC Student Housing at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to live in Summer Residence and did not live in a UBC student residence during the 2019-2020 academic year.
- Enrolment Services has extended the Summer Term 1 tuition deadline to June 15, 2020. In the SSC, the payment deadline will still show as May 13, 2020 (to reduce the course and registration impacts), but students can disregard this.
- Both domestic and international students who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) are strongly encouraged to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. Emergency bursaries are available, and consultation will also help the University to understand the scope and kind of need that exists.
- If you stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. To be eligible, you must reside in Canada and have a valid Social Insurance Number. Workers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – including temporary foreign workers and international students – may be eligible to receive the Benefit if they meet the other eligibility requirements. For more information, visit the Government of Canada website.
- Visit the Student Services website to find out if you’re eligible for resources from the Government of Canada, Government of BC and the City of Vancouver.
- CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC now have sections on their respective websites to inform the research community of any changes to their programs and policies due to COVID-19.
Support for international students:
- If you are a graduate student who has had to take a leave due to COVID-19, you can still work as in a regular academic term, meaning no more than 20 hours a week off campus and unlimited hours on campus. Given that summer is not a “scheduled break” for graduate students, you cannot work full-time but can work part-time, as you would in a regular academic term if the leave is due to COVID-19.
- Students on an approved gap in studies, which includes graduate leaves of absence, can remain in Canada. For details, please review the International Student Guide.
- If your study permit expires soon, please apply for renewal as early as possible. The waiting period is usually 120 days, but could be longer due to COVID-19. You must submit your study permit extension application before your study permit becomes invalid.
- The current situation can cause stress and anxiety as well as a sense of isolation. We encourage you to stay in contact with family and friends, and to connect with your UBC peers through digital social events, virtual writing groups, and other online sessions. For example, the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication is continuing to offer writing consultations and to host an online writing community on Tuesdays (9-11 am) and Wednesdays (2-4 pm), and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology continues to plan and offer programs for graduate students.
- As always, please avail yourselves of the many resources that are available to support students during this difficult time. For a list of mental health resources, visit the students.ubc.ca website.
- See the G+PS website for numerous virtual professional development opportunities. To stay informed on upcoming online workshops, services, and resources, subscribe to GradUpdate weekly emails or follow us on Twitter @UBCGradSchool.
- Remember that the COVID-19 FAQ provides information on a range of issues related to graduate students and programs in light of Covid-19.
With best wishes to you,
Dean & Vice Provost,
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
These are unprecedented times for our generation, and the uncertainty and upheaval they are causing are especially difficult to navigate when it is the health and wellbeing of so many that are at stake.
I'm writing on behalf of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to let you know that we are aware that many of you are experiencing especially difficult challenges right now – in your personal circumstances, your research, and your academic work – and to assure you that we, and those at all levels at UBC, are working extremely hard to find ways to alleviate the challenges you face. You may find that some of your concerns and questions are addressed on our website, and I encourage you to visit it: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/covid-19.
Briefly, the following are the measures that we and the University are taking to date:
- As courses and assessments go online, we realize that this can entail many uncertainties. Your instructors have the capacity to alter the grading schemes or standing options for current courses if necessary, and requests for concessions are always available to you. In concordance with the Senate, we are also delaying the deadline for grade submission. The Assessment FAQ shows details sent to grad programs and course instructors; please connect with your course instructors for details regarding your own course(s) if you have not already heard from them.
- We understand that interruptions in your ability to progress in your programs, whether because of personal circumstances, research curtailment, or other issues, may result in delayed completion of your program. We will therefore effectively extend deadlines for milestones (e.g. candidacy) and program completion by at least one term. Although process details of this are still being determined, please be assured that we will eliminate justification requirements for extensions related to the current situation.
- Final doctoral exams are successfully proceeding completely online, and will continue as such as long as necessary.
- There will be a slight delay only in the granting of degrees, however the graduation ceremony has been indefinitely postponed.
- We appreciate that some of you may decide to take a leave of absence for some period in the near future. While this may be feasible for some, please note that leaves come with certain restrictions, especially in terms of funding and student employment as outlined in our general FAQ.
- We realize that research projects for many have been put on hold for diverse reasons. We encourage you and your supervisor(s) to explore other opportunities for furthering your research and academic progress throughout this time of curtailment, while also planning ahead for how to proceed when the curtailment eases. Examples of such opportunities and suggestions for practices that promote effective continuity of supervision and academic progress have been compiled and are being sent to supervisors. Please view a copy of this message in our announcements. We, and the University and research community more broadly, are continuing to deliberate on the longer term ramifications and potential mitigating strategies of research curtailment.
The current situation is naturally causing significant stress and anxiety for many. At the same time, there is much to be grateful for in our current environment, including the many people across UBC and beyond stepping up to make the situation better. The following are among the resources available to you now:
- Mental health support, including Student Health Services and Counselling Services, continue to be provided (virtually). Please review other related student services.
- There are also numerous resources on enhancing wellbeing in the current environment at the above sites. One example is the Wellness Centre Online, a space for engaging in topics relevant to student wellbeing. Students can self-enrol.
While we haven’t yet determined the most effective ways to ease the burdens many of you face, we are exploring a range of options. We will keep you informed as measures are taken, and are also communicating with programs to better learn what is needed. Please note the following:
- Be assured that all major University-wide multi-year scholarships will continue to be paid throughout the eligibility period.
- If you are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) we strongly encourage you to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. An advisor will assess your financial situation and provide the best course of action for you. It may not be possible for Enrolment Services to provide immediate support in all circumstances, but meeting with an advisor will also enable the University to gather a clearer picture of the needs that exist and to direct its financial support resources more effectively.
- Indigenous graduate students with inquiries or issues with financial difficulties/distress should contact an Indigenous Enrolment Services Advisor. The Indigenous ESA Team can be reached at email@example.com
- We are reviewing information about the support offered by the federal and provincial governments, to understand what may be applicable to graduate students - recognizing that these supports may help some, but certainly not all, students who require financial support.
Support for international students
We know many of our international graduate students may have questions about returning to Canada, your options to stay in Canada, traveling abroad, completing your studies, and working in Canada. To help answer some of these questions, International Student Advising (ISA) has recently published an FAQ on the UBC International Student Guide. If you have any questions not addressed in the FAQ, we encourage you to reach out to ISA directly. Please note that although ISA is not providing in-person services at this time, they will continue to advise students by email (include your student number): firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many UBC units have moved their workshops and one-to-one advising online. This may be an opportune time for many to make use of these helpful resources. The following are a few key links.
- The G+PS professional development site lists many upcoming virtual workshops and events hosted by units across and outside UBC. To help stay informed on upcoming online workshops, services, and resources, subscribe to or follow GradUpdate weekly emails and @ubcgradschool on Twitter.
- The Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication is continuing to offer writing consultations and to host an online writing community on Tuesdays (9-11 am) and Wednesdays (2-4 pm).
- The Centre for Student Involvement and Careers has online career advising.
As new information and opportunities arise in the coming days and weeks, we will communicate them to you. In the meantime, I encourage you all to look after yourselves and others. Please know that your sustainment, wellbeing, and ongoing scholarly formation are our first priorities throughout this challenging time.
With best wishes to you,
Dean & Vice Provost,
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
A) FAQ - General
Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we have closed the G+PS office to the public but staff continue to maintain operations. Following UBC’s recommendation to implement remote working arrangements for faculty, staff, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and student employees, many G+PS staff may be working remotely and there may be a delay in service as a result. Faculty, staff, and current students should direct inquiries to email@example.com and prospective students should direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding award funding can be directed to email@example.com.
If you cannot find an answer on our website, you are welcome to submit an enquiry through the Contact Us form. Make sure to provide all the pertinent information for our teams to respond. Appointments are offered as deemed necessary based on the nature of the enquiry. We currently do not accept in-person walk-ins to our office.
Please visit the Student Services website to find information on supports and resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many students may be developing feelings of fear, stress, worry and isolation – these feelings are natural when facing threats that are beyond our control. Everyone reacts differently to these feelings and they can be overwhelming for some. It is important to understand that if you need help in coping with these feelings, there are resources available. Below are articles and resources that will guide you in managing your mental health.
Taking care of your mental health during the outbreak
- Psychology Today – How to stay emotionally healthy during the coronavirus outbreak
- World Health Organization – Mental health considerations developed by the Mental Health Department as support for mental and psychological well-being during COVID-19 outbreak
- Canadian Mental Health Association - Coronavirus: managing stress & anxiety
- Anxiety Canada - What to do if you’re anxious or worried about coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Foundry BC – Tips for when the news stresses you out
Other resources available online or on the phone to support your mental health
UBC Counselling Services Counselling Services will be offering appointments by phone during the COVID-19 outbreak. Students can call Counselling Services, 604 822 3811, to schedule an appointment by phone.
- Aspiria - free, 24/7 wellness resource for students. Services include personal counselling, life coaching, group programs and more based on your needs.
- MindhealthBC - Take a quick online assessment on your mental health and get resources for a variety of related concerns.
- Here to Help - help you find quality information, learn new skills, and connect with key resources in BC
- HealthlinkBC - If you still have questions call 811 to speak with a registered nurse, or access online resources for health-related questions.
- CrisiscentreBC - If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or at risk of harm, call or chat online with a crisis responder any time
- TAO - Manage your well-being with tools on stress, relationship problems, substance use, and more. Register with a UBC email, which you can set up for free.
- Here2Talk - Provides all students currently registered in a BC post-secondary institution with access to free, confidential counselling and community referral services, conveniently available 24/7 via app, phone, and web.
- Group counselling programs - Online programs are available for you during COVID-19.
- More information on how to take care of your health and wellbeing can be found at https://students.ubc.ca/health
We appreciate that this is a very stressful time and we want to reassure you that UBC is here to support you. All necessary steps are being taken, in conjunction with and in consultation with our health agency partners, in order to protect the health and safety of all of our students and the entire community. Your health and wellbeing is our priority.
If you have any further questions regarding any of the information you have received, please do not hesitate to reach out to:
Dr Marna Nelson
Director UBC Student Health Service
The Offices of Research Ethics on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses have resumed in-person behavioural research in alignment with updates from the BC Public Health Officer. Note that UBC researchers (Faculty, Staff and Students) are now required to be vaccinated before embarking on in-person research, and additional restrictions due to COVID may be implemented.
If you are beginning or resuming in-person reach, visit the Office of Research Ethics website to learn how your research may be affected.
Referring to the UBC policy on Academic Concessions, requests for academic concession may be made to the instructor of the student’s course, their graduate supervisor or graduate advisor for their graduate program. If you are registered with the Centre for Accessibility, please consult your Accessibility Advisor in addition to your course instructor and/or supervisor. Requests for the below noted academic concessions, upon approval and submission of the request form by your program, will be processed by G+PS as normal. Please note there may be delays in processing times due to remote working arrangements.
UPDATE: Pandemic-related extensions to program and candidacy will still be considered, however requests must now be made in accordance with applicable pre-existing policies and accompanied by all necessary documentation. Requests submitted without justification or supporting documentation will not be considered.
- Master’s students: Initial program duration is five years
- Doctoral students/Candidates: Initial program duration is six years
Due to COVID-19, G+PS will approve requests from graduate programs for one term of extension for any of their students without further justification or supporting documentation normally required. Students seeking such an extension should contact their graduate program to initiate such a request.
Due to COVID-19, G+PS will approve requests from graduate programs for one term of extension to reach candidacy for any of their students without further justification or supporting documentation normally required. Students seeking such an extension should contact their graduate program to initiate such a request.
Please visit the UBC Childcare FAQ.
We encourage you to consult the information on the operation of on-campus services and resources. As restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 continue to be lifted, we encourage you to consult individual services websites for additional details.
Many UBC student services, including health and wellbeing, academics and advising and student engagement, are currently offering their services online or over the phone instead of in-person. Find out how to access them.
Due to popular demand, several locations have re-opened for takeout only, including The Point, Mercante, Tim Hortons Forestry, Starbucks Bookstore, Corner Store, and Harvest Market. See the list of open eateries on campus.
Many library branches have re-opened, providing bookable study spaces, desktop computers, printing and scanning services. Non-medical masks are required. Visit the Library's Hours portal for information on locations and hours.
A number of online resources are available to current students. You should review off-campus access using EZproxy protocols before trying to connect to any of the library’s online resources from off-campus or use the new browser extension. Computers using a UBC wired or wireless network connection are automatically authenticated.
In addition, the Library has launched an on-campus pick-up service to enable UBC students, faculty and staff to access items in the collection that are not available in electronic formats. To learn more, visit the Library website.
For the latest information, visit the relevant website below:
Museum of Anthropology
Find out about the new visiting procedures and how to pre-book your ticket online. UBC students, faculty, and staff receive free admission but must pre-book a timed-entry ticket online, and present a valid UBC photo ID at the point of entry.
New health and safety measures have been put in place to ensure the wellbeing of guests, members, and staff. As a result, entry to UBC Botanical Garden will require booking in advance. Nitobe Memorial Garden and the Greenheart TreeWalk are both now closed for the season. Learn more.
As some of you prepare for classes in an online learning environment, we encourage you to visit the Keep Learning website, which shares resources on how to learn more effectively, understanding technologies used at UBC and taking care of yourself.
Getting to and around campus
You can get to UBC by car, bus or bike. Public transit is recommended: it’s efficient, inexpensive, good for the environment—and you can bring a bike on transit to help speed your travels across campus. Use the Trip Planning feature on the Translink website to find the most efficient routing from anywhere in the Metro Vancouver region. If you do drive, there are many parking options at UBC.
Once here, there are several options for getting around campus—you can walk, bike and for longer distances there are convenient and accessible shuttle buses to get you where you need to go. Find more information on how to get around campus.
If you have a temporary or permanent condition that limits your mobility, the Accessibility Shuttle can help you get around areas of campus that can only be reached on foot. The shuttle is a free, shared-ride service; you can book up to three trips a day. Each building in the service area is within 100 meters of a shuttle stop.
Research activities on campus have resumed. Please visit the UBC COVID-19 Safety plans for information.
Students planning to travel are encouraged to consult with UBC's Student Safety Abroad team, and review the travel advice provided by Global Affairs Canada.
All students traveling for UBC activity are required to register their travel on UBC's Student Safety Abroad Registry and have appropriate travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. This includes programs such as exchange, co-op, student research visits, practicums and conference attendance outside of Canada.
While the Government of Canada has lifted the global travel advisory related to COVID-19, students are still advised to review any travel advice from Global Affairs, as travel advisories and bans will be issued on a country-by-country basis. If travelling to a location where a travel advisory is in place, the student is required to request special authorization to travel through the Student Safety Abroad program. To receive authorization you must demonstrate that the trip is academically essential and present a well-developed safety plan. Please visit the Student Safety Abroad website to learn more about this process. If there are questions about this process please refer to firstname.lastname@example.org. UBC will continue to monitor the situation and government directives as they evolve, sharing any updates on student international travel as they become available.
Faculty, staff and students in Vancouver who are looking for childcare support in their homes can post a request on the CareersOnline job board, which is available to match diploma and certificate students in the Faculty of Education’s Early Childhood Education program (who are experienced caregivers and have current criminal record checks). To use this service, faculty, staff and students can create an employer profile on CareersOnline, using an UBC email address. Once your employer account is approved, you can create a job posting with a description of the position, salary/wage, and qualifications. Select “Education/Teaching” as your preferred degree/discipline to indicate you are looking for Early Childhood Education students. Please see the tip sheet for items of consideration when posting a childcare job.
As of September 7, 2021, most library branches have reopened across both campuses. For more information on the services available, visit their website.
UBC Library provides bookable study space for students, faculty and staff in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Monday through Saturday. This space will include access to desktop computers, printing and scanning and be organized to ensure safe physical distancing at all times. See the Hours Portal for up-to-date information.
Visit the UBC Library website for more information.
Effective August 25, 2021, non-medical masks are required for all indoor public areas at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan, including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms and labs. Everyone in the UBC community is expected to follow the COVID-19 Campus Rules when on UBC campuses. Further details regarding the mask policy and its implementation will be posted online before September 16.
For more information on the use of non-medical masks, you can also visit the Safety and Risk Services website. If you are a student needing an exemption from wearing a mask, please visit the Student Services website for information.
As part of UBC’s commitment to the health and safety of our community, and the responsibility we all share in preventing COVID-19 transmission, students, faculty, staff or visitors are required to follow UBC’s COVID-19 Campus Rules when on campus, such as assessing yourself daily for COVID-19 symptoms and following signage and floor markings when moving around premises.
You are also asked to adopt public health measures such as staying home if sick, maintaining physical distance wherever possible, and frequent hand hygiene regardless of non-medical mask usage.
Lastly, UBC strongly encourages all community members to get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus.
Please follow campus health safety rules before you visit campus, and consult the Returning to campus page on the Student Services Centre website.
Effective August 25, 2021, non-medical masks are required for all indoor public areas at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan, including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms and labs. Everyone in the UBC community is expected to follow the COVID-19 Campus Rules when on UBC campuses.
Further, UBC has implemented rapid COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A process for confidential self-disclosure of vaccination status has been implemented. Visit https://rapidtesting.covid19.ubc.ca.
AA) FAQ - Prospective students
Application and admissions
GRE and GRE at home tests are now more broadly available, including China and Iran. Please verify that your selected program really does require GRE by:
- Checking the website of the selected program for COVID-19-related application updates.
- Contacting the program to which you are applying:
- Current applicants: Contact information is in the auto-response you received after your application was successfully submitted.
- Prospective applicants: The Program Enquiries link is on the right-hand side of each individual program profile.
If the GRE test is required by your selected program, then missing the test may disadvantage your application.
Students who enter their program with good English language skills are far more likely to succeed; they experience far less stress and get greater enjoyment and fulfillment from their studies. An application with strong English Language Proficiency (ELP) test scores will have an advantage over one without.
Currently, there is a wide variety of official, accepted, ELP tests available around the world via IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, or CAEL. Please visit our page on English Proficiency Requirements for more information as well as a list of all accepted tests
We are currently accepting one alternative ELP test, the TOEFL at home test. We are not accepting the IELTS Indicator or the DET through Duolingo.
Due to the importance placed on English language skills, as noted above, there are no exemptions offered at this time. As in the past few months, we are closely monitoring the testing situation around the world. Should the situation change to a point where applicants are barred from taking an accepted English test, UBC will re-evaluate this decision.
Please note that our standard policy already allows for waivers in cases where students studied and received a degree in an English-language university (i.e. the language of instruction was English in the institution as a whole). Other than this existing provision, UBC does not support language waivers due to the availability of language tests in centres around the world and the outlined benefits to students of documented, strong language skills to succeed in our programs.
Graduate programs at UBC are aware of the shifts in grading that affected transcripts in the spring of 2020. Upon application, your transcript will be assessed on what is available, and many programs are taking a more holistic approach to application review this year. In other words, a statement of intent, resume, and other activities/achievements may weigh more heavily with evaluators.
We encourage applicants to carefully consider their choice of Referees for recommendation letters. By selecting a referee that can speak to your performance in a particular course or term might, in large measure, fill the gap left by a Pass standing.
It may help to keep in mind that a large number of applicants will, to a greater or lesser extent have had their academic path disrupted by COVID-19. Graduate programs are aware that many applications will have been affected by circumstances that were entirely beyond the control of the applicants. You might want to outline any challenges encountered due to COVID at appropriate places in the application so that the program can take this into consideration.
Carefully consider your Referees and ask them to speak to the co-curricular or research experiences that were curtailed by COVID-19. If Referees are willing to speak to your academic potential and likelihood of success in these foregone activities, this information will be helpful to your application, and as a result, to evaluators and potential supervisors.
While this may be a possibility, by reviewing your application thoroughly, and making sure it draws attention to the skills, experiences, and potential you could bring to graduate school at UBC despite the incompletions, this risk can be greatly minimized. We encourage you to outline your original plans, how COVID impacted your plans, and what you have been able to accomplish instead to support your application as part of your answers to application questions where appropriate.
Please also keep in mind that, even in non-COVID-19 years, the number of applications to UBC graduate programs always exceed the number of seats available. Meeting the minimum requirements is not a guarantee of admission.
Each entry under the Academic History section of the application must include pdf copies of official, up-to-date, transcripts for all current and previous post-secondary study.
For the application process, a proper digital transcript is not required. If your institution is willing to provide you with an official transcript as an email attachment that will not have a negative effect on your application.
UBC does not accept applications without transcripts.
Currently, UBC is receiving paper and/or official digital transcripts from around the world. However, if your institution is incapable of providing official transcripts, we encourage you to carefully consider whether it is in your best interest to apply at this time.
UBC does not accept applications without transcripts.
This is an unprecedented moment in the history of the world. As such, we cannot predict what admissions numbers will be like in this application cycle. To date, admission numbers have been strong and new student feedback on the online orientation, resources, and classes has been positive.
In terms of competition, there will be variation across graduate units. Applicants are encouraged to consult the website of their selected program. COVID-19 is a rapidly changing landscape. UBC and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are connected to other institutions in Canada and around the world to ensure we are receiving the latest updates on how COVID-19 is affecting higher education, and relaying this to our program faculty and staff.
campus, community and research
As restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 continue to be lifted, we encourage you to consult individual services websites for additional details. For more information on campus life at UBCV, refer to question A.12 of our COVID-19 FAQ.
Please visit the UBC COVID-19 Safety plans for information on the resumption of research on campus.
Due to physical distancing protocol, and online delivery, face-to-face interactions between students have been impacted. Graduate students are still very active on our dedicated intranet, where they can discuss topics ranging from general tips about life in Vancouver, to accommodation, to professional development offerings, to making friends. The Graduate Student Society as well as many university support services are working hard to provide opportunities for students to connect and engage with each other and university services. This includes online chat channels, virtual speed friending, online game nights and similar.
UBC is returning to on-campus activity for Winter Session, Term 1, with the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and public health teams in the health authorities.
The health and wellbeing of our UBC community remain our first priority. As such, we are embarking on further planning, in collaboration with public health, to accommodate more on-campus activities. We will also be streamlining the COVID-19 Safety Plan process, informed by new COVID-19 Go-Forward Guidelines for BC’s Post-Secondary Sector, which will be provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.
As a reminder, you are also encouraged to review the UBC COVID-19 Campus Rules.
Please visit the UBC COVID-19 Safety plans for information on the resumption of research on campus.
If you're an international student with questions on immigration, health insurance and the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), visit this FAQ page on the students.ubc.ca website. UBC has created the Travelling to Canada guide to help you understand if you are eligible to travel, and what to prepare if you plan to travel.
AAA) FAQ - Return to campus
As UBC returns to on-campus instruction and activities this fall, a series of FAQs have been compiled to support our students, faculty and staff. Please visit the Campus Return Plan page on the UBC COVID-19 website for a full list of questions. The Student Services website has general information for all UBC students returning to campus.
Yes. Based on current guidance from provincial and regional public health authorities, UBC is planning for a return to on-campus activity for Winter Session, Term 1. Updates regarding the Winter Session Term 2 course schedule for Faculties, on-campus activities, and various orientation activities will be provided as we approach course registration periods.
Learn more about course delivery options at the Vancouver campus: https://students.ubc.ca/enrolment/courses/2021-22-winter-session-courses
You can also visit the Campus Return Plan section of this site for more information.
The Offices of Research Ethics on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses have updated their guidance and have resumed in-person behavioural research.
To learn how your research may be affected, please review this webpage.
Please visit the International Student Guide for the latest updates on travel and quarantine requirements for international students.
For students who are travelling with families and have children under the age of 12 who cannot be vaccinated, children are not required to quarantine. However, children may not attend school, camp or day care for 14 days after entering Canada.
As of January 15, 2022, international students and work permit holders must be fully vaccinated to travel to Canada. Exceptions will include international students under the age of 18 studying at approved institutions such as UBC.
B) FAQ - Newly Admitted Students
For general resources and tips for all students, from navigating academics online to making friends virtually, check out the New to UBC guide at students.ubc.ca/welcome.
Based on current guidance from provincial and regional public health authorities, UBC has returned to on-campus activity for Winter Session, Term 1. Updates regarding the fall course schedule for Faculties, on-campus activities, and various orientation activities will be provided as we approach course registration periods for Summer Session and the 2022/23 academic year.
UBC is now receiving both paper and digital transcripts from around the world and students are expected to provide official documentation to meet their condition of admission for official documentation prior to their start date. You must meet the initial requirement for official documents prior to commencing your program. Eligibility to register will be suspended until required documentation has been received and processed.
Exceptions to this requirement will be assessed on a case-by-case basis based on the COVID-19 situation and information received from individual institutions.
Registration open dates are announced on the Student Services Registration site.
Yes. As soon as you are admitted to UBC, you should apply online for an initial study permit so that you are in the queue for processing. After you apply, you may be asked to submit biometrics (photo and fingerprints), which might not be possible to do right now, but we are confident that Immigration will account for these delays and will process study permits as quickly as possible.
For questions or concerns about impact of COVID-19 on your or your dependents’ (spouse or children) immigration application, please contact International Student Advisors in UBC International Student Advising Office at email@example.com and one of International Student advisors will be able to assist you. Please input your UBC student ID number in the subject line of your email inquiry to avoid delays in response time.
Due to the fluid nature of the situation, please contact the International Student Advising Office, rather than your supervisor or graduate program, for up-to-date information pertaining to your immigration application.
We also strongly encourage all new international graduate students to visit the International Student Guide: https://students.ubc.ca/international-student-guide.
If you have not received your study permit and/or you are impacted by travel restrictions, please contact your department's graduate program administrator to discuss the possibility of starting your program late or deferring your start date. Review the last day to add/drop courses without a "withdrawal" standing on your transcript and ensure that you drop courses via your Student Service Centre (SSC) in time for your tuition, iMED, UPASS and other fees to be removed from your account.
Go Global currently does not have a time frame for when the online applications will reopen. Information about upcoming programs are available on the Go Global FAQ site.
Please visit the COVID-19 FAQ page on the students.ubc.ca website for the most-up-to-date information on tuition.
With program approval, students may change the start date of their programs to within twelve months of the original start date without having to re-apply or pay an additional application fee. Each academic year has up to four possible start dates, September, January, May, and July. Not every program offers these four start dates and the most common entry date is September.
With the approval of your program office, changes in start date for the 2020-21 academic year may be accommodated. A student admitted to one academic year, for example, 2020-21, may have their admission deferred to the following academic year once and only with the approval of their program.
Usually, only a limited number of deferrals can be accommodated every year. Due to COVID-19 we expect higher demand for deferrals and will do our best to accommodate such requests. However, not all requests may be approved. Reasons that changes of start date may be declined include:
- Program does not offer the requested start date
- Program has decided not to offer changes of start date
- Supervisor is not able to wait to the new start date
There are a number of significant obstacles to UBC employing people to work while they are located outside Canada. Because teaching assistants (TAs) are considered UBC employees, those challenges apply to TAs as well. As a result, UBC has determined that students cannot be employed as TAs while they are physically located outside Canada, even if the work can be done remotely. Please consult your supervisor or program directly about questions you may have about the payment of TAs.
For graduate students who do not come to Vancouver and who have Research Assistantships, there may be an option to have their Research Assistantship funding assigned through the Student Information Services Centre (SISC) as a Graduate Research Award (GRS).
Payment of Awards
Award and GRS funding assigned through the SISC will be applied toward the student’s tuition and fees. Any excess funding (i) will remain in the student’s account until the student provides information for a Canadian bank account for electronic transfers or (ii) can be transferred to the student via international wire transfer to a bank account outside Canada. Information about requesting an international wire transfer will be provided as needed to students who do not have a Canadian bank account and who have a positive balance in their student account.
The UBCcard is your official UBC ID and library card. Whether you are on-campus or studying at a distance you are encouraged to apply for your UBCcard at your earliest opportunity.
Outside Vancouver: No matter where you’re located in the world, you can apply for your digital UBCcard. After your application is processed (which takes around 3 business days), you’ll be able to access your digital UBCcard by logging into your UBCcard account.
On-campus: This year, you’re eligible to also receive a standard physical version of your UBCcard if:
- You will be living in residence, or
- You’re registered in in-person classes
What does the UBCcard do?
- Proves your identity for a course (e.g. when writing your exams)—as needed, your profs will provide specific instructions on how to do so
- Proves your identity when picking up physical materials from a UBC Library that are not available online
- Requests discounts at particular campus food vendors (check if they’re open first!)
- Allows you to access various UBC buildings.
Other local businesses may offer discounts to those with a valid UBCcard as well.
If you are using a U-Pass on your Compass Card for transit, you are required to have the UBCcard on you when on transit.
To obtain your UBCcard you must first be registered in at least one course, and apply online. For details and to apply, please visit UBCcard. For those of you who will not physically be in Vancouver for the Winter term, you can still apply for and obtain a digital version of the UBCcard for remote access to library services.
Yes, we have orientation programming. Check orientation.grad.ubc.ca to join one of our pre-arrival webinars to help you prepare for your #UBCGradJourney.
There are many opportunities for you to meet new friends and make connections once you arrive - here are just a few opportunities among many to get connected and get involved!
Graduate Student Community Forum
Our online community allows you to meet peers from across disciplines. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now is the time. Log in and introduce yourself to meet your peers, find others with similar research interests, or browse the forums and ask a question!
The Graduate Student Society (GSS)
The GSS is the voice of UBC’s 10,000 graduate students. They provide support, help you connect, and advocate for changes that are important to you. Through the GSS you can make new friends, implement new ideas, organize events, or work to improve the lives of graduate students at UBC. Join the GSS for a huge range of events throughout the year from hiking to healthy eating and from speed-friending to thought-provoking debates.
Meet and mingle with other like-minded graduate students at one of our regularly scheduled Connections Cafés. Dates get posted in the graduate student community.
Student clubs aren’t just for undergrads! UBC’s Alma Mater Society (AMS) is home to over 350 clubs, so whether you are looking to connect with other students from the same culture or religion, are a billiards expert, or are hoping to brush up on your bicycle maintenance skills, there’s a club for you.
Graduate school is at once rigorous and fulfilling. Be sure to create balance in your life and make time for friends and activities outside your research and coursework.
Due to the Covid19 restrictions and remote working, our office has met with significant delays in receiving and processing of official documents. We understand, and regret, the anxiety caused by these unavoidable delays and have committed to processing all official transcripts before/by the registration-open date for September 2021. Keep checking your online portal for updates; below are examples of the statuses you might see in your checklist in the portal:
Admitted with conditions
Admitted with outstanding documents
C) FAQ - International students
If you're an international student with questions on immigration, work eligibility and health insurance, visit this FAQ page on the students.ubc.ca website. UBC has created a new Travelling to Canada guide to help you understand if you are eligible to travel, and what to prepare if you plan to travel.
See requirements to travel to Canada for details.
After you arrive in BC, you must apply for the BC government-run Medical Services Plan (MSP). As a new-to-UBC student, when you register for courses, UBC automatically enrolls you for the iMED temporary private health insurance to cover you during the 3-month MSP waiting period. You will need to confirm your arrival date with David Cummings Insurance Services (DCIS) to obtain your iMED card.
For more information regarding iMED coverage please visit the International Students: Immigration and Health Insurance FAQ on COVID-19.
International students who are out of the country will be able to opt out of the Health & Dental plan. They will need to provide proof that they are international students. Re-enrollment will not be allowed in the same policy year (students who choose to opt out will not be able to re-enroll in the plan until September 2021). Opt-out periods will be in September and January. There will be an additional opt out period in July, retroactive to the current year, in case students are not sure if they will be in Canada.
Students who apply and are awarded a total or partial subsidy through the AMS/GSS H&D bursary program, and/or use the plan, will not be eligible to retroactively opt out. For more information, visit the Studentcare website.
D) FAQ - housing
For the latest information, please review the Housing FAQ.
Please be assured that UBC, in keeping with recent provincial government directives, will not apply the annual rent increase that typically occurs in May. To be clear, rent in year-round and summer residences will not be increased; 2019-20 contract rates will continue to apply until further notice.
If you continue to be eligible for Year Round Residence for the following fall, you will be able to simply accept a new Year Round Residence Contract and stay in your residence. Students living in Year Round residences are not required to be studying full-time during the summer months. Any leave that is COVID-19 related won’t impact your eligibility.
Otherwise, summer stay through, or subletting from a Year Round resident who has signed a new contract offer, would be an option for students in this situation that are not eligible for a new Year Round Residence Contract. Please note that, if you have not already done so, student families residing in Acadia Park that will not continue to be eligible in the fall but need accommodation past April 30, should contact Student Family Housing as soon as possible to discuss continued accommodation in their residence through to August.
Please visit the UBC Vancouver Student Housing website for the latest information regarding student residences.
Before making travel plans, carefully review all pages of our updated Travelling to Canada Guide for important details and check back for updates.
UBC offers Self-Isolation Packages to students, staff and faculty. See details below:
Accommodation and Meals: $79 per day plus tax
- To make a reservation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-822-1030. Reservations are available on a first-come first-serve basis while capacity lasts. If you are unable to secure a reservation, you must book alternative self-isolation accommodation.
- If you have booked a UBC Self-Isolation Package and your arrival date has changed please contact UBC Housing as soon as possible to ensure they can still accommodate your reservation.
- Package provided by UBC Conferences & Accommodation. Transportation and transfers, such as airport pick up and transfer to longer-term accommodation, is not included.
Visit the UBC Housing website for more information on your different options.
Note: UBC is offering subsidized rates for students who indicate they are facing financial hardship. The subsidized rate for the UBC Self-Isolation Package (accommodation and meals) is $45 per day. The subsidized rate for the Self-Isolation Meal Plan (only available to residents able to self-isolate in their own units) is $15 per day. Visit Housing's accommodation page for details.
E) FAQ - FINANCE
You can find additional information on awards, loans and tuition on this FAQ on the students.ubc.ca website.
Both domestic and international students who are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 situation (extraordinary expenses, loss of employment, etc.) are strongly encouraged to schedule a confidential advising appointment with an Enrolment Services Advisor. Please call 604 822 9836 to speak with an ES Advisor or submit your concern online at askme.ubc.ca. An advisor will assess your financial situation and provide the best course of action for your situation. It may not be possible for Enrolment Services to provide immediate support in all circumstances, but meeting with an advisor will also enable the university to gather a clearer picture of the needs that exist and to direct its financial support resources more effectively. We also encourage students to communicate with your supervisor and graduate advisor regarding your circumstances and needs, to identify possible solutions.
UBC is offering a one-time needs-based Quarantine Bursary for students needing support. To see eligibility requirements and start an application, visit the Student Services website.
Students are strongly encouraged to apply for all available government supports. Domestic students can apply for student loans--this allows students to potentially access additional grants and bursary options as well as loans. International students are encouraged to explore any Canadian government resources available to them, as well as explore options in their home country.
The President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award recognizes the significant contributions of PhD students to the research activities of the university. This is an ongoing award, starting in the 2020 summer term, which will be provided to all PhD students except those who have their tuition paid by an external sponsor. For the first year of its implementation, the award amount will be equivalent to 17% of students’ tuition; in the case of international students, the tuition amount will be determined after deduction of the International Tuition Award. The first instalment of the awards will be automatically assigned by mid-May 2020; students do not need to apply. For further information, visit this award's page.
Students can use the Government of Canada online tool to find the financial resources specific to their situation due to COVID-19.
Graduate students are eligible for reimbursement from the Graduate Student Travel Fund once per degree program. If the event you were traveling to has been cancelled or moved to a virtual format due to COVID-19 and your travel expenses have not been reimbursed, you can still apply for reimbursement from the Travel Fund in the usual manner. We are following the example of the federal granting agencies in this regard.
Please be assured that UBC, in keeping with recent provincial government directives, will not apply the annual rent increase that typically occurs in May. To be clear, rent in year-round and summer residences will not be increased; 2019-20 contract rates will continue to apply until further notice.
Please see Tri-agency’s frequently asked questions, which provides details on how this additional funding will be implemented, and visit the agency websites, all of which are updated regularly.
You may also contact the agencies’ scholarships and fellowships program staff at:
For US students holding loans, the US Senate passed a bill that includes a waiver of the prohibition against distance education (i.e., online study) for students receiving U.S. Direct Loans for study at eligible non-U.S. institutions of higher education. It now requires the President’s signature. The waiver is retroactive to 1 March 2020 and remains through the end of the COVID-19 emergency (as declared by Canadian government authorities) and for the following payment period (generally the following term).
If you are a graduate student who cannot do the in person work required by your program as a result of your program only being offered online with no in-person options, Enrolment Services may offer up to $350 in the support of new technology. Other small costs such as purchase of a webcam or short term help to top up internet fees may also be covered. Enrolment Services reviews these requests on case by case basis.
Tuition is vital to maintaining the academic continuity and operations of UBC and providing the range of supports students require now and when we are able to transition to more in-person learning.
UBC’s commitment to providing quality learning experiences and services has not changed as we adapt to current circumstances and offer new modalities of delivery to keep you, your fellow students, faculty, and staff safe during COVID-19. Given this and the commitment to increased student financial assistance, tuition rates will remain and be assessed, as approved by the Board of Governors in December 2019.
UBC has worked closely with the provincial and federal governments on the new programs that have been introduced for students experiencing increased financial need. We have also increased funding to the university’s financial assistance programs to support students.
Yes, provided you are registered full-time in your program. Award funding will be applied against your tuition and student fees; any remaining funds will be held for you until you are able to set up a Canadian bank account.
The UBC Vancouver Technology Bursary is a one-time needs-based bursary to help students meet the basic requirements of online learning by supporting the costs of necessary equipment like headphones, web cameras, specialized accessibility technology, or Internet access. Learn more.
As a result of UBC's response to COVID-19, UBC students transitioned to remote learning as of March 2020, with a greater dependency on technology in lieu of on-site instruction. UBC IT has facilitated a number of discount packages for students to support their learning activities. UBC students can get discounts on a range of essential tech tools and plans. See the discount packages on the UBC IT website.
UBC has determined that, due to domestic and international employment and taxation laws, students cannot be hired as Teaching Assistants unless they are physically located in Canada. Specific questions about TA appointments should be directed to your UBC graduate program
UBC has created a new category of support for graduate students who have not been able to come to Canada for their studies but who can contribute to research projects from abroad. Where permitted by the conditions of the research grant/sponsor, funds will be assigned as Graduate Research Stipends (GRS).
Research supervisors will initiate a funding recommendation, and after a review of funding eligibility, a letter will be provided to students outlining the funding being offered and the steps they need to take to accept the funding. The funding will be posted to the student’s UBC tuition account and applied against tuition / fees owed, and any funds in excess of fees refunded in a lump-sum payment.
UBC is partnering with a Canadian bank to support international wire transfers for students who do not have a Canadian bank account. In late September or early October, students with pending award or graduate research stipend (GRS) funding will be provided with a link to a secure online portal, which they will use to provide the information needed to accept the wire transfer from UBC. G+PS staff will confirm the funding amount to be transferred (total funding offered, less any outstanding tuition and fees for the term) and initiate the wire transfer. Students will receive the funds in the bank account they indicated; transfer times will vary depending on the country where the student is located.
Wire transfers may not be supported for all countries or for every student’s specific situation. If that is the case, any funds in excess of tuition and fees will be held in the student’s tuition account until the student can arrive in Canada.
F) FAQ - THESES AND DISSERTATIONS
If your thesis/dissertation has been approved by your committee for submission to cIRcle, please submit it to cIRcle and we will review it from there.
The thesis team’s first priority is checking and approving theses and dissertations that have been submitted to cIRcle. We are still doing pre-reviews, but they will take more time than usual. We recommend that you send a PDF of your dissertation to email@example.com while you are still doing your final proofreading and polish so that there is plenty of time for the review.
Please scan your forms to PDF and email them as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the most recent Public Health Order, all UBC faculty, staff or student employees who work in health care settings must have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by November 15, 2021 in order to continue to work at that site. This includes hospital sites, clinics, and any other place where care is provided.
For those members of the UBC community who have declared they are fully vaccinated, further communication was issued advising of the requirement to verify their status, with proof of vaccination, at https://rapidtesting.covid19.ubc.ca. If you have not done so, complete the requirement, and learn more about UBC's Rapid Testing program. Read the full announcement.
As a reminder, faculty and staff who are not vaccinated, are partially vaccinated, or refuse to disclose their status will be required to take part in rapid testing. Read the full announcement.
UBC is requiring COVID-19 rapid testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Read the announcement.
Last week a series of Public Health Orders related to COVID-19 safety measures were announced. These include the requirement to wear non-medical masks in public indoor spaces and the introduction of the BC Vaccine Card (which applies to students living in student housing, participation in varsity and intramural sports, and participation in other discretionary activities, including restaurants and ticketed events on campus). For further information, read the full announcement.
UBC will require COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff, with exemptions provided for those who are vaccinated against COVID-19. UBC will implement a process for confidential self-disclosure of vaccination status for all those who access our campuses, including students, faculty, staff and visitors. Read the full announcement.
As a result of a Public Health Order, effective August 25, 2021, non-medical masks are required for all indoor public areas at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan, including lobbies, hallways, stairwells, elevators, classrooms and labs. The Order also applies to anyone taking public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle. You can view the announcement here. There is also an additional announcement specific to post secondary institutions.
Health guidance FAQs updated with information about UBC’s approach to the use of non-medical masks.
Dear Graduate Program Colleagues,
With the constant flow of announcement and updates, it has been challenging to keep track of which timelines have changed and which remain the same. Please find below a snapshot of the significant deadlines affecting graduate students:
2019 Winter Term 2: Current Students
May 1, 2020 (extended from April 17, 2020) – deadline to submit a late application to graduate in May 2020
May 1, 2020 (extended from April 17, 2020) – deadline for acceptance of final, approved master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and for students to complete all program requirements for May 2020 graduation.
May 6, 2020 – deadline for instructors and/or programs to submit final grades for 2019W2 courses via SIS
May 13, 2020 (extended from April 30, 2020) – deadline for acceptance of final, approved master’s theses and doctoral dissertations and for students to complete all program requirements with a program completion date of April 30, 2020. Program completion will be back-dated to April 30, 2020 to avoid tuition and student fees for Summer 2020. IMPORTANT: the deadline for students who wish to graduate in May 2020 is May 1, 2020.
2020 Summer: Current Students
June 15, 2020 (extended from May 13, 2020) – deadline for students to pay their Summer 2020 tuition and student fees if they wish to avoid late fees and interest charges.
May 2020, July 2020 & September 2020: Incoming Students
December 1, 2020 – Deadline for Official Academic Documents
Extended deadline to receive official transcripts (and degree certificates if required) for students who started their programs in May 2020, July 2020 or September 2020, and have not already met the document condition(s) stated in their letter of admission (available in the online application portal). Eligibility to register in January 2021 will be suspended until required documentation has been received and processed.
April 30, 2021 – Deadline for Confirmation of Degree Completion
Extended deadline for all students who were admitted on the basis of a previous degree in progress to a UBC graduate program that commenced in May 2020, July 2020, or September 2020. This condition must be met with a final transcript showing any outstanding grades and statement, and date, of degree conferral. Official copies of degree certificates are required for final transcripts that do not have conferral information. Students commencing their graduate degrees in January 2021 with a degree in progress, will have until June 2021 to meet this condition.
Important Note: Academic Milestones for Graduate Students
UPDATE: pandemic-related extensions to program and candidacy will still be considered, however requests must now be made in accordance with applicable pre-existing policies and accompanied by all necessary documentation. Requests submitted without justification or supporting documentation will not be considered.
- Master’s students: Initial program duration is 5 years
- Doctoral students/Candidates: Initial program duration is 6 years
Due to COVID-19, G+PS will approve requests from graduate programs for one term of extension for any of their students without further justification or supporting documentation normally required. To request such extensions, graduate programs are encouraged to send a list of students (with first name, last name, and student number) to email@example.com at your earliest opportunity.
Due to COVID-19, G+PS will approve requests from graduate programs for one term of extension to reach candidacy for any of their students without further justification or supporting documentation normally required. To request such extensions, graduate programs are encouraged to send requests (with first name, last name, and student number) to firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest opportunity.
In the context of the current situation, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has gathered suggestions and guidance for supervisors as they work remotely with their students – continuing to mentor them, assisting them in the continuation of their research and scholarly activities, and helping ensure an environment that promotes the wellbeing of all. We acknowledge that each relationship and disciplinary field is different and may benefit from distinctive approaches.
View the full update in your browser.
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen the impacts of COVID-19 on our university – and we’ve seen the best in people. We’ve seen students, staff and faculty reaching out to their communities, looking out for one another, and finding innovative ways to navigate a new academic and personal landscape. We’ve seen resilience and commitment to making the best of this unprecedented situation.
We’ve heard from thousands of you with questions about your options to stay in Canada, travel abroad, complete your studies and work in Canada. I’m pleased to announce that we now have clarity from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on many of those questions. We have summarized these on the UBC International Student Guide as Frequently Asked Questions, including links to the IRCC source material.
International Student Advising is not providing in-person services at this time but will continue to advise by email. Please contact us at email@example.com with any questions. Include your student number so we can give you the most accurate information for your situation. You’re not alone – we’re here for you.
We encourage all graduate students to work with their supervisors and units to determine next steps for their research. If you have any questions or concerns, please review the FAQ on the VP Research & Innovation website and connect with your units directly, as they are in the best position to provide assistance and support.
Please download the Virtual Exam Protocol. Students and Examining Committees for students who already have exams booked will be updated with additional information on the arrangements for a Virtual Defence via our regular reminder emails that go out one and two weeks before the defence. If students have an exam booked and have questions, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Students and supervisors who would prefer to postpone the defence rather than hold an all-remote defence should let us know.
Students who are at an earlier stage in the examination process are welcome to proceed as normal, and we will work to adapt to circumstances. Please be aware that where we may be looking to appoint External Examiners or send dissertations to External Examiners in locations that have been affected by the virus, we may need to extend timelines to accommodate illness or other disruption.
Given that we are hoping to proceed with as little disruption as possible, we would like to remind you that the first deadline for students who would like to finish by the August 31 Program End date is coming up fairly shortly. The deadlines for Doctoral Examination and Dissertation Submission are as follows:
- Friday, 3 April 2020 – Appointment of External Examiner form submitted to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
- Friday, 12 June 2020 – Doctoral dissertation (and supporting documentation) submitted to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for external examination
- Friday, 7 August 2020 – Last Day for Final Doctoral Oral Examination
- Friday, 28 August 2020 – Acceptance of final, approved doctoral dissertation by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
We encourage all graduate students to work with their supervisors and units on how best to continue their work in a safe manner. If you have any questions or concerns about working remotely, please connect with your units directly, as they are in the best position to provide assistance and support.
As an overall approach, G+PS will be flexible whenever possible, and we encourage graduate programs and supervisors to adopt a similar posture in areas where they have primary responsibility, such as by allowing for remote participation in Master’s exams, proposal defences and/or comprehensive exams. In addition, frequent and active communication among students, supervisors and graduate programs can only be helpful in this rapidly changing situation.
The following are specific issues related to graduate students:
May admissions: G+PS will follow up directly with graduate programs that have students who will be arriving in May, to discuss on a case-by-case basis whether deferral to September is possible and advisable.
Final doctoral exams: At this point, all doctoral defenses are going ahead as planned and students with defenses scheduled in March have all been contacted by our Doctoral Exams team. We are reviewing requests for partial virtual attendance for defenses that have already been scheduled, and are actively working with UBC IT to implement a process that would permit total virtual attendance for all defenses in the event of a campus closure. As the situation changes, we will aim toward maximum flexibility with respect to virtual attendance and, as necessary, remote locations. Communication regarding the protocol for total virtual defenses will be distributed early next week.
Academic milestones: Existing academic policies provide latitude for G+PS to respond to exceptional circumstances beyond students’ control. This may include delays in holding Master’s exams, PhD comprehensive exams, and proposal defenses, as well as interruptions to research progress related to absence from work sites, etc. Should students’ progress in their academic program be impacted by COVID-19, G+PS will consider requests for extensions to timelines, with a strong bias in favour of flexibility.
Academic concessions: Referring to the UBC policy on Academic Concessions, requests for academic concession may be made to the instructor of the student’s course, their graduate supervisor or graduate advisor for their graduate program. At this time, we strongly encourage students to monitor UBC’s website for communication on parameters for self-isolation. If you do fall within the parameters for self-isolation and are concerned about attending classes, labs, or coming to campus, please speak with your instructor and/or supervisor as needed. However, please note that if you do not fall within the parameters for self-isolation but still have concerns, those circumstances may not be grounds for academic concession. If you are registered with the Centre for Accessibility, please consult your Accessibility Advisor in addition to your course instructor and/or supervisor.
We will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.