COVID-19

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.

 

On this page

student updates

May 12, 2020: Summer Term 1 extensions reminder

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

May 1, 2020: UBC Funding Initiatives for Graduate Students

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. 

Sincerely,
Kate Ross, Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services and Registrar
Susan Porter, Dean and Vice-Provost, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

April 17, 2020: G+PS reached out to all graduate students at UBC Vancouver

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.

Sincerely,

Susan Porter
Dean and Vice-Provost,
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies


Information

  • 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.

Updated deadlines

  • 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.

Financial issues

  • 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.

Wellbeing

  • 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.

Professional development

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.

April 3, 2020: G+PS reached out to all graduate students at UBC Vancouver

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. 

Academic and research issues:
  • 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 jean.ruiz@ors.ubc.ca 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. 

Housing:

  • 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 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 Student Housing at summer@housing.ubc.ca if you wish to live in Summer Residence and did not live in a UBC student residence during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Financial challenges:

  • 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. 

Wellbeing

  • 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. 

Professional development

With best wishes to you,

 

Susan Porter
Dean & Vice Provost,
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

March 27, 2020: G+PS reached out to all graduate students at UBC Vancouver

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:

Academic issues

  • 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.

Wellbeing

The current situatin 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). Note that EMPOWER ME provides confidential counselling 24/7, and it’s free for all UBC students. 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.

Financial challenges

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 aboriginal.support@ubc.ca
  • 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): isa@students.ubc.ca

Professional development

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.


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,
 
Susan Porter
Dean & Vice Provost,
Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
 

 

Announcements

June 29, 2020: UBC Broadcast - Planning for the safe phased-in re-occupancy of our campuses
May 14, 2020: UBC Broadcast: UBC’s operational and safety planning
May 12, 2020: UBC Broadcast: COVID-19 - Plans for the phased resumption of on-campus research
May 11, 2020: UBC Broadcast: COVID-19 - UBC’s approach for the fall term
April 28, 2020: UBC Broadcast: Extension of Remote Work Arrangements and on-campus research curtailment
April 17, 2020: UBC Broadcast: COVID-19 - Status of Summer Term 2
April 6, 2020: G+PS updates programs on deadlines and extensions

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

Program Extensions

  • 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 graduate.sas@ubc.ca at your earliest opportunity.

Extensions to Candidacy

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 graduate.sas@ubc.ca at your earliest opportunity.

April 1, 2020: UBC Broadcast: COVID-19 - Remote Work Arrangements and on-campus research curtailment — extended to end of April
March 27, 2020: G+PS released an update on how supervisors can best support their grad students during this time

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

March 27, 2020: International Student Development contacted all international students with an updated FAQ

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 isa@students.ubc.ca 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.

March 26, 2020: UBC Broadcast: COVID-19 - UBC's spring graduation ceremonies
March 20, 2020: UBC Bulletin: COVID-19 - Temporary closures of library facilities at UBC
March 19, 2020: UBC Broadcast: COVID-19 - Curtailing research activities on UBC campuses

Read this announcement in full.

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.

March 17, 2020: There have been changes made to the Final Doctoral Defence in response to the current COVID-19 situation and recommendations. As of March 17, Doctoral Defences will be remote-only until further notice. The Online Defence Booking form will be updated shortly to reflect these changes. Click on the down arrow on the right side of this box for more information and a link to the Virtual Exam Protocol.

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 graduate.doctoral@ubc.ca. 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 graduate.doctoral@ubc.ca.

March 16, 2020: UBC Broadcast: COVID-19 - Remote working for faculty, staff, graduate students, post doctoral fellows, and student employees

View the announcement in full.

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.

March 14, 2020: The COVID-19 situation evolves day to day. We are following the University's lead and guidelines in all matters that affect the whole community, and encourage you to monitor covid19.ubc.ca for the latest updates. Presently, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ plans to accommodate graduate students, supervisors and programs affected by the situation are the following. 

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.

 

FAQ - Assessment, grade deadlines and course standings

How will I be graded on outstanding assessments and course work for the 2019W2 term?

If you're a graduate student with outstanding course work, your instructor will be able to adjust planned assessments as necessary and may also wish to adjust assessment weightings. Any changes made to the syllabus after the last day by which sudents are permitted to drop the course without receiving a ‘W’ on the transcript (Friday, 17 January 2020), will have to be explained to the class, as per the Academic Calendar under Campus-wide policies and procedures. If changes are made, your course instructor must ensure that you have access to the changed details in a revised and dated version of the syllabus. This includes electronic communication alerting you that a change has been made. 

I’m supposed to be graduating this spring. Will I get my grades in time?

The deadline for instructors and/or programs to submit final grades for 2019W2 (Jan-Apr 2020) courses via the Student Information System (SIS) has been extended to May 6, 2020.

What will happen to my final grades for the 2019W2 term?

If your instructor is unable to assign regular percentage grades, a range of possible standings have been pre-approved by G+PS for individual students. You may also be given the opportunity to change your standing notation after marks have been reviewed. If you have any questions about your final grades for the 19W2 term, please contact your course instructor directly or your academic department.

While undergraduate students have been offered the option of Credit/D/Fail standing, this option is not viable for graduate students.

For full descriptions of the below standings, please visit the UBC Calendar.

Standing Grade Considerations
Withdrawal (W) No grade assigned No credit for course
Adjudicated Pass (J) The grade assigned by the instructor is used in the calculation of average and letter grade appears on transcript Credit is granted and the course need not be repeated; may not normally qualify as a prerequisite for further work
Aegrotat (AEG) Letter grade assigned, which will be converted to the minimum percentage for that category for the calculation of averages Allows credit for a course even though the course requirements have not been completed; awarded only if the course instructor and the dean agree that the student has demonstrated the capacity to deal with the course material satisfactorily
Deferred Standing (SD) Grade assigned at a later date: students granted Deferred Standing in Winter Session must complete all outstanding course requirements by August 23 following. Extensions will be considered as necessary. Student is responsible for making satisfactory arrangements with their instructors for completion of outstanding course requirements
Pass (P) or Fail (F) Granted where no grade is assigned, excluded from calculation in all averages. Pass (P) denotes satisfactory completion of the requirements of the subject; credit granted where applicable. Fail (F) denotes fail standing.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

FAQ - NEwLY ADMITTED STUDENTS

You might have questions how the September start will look like. Please be assured that UBC is committed to excellence in education and an exceptional experience irrespective of the format of instruction. At this point, UBC has not yet determined in what form programs and research can be delivered in September. The university is working closely with public health authorities to determine safe options for students and faculty. Your health and wellbeing continue to be the top priorities for UBC.

September

I have been admitted to start my UBC graduate program in September 2020. Will my program still be offered by UBC?

Like nearly every university around the world, UBC faces uncertainty about the constraints we'll be working under in the coming months. UBC graduate programs are assessing how they can adjust - as appropriate and feasible for their discipline and individual course - to meet those constraints, and will be working to implement those adjustments as quickly as possible. We expect that most, if not all, programs will proceed in September, with the understanding that modifications to delivery methods may be necessary in some cases. Students accepted to start a graduate program at UBC in September 2020 are encouraged to contact their supervisor or specific graduate program for information about their plans for fall 2020.

I have been admitted to start my UBC graduate program in September 2020. Will l be granted eligibility to register if I cannot order original transcripts or UBC cannot receive them?

COVID-19 restrictions are affecting UBC and many other Canadian and international institutions, potentially making it difficult to order and receive original transcripts. All students who have accepted their offer of admission in the online application portal will automatically receive registration eligibility by mid-June, when registration for the September 2020 term opens for graduate students admitted to the Vancouver campus. 

At this point we expect new admits to provide original transcripts from their previous institutions by December 1, 2020; eligibility to register in January 2021 will be suspended until required documentation has been received and processed. Whether a further extension, past January 2021, is necessary will be assessed later this fall, based on the COVID-19 situation at that time.

When does registration open for 2020 Winter Term 1?

Registration for 2020 Winter Term 1 has been pushed back two weeks for graduate students and now opens on June 16, 2020. For the full list of registration dates and deadlines, click here.

Can I apply for my study permit abroad now?

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.

How will the COVID-19 restrictions affect my or my family’s immigration application?

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 isa@students.ubc.ca 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.

What if I don't receive my study permit and/or I am impacted by travel restrictions?

In early August, 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.

I have been admitted as a Visiting International Research Student (VIRS). How will I be affected?

Due to the changing situation around COVID-19, Go Global has cancelled all in-bound and out-bound programs set to run in the summer of 2020.

As of now, programs set to run Winter Term 1 2020, and Winter Term 2 2021 are NOT cancelled. Admitted students should stay aware of local and global travel restrictions and make necessary changes to their travel plans. We suggest that you reach out to your UBC supervisor and adjust your planned research activity if necessary and possible. Should you decide to withdraw from the VIRS program, UBC will process a full refund of the VIRS program fee (if the fee has been paid by the student). Should a student choose to postpone a research start date, please notify Go Global so that registration and iMED coverage period can be adjusted accordingly.

Latest information will be published on the Go Global website.

I have questions about Winter Term 1 tuition and whether they will be discontinued. Where can I find more information about this? 

Please visit the COVID-19 FAQ page on the students.ubc.ca website for the most-up-to-date information on Winter Term 1 tuition. 

 

FAQ - General

Is the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) open?

Effective Tuesday 17 March, 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 graduate.sas@ubc.ca and prospective students should direct inquiries to graduate.apply@ubc.ca. Questions regarding award funding can be directed to graduate.awards@ubc.ca.)

I’m currently abroad and am having issues returning to Canada.  What should I do?

Global Affairs Canada has issued an advisory to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.  To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines.  As a result, your travel plans may be severely disrupted and/or you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. For information on the global travel advisory, please click here.

Domestic and international students who completed the student safety abroad registry prior to departing Canada have been contacted by Go Global.  If you are:

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident currently abroad and you registered with the student safety abroad registry and have not been contacted by Go Global or you did not register with the student safety abroad registry and are having issues returning to Canada, please contact Safety Abroad at safety.abroad@ubc.ca
  • An international student on a study permit currently abroad and you (i) registered with the student safety abroad registry and have not been contacted by Go Global or (ii) did not register with the student safety abroad registry and are having issues returning to Canada, please contact International Student Advising at isa.students@ubc.ca

Even though you may be far from UBC, you are still a UBC student and have access to 24/7 emergency support through International SOS and 24/7 counselling through Empower Me.

Should I take a leave of absence from my studies for the Summer 2020 session?

One of the more pressing decisions facing graduate students is whether to continue their studies and research in the Summer 2020 session (May to Aug 2020) or to take a leave of absence. As you discuss this with your supervisor and graduate program advisor, we encourage you to consider the following:

Scenarios:

  • If your program is entirely course-based, does not rely on in-person interaction and your academic unit is resourced and prepared to offer courses remotely, a leave of absence for the summer term would not be justified, given no other relevant circumstances.
  • If your program is research-based, does not rely on in-person interaction, and your supervisor is able to support you remotely, a leave of absence for the summer term would not be justified, given no other relevant circumstances.
  • If your research project, off-campus fieldwork, practicum placement, etc. has been / will be curtailed by COVID-19 restrictions, you are encouraged first to consider how you may continue your academic progress through other means. This can include: working on data analysis and design of experiments, reading scientific/relevant scholarly literature, writing drafts of manuscripts, preparing grant/fellowship applications, starting dissertation chapters (i.e., literature review for those not at that stage or completing dissertations by those more advanced), seeking journals for unsolicited reviews and preparing research seminars, and/or posters for meetings. If it appears that continued progress is unlikely, it may be advisable for you to take a leave of absence. Per the UBC policy regarding on-leave status: while on a leave of absence, you would be expected to not undertake any academic or research work related to the program for which you have taken a leave of absence. Access to the University's facilities and resources, including faculty supervision, while on a leave of absence may be limited.

Please note, however, that taking a leave absence has a number of potential consequences that need to be considered carefully. A list of services that may be impacted by leave status can be found at https://www.grad.ubc.ca/faculty-staff/policies-procedures/leave-status. Of particular note:

  • Scholarship support is normally interrupted for students who are on leave. External funding agencies and UBC are each engaged in discussions about financial assistance and continuity of funding for students, but at this point students should expect that their scholarship funding will be interrupted if they go on leave, and weigh their options accordingly.
  • Students who are on leave are also not eligible to be employed as teaching assistants; nor can they normally be appointed as a graduate research assistant.
  • International students who take a leave due to COVID-19 are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week off campus and unlimited hours on campus. 
  • Normally, if international students take more than 150 days of leave from their graduate program, they jeopardize their eligibility to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). It is our understanding, though, that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will take the effects of COVID-19 into consideration when assessing PGWP program eligibility. Therefore, taking a leave of absence may be more of a viable option for international students than it would have been in other circumstances. For further information, please consult with contact International Student Advisors in UBC International Student Advising Office at isa@students.ubc.ca.
  • Students on leave may not have continued access to UBC Housing. Students should contact UBC Housing to confirm what housing options are available to them.

Individual circumstances:

Within the broad scenarios outlined above, it is important that you speak with your supervisor and graduate program about your own, individual situation about whether you can continue with your coursework and/or research (or progress in your programs in other ways, as noted above) or whether a leave of absence for the Summer 2020 session is appropriate for you.

Submission of leave requests:

If, in your conversation with your supervisor and graduate program advisor it is determined that a leave of absence is appropriate, please arrange with your graduate program to make a leave of absence request on your behalf to our office.

Leave duration allowance:

The total duration of all leaves of absence granted in a graduate program is normally limited to 24 months for a doctoral student and to 12 months for a master’s student, except for Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study. However, students taking a leave of absence due to COVID-19 will have that allowance extended for at least one term.

What resources are available to UBC students?

Please visit the Student Services website to find information on supports and resources available during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What resources are available for mental health support?

Amidst the current 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. 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

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.

  • EmpowerMe - A mental health and wellness service that provides free access to qualified counsellors, consultants, and life coaches. Sessions are delivered by telephone, by video-counselling, or by e-counselling. Students can access Empower Me from any location 24 hours a day. 
  • 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.
  • 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

marna.nelson@ubc.ca

What if I do research that is curtailed by the COVID-19 restrictions?

The research plans and timelines for many graduate students will be affected by the restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including UBC’s decision to curtail on-campus research activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, restrictions on research involving human subjects (see bulletins linked from https://ethics.research.ubc.ca/), off-campus fieldwork and travel restrictions. Communication is crucial at this stage: please be in touch with your supervisor to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on your research and to consider the most appropriate way to proceed. G+PS is approaching deadlines with regard to academic milestones from a stance of flexibility.

If your supervisor has applied for and received a research curtailment exemption so that your research project may continue, the exemption form and exemption permission must be shared with you. If you have concerns about continuing the research project, or the ability of the team or lab group to maintain social distancing protocols, you should contact your your Graduate Advisor or Department Head. You may also contact G+PS (Mei Ling Chu) for further advice. 

What is the process if I need to request an academic concession?

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.

How will my research that requires ethics approval by the Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) be affected?

The Office of Research Ethics 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 use this contact form

How can I continue to make academic progress while research is curtailed?

Please consider these possibilities:

  • Analyzing previously compiled material and data, and designing research approaches
  • Reading and synthesizing scholarly literature
  • Preparing ethics proposals
  • Attending and presenting at online journal clubs
  • Writing or revising – manuscripts, thesis chapters, grant applications, review articles
  • Working on contributions for collaborative publications
  • Preparing grant/fellowship applications (attend the April 9 or April 16 webinar on fall fellowship applications)
  • Preparing research seminars, and/or posters for meetings
  • Engaging in teaching opportunities
  • Taking online courses/webinars, including those directed at professional development.

See the G+PS professional development page for numerous virtual PD opportunities. To stay informed on upcoming online workshops, services, and resources, subscribe to GradUpdate weekly emails.

I expect it will take longer for me to complete my graduate program as a result of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Can I have longer to meet my program milestones?

Program Extensions

  • 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.

 

Extensions to Candidacy

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.

Have deadlines for May 2020 graduation been extended because of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak?

A number of graduate student deadlines relating to May 2020 graduation have been extended as follows:

May 1, 2020 (extended from April 17, 2020) – deadline to submit a late application to graduate in May 2020 (https://www.grad.ubc.ca/forms/may-2020-late-graduation-application-form)

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.

I have questions about UBC Childcare. Where can I find the most up-to-date information?

Please visit the UBC Childcare FAQ.

 

FAQ - housing 

For the latest information, please review the Housing FAQ.

Do I have to move out of on-campus student residence?

UBC will continue to provide shelter within student housing for students who need it, recognizing that many residents are facing circumstances that make it difficult, if not impossible, to return home. UBC is committed and prepared to do all it can to accommodate these individuals. The health, safety and wellbeing of our students remains our highest priority.

As this is an ever changing and unprecedented situation, however, UBC cannot guarantee that the residence support, with respect to amenities such as food, residence life, and front desk support, will continue at current levels. Any changes in services will be communicated to residents accordingly.

The latest information can be found on the Student Housing and Hospitality website.

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 housing.

Students in Year-Round Housing
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.

Students who wish to end their current contract prior to the contract end date (April 30, 2020) may choose to do so. If moving out of residence early, you are reminded to visit the Front Desk once you have vacated your room to check-out. Students who check out of residence by March 31, 2020 and who will not be accepting a new 2020-2021 Year Round Residence contract will receive a pro-rated refund to their Student Housing account from the day they vacate/check out to the end of their current contract.

Will my rent for on-campus residences increase?

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.

What has been UBC’s response to the impact of COVID-19 on Green College’s food services?

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and social distance protocols, Green College has had to make emergency provisions to replace the communal catering and self-catering amenities which are normally available to residents.

An ordering system has been put in place, enabling Green College Resident Members to pre-order five boxed breakfasts and five boxed cooked dinners a week. The College has also made available a subsidy to cover some of the costs of the new setup.

I am a graduate student in Winter Session and might take a COVID-19 related leave of absence during summer. Where can I stay over summer?

Graduate students in this situation 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 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.

I am a graduate student in Year Round Residence and might take a COVID-19 related leave of absence during the summer. Do I have to move out of UBC residence?

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.

I will complete my program by April 30, but cannot leave Canada due to travel restrictions. If I am no longer a student, where can I stay?

Graduate students, even if they are graduating in April, 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 Student Housing at summer@housing.ubc.ca if you wish to live in Summer Residence and did not live in a UBC student residence during the 2019-2020 academic year.

 

FAQ - FINANCE

You can find additional information on awards, loans and tuition on this FAQ on the students.ubc.ca website. 

I am experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 containment. What can I do?

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.

As of Friday, March 27, 2020, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training (AEST) has provided UBC with a limited amount of emergency financial assistance funding for students, including graduate students, who are experiencing financial hardship.

What is the Graduate Student Emergency Bursary and how does it work?

The Graduate Student Emergency Bursary is an enhanced funding support 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.

Graduate students will 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 to help Enrolment Services Advisors manage the volume of submissions. 

What is the President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award?

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

What government supports are available to students?

Please visit the following websites for more information and to determine your eligibility. 

I was planning to travel to present at an academic event that has now been cancelled, but I still incurred travel costs.

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.

Will my rent for on-campus residences increase?

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.

I am a Tri-Agency grant recipient with concerns about funding. Where should I go to find the most up-to-date information on the continuation of my research grant?

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.

CIHR’s webpage

NSERC’s webpage

SSHRC’s webpage

I am a US citizen studying at UBC with loans from the Education department. Do I need to be worried about online course delivery?

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).

Due to COVID-19, I am required to study remotely, but I don't have the resources to do that. What assistance is available to me?

If you are a graduate student who cannot do the work required by your program as a result of UBC moving to online studies, the Vancouver campus has a limited 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.

I am currently not using my U-Pass. Will my transit fees be reimbursed?

TransLink has temporarily suspended the U-Pass BC program as of May 1, 2020. TransLink is continuing discussions with post-secondary school and student association representatives about potential refunds for students not using their April passes. Students not needing their April U-Pass are encouraged not to use it and to check their school, student association or TransLink’s U-Pass website for further updates.

With U-Pass temporarily suspended, what supports are being offered to ensure transport affordability?

The Transit Subsidy Program allows for students that use public transit to receive partial credit when they purchase a Translink monthly pass this summer. Through this program, eligible students 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.

Please fill this form to apply.  

 

FAQ - DISSERTATIONS

Will the thesis/dissertation submission and program completion deadlines be extended because of the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 outbreak?

A number of deadlines relating to thesis/dissertation submission and program completion have been extended as follows:

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 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 (as noted immediately above).

I want to have my thesis/dissertation pre-reviewed for formatting before I submit it to cIRcle. Can I still do that?

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.

I want to have my dissertation pre-reviewed for formatting before I submit it to the external examiner. Can I still do that?

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 graduate.thesis@ubc.ca while you are still doing your final proofreading and polish so that there is plenty of time for the review.

I have my thesis/dissertation approval form and cover sheet ready to bring to G+PS. Now that the office is closed, how can I submit them?

Please scan your forms to PDF and email them as attachments to graduate.thesis@ubc.ca.