Application Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ answers many questions about applying to UBC Graduate Studies. Please read carefully to see if your question has been answered here.

You should contact the program if you have questions about the following:

  • application status
  • references
  • transcripts
  • extensions to application deadline
  • missing documents
  • supervision
  • funding

You should contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies for the following:

  • credit card payment problems
  • persistent log in problems with the online application

1) Pre-Application

I want to study at UBC. What are my options?
I am interested in applying to a graduate degree program at UBC. What are the next steps?

Complete details on admissions requirements and the application process are included on our website.

Check the list of program contacts and visit the program web site for information about academic requirements.

Can UBC send me an application package?

UBC's online application is the only way to apply to graduate school at UBC.

I want to apply to UBC Okanagan. What should I do? Where do I apply?

Apply via the online application. Information about graduate degree programs at UBC Okanagan can be found at the College of Graduate Studies.

Can I apply for admission if I am still in my last year of study?

Yes. You can apply as long as your current degree program is completed before the start of the UBC program to which you are applying. Upload the most updated version of your transcript during the application process.

Am I required to take the GRE?

It depends on program to which you are applying. See GRE or Other Required Tests for GRE requirements by program.

What are the minimum English Language Proficiency and GRE test scores required to apply to a graduate program at UBC?

General information on English language proficiency test score requirements and the GRE can be found on our website. You can also check your program's minimum requirements for English Language Proficiency and GRE test scores on the UBC Calendar.

How can I pay my application fee?

The online application requires credit card payment via Visa or Mastercard, or Interac/debit card payments from individuals with banking accounts at Scotiabank, Royal Bank, or TD Canada Trust.

If you are unable to pay by one of these means, please send a description of your circumstance to graduate.apply@ubc.ca for alternative payment options.

Can my application fee be waived?
  • The application fee can only be waived for international applicants:
    • whose citizenship and correspondence address are located in the world's 50 least developed countries, as declared by the United Nations.

 

 

I'm eligible for a fee waiver. How do I apply?

If you are eligible for an application fee waiver, you do not need to apply for it. You will not be asked for a fee when you complete the online application.

Is the application fee refundable?

The application fee pays for the evaluation of your application, and is not refundable. We can only refund the application fee when a program applied for has been cancelled.

  • Make sure your application is for the correct program
  • Only click the "submit" button once; if the application is not submitted contact the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies before re-submitting, as your credit card may be charged twice.
I'm not able to log into the online application or am having difficulty creating a CWL account. What can I do?

In order to submit an application for UBC graduate programs you must have a UBC Campus Wide Login (CWL) account. The CWL system provides access to UBC's online services with one secure login ID.

For CWL issues, please contact the IT Service Centre Help Desk. If you are experiencing technical issues, please ensure your browser supports both Cookies and JavaScript. See Browser Help for additional information and instructions. Use of the latest version of Firefox with JavaScript enabled is recommended but the application is also supported by Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera and Safari.

For all other questions, please email graduate.apply@ubc.ca and include your full name, the program(s) you are applying to and a general description of the problem.

I am or was a UBC student. Should I create a new CWL user account when applying to grad school?

No, you should logon to the online application system using your existing CWL account. If you experience difficulties using your CWL account then please contact the IT Service Centre Help Desk. If you are experiencing technical issues, please ensure your browser supports both Cookies and JavaScript. See Browser Help for additional information and instructions. Use of the latest version of Firefox with JavaScript enabled is recommended but the application is also supported by Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera and Safari.

For all other questions, please email graduate.apply@ubc.ca and include your full name, the program(s) you are applying to and a general description of the problem.

I want to apply to more than one program. Do I have to submit more than one application?

Yes, you will need to submit a separate application and application fee for each program you want to apply to. Decisions are made by the program(s), and they each need complete information in order to evaluate your application. If you are indeed applying to more than one program, references must be sent to each program you have applied to.

2) While applying

What are the minimum English Language Proficiency and GRE test scores required to apply to a graduate program at UBC?

General information on English language proficiency test score requirements and the GRE can be found on our website. You can also check your program's minimum requirements for English Language Proficiency and GRE test scores on the UBC Calendar.

I want to apply, but I can't take my English Language Proficiency test until after the application deadline. Can I apply, and submit my test score later?

Please contact the program to which you are applying to and ask them if you can do this.

Find program contact information

My degree hasn’t been conferred yet because I am still attending university, but I plan on finishing soon. How should I address this in my application?

When filling out your Academic History on your application, you will be asked whether or not the institution(s) you have attended have provided you with a degree or other credentials. If you are in the process of completing your degree, but your degree has not been conferred yet, make sure to select "Not Yet. Credential is in progress."

Do I have to list all the schools and institutions I’ve attended?

You must list all post-secondary schools and institutions.

I have run out of room to list all the institutions I've attended, so how should I list them?

The online application has room to list six higher education institutions of study. If you have attended more than six previous institutions, you will be instructed to upload all remaining transcripts into one file within your online application.

What supporting documents should I send?

Program specific document instructions are provided within the online application system and on the website of the program you are applying to. Please check with the program to which you are applying to determine what additional support documents they may require and for instructions about uploading and sending documents to support your application. Main document requirements are listed on our website.

For more information on document requirements, see:

Canadian applicants:  https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/canad...
International applicants: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/inter...

Where do I send my supporting documents and transcripts?

For initial application, you will normally scan and upload digital files (.pdfs) of documents in the online application system. If you are offered admission, you will be required to send in one copy of each of your official academic history documents. Official documents are normally sent to:

University of British Columbia
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
6371 Crescent Rd
Vancouver, BC  V6T1Z2  CANADA

Some graduate programs may require you to send in paper documents directly to their department office upon initial application. Please check the website of the program(s) to which you are applying for instructions.

For more information on document requirements, see:

Canadian applicants:  https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/canad...
International applicants: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/prospective-students/application-admission/inter...
 
Further information on providing scanned and official paper documents is also provided within the online application system.

Can I provide unofficial transcripts or are official transcripts required?

You must scan and upload digital copies (.pdfs) of official required documents in the application system. The scanned transcripts must be copies of your official transcripts, which usually means that you must order official transcripts from your institution(s), open the envelopes, and then scan and upload copies to the application system. Since this requires you to break the official seal on the transcripts, these are considered “unofficial documents”. These uploaded copies of your official documents will be used for the initial evaluation of your application.

 

Please note: Some programs will require an official set of transcripts at the time of application. Please refer to the website of the program(s) to which you are applying and the instructions in the online application for specific information about sending your official documents.

 

If you are offered admission conditional upon receipt of official documentation, you must provide UBC with one set of official transcripts for every postsecondary institution you have attended for the equivalent of one year or more of full-time study. UBC reserves the right to also require any individual applicant to provide official transcripts for study of less than one year duration. Do not send official transcripts before receiving an offer of admission unless you have received special instructions from the graduate program to which you have applied.

 

I have questions about supervision and/or funding. Who should I contact?

Please contact the program to which you are applying.

Find program contact information

How do I remove or overwrite a document that I have uploaded?

Applicants are unable to remove uploaded documents from the application system. You can upload an updated version as long as the program’s document deadline has not passed, but it will not overwrite the existing document. If you decide to upload another version of a document, please provide a different name for the updated document.

I’ve entered my credit card information and I get a message that says I have entered my credit card information in an incorrect format. What does that mean and what should I do about it?

Please clear all fields and then re-enter your payment information on the payment page. Make sure that you have entered your credit card information in the correct format. Your name must be exactly as it appears on the credit card, the numbers must be entered with no spaces in between, and the expiry date must be entered in the correct format (January/2019 entered as 0119).

If you are still having problems submitting your online application, please e-mail graduate.technical@ubc.ca and include your full name and the program(s) you are applying to.

 

What is the deadline to submit the English Language Proficiency test scores?

Document submission deadlines are set by the graduate program. Contact your graduate program if the information made available on their website and in the online application is unclear.

I can provide unofficial scores before the application deadline but won’t be able to provide the official scores until after the deadline. Is that allowed?

Document submission deadlines are set by the graduate program. Contact your graduate program if the information made available on their website and in the online application is unclear.

I might miss the application deadline; can I have an extension?

Application deadlines are set by individual programs, not by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Please contact the program you wish to apply to for approval to apply after the deadline.

If you have missed the application deadline please do not submit an online application until you have received approval from the specific program. Application fees are non-refundable.

Find program contact information

I've submitted an application to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to be a Permanent Resident, but it hasn't been approved yet. What should I put in the online application?

If you are not currently a Permanent Resident of Canada, choose "Study Permit/Student Visa" as Visa Type in the online application. Once you have obtained permanent resident status, please upload a copy of both the front and the back of your Permanent Resident Card by logging in to My Applications. If you are unable to upload the Permanent Resident Card, please send a copy of both the front and the back of your Permanent Resident Card to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. We will then update your status in our files.

I don’t have a Study Permit yet, but I plan on getting one if I get an offer of admission from you. What should I put in the online application?

Your online application must reflect your citizenship status as it is on the day you submit your online form and payment. If you don’t have a Study Permit at time of application but you will need a Study Permit to attend UBC, please choose “Study Permit/Student Visa” in the Immigration and Visa Details section of the application form. If your citizenship status changes after you submit your online application please contact Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies by email at graduate.apply@ubc.ca for information about additional documents required to support your application.

The online application looks strange on my computer. How come?

The online application requires that your browser supports both Cookies and JavaScript. See Browser Help for additional information and instructions. Use of the latest version of Firefox with JavaScript enabled is recommended but the application is also supported by Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera and Safari.

I am applying to more than one program. Should I create a separate CWL account for each application?

No, you should create a single CWL user name and use it for all applications. If you experience difficulties using your CWL account then please contact the IT Service Centre Help Desk. If you are experiencing technical issues, please ensure your browser supports both Cookies and JavaScript. See Browser Help for additional information and instructions. Use of the latest version of Firefox with JavaScript enabled is recommended but the application is also supported by Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera and Safari. For all other questions, please email graduate.apply@ubc.ca and include your full name, the program(s) you are applying to and a general description of the problem.

3) After Applying

I have made a mistake on my submitted application. Can I edit the information?

Only very limited edits can be made to your online application after it has been submitted. You may replace each referee once, change referee email addresses, and send reminders to referees through the application system. If you need to update other information then please contact the graduate program you applied to for assistance.

For changes to personal information such as citizenship, date of birth, or name, please contact graduate.apply@ubc.ca and include the appropriate documentation (e.g. birth certificate) to support your request.

What is the status of my application?

Many programs take several weeks to evaluate applications. To check the status of your application and to provide any new information or updated documentation required, please log in to My Applications. My Applications is also where you can find Information about your references and the status of your reference requests. Please note: you will only be able to upload documents after submitting your application as long as the program's document deadline (which is different from the application deadline) has not passed. If you cannot find the information you need in My Applications or on this website, please contact the program(s) you applied to for further assistance. For updates regarding documents received please note processing times for confirming documents received at peak times can be lengthy, please check back regularly.

I submitted my application and paid the application fee, but the status of my application in the “My Application” portal still states “Pending,” “Acknowledgement Pending,” or “Unsubmitted?” Is there an issue with my application?

No. There is a known issue with the application submission process that affects a small number of applicants. We are working to resolve this issue and your application will be manually processed as soon as possible. This issue will not affect the review of your application.

When should I contact the program I applied to?

Many programs take several weeks to evaluate applications. To check the status of your application and to provide any new information or updated documentation required, please log in to My Applications. My Applications is also where you can find Information about your references and the status of your reference requests. If you cannot find the information you need in My Applications or on this website, please contact the program(s) you applied to for further assistance.

My references and other documents have been sent. Can you confirm that you have received them?

You can see the status of documents received by logging in to My Applications. Please allow 4 weeks after sending in your documents for the system to be updated. If you have already submitted your online application and don’t see a document you are expecting in My Applications, please contact your graduate program directly. If four weeks have passed and you have received an offer of admission and you don’t see a document you are expecting in My Applications, please contact Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at graduate.apply@ubc.ca for instructions.

Please note: applicants are also sent an email when documentation is received and added to your application file.

My address has changed since I submitted my application. Can I change my address?

If you need to update your address, log in to My Applications and select "Update Personal or Contact Details". This link will connect you to the UBC Student Service Centre (SSC) where you can update your personal information.

I no longer wish to apply for graduate school at UBC. Can I get a refund?

The application fee is not refundable.

4) Obtaining References

Can I have Academic & Professional references?

Applicants may choose to use academic and/or professional references. Please have in mind that some thesis-based programs place more weight on academic references. If you have questions about the type of references expected by your prospective program, get in touch with your graduate program.

When do my referees receive the reference request email with the link to submit electronically?

Reference request emails are sent to your listed referees at the moment you submit your online application. Please note that if you have provided a free email address (Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) for any referees, they will receive an email providing instructions for submitting a paper reference, as they will not be able to submit online.

The application system also allows for applicants to send reminders to their referees as long as their prospective program’s reference deadline has not passed.

What if my referee does not have an institutional email?

Please include your referee’s information as part of your application. Your referee will receive an email providing instructions for submitting a paper reference form.

My referees are sending written references. Should they send an electronic one as well?

Referees should provide either a paper or an electronic reference, but not both. Referees are contacted by UBC via email with detailed instructions about how to submit a reference (by completing an online form or manually submitting their paper reference if required). If your referee has questions, please ask them to review these instructions or contact graduate.apply@ubc.ca for more information.

Can my referee send an e-mail reference?

For security reasons, references cannot be submitted by e-mail. Referees are contacted by UBC via email with detailed instructions about how to submit a reference. If your referee has questions, please ask them to review these instructions or contact graduate.apply@ubc.ca for more information.

How are electronic references submitted?

Referees will receive an automatic e-mail (sent to the e-mail addresses you entered in the "Referees" section) asking them to provide a reference report on your behalf. They then submit their references via an online form. Please note that we are not able to accept emails from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, MSN or other free email accounts for Referees. Applicants receive email notifications if an email to a Referee cannot be processed or if a Referee declines a reference request.

How can I tell if my referees have submitted references?

The status of your reference letters is visible to you in the online application system under the references tab.

My referee is not receiving the reference request email. What should I do?

Please have your referee check his/her email inbox junk folder. You can also re-send the email under the “references” section when you logon to the application portal.

How do I send a reminder email to my referees?

The section “manage references” will allow you to send your referees a reminder email which includes the link to access your reference request.

Can I switch a referee?

You can replace each referee once. You may do this under the “manage references” section of your application.

5) Referees

I've written a personal letter of recommendation. How should I send it?

Please refer to the email sent to you by UBC from graduate.apply@ubc.ca for instructions on how to submit your specific reference. In general, there are two options for submitting a personal reference letter. You may be able to scan and upload your personal reference letter using our online reference system form. Or, a personal reference letter can be sent by post to the program which the student has applied. In both cases, personal reference letters must be written on institutional letterhead. Letters sent by post must be in a sealed envelope with your written signature across the envelope seal and should be directed to the graduate program directly. Program addresses are listed in our degree program listing.

Can I send a reference as an e-mail or e-mail attachment?

For security reasons an e-mail or an e-mail attachment is not an acceptable format for a reference letter.

Many programs accept reference letters electronically, but this must be done via the link provided in the "Reference form for UBC Graduate Application" e-mail that you received. We are unable to accept e-mails from Hotmail, Yahoo, or other free e-mail accounts.

Did the program get my reference letter/form/electronic reference?

If you submit your reference via the online reference form, you will receive an online confirmation message indicating your form has been submitted to the program. If you did not complete the online reference form, please contact the program directly or ask the student you are referring to log in to their online application system (My Applications) where they can view the status of all reference requests.

Where should I send the paper reference form?

Please mail the form directly to the program to which the student applied. The automatic email you have recieved will include the program name and their mailing address.

I made a mistake. Can you reopen the reference for editing?

Yes, as long as the program’s reference deadline has not passed. Please send the request to graduate.apply@ubc.ca .