The University of British Columbia offers and administers many programs that provide financial help to graduate students.
Types of Funding
The Graduate Awards department at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is responsible for administering merit-based (also known as competition-based) graduate awards at the Vancouver campus of the University of British Columbia, as well as a limited number of non-merit-based awards such as the International Tuition Award, President's Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award, and Graduate Student Travel and Research Dissemination Fund. Graduate Awards manages a number of award competitions each year and administers payment of both internally- and externally-funded awards.
Sources of Funding
Program funding packages
Students should check their degree program listing on our website at Graduate Degree Programs. Depending on the degree program, there may be program funding packages offered by the UBC department. The degree program listing may also include statistics on average funding in the program.
Awards organized through the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Graduate students can view the awards opportunities that are available for students to apply to on our website at Award Opportunities.
- Using the filters at the top of the link, students can update the results to the awards that are relevant to their specific academic profile
Awards offered by UBC programs or departments
Each department/program may have awards that they can offer to their students. Ask specifically about GSI and department recommended awards.
PhD students should also inquire about the Four Year Fellowship and the minimum funding policy for PhD students.
There are many awards offered by external agencies that students can apply for. However, the key external funding that students should be aware of is Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) funding.
Applicants should review the Tri-Agency award databases:
- National Sciences and Engineering Research Council
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
- Canadian Institute of Health Research
Agency award competition application deadlines are typically in the Fall each year. Interested applicants should check our database for UBC-specific essential guidance for applying for Tri-Agency funding.
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
UBC, through the support of its many donors and through funding provided by the provincial and federal governments, offers a wide range of programs to provide financial assistance to eligible students who cannot meet basic educational costs.
In-depth information about needs-based graduate awards such as loans, bursaries and other types of financial aid is available from Enrolment Services.
Please contact an Enrolment Services Advisor if you’d like to discuss your situation.
Important note: The below content is provided for informational purposes only. The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is not involved with student service appointments (student employees). Student service appointments are managed by individual graduate programs. Graduate students who are interested in Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant opportunities should contact their UBC program or department.
Student service appointments are intended to help properly qualified students of UBC meet the cost of their studies at the university, as well as to assist the University in meeting its educational and research objectives. Such appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities.
Normally, only those students registered as full-time in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are eligible for Graduate Teaching Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant and Graduate Academic Assistant appointments. Appointments offered to students prior to their admission to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are contingent upon admission. Student service appointments are co-ordinated and administered at the graduate program level.
Categories of appointment
There are five categories under which graduate students may be appointed:
- Graduate Teaching Assistant I
- Graduate Teaching Assistant II
- Graduate Research Assistant
- Graduate Academic Assistant.
For descriptions please see the Academic Calendar.
Different types of student funding are treated differently with regard to taxation:
- Awards and Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA) are coded as fellowship earnings and tax is not withheld by UBC against those earnings
- Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) are coded as 20% fellowship earnings (no tax withheld) and 80% regular earnings (tax is withheld by UBC)
- Markers and Graduate Academic Assistants (GAA) are coded as 100% regular earnings (tax is withheld by UBC)
In February of each year, UBC will provide students with a T4A form for all fellowship earnings and a T4 form for all regular earnings received during the previous calendar year (January to December). Students are responsible for filing income tax returns on these earnings.
Awards and Other Sources of Funding
Most external funding agencies have clearly defined policies regarding additional funding for award recipients. Funding agencies might restrict the amount students are eligible to receive from other awards, number of hours they can spend on work unrelated to their research, the type of research grants used to pay any additional Research or Teaching Assistantships, etc. It is the award recipients' responsibility to comply with the rules and regulations of their award.
Effective March 2018, G+PS no longer limits the number of employment hours for any award holders.
UBC has determined that, due to domestic and international employment and taxation laws, students cannot be hired as Teaching Assistants unless they are physically located in Canada. Specific questions about TA appointments should be directed to your UBC graduate program.
UBC Calendar - Teaching and Research Assistantships
UBC Payroll - Scholarship & Fellowship Taxation
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.
A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.
Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Financial support options – resource from Enrollment Services
- Covers some of the other funding options, such as bursaries, loans, Work Learn placements, co-op placements, and emergency funding