Award Holder's Guide

Recipients of external graduate awards, scholarships, and fellowships are advised to download and read a copy of the Award Holder's Guide on the appropriate award agency’s website. The Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) Research Training Award Holder's Guide is available online.

Other major fellowships have different guidelines. Please refer to your offer letter and/or the agency's website for guidelines.

Senate Regulations Governing University Awards

Awards holders are responsible for reviewing and adhering to the Senate Regulations Governing University Awards.

Conditional Acceptance

External Awards

In order to take up an external award, students are required to be unconditionally accepted to their UBC program. In cases when students are offered conditional acceptance to their program, those conditions must be met before the award can be activated and award payments be made.

UBC Awards

UBC awards (like Four Year Fellowships) will be processed without confirming that the condition of admission was met. However, students are still responsible to meet the condition of their admission by the deadline specified in their offer letter (typically within 12 weeks of starting their program). If the condition of admission is not met, the UBC award will be cancelled, and student will be required to repay all funds received from the award.

Registration in Courses

Award payments will only be made to students who are registered as full-time UBC graduate students. Award holders are required to maintain registration for the duration of their award funding period.

Receiving funding from multiple sources

In some cases, a student who holds an award or fellowship may not be eligible to hold additional fellowships, depending on the awards/fellowships involved.  Students considering applying for additional funding to be held concurrently with other funding should check the award’s policies to see if such an arrangement is permitted.  For example, some external scholarships will reduce the amount of the funding they give a student if the student wins other funding.

Completion of Program

Awards are prorated to the end of the month in which students complete their degree program (typically submission of final copy of their thesis to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies). To avoid any overpayments, please advise Graduate Awards of your completion date as soon as possible. Please note that students who complete their program partway through a term may be required to repay a portion of funds paid to them at the beginning of the term (e.g., if a student receives a $7,000 award payment in September and completes his/her program in November, he or she may be required to repay $1,750 - the December portion of the award).

For Tri-Agency awards only, funding is pro-rated to the end date of the academic term in which the degree requirements are completed.

Withdrawal from Program

Awards are prorated to the effective date of withdrawal from a degree program. To avoid any overpayments, please advise Graduate Awards of your withdrawal date as soon as possible. Please note that students who withdraw from their program partway through a term may be required to repay a portion of funds paid to them at the beginning of the term (e.g., if a student receives a $7,000 award payment in September and completes his/her program in on 15 November, he or she may be required to repay $2,625 - the amount for the November 16 to December 31st period).

Leave from Program

Award holders are not eligible to receive award payments while on approved academic leave from their program. Please advise Graduate Awards to arrange for the suspension of your award payments until your return from on-leave status.

Students who hold external fellowships that allow paid leaves of absence, should contact the funding agency and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to request a paid leave of absence well in advance of the leave start date. Conditions for paid leave of absence differ between funding agencies. Students should refer to the relevant funding agency's website for further information.

Program transfers

Program transfers include transferring from a Master’s to a PhD, PhD to Master’s, or between Master’s or between PhD’s.

Students who hold an external scholarship must check their award’s policy documentation as typically any change to the degree program will require approval from the funding agency to continue to hold the award funding.  Additionally, some awards are restricted to a particular degree program or degree level or a particular graduate program.  

Students should contact Graduate Awards if they are unsure if their award will be affected by a potential program transfer.

Advancement to candidacy

It is required that all doctoral students be admitted to candidacy within 36 months from the date of initial registration.  An award recipient whose candidacy is overdue will have their award funding put on hold until their advancement to candidacy paperwork is processed or an extension to time allowed for advancement to candidacy is submitted and processed.

Program Extension

University regulations establish a five-year time limit for the completion of a master’s program and a six-year time limit for the completion of a doctoral program. The time that the student is on approved leave does not count in the determination of the time limit. 

When an award recipient reaches the end of their program duration limit, they will be unable to register in future terms (and future award payments cannot be set up in the system) until a program extension is completed and processed.

Citizenship

Changes in citizenship status from international student to permanent resident of Canada may affect award funding.  Awards that are restricted to international students (such as the International Tuition Award) cannot be held by a permanent resident of Canada or Canadian citizen.  In cases where international student funding was paid to the student, and the student later updated their status to permanent resident retroactively, the student would be required to pay back the funding for the period that they are no longer eligible (the date they were granted permanent residency and onwards).

Changing supervisors

Students who are planning to change supervisors should consult their award’s policy documentation, as the policy may require that the funding agency be informed of the change in supervisor to continue to hold the funding.

Changing research project

Students who are considering changing their research project should consult their award’s policy documentation, as the policy may require that the funding agency be informed and approve the change in research to continue to hold the funding.

Award Payments

Graduate awards are paid through the Student Service Centre.

Award Overpayment

Award holders will be required to return any excess amounts issued to them. This includes overpayment for the time period after their effective completion or withdrawal date, Student Service Centre errors, etc. 

Employment

Effective March 2018, students who hold awards totalling $17,500 or more per year are no longer required to limit their number of hours of employment to an average of 12 hours per week. However, please note that award holders are expected to devote full-time hours to the research or studies for which they were funded, and are required to make satisfactory academic progress throughout their funding period.

However, in some cases a student may wish to interrupt (pause) their award to undertake work experience or an internship without taking a corresponding leave of absence from UBC.

  • Tri-Agency Award Holder’s guide policy on unpaid interruptions
  • Four Year Fellowship policy (see the 4YF Guidelines posted under ‘Further Information’)
  • For other scholarships, students should refer to the award’s policy documentation

Income Tax

Income tax is not withheld from SSC awards. Enrolment Services will provide a T4A form at the end of the calendar year for all award payments received during the calendar year. Students can download T4A from the Student Service Centre. Students are responsible for filing income tax returns on these awards.

Progress Reports

Students who hold an award more than 12 months in duration must submit to Graduate Awards an annual progress report. Failure to submit a progress report will result in award payments being suspended until a satisfactory progress report is received. Multi-year fellowships can include NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR, Killam Doctoral Fellowships, Four Year Fellowships, Aboriginal Fellowships, Rick Hansen Fellowships, and Affiliated Fellowships.