A UBC graduate education challenges students and requires their full attention. As a central element of their education, many graduate students also contribute significantly to UBC research, as well as to the education of our undergraduate students. Other work or financial commitments can be a major obstacle for graduate students, which is why scholarships and financial support are a key priority for UBC.

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Increase Award Funding

Starting in 2016, the University increased doctoral award funding by an amount that will reach $8 million over a four-year period. This represents a 30% increase in graduate funding from internal sources at UBC. Graduate funding is also a priority for the University Blue and Gold Campaign, and donor funding is being used to match the province’s BC Graduate Scholarships provided in 2018.

Awards totalling $2.8 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year will be provided beginning in May 2020 as the President’s Excellence Initiative PhD Award to recognize the significant contributions of PhD students to the research activities of the university. The awards are available to all new and continuing PhD students, except those who have their tuition paid by an external sponsor.

Guaranteed funding for all full-time PhD students

In 2017, G+PS created a Senate-approved policy to ensure that all full-time PhD students starting their studies in September 2018 or later receive at least $18,000 of funding for their first four years of study. Funding packages may consist of scholarships, TAships, RAships, or other academically relevant work at the university. Most PhD students receive more than this amount, and the current average PhD funding package is approximately $30,000 over the first four years.

As we are successful in increasing award funding, we will be considering raising the amount of the Minimum Funding Guarantee.

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Review of award processes

UBC funds PhD students through a variety of awards, notably the Four Year Fellowship and Graduate Support Initiative  programs. We are currently reviewing several PhD-focused award programs to ensure that they provide graduate programs with the flexibility needed to pursue their recruitment and retention goals, in alignment with UBC’s overall strategic priorities.