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.

Many graduate students have encountered delays in their research progress due to disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, UBC has launched the Graduate COVID Program Delay Tuition Award. Eligible students in research-based programs will receive this award and its value is equivalent to one term of tuition fees.

A budget of $5 million over a 5-year period has been approved for scholarship funding to support IBPOC scholars. Consultations with stakeholders have begun in spring 2021. Stay tuned for updates.

Guaranteed funding for all full-time PhD students

Effective September 2021, the minimum funding guarantee is at $22,000 per year for full-time PhD students who began their PhD in September 2018 or later. 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.

We have recently added PhD financial support data for the individual doctoral programs listed on our website. This is part of a larger effort to increase transparency of relevant information to prospective and current students, enabling them to make more informed decisions about coming to UBC and to plan accordingly when here.

We continue to advocate for increases to minimum funding levels as well as fellowship amounts to continue to support graduate students.

The minimum funding policy was approved in 2017, further information is available below.

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Review of award processes

UBC funds PhD students through a variety of awards, notably the Four Year Fellowship (4YF) and Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) 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.

To better support recruitment efforts at the graduate program level, allocation of 4YF and GSI funding will now be distributed to disciplinary faculties approx. one year in advance. For example, the 2022-23 allocation (for awards with a May 2022, September 2022, or January 2023 start date) will be sent to disciplinary faculties in Fall 2021.