Graduate Policy and Procedure Manual

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Governance: College of Graduate Studies

The College of Graduate Studies works in conjunction with departments, programs, schools, and faculties to coordinate and maintain the quality of master’s and doctoral programs on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Graduate Council

The Graduate Council is responsible for the governance and direction of the College of Graduate Studies and its affairs and business.

Further information on the responsibilities of the College of Graduate Studies and Graduate Council is available in the document: Senate Policy O-4: Governance of the College of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Studies Scholarship & Awards Committee Terms of Reference and Membership

The Scholarship and Awards Committee is a standing committee of the College. This committee is responsible for the fair and equitable adjudication of various awards and scholarships administered by the College of Graduate Studies.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Recommends award policies and procedures to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and to Graduate Council.
  • Determines the division of the nomination quotas received for Tri-Council competitions in preparation for submission to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • Adjudicates major external awards such as: Vanier CGS; Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship; Tri-Council (NSERC, SSHRC, and CIHR) doctoral scholarships; Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s Program (CGS M).
  • Adjudicates internal awards such as: Killam Doctoral Scholarship; Governor General’s Gold Medal; Graduate Dean’s Thesis Fellowship; Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship; CAGS Distinguished Dissertation Award; and, various endowment funded awards.
  • Subcommittees will be determined based on the expertise required to adjudicate the award and the volume of applications under consideration.

Delegated Authority

  • Reviews appeals of process pertaining to Tri-Council scholarship applications.

Composition

  • Members will be recommended by their Faculty Dean to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
  • Membership on the committee will be allocated according to Tri-Council area among the Faculties as follows on two sub-committees:
  • NSERC and CIHR (6 committee members)
  • School of Engineering (2)
  • Irving K. Barber (2) (not the same as members below in SSHRC)
  • Faculty of Health and Social Development (2)
  • SSHRC (6 committee members)
  • Faculty of Management (1)
  • Faculty of Education (1)
  • Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (2)
  • Irving K. Barber School (2) (not the same as members in NSERC/CIHR)
  • Members will normally serve for a two-year term with rotation as needed.
  • The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies will serve as the Chair of the committee.

Ex Officio Membership

  • Dean, College of Graduate Studies.
  • Associate Dean, College of Graduate Studies.
  • Director, College of Graduate Studies.
  • Graduate Awards Coordinator, College of Graduate Studies.

Voting Regulations

  • All members have voting privileges.
  • Ex Officio members do not have voting privileges, except for the case below.
  • The Chair of the committee casts the deciding vote in the case of a committee tie vote.

Total Membership

  • 12 members and 4 ex officio members.

Quorum

  • Five (5) members of the NSERC/CIHR or SSHRC committees respectively when meeting to determine NSERC/CIHR or SSHRC nominations to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (UBC Vancouver).
  • Four (4) voting members from the selected sub-committee for nominations to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (UBC Vancouver) for Vanier, Trudeau, and Killam awards
  • Four (4) voting members from the selected sub-committee for adjudicating applications to other external awards not explicitly listed elsewhere in the terms of reference.
  • Four (4) voting members from the selected sub-committee to determine internal UBCO awards.

Procedure for Calling Meeting

  • The full committee will convene at the beginning of each year and at the end of Winter Term II.
  • Subcommittees will convene for adjudication as needed.

Graduate Studies Program and Curriculum Committee

Terms of Reference

  • The Program & Curriculum Committee is a sub-committee of the College of Graduate Studies Council.
  • The Committee will review program & curriculum changes and make recommendations to the Senate Curriculum Committee on behalf of the College of Graduate Studies.
  • The department that is proposing the changes will present the changes at the Senate Curriculum Committee meeting.

Responsibilities

  • Review and recommend to the Senate Curriculum Committee for approval, amendment, or rejection, all proposals for curriculum changes, new graduate programs, and new graduate-level (500 to 699) courses.
  • A member of this committee will be chosen by the chair of the committee to represent the College of Graduate Studies on the Senate Curriculum Committee for a term of one (1) year, with option for renewal.

Membership

  • Dean of the College of Graduate Studies or delegate (Ex officio, non-voting, except in the case of a tie vote amongst the committee members, is chair in absence of Associate Dean)
  • Director of the College of Graduate Studies (Ex officio, non-voting)
  • Faculty representatives – Shall be appointed by the Dean of each Faculty or School
    • I.K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences (2)
    • Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (1)
    • Faculty of Education (1)
    • School of Engineering (1)
    • Faculty of Health and Social Development (1)
    • Faculty of Management (1)
  • One elected graduate student from the Graduate Student Advisory Council.

Continuation of Membership

  • Members will be considered to have withdrawn from the committee if they miss three (3) consecutive meetings. The Chair of the committee will have the option of requesting from the relevant Faculty or School Dean a replacement representative.
  • The term of membership on the committee is normally three years; Deans may reappoint members at their discretion.

Conduct of meetings of the Committee

  • The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies or designate is the Committee Chair.
  • The schedule for the regular monthly meetings is to be set by the Chair of the committee with the schedule distributed to committee members and to an identified contact person who has responsibility for graduate curriculum matters in the office of every Dean of a Faculty or School.
  • Extraordinary meetings may be called by the Dean of The College of Graduate Studies or the Chair of the Committee provided that five (5) days’ notice is given to members of the Committee.
  • The quorum for meetings of the Committee will be four (4) voting members.
  • The deadline for submission of items for the consideration of the Committee will be one week (seven [7] days) prior to a scheduled meeting. Items for the consideration of the Committee shall be circulated to the members a minimum of four (4) days prior to the meeting.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program Committee

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program shall be governed by a committee of the College of Graduate Studies.

Membership

  • Director of IGS- Chair
  • Dean of the College of Graduate Studies (ex officio, non-voting)
  • Faculty Members
    • One graduate coordinator from each academic department
    • One graduate coordinator from each IGS theme
  • Student Members (2 year terms)
    • One IGS master’s level student elected by and from graduate students in the IGS master’s program
    • One IGS student elected by and from the graduate students in the IGS graduate doctoral program
  • Continuation of Membership
    • Notwithstanding the terms set above, elected members shall cease to be members of the Council if they cease to be a member of the constituency they represent.

Terms of Reference

  • Establish, review and amend as needed: guidelines, policy, and procedures for the IGS program, including:
    • Develop rules and regulations for IGS;
    • Review the structure of IGS and recommend changes as required; and
    • Periodically review all policies and procedures for the IGS and recommend amendments.
  • Provide on-going Curriculum review, including:
    • Recommend IGS courses of instruction and thematic programs to the UBC Okanagan Senate in conjunction with the regular approval of curriculum via departments and faculties;
    • Review and recommend all new IGS themes, curriculum changes, and IGS courses; and,
    • Periodically review standards for IGS courses and themes.
  • Meetings of the IGS Program and Curriculum Committee:
    • Schedule for regular monthly meetings will be set by the Director of IGS, with the schedule distributed to members and posted at the start of fall term;
    • Extraordinary meetings may be called by the Director of IGS, provided that five (5) days’ notice is given to members of the Council;
    • Quorum – 7 voting members; and,
    • Deadline for submission of agenda items – one week prior to meeting. The meeting agenda shall be circulated to members of the Council a minimum of two (2) days prior to the meeting.

Graduate Student Advisory Council

Mission

The mission of the Graduate Student Advisory Council is to provide advice and feedback to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and the Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies on key issues for graduate students at UBC Okanagan. The Council will also be used as a conduit for information from the College to graduate students. At times, the Dean may call for volunteers to serve as graduate representatives on various committees as needed.

Membership

  • Dean, College of Graduate Studies (Chair) (ex officio)
  • IGS Director, College of Graduate Studies (Vice Chair) (ex officio)
  • Director, College of Graduate Studies (ex officio)
  • Graduate student representatives from:
    • Applied Science (2)
    • K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences (2 representatives from each department)
    • Education (2)
    • Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (2)
    • Faculty of Health and Social Development (2 representatives each from Nursing, Health Studies and Social Work)
    • Faculty of Management (2)
    • Invited guests, as appropriate

Members will be appointed for a term of one year with the option of renewing for an additional year

Meetings

Meetings will be led by the Dean as Chair. In his or her absence, the Vice Chair will perform this function. Roberts Rules of Order will be followed. Meetings will be held at least four times a year. A summary of the discussion will be circulated after each meeting.

Applications & Admissions

Admissions

College of Graduate Studies Responsibilities

The College of Graduate Studies is responsible for compiling application materials, which includes verifying the authenticity of references and of any documents it has received to fulfill admissions requirements. The College of Graduate Studies sends completed application files to graduate programs for review.

When an academic department recommends an applicant for admission, the College of Graduate Studies will ensure that the applicant meets all admission requirements. If a recommended applicant does not meet the minimum admission requirements, the College of Graduate Studies will follow the Exceptional Admissions process.

The College of Graduate Studies is responsible for sending all admission offers and rejection notifications to applicants.

Academic Department Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the academic program or department to review all complete applications and make admissions decisions regarding all application files. Department, program, or Faculty graduate committees make recommendations to the College of Graduate Studies to accept applicants to fill available positions in their departments and programs.

When recommending an applicant for admission, the academic department should ensure that the applicant meets all admission requirements. Academic departments should only recommend admission for students they believe are likely to succeed in the program and for whom they have the resources that are required to adequately foster student success in the program. These resources include supervisory personnel, facilities, and financial support where appropriate.

Exceptional Admissions

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for admission are normally denied admission, but may be admitted under exceptional circumstances. If an academic department wishes to recommend admission for an applicant who does not meet the minimum admission requirements, the academic department must provide the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies with a letter of rationale outlining why the applicant should be admitted. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies has the sole discretion to either approve or deny the admission.

Cases for exceptional admission include, but are not limited to:

  • applicants who do not meet all admission requirements, but who have significant formal training and relevant professional experience to offset such deficiencies;
  • applicants admitted to a doctoral degree program directly from having completed an honours bachelor degree; or
  • applicants whose prior educational institutions are not currently recognized by UBC.

Applicants approved under this exceptional admissions policy are required to submit a progress report to the College of Graduate Studies after their first term of study.

Offers of Admission

The College of Graduate Studies has final approval authority for all graduate admissions.

Once an admission is approved, the College of Graduate Studies sends an admission offer letter to the successful applicant through the online application system.
If a successful applicant is to receive funding from their program, the program should send a letter outlining the funding opportunity. This information is especially important for international applicants who may need to provide proof of funding when applying for study permits.

Unconditional/Full Admission

Unconditional admission is granted when an applicant meets all requirements and the College of Graduate Studies has received and officially accepted all required documentation.

Conditional Admission

Applicants receive offers of conditional admission when they must meet certain conditions before they can receive an offer of full admission to graduate study.
Such conditions may include:

  • Submission of a criminal record check;
  • Completion of required prerequisite courses, or verification that such courses have been completed;
  • Submission of final documentation showing degree conferral; or
  • Submission of academic records from previous institutions.

The offer of admission letter will stipulate any conditions and the dates for meeting these conditions. Failure to meet conditions or deadline dates may result in revocation of the admission offer.

Negative Admission Decision by the College of Graduate Studies

If the College of Graduate Studies does not approve the admission of an applicant whom a program or department has recommended for admission, the College of Graduate Studies will first report the negative decision to the recommending program coordinator. The program will have five business days to respond to the negative decision and/or schedule a meeting with the Dean or Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. If the program does not respond within five business days, or the Dean is not satisfied with the response of the program, the applicant will be sent a rejection notification. The Dean has sole discretion to reject an applicant, subject only to an appeal to Senate.

Accepting or Declining Admission Offers

All applicants will receive a formal decision concerning their applications.

Applicants are responsible for accepting or declining admission offers by the response date indicated in the notification email.

Normally, a response is expected within three weeks of the date the admission offer is sent.

Applicants accept or decline the admission offer by logging into the online application system and responding to the admission offer.

Declined Admission

Applicants who are not successful will receive an admission decline email through the online application system.

Each year, many strong applications are declined. Common reasons include the unavailability of an appropriate faculty supervisor, the unavailability of funding for the applicant, the less competitive academic record of an applicant, or the limited number of available graduate placements in a given program.

NOTE: Because of the large number of admissions applications the College of Graduate Studies receives, it is unable to provide unsuccessful applicants with specific explanations for why their application has been declined.

Admission Deferrals

Admission offers can only be deferred with the permission of the College of Graduate Studies and the department or program to which the applicant has been admitted.
Admission offers can be deferred for a maximum period of one year. Applicants seeking deferrals for more than one year must reapply for admission.

The process for an admission deferral is as follows:

  1. Email the College of Graduate Studies the request to defer admission, which must include the intake period to which the applicant seeks to defer;
  2. The College of Graduate Studies will evaluate the request and confer with the relevant program concerning approval of the request;
  3. If the deferral request is approved, The College of Graduate Studies will generate a new admission offer with the revised program start date; and
  4. If the deferral request is not approved, the applicant must either accept or decline the original admission offer.

Minimum Admission Requirements

Minimum admission requirements are set by the College of Graduate Studies and listed in the Academic Calendar. Programs may set higher admission requirements that the College of Graduate Studies minimum.

English Proficiency Requirements

Applicants from universities where English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of English language competency.

To be officially accepted, proficiency tests must have been taken within 24 months prior to application, and they must be submitted directly to the College of Graduate Studies in sealed envelopes by the testing agencies. The College of Graduate Studies will not accept photocopies of test results.

The College of Graduate Studies accepts the following English proficiency tests:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    • minimum score of 550 (paper version); or,
    • 90 overall with a minimum score of 22 in Reading & Listening; and a
    • minimum score of 21 in Writing & Speaking (Internet version).

TOEFL scores must be issued directly to the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia from the testing agency using institution code 2499.

  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS):
    • a minimum overall band score of 6.5 with no component score less than 6.0.
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB):
    • a minimum overall score of 85, with a final score of 3 in the speaking test.

UBC Okanagan graduate programs may set higher proficiency scores than the minimums listed above. Applicants should review specific program requirements for their program of interest before applying.

Master’s Degree

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirement for admission to master’s degree programs in the College of Graduate Studies is that the applicant holds the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from UBC, and meets one of the following:

  • A minimum overall average in the B+ grade range (76-79% at UBC) in their third-year level and above courses; or
  • An academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) in the field of study; or
  • A four-year bachelor’s degree, or its academic equivalent, which does not meet the previous requirements, but shows significant formal training and relevant professional experience to offset such deficiencies. In such cases, admission may be granted on the recommendation of the relevant graduate program or Faculty and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

International Applicants

Applications are welcomed and encouraged from international students who hold a credential deemed academically equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree from UBC and who demonstrate superior academic standing. Grades and degree credentials required by UBC Okanagan vary by country. Specific minimum admission requirements for graduates of post-secondary institutions from various countries may be found in the International Student Evaluation Manual

Applicants who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada must apply for a study permit (student visa) to study in Canada. Study permit applications can be made through any Canadian Consulate or High Commission.

PhD Degree

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirement for doctoral degree program admission to the College of Graduate Studies is that the applicant holds the academic equivalent of one of the following:

  • A master’s degree from an approved institution, with clear evidence of research ability or potential, and a minimum overall average in the B+ grade range (76-79% at UBC) in all graduate courses;
  • A bachelor’s degree, with one year of study in a master’s program and 12 credits of first-class average that includes:
    • 9 credits at the 500 level or above;
    • At least 9 credits of first-class standing;
    • Clear evidence of research ability or potential.
    • NOTE: Transfer directly into a doctoral program from a bachelor’s degree is normally accomplished after the first year of master’s study and will not be permitted after the completion of the second year in a master’s program;
  • In exceptional cases, an honours bachelor’s degree with an overall average in the A grade range and demonstrated advanced research ability. Admission may be granted on the recommendation of the appropriate graduate program or faculty and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

To maintain registration as a doctoral student, students entering directly from a bachelor’s degree must, during their first year of study, complete:

  • 12 credits with a first-class average, of which:
  • at least 9 credits must be at the 500 level or above; and,
  • at least 9 credits must be of first-class standing.

International Applicants

Applications are welcomed and encouraged from international students who hold a credential deemed academically equivalent to an approved Canadian two-year master’s degree and who demonstrate superior academic standing. Grades and degree credentials required by UBC Okanagan vary by country. Specific minimum admission requirements for graduates of post-secondary institutions from various countries may be found in the International Student Evaluation Manual

Applicants who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada must apply for a study permit (student visa) to study in Canada. Study permit applications can made through any Canadian Consulate or High Commission.

Readmission

Readmission applies when it is appropriate to admit, as if for the first time, a student who was previously registered. An application for admission, whether to the same or a different program, will be evaluated as a new application. Applicants seeking readmission must submit a new application package along with the applicable application fee.

A maximum of 12 credits or up to 40% of the total degree credits of previously completed coursework may be applied to a program after readmission, provided the courses were completed no longer than five years before the date of readmission and each course achieved a minimum grade of B (74%).

NOTE: Regular program requirements still apply.

Applications

Student Classifications

Aboriginal Students

UBC Okanagan does not have a specific Aboriginal graduate admissions policy. However, we are committed to ensuring Aboriginal students receive the benefits of a first-rate graduate education. Aboriginal students should therefore consult the following links for important services and resources.

Faculty as Graduate Students

UBC Okanagan campus full-time faculty are not normally permitted to register for degree programs through the College of Graduate Studies.

Qualifying Student

A student whose academic background entitles them to serious consideration for admission to graduate studies, but who is considered to be inadequately prepared to enter a graduate program in the specific discipline (e.g., three-year degree holders from other Canadian universities, a student changing from one field of study to another, or a student upgrading their academic standing) may be admitted as a qualifying student. Qualifying students are not considered graduate students.

If, at the end of a qualifying term or year, the relevant graduate program and the College of Graduate Studies are satisfied with the caliber of the student’s work, the student may apply for admission to a graduate program.

Courses taken during a qualifying term or year that have been deemed necessary in order to meet the requirements for full admission to graduate studies cannot be transferred to a subsequent graduate program. However, other courses may be transferred upon the recommendation of the department or program and with the approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Qualifying student status is available only to applicants who do not require a study permit to study in Canada.

Visiting Students

A visiting graduate student is a student who is attending the UBC Okanagan campus to complete coursework and/or research for graduate degree requirements at another university.

A student must be currently registered with good standing in a graduate program at their home university to be eligible for admission as a visiting student on the UBC Okanagan campus. Students may normally hold visiting status at the UBC Okanagan campus for a maximum of 12 months.

Visiting Students from Canadian Universities

Students enrolled in graduate programs at other Canadian universities may enroll on the UBC Okanagan Campus as visiting students through one of three mechanisms:

  • Western Deans’ Agreement;
  • Graduate Exchange Agreement; or,
  • Regular Visiting Students.
Western Deans’ Agreement

Under the Western Deans’ Agreement, students at participating institutions in Western Canada can attend UBC Okanagan as visiting students without having to pay UBC Okanagan tuition fees.

Students may be required to pay student, activity, application, or other ancillary fees, according to general policies in effect. Wherever possible, these fees will also be waived.

To qualify for visiting UBC Okanagan under the Western Deans’ Agreement, students must:

  • Be registered in an institution that is part of the Western Deans’ Agreement;
  • Be in good academic standing in a graduate program at their home institution;
  • Be up-to-date in the payment of all current and back fees at their home institution;
  • Be seeking to take courses that are considered integral to their degree program; and
  • Have completed the Western Deans’ Agreement Authorization Form.

The Western Deans’ Agreement Authorization form must be approved by the relevant Graduate Program Advisor and the College of Graduate Studies at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the course(s) requested.

The fee waiver is not available retroactively.

Additional information about the Western Deans’ Agreement and participating institutions can be found on the Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies’ website.

Graduate Exchange Agreement

Under the Graduate Exchange Agreement, students at participating universities can attend UBC Okanagan as visiting students without having to pay UBC Okanagan tuition fees.

To qualify for visiting UBC Okanagan under the Graduate Exchange Agreement, students must:

  • Be registered in an institution that is part of the Graduate Exchange Agreement;
  • Be in good academic standing in a graduate program at their home institution;
  • Be up-to-date in the payment of all current and back fees at their home institution;
  • Be seeking to take courses that are considered integral to their degree program; and
  • Have completed the Graduate Exchange Authorization form.

The Graduate Exchange Authorization form must be approved by the relevant Graduate Program Advisor and the College of Graduate Studies at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the course(s) requested.

The fee waiver is not available retroactively.

Regular Canadian Visiting Students

Students registered at Canadian institutions that are not part of the Western Deans’ Agreement or Graduate Exchange Agreement can apply as visiting students to UBC Okanagan to complete coursework and/or research.

Prior approval is required from:

  • the home university of the student;
  • the graduate program on the UBC Okanagan campus in which the student is seeking to participate, along with acceptance from a faculty member to act as host supervisor; and
  • the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Students applying for regular Canadian visiting student status must submit the following:

  • a Graduate Studies application that contains individual graduate program requirements (e.g., statement of intent, research proposal, etc.), submitted online;
  • an application fee;
  • one set of official transcripts from their current graduate program;
  • a letter of permission from the registrar or department head of their home university confirming that the coursework and/or research they seek to undertake on the UBC Okanagan campus is for the purpose of completing their graduate degree requirements at their home university; and
  • where applicable, evidence of English proficiency, in the form of an official TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB score.

At the recommendation of the graduate program in which the student is applying to participate, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies will issue a formal offer of admission to the visiting student.

Visiting students must be registered in coursework or non-credit activity (if doing research only) through the College of Graduate Studies.

Visiting students, with the exception of those governed by the Western Deans’ Agreement, Graduate Exchange Agreement, and other special agreements, pay tuition fees on a per-credit basis.

Those students involved in research activity only (no courses) must register for the non-credit activity Visiting Graduate Research Student (VGRS 599), which is equal to the tuition fee for one credit of coursework plus authorized student fee.

Students may normally hold visiting status at the UBC Okanagan campus for a maximum of 12 months.

Visiting Students from International Universities

Students enrolled in graduate programs at non-Canadian universities may enroll on the UBC Okanagan Campus as visiting students through one of two mechanisms:

  • Visiting International Research Student (VIRS); or
  • Regular International Visiting Student.
Visiting International Research Student (VIRS)

A Visiting International Research Student is:

  • An international student conducting research full-time at UBC, under supervision of a UBC faculty member and enrolled in a graduate or graduate-equivalent program at another university; or
  • a participant, through Go Global, in a “bridging” program recognized by UBC.

A VIRS student must:

  • Not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status;
  • Intend to come to UBC solely for the purpose of research;
  • Have a plan to conduct research for one month or longer (maximum of 12 months);
  • Obtain the approval for research activities at UBC by obtaining signatures from:
    • A host supervisor (i.e. a UBC faculty member who has agreed to act as supervisor through the proposed research period at UBC);
    • The home university or the sponsoring program;
    • The UBC Department Head for the department or laboratory with which the visiting research student will be affiliated; and
    • Their supervisor from their home institution.

Detailed application information is available on the Go Global site.

Regular International Visiting Student

An international visiting student is a graduate student who is attending the UBC Okanagan campus to complete coursework and/or research for graduate degree requirements at an international university.

Prior approval for international visiting student status is required from:

  • the home university of the student;
  • the UBC Okanagan campus graduate program in which the student wishes to participate;
  • a faculty member who will to act as the host supervisor for the student; and
  • the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Students applying for regular international visiting student status must submit the following:

  • a Graduate Studies application submitted online that contains all the components for an individual graduate program application (e.g., statement of intent, research proposal, etc.);
  • the application fee;
  • one set of official transcripts from their current graduate program;
  • a letter of permission from the registrar or department head of their home university, confirming that the coursework and/or research they will be undertaking at the UBC Okanagan campus will be for the purpose of completing the graduate degree requirements of their program at their home university; and
  • (where applicable), evidence of English proficiency, in the form of an official TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB score.

At the recommendation of the graduate program to which the student is applying, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies will issue a formal offer of admission to the visiting student.

Regular international visiting students must be registered in coursework through the College of Graduate Studies. They will be assessed tuition fees at the prevailing graduate per credit rate along with authorized student fees.

Students may normally hold regular international visiting status at the UBC Okanagan campus for a maximum of 12 months.

Applications for admission to the master’s degree program or the doctoral degree program are made through the College of Graduate Studies.

Application Requirements

All graduate studies programs require the following admission application components:

  • Online application and fee;
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions that the applicant has attended (including certified English translations for transcripts in a language other than English or French);
  • Three letters of reference;
  • Statement of Intent/Purpose;
  • English proficiency scores (where applicable).

Graduate programs may, at their discretion, also require one or more of the following components:

  • GRE scores;
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume;
  • Portfolio; or
  • Scholarly writing sample.

Online Application System

All applicants must apply through the online application system
Paper applications are not available.

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.

Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee is required for each graduate program to which an applicant applies. Application fees cannot be deferred and are valid for only one application year.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies applicants should submit only one application and pay one application fee per academic year, since their file will be forwarded to various departments as applicable.

Current Graduate Application Fees:

  • Canadians (and Permanent Residents, Refugees and Diplomats): (CDN) $102.
  • International Applicants: (CDN) $165.

All applicants who apply as Canadian citizens or as permanent residents of Canada may be required to provide proof of Canadian citizenship, and must provide proof of Permanent Residency.

Application Fee Waivers

The application fee will be waived only in the following circumstances:

  • For international applicants whose citizenship and correspondence address is located in one of the world’s 50 least developed countries, as declared by the United Nations. These countries include but are not limited to Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, and Uganda. Complete list of eligible countries
  • Seniors: BC residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents aged 65 years or over at the time of application.

Students who are eligible for an application fee waiver do not need to apply for it. They will not be asked for a fee when they complete the online application.

Application Status

Applicants may check their application status online by logging into the application system. Applicants may also periodically be sent emails via the online system with information concerning their application status and any required documents.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all application components are submitted by the applicable deadlines.

Transcripts

Canadian Transcripts

Applicants will normally scan and upload digital copies (.pdfs) of required official documents into the application system. Such scanned submissions are considered “unofficial” documents. These uploaded copies of official documents will be used for initial evaluation of the applicant.

Graduate programs may make conditional admission offers based on documents uploaded into the application system; however, admission offers will not be finalized and applicants will not be allowed to register in a graduate program until the University has received and validated one set of all required official documents.

Uploading Transcripts

Applicants with Canadian transcripts (other than UBC) must submit an official paper transcript from every post-secondary institution they have attended. UBC transcripts are not required.

For initial, unofficial submission, each transcript should be scanned as an individual .pdf file and then uploaded to the application system as indicated in the instructions in the admissions application system. Applicants must attend to any directions that the specific graduate program to which they are applying may provide about naming their scanned document files. In the absence of any further instructions, such files should be named according to the following format: “[Applicant Full Name]-[Document Description].extension”

Examples:
Kelly Smith-University of Waterloo Transcript.pdf
Kelly Smith-CV.pdf
Kelly Smith-Journal of Neurosciences Paper.pdf

Transcripts must be scanned front and back. All pages of one transcript, front and back, should be uploaded as a single file (rather than a separate file for each page). Students should consult the document scanning and uploading instructions provided in the online application system for detailed instructions.

If applicants are unable to upload copies of their transcripts during the application process, they should arrange for official transcripts to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies immediately. Applications will not be reviewed until all transcripts have been included in the application package.

Submitting Official Transcripts

In order for academic records to be considered official, the College of Graduate Studies must receive each academic record either in an official university envelope, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or via secure electronic delivery from the issuing institution.

If an applicant is offered admission conditional upon receipt of official documentation, the applicant must provide UBC with one set of official transcripts for every postsecondary institution the applicant has attended. If an official transcript does not indicate the degree name and the degree conferral date, then the applicant is also require to submit an official degree certificate.

Documents should be sent directly to:

College of Graduate Studies
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
EME 2121 – 1137 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7
Canada

Current and Former UBC Students

Current and former UBC students do not need to submit UBC transcripts as part of the graduate application, since this data is already available through the student database system; however, such applicants are still responsible for submitting transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions they have attended (e.g., exchange year, transfer year, etc.).

UBC does not accept the following:
  • photocopies that have not been stamped, attested and endorsed by the Registrar at the home university;
  • documents in envelopes that have been opened;
  • documents that do not arrive in sealed envelopes endorsed by the issuing institution or certified translator
  • documents that arrive without the official seal of the university;
  • photocopies notarized by a notary public;
  • photocopies endorsed by a lawyer, professor, judge etc.;
  • unofficial translations; or
  • non-literal translations.

Applicants should not send academic records that are not in sealed and endorsed envelopes. Failure to comply with this requirement will delay the processing of the application.

Document Ownership

Documents submitted in support of applications become the property of the University and may not be returned to the applicant or student. Applicants who submit irreplaceable material may request the return of that material. Such requests must be included with the submission of the original material. The College of Graduate Studies will return the material as soon as possible, and not later than six months after the graduation or last registration of the student.

International Transcripts, Degree Certificates & Translations

Applicants will normally scan and upload digital copies (.pdfs) of required official documents into the application system. Such scanned submissions are considered “unofficial” documents. These uploaded copies of official documents will be used for initial evaluation of the applicant.

Graduate programs may make conditional admission offers based on documents uploaded into the application system; however, admission offers will not be finalized and applicants will not be allowed to register in a graduate program until the University has received and validated one set of all required official documents.

Uploading Transcripts

Applicants with transcripts from non-Canadian post-secondary institutions must submit an official paper transcript from every such post-secondary institution they have attended.

For initial, unofficial submission, each transcript should be scanned as an individual .pdf file and then uploaded to the application system as indicated in the instructions in the admissions application system. Applicants must attend to any directions that the specific graduate program to which they are applying may provide about naming their scanned document files. In the absence of any further instructions, such files should be named according to the following format: “[Applicant Full Name]-[Document Description].extension”

Examples:

Peng Zhang-Peking University Transcript.pdf
Peng Zhang-Peking University Transcript English Translation.pdf
Peng Zhang-CV.pdf
Peng Zhang-Journal of Neurosciences Paper.pdf

Transcripts must be scanned front and back. All pages of one transcript, front and back, should be uploaded as a single file (rather than a separate file for each page).

If applicants have transcripts that are issued in a language other than English, then in addition to uploading digital copies of the documents in their original language, applicants must also upload a certified literal English translation of the transcripts from the translation service of the university that is issuing the document or from a certified English translator.

For detailed instructions, applicants should consult the document scanning and uploading instructions provided in the online application system.

If applicants are unable to upload copies of the transcripts during the application process, they should arrange for official transcripts to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies immediately. Applications will not be reviewed until all required transcripts are included in the application package.

Submitting Official Transcripts

In order for academic records to be considered official, the College of Graduate Studies must receive each academic record either in an official university envelope, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or via secure electronic delivery from the issuing institution.

If an applicant is offered admission conditional upon receipt of official documentation, the applicant must provide UBC with one set of official transcripts for every postsecondary institution the applicant has attended. If an official transcript does not indicate the degree name and the degree conferral date, then the applicant is also required to submit an official degree certificate.

Documents should be sent directly to:

College of Graduate Studies
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
EME 2121 – 1137 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7
Canada

If the university issues only one original copy of transcripts/degree certificates:
Applicants should make photocopies of the original academic records and send them to the originating university, requesting the institution to:

  • verify that the photocopies are consistent with its records;
  • attest that the copies are true photocopies and stamp them with an official university stamp;
  • insert the attested, stamped photocopies in sealed envelopes endorsed by the Registrar of the institution; and
  • mail the sealed, endorsed envelopes directly to the College of Graduate Studies.

Translation of Transcripts

If applicants have attended institutions where the transcripts are issued in a language other than English or French, then applicants must:

  • arrange to have a set of all official transcripts issued in their original language;
  • obtain a certified literal English translation of the transcripts from the translation service of the originating institution; and
  • send both the original transcripts and the literal English translation to the College of Graduate Studies in sealed envelopes endorsed by the originating institution.

If the originating institution does not provide English translations of transcripts, applicants must:

  • make a photocopy of their copy of the transcripts.
  • Take the copy to a certified English translator and ask them to provide a complete, word-by-word, literal English translation;
  • instruct the translator to put both the original language photocopy and the English translation into a sealed envelope, and endorse the envelope by signing across the seal;
  • send the sealed, endorsed envelope from the translator to the College of Graduate Studies; and
  • send the original transcripts in the original language to the College of Graduate Studies.

Note: Academic records must be translated in their entirety, including any information that appears on the reverse side of any document.

Document Ownership

Documents submitted in support of applications become the property of the University and may not be returned to the applicant or student. Students who submit irreplaceable material may request the return of that material. Such requests must be submitted with the original material. The College of Graduate Studies will return the material as soon as possible, and not later than six months after the graduation or last registration of the student.

References

All applicants must submit three academic references. However, professional references will automatically be allowed in place of academic references as follows:

  • Applicant’s credential was received less than five years ago: up to one professional reference letter is automatically allowed;
  • Applicant’s credential was received between five and 10 years ago: up to two professional reference are letters automatically allowed; and
  • Applicant’s credential was received more than 10 years ago: up to three professional reference letters are automatically allowed.

Applicants wishing to provide professional references in place of academic references – beyond what is automatically allowed above – should obtain permission from the graduate coordinator of the program to which they are applying.

Academic References

An academic reference is provided by a college or university instructor, usually holding a PhD. The academic referee will have instructed or supervised the applicant during academic studies. The academic referee will be asked to comment, where applicable, on the academic preparation, originality, skill at research, industry, intellectual capacity, and teaching ability of the applicant.

Professional References

A professional reference is provided by an individual who has worked in a supervisory capacity with the applicant in the intended area of graduate study. The professional referee will be asked to comment, where applicable, on the academic preparation, practice competence, creativity, working relationships, work ethic, critical thinking skills, research skills, intellectual capacity, and teaching ability of the applicant.

References of any other kind are considered “personal.” The College of Graduate Studies does not accept personal references for applications to graduate studies.

Retired Referees

If an applicant’s referee is retired and does not have an institutional email address, the applicant will be required to arrange for the submission of a fourth reference.

In all cases, it is best if the applicant arranges for the submission of academic references who have valid institutional email addresses, so that the completion of the application is not delayed.

Reference Verification

All references are verified for their authenticity. The College of Graduate Studies is unable to accept references from free email accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. References must arrive from an institutional email address in order to be considered official.

Applicant Responsibilities

Applicants are responsible for selecting appropriate referees and ensuring that their referees complete & submit their references prior to the application deadline. Applicants can check the status of the references via the online application system.

The College of Graduate Studies recommends that applicants contact the referees prior to listing their contact information in the online application form.
The College of Graduate Studies advises applicants to choose referees carefully. References are critical application components that are reviewed carefully.

Application Components

Statement of Intent/Purpose

Most programs require applicants to provide a brief statement regarding the academic and/or professional goals of the applicant and how these goals align with the purposes and profile of the program.

The following programs have provided information regarding their specific requirements for the statement of intent/purpose:

If a program is not listed above, applicants should contact the program directly with questions regarding the statement of intent/purpose.

To submit the statement, applicants must upload the statement in the online application system or answer the corresponding application question.

English Proficiency Scores

Applicants should refer to the English Proficiency Requirements section for full details. For The College of Graduate Studies to consider English language test scores official, it must receive the scores directly from the testing agency. The College of Graduate Studies will not accept photocopies of test scores as official.
TOEFL Institution Code for UBC Okanagan: 2499

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Requirements

Applicants to Psychology programs are required to submit GRE scores. Applicants to other programs may wish to submit GRE scores, but they are not required to do so.

The Graduate Record Examination has two components: a General Test measuring verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning skills, and a Subject Test measuring achievement in particular fields of study.

For GRE scores to be considered official, The College of Graduate Studies must receive them directly from the testing agency. The College of Graduate Studies will not accept photocopies of test scores as official.

The GRE code for UBC Okanagan is 0815.

The College of Graduate Studies considers GRE scores to be valid for five years after the test date.

Curriculum Vitae/Resume

Many programs require applicants to provide a curriculum vitae or resume.

Applicants should contact the program directly with questions regarding the curriculum vitae/resume.

To submit the curriculum vitae/resume, applicants can upload the document in the online application system.

Portfolio

Applicants to the MFA program are required to submit a portfolio. In most cases, the portfolio should be uploaded in the online application system.

Applicants should follow the portfolio guidelines listed on the MFA website.

Scholarly Writing Sample

Some programs require a scholarly writing sample to be included in the application. Examples of writing samples include papers submitted for courses, journal articles, or honours theses. Applicants can upload their scholarly writing sample in the online application system.

Criminal Record Check

Students admitted to the Social Work (MSW) program or Clinical Psychology program are required to submit criminal record checks before their studies commence. Detailed information concerning these record checks are posted on the program websites:

Prospective Supervisor

A Supervisor is a faculty member who mentors a graduate student during their program of study. Many research-based graduate programs expect students to identify a prospective supervisor as part of their admission application.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines are set by the College of Graduate Studies in conjunction with graduate programs.

Application deadline dates are available on the Prepare Your Application page. 

While some departments or programs accept applications for the January, May, or September intake periods, other departments or programs admit students only for the September intake to form a cohort of students. Students are therefore strongly urged to contact the specific department or program in which they are interested before submitting an application.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate Student Tuition

Fees, including tuition, program, course, special, and student society fees, are approved by the Board of Governors, following analysis and student consultation.

Fees are subject to change.

Tuition & student fees are assessed three times per year in September (for September – December), January (for January – April), and May (for May – August).

Payment deadlines are posted in the Academic Calendar.

Graduate students pay tuition based on their program of study, not course credits.

Graduate Student Fees

Student fees include fees authorized by student referendum, the UBC Board of Governors, and other student societies and organizations. Fees are due annually, and charged to all students, regardless of their residency.

Student fee details are listed in the Academic Calendar.

Master’s Degree Programs

Every student enrolled in a master’s program is required to maintain continuous registration by paying tuition installments according to Schedule A or B for standard programs and according to the fees listed for each Specialized Master’s Degree Program, plus authorized student fees. Failure to pay fees will result in a financial hold and an interest penalty on the principle owed.

All graduate students in standard master’s degree programs are automatically assessed fees according to Schedule A. Students who wish to earn a master’s degree through part-time study (Schedule B) must obtain approval from their Graduate Program Advisor and the College of Graduate Studies prior to the beginning of the term in which fees are first assessed. To do so, students must complete the Application for Payment Schedule B This application is also available from the College of Graduate Studies.

Only students seeking to earn their master’s degree through part-time study are permitted to select Schedule B for standard programs. Students who select Schedule B are advised that, by virtue of their part-time status, they are ineligible to receive government loans, interest-free status, or University fellowships and scholarships. Students are not permitted to switch from Schedule B to Schedule A after the due date of the first installment.

Students who have paid the minimum required number of tuition installments for the program in which they are enrolled may be eligible for a partial tuition refund if they complete their program part way through a semester.

Student programs are closed out to the end of the month in which all program requirements are completed, which includes final thesis/dissertation upload to cIRcle and approval by the College of Graduate Studies (if applicable). Refunds are prorated monthly (ex. a student who completes all requirements on any day in September will receive a tuition refund for October, November, and December. A student who completes all requirements on any day in October will receive a tuition refund for November and December, etc.)

Student fees are not prorated.

Detailed information concerning tuition fees are listed in the Academic Calendar.

Doctoral Programs

Every student enrolled in a doctoral program is assessed as full-time and is required to maintain continuous registration by paying:

  • Tuition installments following Schedule A (full-time) for standard programs;
  • All authorized student fees;

Student fees apply to all doctoral programs, regardless of credit load or the student’s place of residence.

Failure to pay program and student fees will result in a financial hold and an interest penalty on the principle owed on the student’s account.

Students who have paid more than the required minimum for the degree program (the first six (6) installments) will have their tuition fees prorated to the end of that month in which the College of Graduate Studies confirms that all degree requirements have been completed. Such completion includes the submission of their dissertation to the College of Graduate Studies. Student fees are not prorated.

Detailed information concerning tuition fees are listed in in the Academic Calendar.

Tuition Refund Following Thesis Program Completion

Students who have paid the minimum required number of tuition installments for the program in which they are enrolled may be eligible for a partial tuition refund if they complete their program part way through a semester.

Student programs are closed out to the end of the month in which all program requirements are completed, which includes final thesis/dissertation upload to cIRcle and approval by the College of Graduate Studies (if applicable). Refunds are prorated monthly (ex. a student who completes all requirements on any day in September will receive a tuition refund for October, November, and December. A student who completes all requirements on any day in October will receive a tuition refund for November and December, etc.)

Student fees are not prorated.

Scholarships and Awards

The College of Graduate Studies (The College of Graduate Studies) is responsible for the delivery of all merit-based graduate awards at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. The College of Graduate Studies supervises the application submission process and the adjudication of multiple merit-based award competitions. These competitions are for funding opportunities that are both internal and external to the Okanagan campus. Many competitions run on an annual or other cyclical basis and students are expected to apply annually for support. The College is also responsible for assigning all internal & selected external award stipends.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility criteria for scholarships and awards internal to UBC Okanagan are based on four main elements:

  1. Academic Standing:
  • Students must have obtained a GPA of first-class standing in each of the last two completed years of full-time study (or full-time equivalent) to be eligible to receive funding.
  • For UBC courses, first-class standing is 80% and higher. Questions regarding GPA calculations and equivalencies can be directed to the College of Graduate Studies.
  1. Number of Months of Study:
  • Master’s students must have completed, as of December 31 of the competition year, no more than 24 months of study in the master’s program for which they are requesting funding.
  • PhD students must have completed, as of December 31 of the competition year, no more than 48 months of study in the doctoral program for which they are requesting funding.
  1. Citizenship:
  • Students should ensure that they review the citizenship requirement for each award prior to applying.
  • The majority of internal awards are open to students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
  1. Senate Regulations governing Graduate awards:

Internal Awards

Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship

The Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship is a merit-based fellowship that is awarded to Aboriginal graduate students who are engaged in full-time study or research leading to a graduate degree. Aboriginal students, which include Canadian First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, are eligible to apply for this funding.

Fellowships are awarded as a one-time award per degree program.

The annual value is $10,000 and applicants must have a minimum GPA of 76% as calculated by the College of Graduate Studies.

Read more for further information regarding this fellowship and how to apply.

Canadian Federation of University Women Kelowna Graduate Scholarship

The Canadian Federation of University Women Kelowna Graduate Scholarship is offered to a female graduate student in the College of Graduate Studies. Applicants must demonstrate the following:

  • that they are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or international citizenship,
  • that they are a current resident of the Regional District of Central Okanagan,
  • that they have a GPA of first class standing and
  • that they have financial need.

Read more for further information regarding this scholarship and how to apply.

Finch Family Graduate Award

Ken and Jean Finch are pleased to offer one $10,000 award to a PhD student and one $5,000 award to a Master’s student currently enrolled at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. Preference is given to students whose studies may lead to entrepreneurship, innovation, community involvement or local economic development.

Applicant must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.

Read more for further information regarding this award and how to apply.

Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship (GDES)

The Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarship (GDES) is offered to those incoming full-time, thesis-based Master’s and Doctoral students on the UBC Okanagan campus who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and potential. Students who have submitted a complete admission application by the date indicated for each admission period will automatically be considered for this scholarship

As this funding is intended to entice excellent students to accept their offer of admission, graduate programs are strongly encouraged to adjudicate the GDES alongside the admission application and to include the funding amount in the “Funding” section of the E-Vision system. Such a practice will allow the College of Graduate Studies to include the GDES funding letter with the admission offer.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or international students.

Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarships are only allocated to incoming graduate students with first class standing.

The award base for the GDES is $5,000, which may be increased in increments of $2,500 to a maximum of $25,000. If the awardee holds a major external award, such as an NSERC, SSHRC or CHIR, a maximum GDES amount of $15,000 may be awarded in addition to the major external award.

Read more for further information concerning this award.

Graduate Dean’s Thesis Fellowship

The Graduate Dean’s Thesis Fellowship is a merit-based fellowship that is awarded to full-time, thesis-based PhD & MFA graduate students who are approaching their final year and are focusing on the completion of their thesis or dissertation. This scholarship is intended to provide financial support while students are engaged in the final writing stages of their graduate program. Students may receive Graduate Dean’s Thesis Fellowship funding only once per degree program.

The annual value of this award is $6,000 and there are two award cycles per academic year.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or international students.

NOTE: students who receive external and/or Tri-council funding cannot concurrently hold Graduate Dean’s Thesis Fellowship funding.

Read more for further information regarding this fellowship.

University Graduate Fellowship (UGF)

The University Graduate Fellowship (UGF) is a merit-based scholarship that is awarded to current graduate students engaged in full-time, thesis-based study in a UBC Okanagan graduate degree program.

Students must apply annually for University Graduate Fellowship funding.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or international students

University Graduate Fellowships can only be awarded to current students (not incoming students) with first class standing in each of the last two years of their full-time study (or full-time equivalent).

The UGF is awarded in units of $3000 or $6,000 to a maximum of $24,000 per academic year.

If a student holds a major external award, such as an NSERC, SSHRC or CHIR, a maximum UGF amount of $15,000 may be awarded in addition to the major award.

Read more for further information on this fellowship.

External Awards

CIHR Graduate Scholarship

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Graduate Scholarships provide financial support to outstanding students pursuing masters or doctoral studies in health sciences.

The annual award value is $35,000 for a PhD student and $17,500 for a Master’s student.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

NOTE: if application materials are submitted to the incorrect institution, the application will be withdrawn from the competition.

CIHR Doctoral Awards application process

  • Applications for Doctoral Research Awards are submitted directly on-line to CIHR via Research Net
  • Once a CIHR Doctoral application has been submitted online:
    • Submit a copy of the CIHR Doctoral application plus the UBC Research Project Information Form (RPIF), to the Office of Research Services (ORS), located in FIPKE 336, at least 48 business hours prior to the application deadline.
    • The Office of Research Services (ORS) will then forward the application to CIHR as an indication of Institutional Approval.
    • Annual application deadline is posted on the College of Graduate Studies website.

There is no university-level adjudication for these awards, although university signatures may be required for signature pages that are a part of the application. For questions regarding the signature page or how to obtain university signatures, applicants can contact the College of Graduate Studies by email at: graduateawards.ok@ubc.ca

Complete evaluation criteria for doctoral applicants are available on the CIHR website .

CIHR Canada Graduate Scholarship Masters (CGSM) application process

The Tri-Council master’s programs (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) have harmonized their application processes. Competition details are accessible via the NSERC website. Applicants must submit the application through the online Research Portal.

The annual deadline for applications is December 1.

It is imperative that applicants consult the instructions regarding how to submit the application and the materials required. Questions regarding transcripts can be directed to graduateawards.ok@ubc.ca

Read more for further information concerning this scholarship.

Governor General’s Gold Medal

The Governor General’s Gold Medal is awarded to the student who has achieved the most outstanding academic record as a doctoral or master’s student completing a thesis. This medal offers an opportunity to honour the best student in the yearly graduating class of the College of Graduate Studies. Medals, along with a personalized certificate signed by the Governor General, are presented on behalf of the Governor General of Canada by participating educational institutions.

The awardee must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or an international student.

There is no monetary award associated with the medals.

Read more for further information concerning this award.

IODE War Memorial Scholarship

NOTE: The College of Graduate Studies does not administer the adjudication or funding for this award, but only notifies eligible students of the opportunity.

The National Chapter of Canada IODE initiated the War Memorial Doctoral Scholarships in 1918 to commemorate Canadians who sacrificed their lives for peace and freedom.

The IODE War Memorial Scholarships support PhD scholars whose research make important contributions to Canada and the world in medicine, science, business, politics and academia. Applicants are judged on academic excellence and potential. Applicants must be Canadian citizens and in at least their 2nd year of a doctoral program at a Canadian or Commonwealth university.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens, hold a degree from a Canadian University, and be enrolled in at least the second year of a doctoral program.

The Scholarship has a value of $15,000. A maximum of five (5) IODE War Memorial Scholarships will be offered nation-wide per academic year.

Read more for further information on this scholarship.

Killam Doctoral Scholarship

The Killam Scholarship and Prize Programmes were established in memory of Izaak Walton Killam through the will of his wife, Dorothy Johnston Killam, and through gifts made during her lifetime. Their primary purpose is to support advanced education and research at five Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts. The UBC Killam Doctoral Scholarships are provided annually from the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Fund for Advanced Studies. It was Mrs. Killam’s desire that those selected to receive scholarships: “Be likely to contribute to the advancement of learning or to win distinction in a profession. A Killam scholar should not be a one-sided person…Special distinction of intellect should be founded upon sound character.”

Killam Doctoral Scholarships are the most prestigious awards available to graduate students at UBC. Approximately 15-20 awards are made each year to the top doctoral candidates in the Affiliated Fellowships competition. The Killam Doctoral Scholarship is the only Affiliated Fellowship competition for which Okanagan students are eligible. Any Canadian citizen or permanent resident whose application to a Tri-Council competition (NSERC or SSHRC) is successfully forwarded to UBC Vancouver will be automatically considered for Killam Doctoral Scholarship funding. International students and any Canadian or permanent residents who are ineligible for Tri-council funding, but who wish to apply for Killam Doctoral Scholarship funding, may submit an Affiliated Fellowship application to the College of Graduate Studies.

Annual Value: $30,000 per annum for two years and a $2,000 allowance for research-related travel during the 24 months of the scholarship.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or international students.

Read more for further information concerning this scholarship and how to apply.

Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements

The Canada Graduate Scholarship Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplements (CGS-MSFSS) Program supports high-calibre Canadian graduate students pursuing exceptional research experiences at research institutions outside of Canada.

This opportunity is available to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who currently hold a Vanier Scholarship or a Tri-Agency Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the master’s or doctoral level.

NOTE: international students who hold a Vanier scholarship are not eligible for this competition.

Annual value: up to $6,000 for 3 to 6 months.

Read more for further information concerning this scholarship and how to apply.

NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postgraduate Scholarship provides financial support to outstanding students pursuing master’s or doctoral studies in natural sciences or engineering.

Annual award value is $35,000 for PhD students and $17,500 for Masters students.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

NOTE: if application materials are submitted to the incorrect institution, the application will be withdrawn from the competition.

Complete eligibility criteria are available on the NSERC website.

NSERC Doctoral CGS or PGS application procedures

Application materials are submitted electronically via the NSERC online application system. Depending on the status of the applicant at the time of application, applications are routed through a Canadian university or directly to NSERC. Applicants must review the NSERC website to determine the correct route for their application materials.

Applicants who are to submit their application to the UBC Okanagan campus must submit a complete application package to the College of Graduate Studies (The College of Graduate Studies) by the internal deadline posted on the College of Graduate Studies website.

NSERC Master’s – Canada Graduate Scholarship Master’s (CGSM) application procedures

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) at UBC-Vancouver will provide electronic copies of CGSM applications submitted by current and prospective students of the Okanagan campus to the College of Graduate Studies shortly after the national deadline.

The College of Graduate Studies will disseminate to graduate programs the applications it receives. Graduate programs will review and rank the CGSM applications for students in their program and submit their summary to the College of Graduate Studies. The College of Graduate Studies Scholarship and Awards Committee will convene and determine the top-ranked applications that will be submitted to G+PS for further adjudication.

The annual national application deadline is December 1.

It is imperative that applicants consult the instructions regarding how to submit the application and the materials required.

Official UBC transcripts that reflect current registration will be required.

Read more for further information concerning this scholarship.

Rio Tinto Alcan Research Fellowships

As part of its ongoing commitment to innovation and research, Rio Tinto Alcan offers an $18,000 research fellowship for a UBC graduate student in a field of pure or applied science related to the activities of Rio Tinto Alcan.

Applicants must be enrolled in their first year of master’s or first or second year of doctoral studies in the year they apply.

The scholarship is non-renewable. Students who have received this scholarship are not eligible to apply again.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or international students.

Read more for further information concerning this fellowship.

SSHRC Graduate Scholarships

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Scholarships provide financial support to outstanding eligible students pursuing masters or doctoral studies in the social sciences or humanities.

The annual award value is $35,000 for PhD students and $17,500 for master’s students.

Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.

NOTE: if application materials are submitted to the incorrect institution, the application will be withdrawn from the competition.

Complete eligibility criteria are available on the SSHRC website.

SSHRC Doctoral Awards application procedure

Depending on their status at the time of application, applicants submit their application materials through a Canadian university or directly to SSHRC. Applicants must review the application process for the appropriate funding program on the SSHRC website to determine where they are to submit their application materials. Please note that if application materials are submitted to the incorrect institution, the application will be withdrawn from the competition.

Applicants who are required to submit their application to the UBC Okanagan campus must submit a complete (‘verified’ and signed application form) hardcopy application package to the College of Graduate Studies by the internal deadline posted on the College of Graduate Studies website.

SSHRC Masters – Canada Graduate Scholarship Masters (CGSM) application procedures

The Tri-Council master’s programs (CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) have harmonized their application process. Competition details are accessible via the NSERC website. Applicants must submit their application through the online Research Portal. The annual deadline for applications is December 1.

It is imperative that applicants consult the instructions regarding how to submit the application and the materials required.

Official UBC transcripts that reflect current registration will be required as part of the application.

Read more for further information on this scholarship.

Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship

Up to 15 Trudeau Scholarships are awarded each year to support doctoral students pursuing research in one or more of the following four themes: Human Rights and Dignity; Responsible Citizenship; Canada in the World; and People in their Natural Environment. Trudeau Scholars are highly gifted individuals who are actively engaged in their fields and are expected to become leading national and international figures.

Applicants to this scholarship program must be truly exceptional. Not only must they be outstanding scholars (as evidenced by superior grades, awards, and publications), but they must also be engaged, contributing members of society as demonstrated by their involvement in social, environmental, cultural, or political endeavors. Plainly put, Trudeau Scholars are expected to become leading national and international figures in their fields and in Canada. The level of competition is such that universities generally have only one successful candidate in each competition; many universities do not have any successful candidates at all. The award is targeted to a very few outstanding students. Competitions in past years indicate that a record of good scholarship alone is unlikely to result in an award.

The award value is $40,000 plus a $20,000 travel allowance.

Candidates must be applying into the first year of a PhD at UBC, or be registered in the first or second year of a PhD at UBC. Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or international students.

Although priority will be accorded to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, up to one fourth of the total number of Trudeau Scholars may be international students (preference will be given to international students from the developing world).

Read more for further information concerning this scholarship and how to apply.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) program is designed to attract and retain world-class doctoral students by offering them a significant financial award to assist them during their studies at Canadian universities. Vanier Scholars demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health-related fields.

Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, and international students are eligible to be nominated for a Vanier CGS, which is valued at $50,000 per year for up to three years.

To be considered for a Vanier CGS, a student must be nominated by a Canadian university.

Recipients must hold their Vanier scholarships at the University that nominated them. The scholarships are not transferable: they may not be taken to another university. Applicants do not have to be registered as doctoral students at the time of application, but must be registered as doctoral students at a Canadian university when they take up the Vanier CGS.

NOTE: Students who have held or who currently hold Tri-Agency scholarship funding for their doctoral program are not eligible to apply.

Interested students should consult the Vanier CGS website for complete eligibility requirements.

Read more for further information concerning this scholarship and how to apply.

Award evaluation, nomination & adjudication procedures

Evaluation criteria and weighting for applications for Master’s and Doctoral Tri-agency funding

Master’s Criterion Weighting
Academic excellence 50%
As demonstrated by past academic results, transcripts, awards and distinctions. Indicators of academic excellence can include:

  • Academic record
  • Scholarships and awards held
  • Duration of previous studies
  • Type of program and courses pursued
  • Course load
  • Relative Standing (if applicable)
Research potential 30%
As demonstrated by the research history of the applicant, their interest in discovery, the proposed research, its potential contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field and any anticipated outcomes. Indicators of research potential can include:

  • Quality and originality of contributions to research and development
  • Relevance of work experience and academic training to field of proposed research
  • Significance, feasibility and merit of proposed research
  • Judgment and ability to think critically
  • Ability to apply skills and knowledge
  • Initiative, autonomy and independence
  • Research experience and achievements relative to expectations of someone with the academic experience of the candidate.
Personal characteristics and interpersonal skills 20%
As demonstrated by the past professional and relevant extracurricular interactions and collaborations of the applicant. Indicators of personal characteristics and interpersonal skills can include:

  • Work experience
  • Leadership experience
  • Project management including organizing conferences and meetings
  • The ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats
  • Involvement in academic life
  • Volunteerism/community outreach
Doctoral Criterion Weighting
Academic excellence 30%
  • Academic record
  • Scholarships and awards held
  • Duration of previous studies
Research ability or potential 50%
  • Quality of contributions to research and development
  • Relevance of work experience and academic training to field of proposed research
  • Significance, feasibility, and merit of proposed research, and justification of the location of tenure
  • Ability to think critically
  • Ability to apply skills and knowledge
  • Judgment
  • Originality
  • Initiative, autonomy
  • Enthusiasm for research
  • Determination and ability to complete project within an appropriate period of time
Communication, interpersonal and leadership skills 20%
The ability or potential to communicate scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats. For example, this could include:

  • Quality of the application’s presentation
  • Participation in preparing publications
  • Awards for oral presentations or papers
  • Professional and relevant extracurricular interactions and collaborations. For example, this could include:
    • Mentoring
    • Teaching
    • Supervisory experience
    • Project management
    • Chairing committees
    • Organizing conferences and meetings
    • Elected positions held

Nomination process for awards determined by Graduate programs for Doctoral and Master’s level funding

  • Graduate programs will review and evaluate each application. Graduate programs will notify the College of Graduate Studies which students have been nominated to receive funding.
  • Graduate programs may provide nominations to the College of Graduate on an on-going basis as nominations are determined.
  • Nominations received from graduate programs will be reviewed and ranked by the College of Graduate Studies Scholarship and Awards Committee.

Adjudication process by the College of Graduate Studies Scholarship & Awards committee for Doctoral & Master’s level funding

  • The College of Graduate Studies committee reviews and scores applications; scoring summaries will be provided.
  • Reviewers score each application assigned to them.
  • The College of Graduate Studies Scholarship and Awards committee submits complete scoring summaries for each applicant to The College of Graduate Studies by set deadline.
  • The College of Graduate Studies Scholarship and Awards committee meets to adjudicate applications from a university-wide perspective, rank applications and, in select award competitions, choose those to be forwarded to UBC-V for further adjudication.
  • The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies approves the recommendations of the College of Graduate Studies Scholarship and Awards Committee.

Conditions for Internal Award Holders

Satisfactory Progress

  • Award holders must maintain satisfactory progress in their program of study and remain registered as full-time students for each term of the scholarship payment.
  • If the College of Graduate Studies is notified of a student’s unsatisfactory progress, the College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to cancel a UGF award to the student.

Deferrals

  • Students cannot defer a Graduate Dean’s Thesis Fellowship award; students may reapply each cycle, if they remain eligible.
  • Students may defer a UGF & GDES provided it is awarded within the same funding year (prior to March 31). The following table lists these deferral options:
TERM DEFERRAL OPTIONS
Winter Term I To Winter Term II
Winter Term II **none
Summer Term I Winter Term I

**A student may be granted special permission to defer to May if the nominating program permits. The nominating program must agree to maintain the financial commitment to the student for the following funding year.

Leave of Absence

  • If an award holder pursues an approved leave of absence, the student may, upon permission from the nominating program, be granted permission to take up the award upon their return to studies. The nominating program must agree to maintain the financial commitment to the student for the following year.
  • A student may only defer their award for a maximum of one year from the academic term in which it was originally awarded.
  • If the leave of absence is granted after the student has received a portion of the scholarship, only the remaining amount that has yet to be paid to the student can be considered for deferment.
  • Students on a leave of absence are not permitted to take up the award while on leave.

Withdrawals

  • If an award holder withdraws from the program that nominated them for the scholarship, the funding received during the term for which the withdrawal is processed will be recovered by the College of Graduate Studies and returned to the nominating program for re-allocation.

Transferring to Another Area of Study

  • If an award holder “transfers” out of the program that nominated them for the award (i.e. from one academic department within IGS to another department within IGS), the student may retain the full scholarship payment only if both programs are in agreement.
  • Note: the recipient program can also agree to “repay” the scholarship allocation to the “source” program.

Program Completion

  • If an award holder completes the requirements of their program prior to receiving the full scholarship payment, the award holder will receive the remaining scholarship payment prior to the closing of their program.

Student Responsibilities

Student Declaration and Responsibility

Upon registering, a student has initiated a contract with the University and is bound by the following declaration:

“I hereby accept and submit myself to the statutes, rules and regulations, and ordinances (including bylaws, codes, and policies) of The University of British Columbia, and of the faculty or faculties in which I am registered, and to any amendments thereto which may be made while I am a student of the University, and I promise to observe the same.”

The student declaration imposes obligations on students and affects rights and privileges, including property rights. A student must not enroll at the University if s/he does not agree to become bound by the declaration above. By agreeing to become a student, s/he makes the declaration above and agrees to be bound by it.

Each student is required to provide the necessary information required for the University’s records. The student must also keep Enrolment Services and the College of Graduate Studies informed of any changes in their name or contact information.

Students are required to inform themselves of the statutes, rules and regulations, and ordinances (including bylaws, codes, and policies) and to any amendments thereto applicable at the University. More information is available in the Index of the Board of Governors Policies and in Senate Policies.

University authorities do not assume responsibilities for others that naturally rest with adults themselves. This being so, the University relies on the good sense and on the home training of students for the preservation of good moral standards and for appropriate modes of behaviour and dress.

The University and University authorities are not obligated to enforce any statutes, rules, regulations, or ordinances (including bylaws, codes, or policies) if discretionarily enforceable by law or made under its, or their, power or authority.

Student Academic Freedom

Students of the UBC Okanagan campus enjoy certain rights and privileges essential to the fulfillment of the primary functions of the University: instruction and the pursuit of knowledge. Central among these rights is the freedom, within the law, to pursue avenues of inquiry, to teach and to learn unhindered by external or non-academic constraints, and to engage in full and unrestricted consideration of any opinion. This freedom extends not only to the students of the University, but to all who are invited to participate in its forum.

Suppression of this freedom, whether by institutions of the state, by officers of the University, or by the actions of private individuals, would prevent the University from carrying out its primary functions.

All members of the UBC Okanagan campus must recognize this fundamental principle and share the responsibility for supporting, safeguarding, and preserving this central freedom. Behaviour that obstructs free and full discussion, not only of ideas that are safe and accepted, but of those which may be unpopular or even abhorrent, vitally threaten the integrity of the University’s forum. Such behavior cannot be tolerated.

Adherence to Academic Standards

All UBC Okanagan campus students are expected to behave as honest and responsible members of an academic community. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. Students should:

  • Know and comprehend the standards for academic honesty;
  • Be aware that standards at UBC may be different from those at other institutions;
  • Consult with their instructors, Supervisors, or the College of Graduate Studies, if they require clarification of the standards.

Students who are under investigation for possible academic dishonesty may be placed on academic hold until the President has decided on a course of action. Students on academic hold are blocked from all activity in the Student Service Centre.

Review the UBC Policy on Academic Honesty and Standards for complete details.

Intellectual Property

All members of the UBC community must be knowledgeable about intellectual property so that they can protect their own rights and respect the rights of others. Intellectual property issues are best understood within a framework that includes: (1) the research policies of the University (Policy 85, Policy 87, Policy 88); (2) the standards and traditions of the relevant academic discipline(s); (3) Canadian law; and (4) the terms of applicable contracts (from Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Intellectual Property Guide). The Intellectual Property Guide articulates the complexity of Intellectual Property and should serve as a useful guide to students and supervisors, along with the three key policies noted above. Intellectual property rights should be discussed with the student right from the start of the research/creative endeavor and this discussion should be formally documented.

Scholarly Integrity

The UBC Policy 85 on Scholarly Integrity applies to all course work and all thesis/ dissertation work. Plagiarism and fabrication or falsification of research data will be considered academic misconduct. UBC Policy 85 stipulates that the principal investigator is responsible for “ensuring that the research conditions applicable to the research project, including compensation and practices around supervision, authorship and recording data, are properly articulated in writing and disseminated to all members of the research team prior to engagement in the project”. The document may also assist faculty members in meeting this important University requirement. A Sample Letter to Graduate Student is provided here.

For more information, see Policy 85.

Research and Ethics

All research involving human participants, animals or biohazards must first be reviewed by, and receive approval from, the appropriate Research Ethics Board before research can commence. Failure to obtain the appropriate ethics approvals prior to conducting research may result in an outcome of “fail” on the thesis/dissertation examination.

Copyright

For a complete understanding of copyright and copyright issues, refer to the Copyright at UBC webpage

Graduate Students as Copyright Holders

Students hold copyright to their theses or dissertations regardless of the method of submission.

Copyright and Subsequent Use of Theses and Projects

Ownership of work

Electronic theses and dissertations are subject to the same copyright protection as paper documents.

Permissions

Copying material that was produced by persons other than the thesis or dissertation author may violate the law of copyright.

Distribution Licenses

A student may obtain permission to use copyrighted material in their thesis or dissertation, provided the copyright holder(s) agrees to the cIRcle Non-Exclusive Distribution License.

Publishing your Thesis Elsewhere

Since a student owns copyright to their thesis or dissertation as a whole, they are free to publish it if they wish. Students are advised to conduct due diligence and publish with a reputable academic publisher.

If the thesis or dissertation includes any work (e.g., figures, tables, etc.) that is copyrighted by a third party, permission from that party is required to publish the thesis or dissertation.

Academic Misconduct

Cheating and Fabrication

Students are responsible for informing themselves of the guidelines of acceptable and unacceptable conduct for graded assignments established by their instructors for specific courses, and of the examples of academic misconduct set out below. Academic misconduct that is subject to disciplinary measures includes, but is not limited to, engaging in, attempting to engage in, or assisting others to engage in any of the actions described below.

  1. Cheating, which may include, but is not limited to:
    1. falsification of any material subject to academic evaluation, including research data;
    2. use of or participation in unauthorized collaborative work;
    3. use or possession in an examination of any materials (including devices) other than those permitted by the examiner;
    4. use, possession, or facilitation of unauthorized means to complete an examination (e.g., receiving unauthorized assistance from another person, or providing that assistance); and
    5. dishonest practices that breach rules governing examinations or submissions for academic evaluation see Student Conduct during Examinations).
  1. Plagiarism, which is intellectual theft, occurs when an individual submits or presents the oral or written work of another person as his or her own. Scholarship quite properly rests upon examining and referring to the thoughts and writings of others. However, when another person’s words (i.e., phrases, sentences, or paragraphs), ideas, or entire works are used, the author must be acknowledged in the text, in footnotes, in endnotes, or in another accepted form of academic citation. Where direct quotations are made, they must be clearly delineated (e.g., within quotation marks or separately indented). Failure to provide proper attribution is plagiarism because it represents someone else’s work as one’s own. Plagiarism should not occur in submitted drafts or final works. A student who seeks assistance from a tutor or other scholastic aids must ensure that the work submitted is the student’s own. Students are responsible for ensuring that any work submitted does not constitute plagiarism. Students who are in any doubt as to what constitutes plagiarism should consult their instructor before handing in any assignments.
  2. Submitting the same, or substantially the same, essay, presentation, or assignment more than once (whether the earlier submission was at this or another institution) unless prior approval has been obtained from the instructor(s) to whom the assignment is to be submitted.
  3. Impersonating a candidate at an examination or other evaluation, facilitating the impersonation of a candidate, or availing oneself of the results of an impersonation.
  4. Submitting false records or information, orally or in writing, or failing to provide relevant information when requested.
  5. Falsifying or submitting false documents, transcripts, or other academic credentials.
  6. Failing to comply with any disciplinary measure imposed for academic misconduct.

Other Forms of Academic Misconduct

Complete information concerning the student code of conduct is available in: Discipline for Non-Academic Misconduct: Student Code of Conduct.

Consequences of Academic Misconduct in Coursework

Disciplinary measures that may be imposed—singularly or in combination— for academic misconduct include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A letter of reprimand;
  • A failing grade or mark of zero on the assignment or in the course in which the academic misconduct occurred;
  • Suspension, cancellation, or forfeiture of any scholarships, bursaries, or prizes;
  • Suspension from the University for a specified period of time (Note: during the period of suspension, a student may not participate in activities of the University, including, but not limited to, attending or auditing classes. Students will not receive credit for courses taken at another institution during a suspension);
  • Expulsion from the University;
  • Denial of admission or readmission to the University for a specified or indefinite period of time;
  • A notation of academic discipline on the student’s record in the Student Information System, which will appear on the student’s Transcript of Academic Record;
  • Revocation of a degree or other academic credentials dishonestly or improperly obtained.

The laying of criminal charges or the commencement of civil proceedings against a student does not preclude the University from commencing disciplinary proceedings or taking disciplinary measures against a student who has committed academic misconduct.

Review for Authenticity

All work submitted by students (including, without limitation, essays, dissertations, theses, examinations, tests, reports, presentations, problem sets, and tutorial assignments) may be reviewed by the University for authenticity and originality. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, such review may include the use of software tools and third-party services including Internet-based services such as TurnItIn.com. By submitting work, students consent to their work undergoing such review and being retained in a database for comparison with other work submitted by students. The results of such review may be used in any University investigation or disciplinary proceedings (see Calendar: Statutory Authority).

Non-Academic Misconduct

Ignorance of the appropriate standard of behaviour is no defence for an allegation of non-academic misconduct.

Non-academic misconduct that is subject to Disciplinary Measures includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Disrupting instructional activities, including impeding scheduled lectures, seminars, examinations, and tests;
  • Damaging, removing, or making unauthorized use of university property, or the personal property of faculty, staff, students or others at the University (without restricting the generality of the meaning of “property,” it includes information, however it be recorded or stored);
  • Injuring a person or damaging property in any way that demonstrates or results from hate, prejudice, or bias against an individual or group based on race, national, or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor;
  • Assaulting individuals, including conduct that leads to the physical or emotional injury of faculty, staff, students, or others at the University, or that threatens the physical or emotional well-being of faculty, staff, students, or others at the University.

Annual Progress Reports

The annual progress report records the current status of the degree program progress of a student, and it indicates the further steps on a path to successful completion of the program.

The progress report is initiated by the student and completed by the supervisor and the Graduate Program Coordinator. The completed and signed report must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies by June 15th for each year of study.

The process for completion of the annual progress report is as follows:

  • The student completes their portion of the report, signs it, and submits it to their supervisor;
  • The Supervisor completes their portion of the report in consultation with the student and the supervisory committee ;
  • The supervisory committee, the supervisor, and the student meet to discuss the supervisor’s comments. The student is made aware of the content of the report if they cannot be present at the meeting;
  • The Supervisor and student sign the report and submit it to the Graduate Program Coordinator;
  • The Graduate Program Coordinator determines whether the progress of the student should be rated as satisfactory or not and marks the report accordingly, adds comments, signs it, and submits the original report to the College of Graduate Studies with copies going to the student and into the student’s file in the department or program; If the Graduate Program Coordinator determines that the academic progress of the student is unsatisfactory, they will convene a meeting with the student and the supervisor to discuss their concerns.
  • NOTE: Dates for each stage of the process are established by the Graduate Program Coordinator. The date for submission of the completed and signed report to the College of Graduate Studies has been set by Graduate Council.

It is important for supervisors and Graduate Program Coordinators to be forthright in their assessments of student progress. Problems may arise when supervisors and Graduate Program Coordinators attest to satisfactory student progress when that progress is, in fact, not satisfactory. When a problem in student progress arises, it is essential for the long-term wellbeing of the student to identify such problems accurately and honestly, so that they may be expeditiously remedied.

Reporting Requirements

All students are required to submit an annual progress report except the following:

  • Students who will defend their thesis or complete their program before the report deadline do not need to submit an annual report for that year;
  • Students starting a program in May are not required to submit an annual progress report after the first month of study;

Students on an approved leave of absence during the summer term in which the report is due must submit their annual report prior to their leave of absence or immediately following their leave of absence.

NOTE: Students who were admitted under the Exceptional Admissions process are required to submit an additional progress report after the first term of study.

Satisfactory Progress Requirements

“Satisfactory Progress” is the term used to describe the program progress of a student who is making acceptable progress toward a degree, which includes but is not limited to: acquiring required course credits with at least the minimum required grade point average; making timely progress towards candidacy (in the case of doctoral students); and, completing the thesis or dissertation.

Satisfactory Progress Requirements for Master’s Students

Master’s students must achieve a minimum of 60% in all courses taken; however, only 6 credits receiving grades of 60-68% may be counted towards a master’s program.

Obtaining grades above 68% would be considered satisfactory; grades below this threshold are rated as “improvement needed” or “unsatisfactory.”

Satisfactory Progress Requirements for Doctoral Students

Doctoral Students must achieve a minimum of 68% in all courses taken for credit.

Doctoral students must also achieve candidacy within 36 months of beginning a doctoral program in order for their progress to be considered satisfactory.

Rating of “Improvement Required”

A rating of “Improvement Required” in a progress report indicates that the student is progressing, but needs improvement in one or more of the following areas:

  • The student is not meeting normal timelines for degree completion;
  • A Master’s student is attaining grades between 60-68%;
  • Improvement or additional knowledge is required in one or more aspects of the student’s research and/or area of study;
  • Based on program requirements, the student needs to increase their number of publications.

Procedures for Filing a progress Report with a rating of “Improvement Required”

The student should receive a hard copy of the report, which should include written details regarding:

  • Where improvements are needed;
  • The next steps that the student needs to take;
  • Deadlines that need to be met;
  • Scheduled meetings to discuss progress towards these goals;
  • Responsibilities of the supervisor, supervisory committee members or the Graduate Program Coordinator in assisting the student to achieve satisfactory progress;

NOTE: A follow-up meeting should be held no later than the end of the term following the submission of the progress report rated as “improvement needed.” A summary of the results of that meeting should be sent to the Graduate Program Coordinator and copied to the College of Graduate Studies.

Rating of “Unsatisfactory Progress”

A student may be rated as progressing unsatisfactorily for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Master’s student who attains a course grade of less than 60%;
  • Doctoral student who attains a course grade of less than 68%;
  • Advancement to Candidacy has not been accomplished within the program timeframe or the 36 months required by the College of Graduate Studies;
  • Delay in thesis or dissertation progress;
  • Deficiencies in the student’s skills in research and/or subject area knowledge.

Procedures for Filing a Progress Report with a rating of “Unsatisfactory Progress”

A finding of unsatisfactory progress in a progress report is a serious outcome for a graduate student. It indicates that the student’s program completion is in jeopardy. This report can be the first step towards either voluntary or involuntary withdrawal of the student from the program. First and foremost, however, it provides an opportunity to offer an incentive and a road map for getting the student back on track. When a progress report with a rating of “unsatisfactory” is filed, steps must be taken to ensure due process and encourage remediation of the situation. The following steps should be followed when filing a progress report with a rating of “unsatisfactory”:

  • The student should receive a hard copy of the report, which should include written details about why the progress report includes a rating of “unsatisfactory”;
  • The student should have an opportunity to respond in writing to the Graduate Program Coordinator;
  • The Graduate Program Coordinator and, in thesis or dissertation -based programs, the supervisor and supervisory committee should decide what steps are required for the student to remedy the unsatisfactory rating;
  • Within five business days of filing the progress report with the College, the Graduate Program Coordinator should provide the student with an outline that includes the following:
    • Clear expectations of activities and milestones required of the student to achieve a rating of “satisfactory progress”;
    • A timeline during which these steps must occur;
    • Responsibilities of the supervisor, supervisory committee members or the Graduate Program Coordinator to assist the student in achieving the milestones indicated;
    • NOTE: This outline may be presented as a Letter of Understanding or as a Progress Contract;
  • A copy of this written set of requirements should be provided to the College of Graduate Studies;
  • No more than six months after filing a progress report with a rating of “unsatisfactory”, the Graduate Program Coordinator will file an interim progress report indicating the progress that has been achieved toward remediation, and any outstanding expectations remaining;
  • Copies of this report should be provided to the student and to the College of Graduate Studies;
  • If, after six months, the student has not followed the outline of expectations, the matter should be referred to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, who will review the file and impose or make recommendations to the relevant constituencies for further action including, but not limited to:
    • a new outline of expectations and timeline,
    • a voluntary leave of absence,
    • a voluntary withdrawal,
    • a temporary suspension from the program,
    • an involuntary withdrawal from the program.

NOTE: Copies of all correspondence and meeting summaries with respect to progress reports with ratings of “unsatisfactory progress” must be sent to the College of Graduate Studies for inclusion in the student’s file.

Residency Requirements

Master’s Students

All thesis-based master’s programs at UBC Okanagan include course requirements that imply a physical presence on campus. There are, consequently, no explicit residency requirements for master’s programs. Master’s students are encouraged to focus their attention on their degree program in the proximity of other students, scholars, and scientists, thereby enabling them to acquire the “habits, attitudes, skills, and insights” (CGS, 2005) that are necessary for making the high-quality contributions to scholarship and other professional endeavours that are expected of such students.

PhD Students

The residency requirement for all PhD students registered in programs on the UBC Okanagan campus is a minimum of 24 months of accumulated full-time study at the University from the point of beginning a PhD to its conclusion. Programs have the option to increase the length of this requirement as part of their program (upon Senate approval). Full-time study, for the purpose of this requirement, may include activities such as participation in laboratory work, class-work, comprehensive examination preparation, practicums, dissertation research and writing, or other like scientific and scholarly activities that are undertaken on or in the proximate vicinity of the UBC Okanagan campus, and under the direct supervision of UBC Okanagan faculty as part of the completion of a UBC Okanagan PhD degree program.

Waiver of the residency requirement can be granted only by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Successful applications for such waivers will require a program plan that articulates how the student will satisfy the spirit of the residency requirement in the absence of full-time presence on the UBC Okanagan campus.

Attendance

Students are expected to:

  1. Attend all classes regularly, including lectures, labs, tutorials, seminars, etc.
  2. Speak with the relevant course instructor and with their supervisor if falling behind in coursework.
  3. Report absences due to illness or disability to their instructors upon returning to class.

Students may not, concurrently with their University attendance, take studies for University degree credit through any other institution by correspondence, evening, or regular session class without the approval of their Graduate Program Coordinators and the College of Graduate Studies.

Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The UBC Okanagan campus is committed to the academic success of its students with disabilities. UBC policy concerning academic accommodations for students with disabilities aims to:

  • Remove barriers to and provide opportunities for academic success;
  • Provide equal access to University services, programs, and facilities;
  • Ensure fair and consistent treatment of all students;
  • Create a welcoming environment to foster active participation within the University community.

To determine what accommodations/services a student may be eligible for, students should visit the Disability Resource Centre website and arrange to meet with an advisor.

Academic Concession

If a student encounters difficult circumstances that may adversely affect their attendance or performance in a course or program, they may request an academic concession. Generally, such circumstances will fall into one of two categories:

  • conflicting responsibilities
  • unforeseen events

Conflicting responsibilities include, but may not be limited to:

  • representing the University, the province or the country in a competition or performance;
  • serving in the Canadian military;
  • observing a religious rite;
  • working to support oneself or one’s family;
  • having responsibility for the care of a family member.

Unforeseen events include, but may not be limited to:

  • ill health or other personal challenges that arise during a term;
  • changes in the requirements of an on-going job.

Important: Academic concession is different from academic accommodation for a disability. If a student has a disability and wishes to apply for an academic accommodation, the student should consult the Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities section of the Academic Calendar. If a student requests an academic concession, they may be required to provide documentation to support such a request. More information is available on the page of the Academic Calendar regarding Academic Concession.

Senate Appeals on Academic Standing

Appeal Procedure

Students who wish to appeal decisions relating to their academic studies may do so. The appeal should be initiated as near to the source of difficulty as possible, presumably with an instructor. If the student remains unsatisfied, the appeal may progress from there to the head of the Department concerned and then to the Dean of the Faculty. There is a standing committee of the University Senate – the Committee on Appeals of Standing and Discipline – that reviews all appeals made to the Senate, which is the senior academic authority in the University.

For information concerning the procedure for appeals, students should consult the policies and procedures outlined in the Academic Calendar

Registration & Records

Student Status & Classification

Full-Time Classification

The following applies to full-time classification:

  • A full-time student is one who pays full-time tuition fees (schedule A of the tuition fee schedule). The fees section of the UBC Calendar contains pertinent details.
  • Graduate programs may articulate specific limitations regarding on-campus paid employment as consistent with participation in full-time study. Students holding Teaching Assistantships must adhere to TA contract rules regarding hours of employment.
  • Doctoral students must be full-time students.

Part-Time Classification

The following applies to part-time classification:

  • A part-time student is one who pays part-time tuition fees (Schedule B of the tuition fee schedule). The fees section of the UBC Calendar contains pertinent details.
  • Master’s students must apply to pay part-time tuition by submitting a Schedule B form. Schedule B forms must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator and the College of Graduate Studies prior to the beginning of the first term of the program (i.e. prior to the commencement of the degree program) in which fees are first assessed.
  • Doctoral students are considered full-time and are not eligible for part-time classification.

Students permitted to pay their tuition fees according to Schedule B are advised that:

  • They are not eligible to receive interest-free status government loans or University fellowships or scholarships.
  • They are not eligible for teaching assistantships, research assistantships, student housing, or assigned desk space at the University.
  • The 5-year maximum time allowed for master’s programs applies to part-time students.
  • Students who pay tuition fees according to Schedule B are not permitted to revert back to Schedule A after the initial payment of the tuition fees in the first term of the program.
  • No master’s student who selects Schedule B will pay total fees less than the first nine (9) installments (plus authorized student fees) of their degree program. Upon program completion, any installments not already assessed will be assessed at that time.

The Application for Payment Schedule B is listed here: Download Form

Registration

Students must be registered in all courses in which they participate, and are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of their registration as it relates to the regulations of the degree or diploma program in which they are enrolled.

Registration for September and January graduate courses opens in mid-June. Registration for May graduate courses opens in March. UBC informs graduate students when student course registration will open. Students register themselves in courses online through the Student Service Centre. Students also register themselves in the appropriate course for the research project/thesis portion of their graduate degree.

Continuous Registration Requirements and Maintenance of Status

All students must register when their studies begin and remain continuously registered until their degrees are completed, unless they are taking an approved leave of absence. They are required to maintain continuous registration by:

  • registering in coursework and/or the thesis/dissertation course every semester,
  • keeping up to date in their fee payments.

Failure to register for two consecutive terms may result in required withdrawal from the graduate program. Failure to pay program and student fees will result in a financial hold and an interest penalty on the student’s account.

Continuous registration allows the student to claim an education allowance from Revenue Canada. For information specifically for students, visit the Revenue Canada website “Topics for Students”.

Course Selection

The student makes course selections in consultation with the supervisor/advisor.

Courses should be selected in order to fulfill graduate program requirements.

Registration in Undergraduate Courses

With the approval of their program, master’s students may take up to 6 credits of 300-level or 400-level courses that count towards the graduate program requirements. For more detailed, program-specific information, students should refer to the specific requirements of their degree program.

Undergraduate courses cannot count towards doctoral program requirements.

NOTE: Grades received in any course –whether or not it counts toward completion of the program‑ will count towards the overall grade-point average of a student.

Courses Outside a Graduate Program

Students may take graduate or undergraduate courses that are offered in academic departments not participating in the program in which they are registered, provided that such courses will fulfill requirements of their program.

Students must have approval in advance of registering for these courses from:

  • Their Supervisor;
  • Their Graduate Program Coordinator; and
  • The instructor for the requested course.

NOTE: Grades received in any course will count towards a student’s overall grade-point average.

Attending another University as a Visiting Student

For UBC students visiting other universities, credits completed while a visiting student at another university must be approved for credit in their UBC Okanagan program by their graduate program and the College of Graduate Studies prior to registering at the host university.

Exchange Agreements

UBC Okanagan campus students can visit other universities using the Western Deans’ Agreement, the Graduate Exchange Agreement, or exchange agreements managed by Go Global.

In order to be eligible to use these exchange agreements:

  • The student must be in good standing in their UBC Okanagan graduate program.
  • The student must have paid all current and back fees.
  • The course must be an integral part of the student’s graduate degree program.

Western Deans’ Agreement

Under the terms of the Western Deans’ Agreement, graduate students of the member institutions may take courses at another member institution without having to pay the host university’s tuition fees. Students may be required to pay student, activity, application, or other ancillary fees to the host institution, according to general policies in effect at the host institution. Wherever possible, these fees will also be waived.

Students must have the Western Deans’ Agreement Authorization form approved by the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator and the College of Graduate Studies at least one month prior to the commencement of the course(s) requested. Host institutions may set earlier deadlines: it is the responsibility of the student to confirm the deadline with the host institution. If the authorization form is not received and approved in time, the student may not receive permission to take the course.

The fee waiver is not available retroactively.

In order to receive transfer credit, if applicable, the student must provide a copy of the transcript from the host institution. Students must have an official transcript forwarded to the College of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Exchange Agreement

Partner institutions in the Graduate Exchange Agreement are:

  • McGill University
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Montreal

Authorization forms are available from the website of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies (Vancouver) website. UBC Okanagan students wishing to pursue study under the Graduate Exchange Agreement must submit the relevant completed forms to the College of Graduate Studies (Okanagan) for review and approval.

The terms of the agreement for the Graduate Exchange Agreement are the same as those set out for the Western Deans’ Agreement.

Audit

Auditors are students registered in a credit course who are expected to complete all course requirements except the final exam. If the student has successfully completed the course requirements for an audited course, their academic record will list “AUD” as the final grade.

If the student’s performance is not satisfactory, s/he may be given Fail (F) standing. This mark will count towards the overall average.

To audit a course the student must:

  1. Obtain the approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator.
  2. Register for the course using the Registration Audit Form, indicating that it is an “AUDIT” request.
  3. Inform the instructor at the commencement of the course of the student’s intention to audit it.

All changes between Audit and Credit standings must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies on the Change of Registration form by the appropriate course-specific deadline.

Requests for changes between Audit and Credit standings submitted after the appropriate deadline may be granted if accompanied by a compelling rationale endorsed by the course instructor and the student’s Graduate Program Coordinator.

Registration in Graduate-level Courses by Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who seek to register in a graduate course must have the academic preparation to complete the graduate course (which includes having completed any necessary course prerequisites). Participation of undergraduate students is expected to have no detrimental effect on graduate students taking the course (i.e. course rigor and content must remain at the graduate level regardless of the number of undergraduate students registered in the course).

Undergraduate students wanting to register in graduate-level courses must complete and submit the Undergraduate Student Registration in Graduate Courses Form, which includes obtaining approval from the course instructor, department head, and the College of Graduate Studies.

Changes in Registration

Normally, a student may add a one-term course to their program within the first two weeks of the term and a two-term course within the first three weeks of Term 1.

Courses dropped within these periods will normally not appear on the student’s academic record.

These terms also apply to students changing course status from credit to audit.

Normally, students may withdraw from courses in which they are registered at any time up to the end of the sixth week of class for courses that are offered in a single term, and up to the end of the twelfth week for courses that span two terms. Withdrawals will be noted on the academic record by a standing of “W”. Such standings will not be included in computing averages.

These time restrictions for course withdrawal also apply to students who are auditing courses.

Specific add/drop dates are listed in the Course Schedule.

If students wish to add or drop a course outside of these time periods, they must complete a Registration Audit Form or Late Withdrawal Request (as appropriate) and have it signed by the relevant parties.

Some flexibility in the interpretation of the regulations is reasonable in the case of graduate courses that do not start on the first day of term. A recommendation to drop a course after the established deadline must be justified in writing by the Graduate Program Coordinator of the program in which the student is registered.

Students may withdraw from courses outside the limits described above only with the permission of the dean of the faculty in which they are registered. In such cases, the instructor should be informed of the withdrawal. Such withdrawals will be recorded as “W” on the student’s academic record.

Faculties may, at their discretion, limit the number of “W” standings permitted to a student. Any withdrawals in excess of that limit that would normally produce a standing of “W” will result in assignment of “F” for the course or courses from which the student withdraws. Normally, a student may not withdraw from the same course more than once.

Students must be registered in all courses they are taking for credit. A student who ceases to attend a course, does not write the final examination, or otherwise fails to complete course requirements, and who neither qualifies for a deferred examination (see Deferred Standing), nor has obtained official permission to drop the course, will be given a standing of “F” with a grade that reflects their performance in the course. No supplemental examination can be granted under these circumstances.

Students are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of their registration as it pertains to the regulations of the degree or diploma program in which they are enrolled.

Leave of Absence

A leave of absence from graduate studies is granted at the discretion of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies when a student is advised for personal, health, or other reasons to completely remove themselves from their academic studies and responsibilities.

General Conditions for All Leaves of Absence

The following conditions apply to all student leaves of absence:

  • A completed Leave of Absence Request Form along with a written letter of request from the student must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies;
  • The graduate program in which a student is registered must approve the request for a leave of absence;
  • Leaves of absence are limited in duration to one year;
  • The leave begins on the first day of a term and lasts for a period of four, eight, or twelve months;
  • Scholarships, fellowships, or other awards established and administered by the College of Graduate Studies are suspended for the duration of the leave and reinstated at the end of the leave, provided the student returns to full-time study in the same academic year. Other scholarships, fellowships, or awards are paid out following the requirements and conditions established by their donors or granting agencies;
  • Academic work, research work, and use of the university facilities is not permitted during a leave of absence;
  • Duration of a leave of absence does not count toward the maximum time allowed to complete a degree program;
  • Requests for leaves of absence (excluding medical) should be made prior to the start of a term; retroactive leave requests are not normally approved;
  • Students on leave are not eligible to receive awards administered by the College of Graduate Studies;
  • Students will be assessed an administrative on-leave fee for each semester of the leave;
  • Students must notify the College of Graduate Studies immediately upon their return from a leave.
  • Leaves of absence will not be processed for students who owe outstanding fees.

Student fees, including the extended Health/Dental fees, are automatically reversed for the duration of the leave of absence. If UBCSUO extended Health and Dental plan is needed during the student’s leave, the student should contact the Students’ Union (www.ubcsuo.ca) prior to the leave in order to opt-in and ensure the student has extended Health/Dental coverage.  The student should also contact the Students’ Union if the student plans to opt-in to the UBCSUO extended Health and Dental plan upon their return from leave.

Medical Leave of Absence

Requests for leaves of absence on medical grounds must be accompanied by a doctor’s letter recommending the leave and the reasons for the leave.

Retroactive medical leaves of absence may be granted at the discretion of the graduate program in which the student is registered and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Parental Leave

Students who are bearing children or have primary responsibilities for the care of infants or young children are eligible for parental leave.

NOTE: Each parental leave request is limited to twelve months; however, multiple parental leaves may be granted during a student’s program of studies.

Leave to Pursue a Second Program of Study

Students may apply for a leave of absence from one program to pursue a second program of study following consultation with their supervisor or graduate program coordinator.

Students are responsible for administrative on-leave fees as well as fees associated with the second program.

The maximum time for completion of the first degree program will be extended by the same span of time the student is on the leave of absence from that program.

NOTE: A leave to pursue studies in another program may exceed one year.

International Students

International students should be aware of the following before requesting a leave of absence:

  • International students should contact an International Student Advisor prior to requesting a leave of absence, because a leave can impact student status, health insurance and visa eligibility International Programs and Services;
  • Students should consult their supervisor before they request the leave of absence;
  • International students are assessed a higher administrative fee for leaves of absence;
  • Students who take a leave of absence will no longer be authorized to work on or off campus as they no longer meet the requirements as set out in IRPR 186 (v);
  • International graduate students must apply for a leave of absence from the College of Graduate Studies;
  • International students who intend to leave Canada during a leave of absence should request a letter from the UBC Okanagan campus stating that they are eligible to return to their program of study;

Withdrawal

Voluntary Withdrawal

The following steps apply for voluntary withdrawal from a graduate program:

  1. A student wishing to withdraw voluntarily from the University must notify in writing the graduate program in which they are registered by completing and submitting a Voluntary Withdrawal Form. The request should include the reason(s) for the student’s withdrawal from the program and the effective date of withdrawal.
  2. Once the request for voluntary withdrawal is approved by the student’s supervisor and Department Head or Graduate Program Coordinator of the student’s program, the Graduate Program Coordinator or Head must send the completed form, along with the student’s written request, to the College of Graduate Studies.
  3. When the withdrawal is approved by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, the academic record will show the date of withdrawal and a standing of “W” in all courses not completed on that date.
  4. The academic record will indicate “Voluntary Withdrawal”.

Notes:

  • A student who does not complete formal withdrawal procedures will be liable for all assessed fees until such procedures are completed.
  • The College of Graduate Studies will not approve retroactive withdrawal requests unless the graduate program in which the student is registered confirms in writing that the student did not attend or use any university resources as of the requested effective date of withdrawal.

Students withdrawing within the first two weeks of the beginning of an academic term will be refunded 100% of the instalment for that term. Fee refunds for withdrawals later in the term are calculated on a pro-rata basis.

Required Withdrawal for Academic Reasons

A graduate student may be required to withdraw if their academic progress has been evaluated as not satisfactory.

The supervisor of the student or the Graduate Program Coordinator of the program in which the student is registered must inform the student in writing of the student’s unsatisfactory progress rating and must give the student an opportunity to discuss the matter with their supervisory committee before making any recommendation for withdrawal to the College of Graduate Studies.

A student in any graduate program who is required to withdraw:

  • Will not be eligible to apply for readmission to the University of British Columbia for at least one year.
  • May, after one year, be admitted to a different program in the College of Graduate Studies provided s/he meets all admission requirements in effect for that program at the time of application. Such applications must be accompanied by a statement from the graduate program that recommended withdrawal outlining the reasons for which the student was required to withdraw.
  • May apply to be readmitted to the same program after at least one year has passed from the effective date of withdrawal. The student must show compelling evidence that a more successful outcome is likely if the student were to be readmitted. All cases for readmission must be reviewed and approved by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
  • Is not eligible to be considered for admission to any graduate program in the College of Graduate Studies if s/he has been required to withdraw more than once.
  • Will have an academic record indicating “Required to Withdraw.”

Required Withdrawal for Non-academic Reasons

The College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to require a student to withdraw from a program of study if the College, in consultation with the graduate program in which the student is registered, deems the student to be unsuited to proceed with the study or practice of the chosen discipline or field of study. A requirement to withdraw for non-academic reasons does not prevent the student from subsequently applying for entry into a different program of study.

Withdrawal for Non-registration

Failure to register for two consecutive terms may result in a student being required to withdraw from the university. The graduate program must first make reasonable attempts to contact the student by email and regular mail. If, after these attempts, the program receives no response from the student, the program may recommend that the student be withdrawn. The program must send copies to the College of Graduate Studies of these written attempts to contact the student and a memo confirming the non-registration and non-attendance of the student.

The academic record of the student will indicate “Withdrawn – Did Not Register.”

Program Extensions

Students may request program extensions beyond the maximum completion times for degrees.

The expected completion time for a thesis-based master’s degree is two to three years, and the maximum time limit for completing such a program is five years.

The expected completion time for a doctoral program is four years, and the maximum time limit for completing a doctoral program is six years.

Extenuating circumstances may justify allowing students additional time to complete their degree programs. Students should discuss the possibility of extensions with their supervisor and their Graduate Program Coordinator.

A one-year extension request is likely to be received favorably if it is fully justified and supported by the student’s supervisor and the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator.

Program extension requests must be accompanied by:

  • A signed and completed Request for Extension to Time Allowed for Degree Completion;
  • A signed letter from the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator justifying the extension;
  • A detailed work plan listing:
    • Thesis/dissertation chapters completed;
    • Scheduled completion dates for outstanding chapters; and
    • The anticipated thesis or dissertation oral defence date.

The College of Graduate Studies may request supplementary progress reports at various times during the extension period.

NOTE: Higher tuition fees are assessed for students on program extensions.

Reinstatement

Reinstatement applies to students whose registration has lapsed, but who are permitted to resume their programs.

Upon reinstatement, completed courses will be credited to the degree and remaining degree requirements must be completed as required.

The original program start date remains in place, with the result that original program timelines are not affected by reinstatement.

A student may be reinstated on the recommendation of the graduate program if:

  • The student has remained in good academic standing;
  • Delinquent fees and outstanding charges are paid, including tuition and continuing fees owing for the period during which the student did not register;
  • The time limit for degree completion, which includes the sessions in which the student was not registered, has not been reached.

If there is not enough time to complete the outstanding degree requirements after reinstatement, the College of Graduate Studies may decide to readmit the individual as a new student rather than reinstate the student, depending on the academic merits of the case.

If more than two years have elapsed since the student last registered, the College of Graduate Studies may impose additional requirements to ensure the student is current in their field and academically prepared to complete their degree requirements.

NOTE: A student required to withdraw for academic reasons is not eligible for reinstatement.

Vacation

Students are entitled to three weeks (15 working days) of vacation per academic year during their studies.

General student vacation guidelines:

  • Vacation time must be managed so as to avoid disruption of student studies, research, or other University obligations;
  • Vacation request details, including extensions, must be approved by the supervisor of the student and by any faculty member providing Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) funding to the student.
  • The relevant Graduate Program Coordinator resolves all conflicts between a student’s vacation request and a supervisor’s expectations;
  • Vacation allotments are calculated using the standard academic year, which runs from September 1st to August 31st of the following calendar year;
  • Vacation allotments are prorated for the portion of the year in which a student is registered;
  • Vacation time must be used or it will be lost–there is no pay in lieu of time not taken;
  • Vacation days taken between the Christmas and New Year’s statutory holidays are not subtracted from a student’s annual 15-day allotment;
  • Disbursement of student stipends or merit-based financial assistance is not affected by vacation leave;
  • Time taken to attend academic conferences is considered part of an academic program and does not count as vacation;
  • This policy does not affect a student’s employment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) or Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA).
  • Although students may request to align vacation taken under this policy with that taken from paid employment at the University, vacation taken under this policy is approved separately from that for paid employment at the University;
  • Student vacation requests that fall within these guidelines will not be unreasonably denied.

Records

Changes in Personal Information

Most changes to personal information can be made online through the Student Service Centre.

To make name changes or citizenship changes, students must go in person to Student Services & Financial Support and present official documentation in order for the change to be made to their official student record.

Graduate Grading Scales

Master’s

Percentage (%) Letter Grade
90-100 A+
85-89 A
80-84 A-
76-79 B+
72-75 B
68-71 B-
64-67 C+
60-63 C
0-59 F (Fail)

 

Doctoral

Percentage (%) Letter Grade
90-100 A+
85-89 A
80-84 A-
76-79 B+
72-75 B
68-71 B-
0-67 F (Fail)

Grades Required to Pass

Master’s Students

Master’s students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 68% across all courses taken. However, up to 6 credits of coursework with grades of 60-67% may be counted towards the master’s degree.

If a student repeats a required course, they must obtain a minimum mark of 74% in their second iteration of the course. The graduate program in which the student is registered or the College of Graduate Studies may require higher minimum marks in such circumstances. If the student does not sufficiently improve their grade by repeating the course or taking an alternate course and obtaining a satisfactory grade, they may be required to withdraw from their program of studies.

If a student obtains grades of 60-67% in more than 6 credits of course-work, they may be required to withdraw from their program of studies. The student will be informed of unsatisfactory academic progress in writing before any action toward withdrawal is taken.

For Master’s students registered in the College of Graduate Studies, a standing of Fail (F) will be assigned to courses with grades that fall below 60%.

If a student repeats a course, both marks will appear on his/her transcript. The higher mark will be used to determine promotion in a program and in any decision to admit or withdraw the student from a program. For all other purposes, grade-point averages will be calculated using both marks.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students must achieve a minimum of 68% in all courses taken for credit. If a student obtains a grade of less than 68%, they should discuss this outcome with their Graduate Program Coordinator, supervisor, and committee members.

If the program so recommends, and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies approves, the student may be allowed to repeat the course for higher standing or take an alternate course.

If a doctoral student repeats a required course, they must obtain a minimum mark of 74%. The graduate program in which the student is registered or the College of Graduate Studies may require higher minimum marks.

If the doctoral student does not improve their grade by repeating the course or taking an alternate course and obtaining a satisfactory grade, they may be required to withdraw from their program of studies.

If progress in the research of a doctoral student is deemed unsatisfactory, they may be required to withdraw from their program of studies. The student will be informed of unsatisfactory academic progress in writing before any action regarding withdrawal is taken.

Detailed information is available on the Withdrawal, Reinstatement, and Readmission page of the Academic Calendar.

For doctoral students registered in the College of Graduate Studies, a grade of Fail for individual courses is defined as below 68%. Some graduate programs may require a higher passing grade for specific courses; students should consult with their supervisors or the relevant Graduate Program Coordinators for additional information.

Transfer Credit

Master’s students may receive transfer credits for courses taken at other institutions, provided the courses are approved by the graduate program in which the student is registered and the College of Graduate Studies.

Doctoral students are not normally eligible for transfer credit. In unusual circumstances, doctoral students may request a transfer of credits. Such requests must be accompanied by a letter from the relevant graduate program addressed to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies providing an academic justification for allowing the transfer credit. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies has final approval authority for such requests.

Standard Transfer Credit Regulations

Eligible graduate students who have earned credits outside their current master’s program may transfer up to 12 credits, or 40%, of the total number of credits required for completion of their program, provided that:

  • The courses for which the student is requesting graduate transfer credit were not used to satisfy requirements of another degree or diploma; and
  • The student obtained at least a B grade (UBC 74%) in courses being considered for transfer.

The time limit for eligibility of courses for transfer to a graduate degree program is five years from the time the student commences his/her degree program.

NOTE: The 12 credit / 40% restriction does not apply to students in UBC-approved Exchange Agreements, such as the Western Deans’ Agreement or Graduate Exchange Agreement.

Students Eligible for Transfer Credits

Graduate students eligible to transfer credits to their current master’s programs are those who:

  • Have taken graduate courses through undergraduate or unclassified studies;
  • Are transferring from one master’s program to another master’s program; or
  • Have graduate course credits from another institution.

Doctoral students are not normally eligible for transfer credit, but those in doctoral programs that prescribe a specific amount of coursework may be eligible for course exemptions on the basis of previously completed courses.

Course Exemptions

Specific course exemptions may be granted if a graduate program determines that the student has acquired the requisite knowledge through courses previously taken or from other kinds of professional experience.

Course exemptions do not reduce the total credits required for a degree, so the program should substitute an appropriate course to make up the credit differential.

A program approval for course exemption must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies for recording in the student’s academic record.

Student Transfers

Transfer between Closely-Related Master’s Programs

Students may transfer between closely related master’s programs (MASc. to M.Eng., MA to M.Ed., etc.) provided that the transfer is clearly justified by the Graduate Program Coordinator or department head.

Transfers between master’s programs involving a change of discipline are treated as new admissions.

To request a transfer between related master’s programs, the student must complete and submit the request form and the relevant program coordinator must provide an academic justification for the transfer.

The request must be submitted in advance of the start of the term for which the transfer is requested.

Transfer from Master’s to Doctoral Programs

Students may transfer from a master’s program to a doctoral program without completing the master’s requirements provided they meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of one year of study in their master’s program with:
    • a minimum 80% average in 12 credits;
    • at least nine credits out of the 12 credits from 500-level or above courses;
    • at least nine credits out of the 12 credits with course final grades of 80% or above;
  • Clear evidence of research ability;
  • Application for transfer takes place before the end of the second year of study;
  • Transfer is clearly justified by the student’s supervisor and the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator in writing to the College of Graduate Studies;
  • Completed form “Transfer from Master’s to Doctoral Degree” is submitted to College of Graduate Studies.

NOTE:

  • Retroactive transfers will not be approved.
  • The doctoral program will be considered to have commenced from the date of first registration in the master’s program.

Transfer from PhD Program to Master’s Program

Students may apply for transfer from a doctoral program to a master’s program. Transfers may be approved, provided students meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of less than three years of the doctoral program;
  • The requested master’s program is different from the student’s existing master’s degree;
  • The transfer is clearly justified on the grounds of personal and/or professional goals as discussed with the student’s supervisor and described in the request to transfer;
  • The relevant Graduate Program Coordinator has approved the transfer request in writing to the College of Graduate Studies.

To request a transfer from a doctoral program to a master’s program, the student must complete and submit the request form and the Graduate Program Coordinator must provide a justification for the transfer.

The request must be submitted in advance of the start of the term for which the transfer is requested.

Transfer to/from the Vancouver Campus

Students who want to transfer to and/or from the Vancouver Campus must apply for admission to a program at the new campus using the standard application process.

If admitted at the new campus, students must voluntarily withdraw from their original campus and program. Failure to withdraw may result in the application of additional tuition and fee charges.

Completed courses taken at the Vancouver campus that were not used to fulfill previous degree requirements may be used to fulfill degree requirements at the Okanagan campus on the recommendation of the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator and approval of the College of Graduate Studies.

Viewing Marked Work

Any examination, essay, problem set, laboratory report, or other assignment, should be marked in a reasonable time and although the work may be retained by the University, the student will receive feedback on expected and achieved outcomes. If there is a provision for marked work to be returned to the student and then resubmitted for the correction of marking errors or omissions, the instructor must provide clear guidelines in advance to ensure that the academic integrity of the work is maintained.

A final examination becomes the property of the University and must remain in the possession of the University for one year from the date of the examination, after which it should be destroyed or otherwise disposed of in accordance with UBC Policy 117.

Where there is no scheduled review of an examination, a student may make written application (by January 31 for Winter Session Term 1 courses, by May 20 for Winter Session Term 2 and two-term courses, and by September 15 for Summer Sessions courses) to the course instructor who will make every reasonable effort to arrange for the student to view the marked final examination within 30 days of the request. If the instructor does not comply, at the student’s request, the Head of the Department, Director of the School, or Dean of the Faculty offering the course will make every reasonable effort to facilitate the viewing, which normally will be completed within 15 days of receipt of the request. The purpose of this exercise is purely pedagogic and distinct from the Review of Assigned Standing.

Deferred Standing

A Deferred standing is appropriate if medical or personal problems (of a very unusual nature) make it impossible for the student to complete the course requirements on time, but the requirements can be completed with an extension of time.

In this case, the student and instructor should access the Request for Standing Deferred form from their respective faculty website, and submit the completed form, along with a memo, to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, as early as possible recommending Deferred standing and the reasons for the recommendation. The instructor should note the request for deferred standing on the grade sheet. The deferred standing will then be entered in the student’s record and transcript.

Students granted Deferred standing in Winter Session courses must complete all outstanding course requirements by August 23 of the following Summer Session. Students granted deferred standing in Summer Session courses must complete all outstanding work by December 25 of the following Winter Session. Students granted deferred standing are responsible for making satisfactory arrangements with their instructors for completion of outstanding course requirements. If a student fails to complete outstanding requirements by the dates specified, the deferred standing will be replaced with a grade or standing that reflects those requirements completed in the course. Students unable to meet the specified deadlines because of further medical, emotional or other difficulties must make an additional application for Academic Concession no later than August 31 for Winter Session courses or December 31 for Summer Session courses following the original deferral.

Use of the Grade T

A graduate student is expected to register for the thesis/dissertation throughout the duration of the program. A grade of “T” is recorded on the transcript for each session until the thesis/dissertation is completed. The “T” grade may also be used for graduating essays (in non-thesis master’s programs), directed individual study or project courses in which the course requirements extend beyond the normal deadline for the submission of a final grade.

  1. If the “T” grade is used in a course, the opportunity for an extended deadline for the completion of the course requirements must be available to all students registered in the course.
  2. In a course in which a “T” grade is used, it is expected that the requirements will be completed in the following term. That is, in the winter session, a first term course would be completed by April 30 and a second term course would be completed by August 31; a summer session course would be completed by December 31.
  3. If the course requirement is satisfied within a few weeks of the normal deadline, the Dean may approve changing the record from “T” to the assigned grade. Otherwise, the “T” remains on the record and a post-sessional grade for the course is entered (i.e. the student must register in the course in a subsequent session).
  4. If the time required goes beyond one term, the student must register for and repeat the course in order to obtain credit for it.
  5. The “T” grade must not be used in lieu of an “incomplete” standing. If a student has a medical excuse for not completing a course requirement, a “Deferred” grade should be used.

Review of Assigned Standing

The application form for Review of Assigned Standing is available through Enrolment Services. Applications must be received by Enrolment Services by the following deadlines:

  • March 15 for Winter Session Term 1 courses;
  • July 15 for Winter Session Term 2 courses and two-term Winter Session courses;
  • October 15 for Summer Session Courses.

Where a deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or statutory holiday, applications will be accepted on the following business day.

Despite the deadlines above, in the event of an instructor being late in submitting grades into the Student Information System (SIS), an application will be accepted at least three (3) weeks after a grade is first available to the student on the Student Service Centre (SSC).

Completed application forms must be accompanied by the application fee for each course, which will be refunded only if the assigned standing is raised.

Applications will not be accepted for courses still in progress. Provisions for re-submission of individual pieces of marked work for correction of marking errors or omissions, where applicable, as well as for viewing marked examinations retained by the University, are addressed in the Calendar entry on Viewing Marked Examinations. A Review of Assigned Standing is a different process than a request for a deferred or supplemental examination. A Review of Assigned Standing is distinct from an Appeal of Academic Standing; the latter addresses procedural errors or irregularities as opposed to errors in assigning standings based upon academic judgment. For more information on an Appeal on Academic Standing, see Senate Appeals on Academic Standing.

For more information regarding “Review of Assigned Standing in a Course,” please refer to the  Academic Calendar.

Program Requirements

Master’s Students

The graduate program in which the student is registered must approve the student’s program of study and will give the student the best information on program options and requirements. In thesis-based programs, students should consult with their supervisor(s) to develop a program of study. In non-thesis programs, students may be directed either to a supervisor or to a Graduate Program Coordinator for program information. Master’s programs may:

  • Require competence in languages other than English.
  • Require a thesis, have a thesis option, or be entirely course-based.
  • Prescribe work beyond the minimum College of Graduate Studies requirements.

The choice of these options lies with the individual graduate program and sometimes the student.

General Master’s Program requirements:

  • A minimum of 30 course credits, of which at least 24 must be numbered 500 to 699. In specific programs, minimum requirements may be higher than 30 course credits.
  • A maximum of 6 credits at the undergraduate level in courses numbered 300 to 499 may be counted toward the requirements of a master’s degree.
  • An oral thesis defence for all students in thesis-based programs.

The Academic Calendar contains further information regarding general and program-specific Master’s program requirements.

Coursework

All master’s programs require some coursework. Specific requirements for specific programs are listed in the Academic Calendar.

Master’s Examination

There is no requirement for a comprehensive examination at the master’s level. Graduate programs may, at their discretion, however, require a master’s examination in the student’s field of study as part of the master’s degree requirements.

Where a master’s examination is required, programs must provide the student with a written statement of examination procedures such as the purpose, form, length, subject area(s), and scope of the examination, as well as information concerning the criteria for evaluation of the examination.

Thesis

Many master’s programs require a thesis. Some programs do not require a thesis, and others have a thesis option. For the specific requirements and options available in any given program, please refer to the Academic Calendar.
In programs requiring a thesis, the thesis must be presented according to the procedures described in the Thesis and Dissertation Preparation section.

In programs in the creative and performing arts, a thesis may consist of a creative work or series of works (e.g., group of paintings, novel or short story collection, etc.) or a performance. Programs may, at their discretion, require additional documentation that supports the work as part of the fulfillment of degree requirements in the program.

Quality of Thesis

The thesis must demonstrate that the candidate is acquainted with the published literature in the subject(s) of the thesis, that the candidate has used an appropriate research methodology, and that the candidate has applied appropriate levels of critical analysis.

While it is expected that a portion of the thesis could be the basis for a publication, the Supervisor and examiners should recognize that even an excellent thesis may not be perfect in all respects. “Perfection” is not a prerequisite for acceptance of the thesis as a “partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree.” The quality of the thesis must meet UBC standards of excellence.

Thesis Form and Style

Thesis Oral Examination

The purpose of the Master’s Thesis Oral Examination is for students to independently defend their thesis. It serves as confirmation of the student’s knowledge of the research topic within the context of their field(s) of study. To safeguard and promote the quality of a UBC graduate education, all students in thesis-based Master’s programs must successfully defend their theses in an oral examination before the degree can be granted.

The Thesis Oral Examination is an examination approved by the College of Graduate Studies. Prior to the final defence, candidates must have fulfilled all coursework, examination, and language requirements of the degree program. It is the responsibility of the candidate’s graduate program to ensure that all of these requirements have been met, and that the candidate’s language proficiency is sufficient for the examination to be conducted with full communication between the committee and the candidate. The Thesis Oral Examination is a public event at UBC Okanagan, and as such will be conducted in English.

NOTE: Effective February 1, 2015, the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies has been granted that IGS students may conduct their oral examination in French, provided that their thesis is written in English. All faculty members conducting the oral examination must be able to understand the language at a level required for a Master’s Thesis Oral Examination and submit the appropriate final documentation in English to the College of Graduate Studies.

Initiating the Master’s Thesis Oral Examination: Roles of the Supervisor and the Graduate Program Coordinator

For thesis-based programs, the thesis oral examination process is initiated once the student’s supervisor and supervisory committee have deemed the thesis to be ready to proceed to defence. It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to recommend all examining committee members, including the University Examiner, to the Graduate Program Coordinator for approval and to conform to the timelines and processes established by the College of Graduate Studies. Under no circumstances are students permitted to make arrangements for an examination.

Graduate Program Coordinators are responsible for approving the forms needed to initiate the thesis oral examination process. The signature of the Graduate Program Coordinator verifies that the Supervisory Committee has adhered to the criteria and policies set out by the College of Graduate Studies for proceeding to the thesis defence. The Graduate Program Coordinator is also responsible for approving all final submission forms if the examination is successful.

Composition of Master’s Thesis Oral Examination Committee

The Master’s Thesis Oral Examination committee should consist of:

  1. The Supervisor of the candidate;
  2. All supervisory committee members;
  3. The University Examiner, who is external to the student’s home department or program in which the student is registered.

Appointment of the Examination Committee Members, University Examiner, and Neutral Chair

The Examination Committee, which is approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies, is convened to make a recommendation of the final outcome of the examination to the Dean of Graduate Studies. No changes in the composition of the Examination Committee may take place without prior approval of the Associate Dean or Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Criteria for Selection of the Neutral Chair

The examination is chaired by a neutral member of the academic staff who is familiar with the examination policies and procedures of the College of Graduate Studies. The Neutral Chair is not a member of the Examination committee, does not question the student and may not vote.

The Neutral Chair must:

  1. not have been closely associated with the student (now or in the past) as a colleague, Supervisor, member of the Supervisory Committee,
  2. not be an academic collaborator with the supervisor.

The Neutral Chair is required to be external to the student’s graduate department but either the Graduate Program Coordinator or the Department Head could serve as Neutral Chair. The responsibility of the Neutral Chair is to ensure that the examination is conducted fairly and in accordance with College of Graduate Studies procedures.

Criteria for Selection of the University Examiner

The University Examiner normally must:

  1. If from UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver, have a Board appointment outside the student’s department or graduate program but within the professorial ranks
  2. Have expertise in the student’s research area or a closely related field
  3. If external to UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver, have a well-established research reputation, expertise in the area of the student’s research, and experience in evaluating theses at a graduate level.
    1. The Supervisor must submit an email request (which includes the proposed University Examiner’s CV) to gradtheses.ok@ubc.ca for approval by the Dean of CoGS at least six weeks prior to the proposed examination date.
  4. Not have collaborated with the supervisor in the past five years prior to the defence
  5. Not be a close personal friend or relative of the Supervisor
  6. Not be related to the student, nor have worked with the student
  7. Not have an affiliation with the department/ division/ graduate program of either the student or Supervisor

If the proposed University Examiner does not meet one or more of the above criteria, a memo explaining the circumstances should accompany the Notice of Thesis Oral Examination.

Scheduling the Master’s Thesis Oral Examination

The Master’s Thesis Oral Examination process is initiated once the Supervisor and the Supervisory Committee of the student have deemed the thesis of the student to be ready to proceed to defence.

It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to complete the Notice of Masters’ Thesis Oral Examination form, indicating the title of the thesis, the three potential dates and times of the examination, the names of the recommended examiners, including the University Examiner, and confirming that the candidate has completed all program requirements. The form must be endorsed by the Graduate Program Coordinator, and submitted to the College of Graduate Studies office at least four weeks prior to the proposed date of the examination in order to schedule the room. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies has final approval of the Examination Committee composition.

The Master’s Thesis Oral Examination cannot be scheduled until the supervisor has reviewed the student’s research and the entire draft of the thesis document. When supervisory committees are required, both the Supervisor and Committee members must review the student’s research and/or the draft thesis document. The signature of the Supervisor on the Notice of Master’s Thesis Oral Examination form acknowledges that the thesis meets the minimum standard.

Following approval of the Master’s Thesis Oral Examination by the College of Graduate Studies, the College posts the Thesis Defence Announcement four to six weeks prior to the examination; this includes the student’s name, degree sought, thesis title, abstract, date, time and location of the examination.

NOTE: Indication that the thesis is ready to defend does not commit a member of the Supervisory Committee to vote “pass” on the thesis at the final oral examination. The examination committee must be seen as impartial and conflicts of interest must be avoided and disclosed.

A student who has successfully completed all College of Graduate Studies and program requirements has the right to submit and defend their thesis, even if doing so may be contrary to the advice of the Supervisor and/or Supervisory Committee, where applicable under exceptional circumstances.

In special circumstances such as sudden illness or weather factors, the Dean of Graduate Studies may approve the rescheduling of an oral examination. In addition, a scheduled oral examination may be cancelled under exceptional circumstances with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Examination Teleconference-Videoconference

Normally, if they are unable to be at the examination in person, the University Examiner is allowed to either teleconference or videoconference; if an additional examiner wishes to teleconference/videoconference for the same examination, approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies is required. However, it is better if all examiners are able to attend the defence in person and the Supervisor must be present in person at the examination. Also, teleconferencing and videoconferencing cannot both be used for the same examination, since the examiners will be unable to hear each other.

Telephone backup must be available for all videoconferencing examinations. In extraordinary circumstances and with approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, a student may be given permission to attend remotely and a proctor may be required by the College of Graduate Studies.

Master’s Thesis Oral Examination Process

Before the Examination

The Supervisor must ensure that the electronic copy of the thesis is sent to the College of Graduate Studies and all examiners at least four to six (4-6) weeks prior to the proposed examination date.

The thesis submitted for final examination must be in all respects a final, complete copy and not a draft. Once the thesis has been distributed to the College of Graduate Studies and the examiners, the examination has formally begun, and there should be no discussion of the substance or quality of the thesis among examiners or between examiners and the candidate (or anyone else). The student may not submit revisions while the examination is in progress.

Suspected Academic Misconduct in the Thesis

If an examiner suspects that academic misconduct, including plagiarism or fabrication/falsification of data, has occurred in the thesis, he/she must notify the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies immediately. (Please note, this should not entail a conversation with the supervisor or with any others, but should come directly to the Dean.)

The examination will then be suspended until such time as the Dean or his/her designate determines whether academic misconduct has occurred and what penalties will be applied. Depending on the Dean/designate’s determination, the examination may proceed as scheduled, be rescheduled, or be cancelled.
If an examiner alleges academic misconduct during the examination or in the post-examination discussion, the Neutral Chair must suspend the examination or discussion and contact the College of Graduate Studies immediately (250-807-8180).

The Master’s Student Oral Presentation

The student may present a ten to thirty (10-30) minute opening summary of the thesis, introducing the research and summarizing its significance.

The student may speak from notes, and may use audio-visual equipment, but must not read the summary.

The Neutral Chair will stop the presentation if it exceeds 30 minutes. The presentation is not included in the two-hour examination time.

Length of the Oral Examination

The oral examination should not exceed two hours.

This time limit does not include the opening summary presentation nor the in-camera deliberation time of the Examination Committee. Examination Committee members and the Neutral Chair should, therefore, reserve at least three hours for the summary presentation, examination, and deliberation periods.

This important, formal event is core to the academic mission of the university and should be given priority.

Attendance at the Examination

The Master’s Thesis Oral Examination is a formal examination, which should be accorded due professional respect. Examination Committee Members should be present ten minutes prior to the start of the examination.

If the Neutral Chair is unable to reach a missing Committee Member, and the Committee Member has failed to appear for the appointed start of the examination, the Neutral Chair will contact the College of Graduate Studies immediately.

Normally, the College of Graduate Studies will cancel the examination if the Committee Member cannot be reached- and be present- within 30 minutes after the scheduled beginning of the examination.

The Examination cannot start without the Examination Committee member. If the Examination Committee member arrives within the first 30 minutes, the Neutral Chair must poll other Examiners to determine if they are ALL able to stay for at least three hours commencing from that moment. If this is the case, the Neutral Chair can start the exam.

If any Examiner is unable to remain for that time period, the College of Graduate Studies must be informed immediately and the examination may be cancelled and rescheduled.

Questions to the Candidate

During the formal question period, only examination committee members, as identified on the Notice of Master’s Thesis Oral Examination form, are allowed to question the candidate. Examiners, either in person or via teleconference, must be present during the entire questioning period. All examiners must be given the opportunity to question the student.

In a Master’s exam, the formal question period should begin with the University Examiner, and proceed to other Examination Committee members, followed by the Supervisor and Co-Supervisor (if applicable). Normally, the question period will consist of two to three rounds, but should proceed (within the allowable time frame) until Examiners have no further questions. During the question period, the Supervisor should be taking notes about concerns and areas for revision. The Neutral Chair does not question the student.

Questions to the candidate should be relevant to the subject matter of the thesis, and should be clearly and succinctly phrased. The student should be given reasonable time to answer. If the candidate has understood a question, but cannot answer, the examiner should pass to another question and not attempt to extract an answer by prolonged interrogation.

The Neutral Chair should guard against any attempt by the supervisor to help the student in any way, or any tendency of examiners to interact with each other instead of concentrating on the examination of the candidate. Examiners’ editorial comments on the thesis should not be discussed at the oral examination.

Normally, final thesis oral examinations are open to the public. If the oral examination is still within the limit of two hours, and if the Examination Committee does not have any further questions for the student, the Neutral Chair may invite questions from audience attendees.

Any procedural irregularities must be reported to the Dean of Graduate Studies on the Examination Chair’s Report within two business days.

Evaluation of the Oral Examination of the Thesis

At the end of the Thesis Oral examination, the Neutral Chair asks the candidate and the audience members to leave the examination room. Only the Neutral Chair, the members of the Examination Committee, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and/or the Dean’s designate should remain in the room.

Before any discussion of the student’s performance begins, the Neutral Chair passes out ballots to each Examination Committee member and then reads the full list of possible recommendations to the members. Each examiner must then identify by secret ballot (which is non-binding), whether s/he favours recommending a pass or fail on each of the thesis and the oral defence. The ballots are handed back to the Neutral Chair. This procedure provides the committee with a frame of opinion upon which a full discussion of the student’s performance may then be based.

If an examiner is tele-video/conferencing in to the examination, the Neutral Chair should:

  • collect the secret ballots from those present
  • ask those examiners to briefly leave the room
  • behind a closed door, record the secret ballot of the absent examiner
  • invite the examiners back into the room for the official examiners’ discussion

Official Examiners’ Discussion

The Neutral Chair reads off the ballot results and records these on the Chair’s Report. The Neutral Chair then facilitates a full post-examination discussion, starting with the University Examiner, other Examiners, and lastly the Supervisor. The Dean of Graduate Studies or their delegate is allowed to participate, although they have no vote. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Neutral Chair may request up to two additional rounds of open voting to try to reach a consensus. At the end of the discussion, each examiner must write and initial their final recommendation on the Final Thesis Oral Examination – Neutral Chair’s Report.

Recommendation of the Examination Committee

Thesis oral examinations are designed to establish a level of achievement consistent with the standards set out by the College of Graduate Studies. In each case, the committee recommendation must be reported to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies on the official Final Master’s Thesis Oral Examination – Neutral Chair’s Report within two business days of the completion of the examination. Unanimous decisions are required for both the thesis and the oral defence. Immediately following the conclusion of the examination, the Neutral Chair must report the outcome to the student.

Failure to Reach a Unanimous Decision

If the examiners are unable to achieve unanimity regarding the thesis and/or the oral examination, there must be no further discussion regarding that component of the examination. The Neutral Chair must select “Failure to Reach Unanimous Decision” on the Final Master’s Thesis Oral Examination-Neutral Chair’s Report and immediately inform the College of Graduate Studies of “lack of unanimity”.

In the case of a ‘hung jury,” the Neutral Chair informs the students of the result and asks all Committee members to submit a confidential report, called the Final Oral Examination Committee Member Report to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, documenting the exam and their rationale for their recommendation within five business days.

When the Neutral Chair reports lack of unanimity, The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies will examine the reports submitted by the Neutral Chair and the Examination Committee members, and then may consult with anyone involved in the post-examination deliberation and the student before rendering a final decision.

Master’s Thesis Oral Examination Outcomes

If the unanimous final decision is that the thesis is a pass, the committee must choose whether the thesis is accepted with:

  1. No Revisions. The student is expected to submit their thesis within two weeks from the date of the examination.
  2. Minor Revisions: These may be stylistic changes and/or minor additions or clarification; the supervisor withholds signature on Master’s Thesis Approval and Completion form until all revisions are made. The student has one month from the date of the examination to submit revisions.
  3. Major Revisions: This requires substantive changes such as rewriting a chapter, reinterpretation of data, or additional minor research in order to attain acceptable standards of coherence and integrity in argument and presentation. The supervisor and at least one other member of the examination committee withhold signatures on the Master’s Thesis Approval and Completion form until satisfied with the revisions. Major revisions normally must be completed and submitted to the College of Graduate Studies within six months from the date of the examination.

If the Examining Committee chooses any of the above three options, they must also select the outcome of the Oral Examination:

  1. Unanimous Pass
  2. Fail

If the Examining Committee unanimously determines that the oral thesis examination is not acceptable, it recommends a failed oral defence to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The final decision will be at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Should the Dean of Graduate Studies uphold the recommendation of ‘fail’, the candidate will be allowed a second, final attempt to present an acceptable oral defence of the thesis within three months of the first examination.

Failed Thesis

If the Examining Committee unanimously determines that the underlying research of the thesis is not acceptable, then the Examination Committee recommends a Unanimous Fail on the thesis to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The final decision will be at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Should the Dean of Graduate Studies uphold the recommendation of ‘fail’, the candidate will have a second opportunity to present and defend an acceptable thesis. No judgment should be made on the oral defence, because the new thesis will need to be defended.

In the case of a failed thesis, only one re-submission will be allowed and a new defence will be required. The second oral defence will be scheduled and normally heard by the original examination committee no sooner than six (6) months and no later than twelve (12) months from the first examination date. Any necessary revisions to the thesis must be completed by the candidate and approved by the committee before the second oral examination is scheduled.

Reports from the Examination Committee

For any of (i) a unanimous decision to fail the thesis (ii) a unanimous decision to fail the oral or (iii) a lack of unanimity, the following reports must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies within the specified periods:

  1. The Neutral Chair must submit a written report to the Dean of Graduate Studies, describing the examination procedures within 2 business days.
  2. Each Examination Committee member must provide a confidential written Final Oral Examination-Committee Member Report to the Dean of Graduate Studies explaining the reasons for their recommendation within 5 business days.

Second Master’s Thesis Oral Examination

The second examination must be conducted under the procedures described in the aforementioned sections. A student who fails any component (thesis or oral) of the second examination will be required to withdraw.

cIRcle

cIRcle is the digital repository of the University of British Columbia for research and teaching materials created by the University of British Columbia community and its partners. Master’s students are required to upload the final copy of their thesis in cIRcle.  MFA students whose thesis contains creative writing or film may distribute their thesis through the library instead of uploading to cIRcle.

Final Thesis Submission

Students submit their final thesis to the College of Graduate Studies once the supervisor approves the final thesis which contains the revisions requested at the oral examination.

The following items must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies:

  • Final approved thesis
  • Master’s Thesis Approval and Program Completion form
  • Thesis/Dissertation Submission Cover Sheet or Creative Writing/Film/Music Thesis Submission Cover Sheet
  • Creative Writing/Film/Music UBC Thesis License Agreement (MFA students with creative writing or film in their thesis only)

The following items may also be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies:

  • Bibliography of Theses Related to British Columbia
  • Withhold Dissertation/Thesis from Public Domain form

Once the required items are received, the College of Graduate Studies will ensure that the thesis meets formatting requirements and will provide the student with further instructions regarding uploading to cIRcle.  Once the final thesis is uploaded and approved by the College of Graduate Studies, the student’s program will be closed out (provided all other program requirements have been met).

Request to Withhold Thesis from the Public Domain

If there is strong justification, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies may approve a request to withhold the thesis from the public domain for a limited period of time (typically 6 months, extendable to a maximum of 12 months in special circumstances).

The following are examples of when a student may request to withhold a thesis:

  • time is required for completion and submission of a significant manuscript or patent application for a device or idea that may emerge from the thesis research;
  • the thesis describes something of considerable monetary potential which could, if the student were given an opportunity to develop it first, benefit the student or the University;
  • the thesis deals with a potentially dangerous product or process or potential cure for a disease for which the researchers need more time for testing before public release of the information.

The Request for Approval to Withhold a Dissertation/Thesis from the Public Domain form must be made when the thesis is first submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Doctoral Students

The graduate program in which the student is registered must approve the student’s program of study and will give the student the best information on program options and requirements. When students begin the PhD degree program, they must consult with their supervisor(s) to develop a program of study. General doctoral program requirements include:

  • Completion of required courses, seminars, directed readings, consultations or other relevant courses.
  • Demonstrated competency in languages other than English (if applicable).
  • Completion of comprehensive examinations.
  • Advancement to candidacy within 36 months of initial registration in the program.
  • Approval of a dissertation research proposal
  • A doctoral dissertation describing the process and results of the student’s original research.
  • A dissertation defence in a public oral examination.

Program requirements vary by program. The Academic Calendar contains further information regarding general and program-specific doctoral program requirements.

It is sometimes possible for a student to change their program of study during the course of the degree program. Any changes must be approved by the supervisory committee of the student and the graduate program in which the student is enrolled.

Coursework

Some doctoral programs have coursework requirements and some do not. Specific program requirements are listed in the Academic Calendar.

Candidacy

The basic requirements for a doctoral student to be admitted to candidacy are:

  • All required coursework is successfully completed.
  • The comprehensive examination(s) is/have been passed.
  • The dissertation proposal has been approved by the supervisory committee.

Students are normally expected to complete their comprehensive(s) within twenty-four (24) months from the date of initial registration. Students who are not admitted to candidacy within 36 months from the date of their initial registration must withdraw from their program. In exceptional circumstances, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies may grant an extension of this deadline.

Additional requirements for admission to candidacy could include such conditions as demonstration of competency in completion of a foreign language. If such additional criteria are added, the graduate program must inform the College of Graduate Studies and the student(s) of these criteria in writing.

As soon as a student has satisfied all requirements for candidacy, the graduate program must recommend to the College of Graduate Studies that the student be admitted to candidacy. Candidacy status is listed on the student’s academic record along with the date candidacy was achieved.

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive examinations are a critical milestone in the life course of a doctoral student. They represent a juncture at which the graduate student either proves that they are fully prepared and have the ability to pursue doctoral research, or that – in the case of a failure- they may be better suited to a different career trajectory.

Comprehensive examinations are not a pro forma activity. The doctoral degree is the highest degree awarded by the University, and the comprehensive examinations constitute a key indicator of the academic ability and preparedness of the doctoral candidate. The standard of excellence required to successfully pass comprehensive examinations should reflect the quality of the PhD or other doctoral degree at UBC, a leading research university.

The purposes of the comprehensive examinations are:

  1. to ensure that a doctoral student has a comprehensive understanding of the literature in their field(s) of study, including theories and methodologies;
  2. to ensure that the student is fluent with past and current debates and anticipated future trajectories in this/these field(s);
  3. to enable the student to develop and locate their own intellectual commitments within the debates of those fields;
  4. to demonstrate scholarly breadth and depth of understanding that is wider than the specific topic of the student’s research;
  5. to prepare the student to convey their knowledge to both specialized and non-specialized audiences.

All doctoral students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination before being admitted to candidacy. Although the nature of the comprehensive examination may vary significantly between doctoral programs, it is the responsibility of each doctoral program to ensure that the comprehensive examination is consistent and equitable and that it meets the highest academic standards.

Given the core significance of the comprehensive examination, the College of Graduate Studies requires that each doctoral graduate program develop a written statement of comprehensive examination policy and procedures that is transparent and consistent, and that clearly articulates the purpose, timing, examination format (or choice of formats), composition of the examination committee, criteria for evaluation, and the process of adjudication, including the process that takes place in the event of an examination failure. The College of Graduate Studies has a template available for graduate programs to use in the development of such a written statement. Programs must ensure that their statement addresses all of the criteria outlined in the template.

UBC Okanagan provides two formats for completing comprehensives: a series of written comprehensive papers or comprehensive examinations. The form and specification for the candidate’s comprehensives are determined by the graduate program in which the candidate is registered. Comprehensives should normally be completed by the end of the second year of a student’s program and before commencing research for the dissertation.

The comprehensive written paper format:

  • Requires the student to complete up to five comprehensive papers in consultation with his/her supervisor and supervisory committee.
  • Provides an assessment of the student’s mastery of a breadth of research areas related to his/her program of study.
  • Should require significant literature reviews or focused research projects.
  • Exposes the student to a breadth of research theories and methods.
  • Provides the student with practical experience completing projects and preparing the results for publication.

The comprehensive examination:

  • Is normally held after completion of all required coursework.
  • Is intended to test the student’s grasp of the chosen field of study as a whole, as well as the student’s ability to communicate his or her understanding of it in English or, in select programs, in French.
  • Is set up and judged by the supervisory committee members in a manner compatible with the policy of the graduate program concerned. (Programs should make available to students a written statement of examination policy and procedures.)
  • Is separate and distinct from the evaluation of the dissertation proposal.

PhD programs establish their own candidacy guidelines, especially guidelines for comprehensive exams, in accordance with the general guidelines established by the College of Graduate Studies and outlined in the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar.

Adjudication of Comprehensive Exams/Papers

In all graduate programs, the examining committee must meet in camera to evaluate the student’s performance in all aspects of the exam and to render one of the following decisions:

  • Unconditional Pass
    • No further comprehensive examination work is required of the student. The student has achieved candidacy and may now proceed to the research and writing of a dissertation.
  • Conditional Pass
    • The student may be required to perform additional comprehensive examination tasks (for example, the student may be required to successfully complete a course or write a paper in an area in which the committee finds the student needs additional knowledge);
    • The additional examination requirements are to be provided to the student in writing by the examination committee and include expected standards of achievement and times for completion.
  • Failure
    • The examination committee must inform the student in writing of the failure and provide the student with the conditions, if any, under which a repeat or a continued examination, if any, may take place.
    • If the student is allowed to repeat the examination, the student must be informed immediately after the examination
    • Conditions for repeating the examination are to be clearly stated, including the time frame, potential dates, nature of the re-examination, and consequences of a second failure.
    • The examination committee membership normally remains unchanged for the subsequent examination

Feedback

The assessment and reasons, including an identification of strengths and weaknesses in the examination, for the decision reached by the examination committee are to be documented and provided to the student in sufficient detail to allow the student to understand the decision.

Some graduate programs have developed a standard form for the committee chair to complete following the examination to help maintain a thorough and consistent record of comprehensive examinations in the program.

In the case of oral examinations, the student should be given feedback concerning the presentation, logic flow, and clarity of their answers to questions.

Academic Misconduct

UBC Policy 85 concerning scholarly integrity applies to all comprehensive examination work. Plagiarism and fabrication or falsification of research data will be considered academic misconduct.

If academic misconduct is suspected, including plagiarism or fabrication/ falsification of data, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies must be informed immediately. Concerns should be brought directly to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, without consultation with others (250-807-8180). The examination must be suspended until such time as the Dean or his/her designate determines whether academic misconduct has occurred and what penalties will be applied. Depending on the Dean/designate’s determination, the examination may proceed as scheduled, be rescheduled, or be cancelled.

Dissertation

Quality of Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation must reflect a significant contribution to knowledge, must contain evidence of a critical understanding of the relevant literature, and must employ appropriate research methodology. It is expected that the material embodied in the dissertation will be of high quality and reflect the standards of the discipline. The quality of the dissertation should meet UBC standards of excellence.

All doctoral candidates are required to complete a dissertation. A candidate’s dissertation must be presented according to procedures detailed on the Thesis and Dissertation Preparation page of the College of Graduate Studies website.

Dissertation Form and Style

The general form and style of the dissertation may vary slightly, depending on the program, but a dissertation must be a cohesive document.

The dissertation must conform to specific UBC formatting requirements and regulations.

Students may hire an editor to copy-edit their dissertation. Students and supervisors should discuss whether or not it is appropriate to hire an editor, and, if yes, agree upon the specific editing tasks. Under no circumstance may can a supervisor compel a student to hire an editor. Students who need editing advice and assistance may contact the Centre for Scholarly Communication. The Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC)’s (2006) Guidelines for Editing Theses is a helpful source on the ethical editing of theses/dissertations.

The dissertation must conform to all relevant legislation and policies that govern copyright (Policy 85, Policy 86, Policy 87). (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Intellectual Property Guide). Plagiarism and fabrication or falsification of research data will be considered academic misconduct.

Public Release of Dissertations

Dissertations are normally made available for public access.

Under certain circumstances, the Dean of Graduate Studies may approve a Request for Approval to Withhold a Dissertation/Thesis from the Public Domain.

Research and Ethics Requirements

All research involving human participants, animals or biohazards must first be reviewed by and receive approval from the appropriate Research Ethics Board before the research can commence. Failure to obtain the appropriate ethics approvals prior to conducting research may result in an outcome of Fail on the dissertation examination.

Dissertation Oral Examination

The purpose of the Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination is for the student to independently defend the dissertation. It is also intended to serve as confirmation of the student’s knowledge of the research topic within the context of their field(s) of study. In order to safeguard and promote the quality of the graduate degree, all PhD students must pass a final dissertation oral examination before the degree can be granted.

The Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination is an examination approved by the College of Graduate Studies. Prior to the final defence, candidates must have fulfilled all coursework, examination and language requirements of the degree program. It is the responsibility of the candidate’s graduate program to ensure that all of these requirements have been met, and that the candidate’s English language proficiency is sufficient for the examination to be conducted with full communication between the committee and the candidate. The Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination is a public event at UBC Okanagan, and as such will be conducted in English.

All doctoral dissertations must be assessed by an examiner external to the University and by internal examiners, including a University Examiner who is not directly associated with the graduate program in which the candidate is registered.

The Doctoral Dissertation Oral examination process is initiated once the student has been deemed, by both their Supervisor and their Supervisory Committee, as ready to proceed to defence. The Supervisor must have reviewed the student’s research and the entire draft of the dissertation and obtained written agreement from the members of the Supervisory Committee that the dissertation is ready to move to oral examination. The signature of the Supervisor on the Notice of Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination acknowledges that the dissertation meets the minimum standard.

It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to recommend all examining committee members, including the External Examiner and University Examiner, to the Graduate Program Coordinator, for approval and to conform to the timelines and processes established by the College of Graduate Studies.

The Graduate Program Coordinator then makes a recommendation to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies has final approval authority over the Examination Committee composition. The Examination Committee is convened to make a recommendation of the final outcome of the examination to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

NOTE: Under no circumstances are students permitted to make arrangements for their examination.

NOTE: Once the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies has approved the composition of an examination committee, no changes in that composition may take place without prior approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

NOTE: Indication that the dissertation is ready to defend does not commit a member of the supervisory committee to vote “pass” on the dissertation at the final oral examination.

The examination committee must be seen as impartial and conflicts of interest must be avoided and disclosed.

Where applicable, under exceptional circumstances, a doctoral student who has successfully completed all College of Graduate Studies and graduate program requirements has the right to submit and defend their dissertation, even if doing so may be contrary to the advice of the Supervisor and/or Supervisory Committee.

In special circumstances such as sudden illness or weather factors, the Dean of Graduate Studies may approve the rescheduling of an oral examination. In addition, a scheduled oral examination may be cancelled under exceptional circumstances with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

The examination is chaired by a neutral member of the academic staff who is familiar with the examination policies and procedures of the College of Graduate Studies. The Neutral Chair is not a member of the Examination Committee, does not question the student and may not vote. The examining committee assesses the performance of the candidate in the written dissertation and in the oral examination and makes a recommendation to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

The External Examiner is approved by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies in consultation with the graduate program in which the degree candidate is registered. Procedures for choosing a suitable external examiner must be initiated at least three months before the oral examination takes place. The College of Graduate Studies must receive the written report from the External Examiner before the final examination can take place.

Final oral examinations can be scheduled no sooner than eight weeks after submission of the approved dissertation to the College of Graduate Studies.

The final oral examination is open to all members of the University and to the public. Notices of examination are posted at the office of the College of Graduate Studies.

Initiating the Dissertation Oral Examination

The Dissertation Oral examination process is initiated once the Supervisor and the Supervisory committee of the student have deemed the dissertation of the candidate ready to proceed to oral examination.

The Supervisor is responsible for the following steps in the oral examination process once s/he has determined that the dissertation meets the minimum standard:

  • Ensures that all members of the supervisory committee have reviewed the latest draft of the dissertation, and provided written consents to the supervisor to proceed to oral examination (email is acceptable).
  • Contacts a potential External Examiner to determine their willingness to serve as External Examiner and their availability for the proposed examination dates.
  • Submits an email request (which includes the CV of the proposed External Examiner) to gradtheses.ok@ubc.ca for approval of the External Examiner by the Dean at least ten (10) weeks prior to the proposed examination date.

Composition of Dissertation Oral Examination Committee

The examination committee should consist of:

  • The Supervisor;
  • All members of the Supervisory Committee;
  • the University Examiner, who is external to the graduate program
  • the External Examiner, who is external to the university

Appointment of the Examination Committee

The relevant Graduate Program Coordinator must recommend the composition of the Examination Committee to the Dean of The College of Graduate Studies, whose approval of the Committee composition is required before the examination can proceed.

Criteria for Selection of the Neutral Chair

The Neutral Chair must:

  • not have been closely associated with the student (now or in the past) as a colleague, supervisor, member of the supervisory committee,
  • not have been an academic collaborator with the supervisor.

Normally, the Neutral Chair is external to the student’s graduate program but either the Graduate Program Coordinator or the Department Head could serve as Neutral Chair.

The responsibility of the Neutral Chair is to ensure that the examination is conducted in a fair way and according to College of Graduate Studies procedures.

Criteria for Selection of the University Examiner

The University Examiner normally must:

  • If a faculty member of UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver, have a Board appointment outside the department or graduate program in which the student is registered, but within the professorial ranks
  • Have expertise in the student’s research area or a closely related field
  • If external to UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver, have a well-established research reputation, expertise in the area of the student’s research, and experience in evaluating theses at a graduate level
  • Not have collaborated with the Supervisor in the five years prior to the oral examination
  • Not be a close personal friend or relative of the Supervisor
  • Not be related to the student, nor have worked with the student
  • Not have an affiliation with the department/ division/ graduate program of either the student or Supervisor

Criteria for Selection of the External Examiner

An External Examiner normally must:

  • Have an established reputation in the area of the dissertation research and be able to judge whether a dissertation is acceptable at a university comparable to UBC
  • Have had previous experience with the supervision and examination of doctoral students
  • Hold a PhD or a degree of the same level as that which the student is pursuing
  • be either a Full or Associate Professor at a university, or have comparable expertise if not at a university
  • If not presently associated with a university, have some previous university affiliation
  • Not be a close personal friend of the Supervisor; not have collaborated with the Supervisor in the five years prior to the oral examination; not be related to, nor have worked with, the candidate
  • Not have acted as an External Examiner in the candidate’s graduate program, or for a student with the same Supervisor for a minimum period of three years.

Scheduling the Oral Examination

Upon receiving approval from the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies for the External Examiner, the supervisor should proceed with the following:

  • Book the examination room & v/c (if needed);
  • Fill in the Notice of Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination form, ensure that the relevant graduate program coordinator has signed it, and submit it to the College of Graduate Studies no later than eight (8) weeks prior to the date of the examination;
  • Fill in the Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination Announcement Form, including date, time and location of the examination;
  • Ensure that the final draft of the dissertation is sent to all committee members and to the College of Graduate Studies.

Examination Process

Before the Examination

The Supervisor must ensure that the electronic copy of the dissertation is sent to the College of Graduate Studies and all examiners at least four to six (4-6) weeks prior to the proposed examination date.

The dissertation submitted for final examination must be in all respects a final, complete copy and not a draft. Once the dissertation has been distributed, the examination has formally begun, and there should be no discussion of the substance or quality of the dissertation among examiners or between examiners and the candidate (or anyone else).

Suspected Academic Misconduct in the Dissertation

If an examiner suspects that academic misconduct, including plagiarism or fabrication/falsification of data, has occurred in the dissertation, he/she must notify the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies immediately. (Please note, this should not entail a conversation with the supervisor or with any others, but should come directly to the Dean.)

The examination will then be suspended until such time as the Dean or his/her designate determines whether academic misconduct has occurred and what penalties will be applied. Depending on the Dean/designate’s determination, the examination may proceed as scheduled, be rescheduled, or be cancelled.

If an examiner alleges academic misconduct during the examination or in the post-examination discussion, the Neutral Chair must suspend the examination or discussion and contact the College of Graduate Studies immediately (250-807-8180).

The Examination

The student may present a 10-30 minute opening summary of the dissertation, introducing the research and summarizing its significance. The Candidate may speak from notes, and may use audio-visual equipment, but must not read the synopsis.

The Neutral Chair will stop the presentation if it exceeds 30 minutes. The presentation is outside of the two hour examination time.

Length of the Examination

The oral examination should not exceed two hours.

This time limit does not include the opening summary presentation nor the deliberation time of the Examination Committee. Examination Committee members and the Neutral Chair should, therefore, reserve at least three hours for the summary presentation, examination, and deliberation periods.

This important, formal event is core to the academic mission of the university and should be given priority.

Attendance at the Examination

The Doctoral Oral defence is a formal examination, which should be accorded due professional respect. Examination Committee Members should be present ten minutes prior to the start of the examination.

If the Neutral Chair is unable to reach a missing Committee Member, and the Committee Member has failed to appear for the appointed start of the examination, the Neutral Chair will contact the College of Graduate Studies immediately.

Normally, the College of Graduate Studies will cancel the examination if the Committee Member cannot be reached- and be present- within 30 minutes after the scheduled beginning of the examination.

The Examination cannot start without the Examination Committee member. If the Examination Committee member arrives within the first 30 minutes, the Neutral Chair must poll other Examiners to determine if they are ALL able to stay for at least three hours commencing from that moment. If this is the case, the Neutral Chair can start the exam.

If any Examiner is unable to remain for that time period, the College of Graduate Studies must be informed immediately and the examination may be cancelled and rescheduled.

Questions to the Candidate

During the formal question period, only examination committee members, as identified on the Notice of Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination form, are allowed to question the candidate.

In a Doctoral exam the formal question period should begin with the External Examiner, University Examiner, other Examination Committee members, followed by the Supervisor and Co-Supervisor, if applicable. Normally, question period may consist of two to three rounds but should proceed (within the allowable time frame) until Examiners have no further questions. During question period, the Supervisor should be taking notes about concerns and areas for revision. The Neutral Chair does not question the student.

Questions to the candidate should be relevant to the subject matter of the dissertation, and should be clearly and succinctly phrased. The student should be given reasonable time to answer. If the student has understood the question but cannot answer, the examiner should pass to another question and not attempt to extract an answer by prolonged interrogation.

The Neutral Chair should guard against any attempt by the supervisor to help the student in any way, or any tendency of examiners to interact with each other instead of concentrating on the examination of the candidate. Examiners’ editorial comments on the dissertation should not be discussed at the oral examination.

Normally, dissertation oral examinations are open to the public. If the oral examination is still within the limit of two hours, and if the Examination Committee does not have any further questions for the student, the Neutral Chair may invite questions from audience attendees.

Adjudication of the Oral Examination of the Dissertation

When the question period has reached two hours, the Neutral Chair asks the candidate and the audience members to leave the examination room. Only the Neutral Chair, the members of the Examination Committee, and the Dean of Graduate Studies and/or the Dean’s designate should remain in the room.

Before any discussion of the candidate’s performance, the Neutral Chair passes out ballots to each Examination Committee member and then reads the full list of possible recommendations to the members. Each examiner must then identify by secret ballot (which is non-binding), whether s/he favours recommending a pass or fail on each of the dissertation and the oral defence. The ballots are handed back to the Neutral Chair. This procedure provides the committee with a frame of opinion upon which a full discussion of the student’s performance may then be based.

If an examiner is tele-video/conferencing in to the examination, the Neutral Chair should:

  • collect the secret ballots from those present
  • ask those examiners to briefly leave the room
  • behind a closed door, record the secret ballot of the absent examiner
  • invite examiners back into the room for the official examiners’ discussion
Official Examiners’ Discussion

The Neutral Chair reads off the ballot results and records these on the Chair’s Report. The Neutral Chair then facilitates a full post-examination discussion, starting with the External Examiner, the University Examiner, other Examiners, and lastly the Supervisor. The Dean of Graduate Studies or their delegate is allowed to participate although they have no vote. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Neutral Chair may request up to 2 additional rounds of open voting to try to reach a consensus. At the end of the discussion, each examiner must write and initial her/his final recommendation on the Final Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination – Neutral Chair’s Report. Unanimous decisions are required for both the dissertation and the oral defence. If the examiners are unable to achieve unanimity regarding one or both components, there will be no further discussion regarding that component of the examination and the Neutral Chair must immediately inform the Dean of “lack of unanimity”. The final decision concerning the disposition of the examination results will be at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Recommendation of the Examination Committee

Dissertation oral examinations are designed to establish a level of achievement consistent with the standards set out by the College of Graduate Studies. In each case, the committee recommendation must be reported to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies on the official Final Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination – Neutral Chair’s Report form within two business days of the completion of the examination. Immediately following the conclusion of the examination, the Neutral Chair must report the outcome to the student.

In the case of a ‘hung jury,” the Neutral Chair informs the student of the result and asks all Committee members to submit a confidential report called the Final Oral Examination – Committee Member Report to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies documenting the exam and rationale for their recommendation within 5 business days.

Doctoral Oral Examination Outcomes

Unanimous Pass on the Dissertation

If the unanimous final decision is that the dissertation is a pass, the committee must choose whether the dissertation is accepted with:

  1. No revisions.
  2. Minor revisions: Changes to the dissertation within this category consist of only slight modifications that affect presentation of the material such as typographical or grammatical errors as well as minor editorial revisions; it also includes minor revisions which may range from a few paragraphs to several pages. The student has one month from the date of the examination to make the revisions. The Supervisor will inform the student of the necessary revisions and will withhold their signature until satisfied with the revisions.
  3. Major Revisions: This means that the dissertation is not acceptable in its present form, but could be acceptable pending major revisions. This requires substantive changes such as rewriting a chapter, reinterpretation of data, correction to calculations, or additional minor research. The Supervisor and at least one other member of the examination committee withhold signatures on the Doctoral Dissertation Approval and Completion form until revisions are made. The student has six months from the date of the examination to make revisions and submit the dissertation to the College of Graduate Studies.
Decision on the Outcome of the Oral Examination

If the Examination Committee chooses any of the above three options, they must also select the outcome of the Oral Examination:

  1. Unanimous Pass
  2. Fail

If the examining committee unanimously determines that the oral dissertation is not acceptable, it recommends a failed oral defence to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The final decision will be at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Should the Dean of Graduate Studies uphold the recommendation of ‘fail’, the candidate will be allowed a second, final attempt to present an acceptable oral defence of the dissertation within three months of the first examination. For a retake of the oral examination, the composition of the examination committee, including the External Examiner, will remain the same. If the student fails the oral retake, they will be required to withdraw from the graduate program.

Failure of the Dissertation

If the examining committee unanimously determines that the underlying research of the dissertation is not acceptable, and recommends an “unanimous fail” on the dissertation, the student would be required to withdraw from the graduate program.

Failure to Reach a Unanimous Decision

If the examiners are unable to achieve unanimity regarding the dissertation and/or the oral examination, there must be no further discussion regarding that component of the examination and the Neutral Chair must select “Failure to Reach Unanimous Decision” on the Final Dissertation Oral Examination Report and immediately inform the College of Graduate Studies of “lack of unanimity”. The final decision will be at the discretion of the Dean of Graduate Studies who, before rendering a decision, may consult with anyone involved in the post-examination deliberation.

Reports from the Examination Committee

For any of (1) a unanimous decision to fail the dissertation (2) a unanimous decision to fail the oral or (3) lack of unanimity, the following reports must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies within the specified time periods:

The Neutral Chair must submit the Doctoral Dissertation Oral Examination- Neutral Chair’s Report to the Dean of Graduate Studies, describing the examination procedures within 2 business days.

Each Examination Committee member (including the External Examiner) must provide a confidential Final Oral Examination Committee Member Report to the Dean of Graduate Studies explaining the reasons for his/her recommendation within five business days.

cIRcle

cIRcle is the digital repository of the University of British Columbia for research and teaching materials created by the University of British Columbia community and its partners. Doctoral students are required to upload the final copy of their dissertation in cIRcle.

Final Dissertation Submission

Students submit their final dissertation to the College of Graduate Studies once the supervisor approves the final dissertation which contains the revisions requested at the oral examination.

The following items must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies:

  • Final approved dissertation
  • Doctoral Dissertation Approval and Program Completion form
  • Thesis/Dissertation Submission Cover Sheet

The following items may be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies:

  • Bibliography of Theses Related to British Columbia
  • Withhold Dissertation/Thesis from Public Domain form

Once the required items are received, the College of Graduate Studies will ensure that the student’s dissertation meets formatting requirements and will provide the student with further instructions regarding uploading to cIRcle.  Once the final dissertation is uploaded and approved by the College of Graduate Studies, the student’s program will be closed out (provided all other program requirements have been met).

Request to Withhold Dissertation from the Public Domain

If there is strong justification, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies may agree to withhold the dissertation from the public domain for a limited period of time (typically 12 months, extendable to a maximum of 24 months in special circumstances).

The following are examples of when a student may request to withhold a dissertation:

  • time is required for completion and submission of a significant manuscript or patent application for a device or idea that might emerge from the dissertation research;
  • the dissertation might describe something of considerable monetary potential which could, if the student were given an opportunity to develop it first, benefit the student or the University;
  • or the dissertation might deal with a potentially dangerous product or process or potential cure for a disease for which the researchers need more time for testing before public release of the information.

The Request for Approval to Withhold a Dissertation/Thesis from the Public Domain form must be made when the thesis is first submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Program Completion & Convocation

Program Completion

Graduate student degree completion in thesis-based Master’s and all doctoral programs means that the student has:

  • Completed all required coursework;
  • Successfully defended their thesis or dissertation;
  • Submitted all documentation, including their final thesis or dissertation to the College of Graduate Studies;
  • Completed all other degree requirements.

Provided that the student has met all other degree requirements, his/her program will be closed at the end of the month in which the thesis or dissertation formatting is approved and the thesis or dissertation is successfully uploaded to cIRcle. For non-thesis programs, the student’s program will be closed out at the end of the month in which the program confirms all requirements were met. In order to be granted the degree, the student must apply for degree conferral through the Student Services Centre during the relevant application period.

Once the program is closed out, the student will be advised of how to obtain a refund of any tuition (if applicable) or will be notified if any additional tuition installments are due.

Program Responsibilities

For thesis students, the Graduate Program Coordinator should verify that all program requirements (minus the thesis) have been met before signing the documents to initiate the thesis oral examination.

For non-thesis students, the Graduate Program Coordinator ensures that all grades have been entered and all degree requirements have been met and then sends an email to the College of Graduate Studies informing it that the degree has been completed.

Program Completion Letter

A Program Completion letter officially confirms that the student has fulfilled the degree requirements and completed the program. The student can print this letter as soon as the program has been closed (i.e. the student has finished the program requirements), all grades have been entered, and the student record has been checked by the College of Graduate Studies.

The student can use the Student Service Centre (SSC) to print an official Program Completion letter.

Degree Conferral

There are important tasks the student must complete in order to have their degree conferred on them:

  1. Apply for degree conferral and attendance at the graduation ceremony (if applicable). This application is mandatory. For questions about applying for degree conferral, please contact gradapps.okanagan@ubc.ca
  2. Make sure that the thesis or dissertation (or for programs not requiring a thesis/dissertation, their program completion memo) has been submitted to the College of Graduate Studies and been approved and successfully uploaded to ciRcle to initiate the close-out process.
  3. Make sure that all courses taken have a grade entered for them.
  4. Make sure the UBC financial account is settled. The student will not receive a diploma or be able to order transcripts if they have an outstanding balance owing.

Applying for Degree Conferral

Every candidate for a degree must make a formal application for degree conferral. Students must apply through the Student Service Centre (SSC).

Graduate students should check the deadlines database of the website to determine application deadlines for degree conferral.

If the student’s application for degree conferral is not approved, the student must re-apply for the next graduation session.

The student must apply for degree conferral regardless of whether or not s/he plans to participate in the scheduled ceremonies.

Graduate degrees are conferred in February, May, September, and November.

Graduation Ceremonies

Earning a graduate degree is a significant achievement, and the graduation ceremonies at the UBC Okanagan campus celebrate the success and contributions of all new UBC graduates.

Students can find information concerning the relevant ceremony on the Graduation ceremonies website, including:

  • date and approximate time
  • gown rental
  • obtaining tickets
  • photographs and videos
  • general ceremony instructions

Supervisors, Supervisory Committees, and Graduate Program Coordinators

Supervisor Selection

All students must have either an interim advisor or an approved Supervisor at the time of first registration. The initial selection of a Supervisor should be by mutual agreement between the student and faculty member, and approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator.

Supervisor Eligibility Requirements

Continuity of supervision throughout a graduate program is important to student success. Normally, all tenured or tenure track (including grant tenured or tenure-track) UBC Okanagan faculty who hold the rank of Assistant, Associate or Professor are approved by their faculty for membership in the College of Graduate Studies (The College of Graduate Studies). It is from this pool of faculty members that students must normally select a supervisor. However, it may be appropriate under specific circumstances for a student to work with a qualified individual as their supervisor who does not belong to this pool. For example, clinical professors, adjunct professors, senior instructors, visiting professors, or UBC Vancouver faculty who are actively engaged in research and experienced with graduate education, may, upon recommendation of the relevant program, be appointed to the College of Graduate Studies by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and therefore be eligible to serve as graduate supervisors. In cases such as these, the College of Graduate Studies requires assurance that the proposed supervisor will be able to provide continuity of supervision.

For each graduate student with a new (inexperienced) supervisor, an experienced faculty member should serve as co-supervisor or as a member of the supervisory committee.

The proposed supervisor must understand the time and funding commitments expected of them and be familiar with current graduate program and College of Graduate Studies regulations. The relevant Graduate Program Coordinator must ensure that supervision will be provided to the student for the probable time period required for the completion of the degree program.

Individuals from outside the University may serve as co-supervisors, upon recommendation of the relevant graduate program and approval by the Dean of The College of Graduate Studies. In this case, the primary supervisor must be a member of the College of Graduate Studies. Dean’s Approval for Co-Supervisor Committee Member is also required for:

  • Appointment of all non-UBC Okanagan co-supervisors or committee members
  • Appointment of any UBC Okanagan co-supervisors or committee members who do not hold the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor
  • Appointment to graduate supervision of any UBC Okanagan members of the College of Graduate Studies who hold a terminal master’s degree who wish to supervise a doctoral student

Retired members of the College of Graduate Studies may continue to supervise or co-supervise graduate students, as recommended by their graduate program and approved by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

The Supervisor should be currently active in research in an area related to the research interests of the student. Faculty members working on their own graduate degrees cannot be approved to any supervisory capacity without special dispensation from the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Students are entitled to continuity of supervision. In the case of the resignation from the University, illness or death of the Supervisor, the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator must make immediate arrangements to provide continuity of supervision pending the appointment of a new Supervisor.

Conflict of Interest

The relationship between Supervisor and the student is an academic one. Where other relationships exist or develop that might give the appearance of conflict of interest, they must be immediately reported to the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator who will consult with the Associate Dean or Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, if the Graduate Program Coordinator is unable to resolve the situation. In situations where the Supervisor/Co-Supervisor or committee members are domestic partners, one additional committee member is required.

It is a conflict of interest for a Graduate Teaching Assistant to grade the work of another graduate student, regardless of differences in degree program or year in program. It is the responsibility of the faculty member who is instructing the course to grade the work of all graduate students in the course.

Responsibilities of Supervisors

Knowledge of Rules and Procedures

Supervisors should be familiar with the rules and procedures of the College of Graduate Studies and program regulations and requirements.

Meetings Between the Graduate Student and the Supervisor

Both the graduate student and the supervisor have a shared responsibility to meet on a regular basis. It is important for supervisors to be available to provide guidance and feedback to graduate students, especially for those who are new to graduate studies and/or new to Canada. The frequency of meetings may vary by discipline, stage in the program, nature of the project and the independence of the student. These could be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meetings.

“Frequent meetings with graduate students at which academic, research and other issues are addressed, progress is reviewed, evaluation is provided, and future activities are identified are extremely important for the success of students” (CAGS, 2008, Guiding Principles for Graduate Student Supervision, p.3).

The Role of the Supervisor

To be an effective graduate supervisor, a faculty member must first recognize the responsibilities of the role, and ensure that these are met to the best of their abilities with each graduate student.

The critical relationship between a research graduate student and their supervisor should always be academic and professional, with an emphasis on a mutually open, committed, and respectful relationship. The supervisor should act as both an academic mentor, with an emphasis on guidance, instruction, and encouragement of scholarship and research, and as an evaluator of the student’s performance. A fundamental duty of the supervisor is to impart to the student the skills necessary to plan and conduct original research.

Specifically, the Supervisor should:

  • Work with the student to establish a realistic timetable for the completion of the various requirements of the program of study
  • Discuss with the student and establish mutual expectations for the student’s vacation time (Students are entitled to three weeks of vacation during each twelve month academic year)
  • Develop a relationship with the student conducive to research and intellectual
    growth
  • Guide and mentor the student concerning the research ethics approval process and concerning the intellectual property issues around their thesis or dissertation research
  • Guide the student in the pursuit of knowledge and provide constructive criticism in support of the highest standards of research and professional development
  • Mentor the student in areas such as, but not limited to, the development of
    appropriate professional skills, funding applications, networking, assistance with publications, and career development

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Vancouver campus), in consultation with the Graduate Student Society and UBC Counsel office, has created several documents that outline the expectations of the student-supervisor relationship.

Supervisory Provision for Leave of Absence

“Continuity of supervision is an integral component of this relationship, since it provides (or should provide) stability, security, an opportunity to establish sufficient mutual knowledge and trust to facilitate effective intellectual debate, and generally an environment that allows optimal focus on the goals of the graduate program.” (CAGS, 2008, p. 5)

Graduate programs and Supervisors must ensure that students are provided with adequate supervision when Supervisors are on leave. This purpose can be accomplished in several ways, including through the appointment of a co-supervisor. Students should be informed well in advance about the plans a Supervisor may have for a sabbatical leave. With current means of communication, continued supervision while on a sabbatical leave is the normal expectation for faculty members. These arrangements must be communicated in writing to the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator, who bears the responsibility for ensuring continuity of supervision for students in his/her graduate program.

When a co-supervisor is appointed to cover a period of the supervisor’s absence, the regular supervisor retains final responsibility for the adequate supervision of the student. Faculty members approved as co-supervisors must indicate in writing to the Graduate Program Coordinator their willingness to accept responsibility for the day-today supervision of such students. To do so, they must submit a Change of Student Supervisor Committee Member to The College of Graduate Studies.

Suggested Procedures in the Event of Problems between Graduate Students and their Supervisors

Students should attempt first to resolve problems with their supervisor by talking to the supervisor. The co-supervisor (if applicable) or a supervisory committee member may be able to give helpful advice in this situation. Problems that are not resolved in this fashion should be discussed with the Graduate Program Coordinator, and then the Department Head or equivalent. If a solution cannot be reached, the student and/or the Graduate Program Coordinator may consult the College of Graduate Studies for advice about a resolution to the issue.

Procedures for the Curtailment of Supervisory Duties

The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies approves the initial appointment of a faculty member- as nominated by their Faculty Dean- for membership in the College of Graduate Studies and for the privilege of supervisory duties. If a complaint is made against a supervisor, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies will first discuss the matter with the relevant Graduate Program Coordinator and the Department Head or equivalent, and then with the faculty member concerned. The issue may be resolved informally. If the Dean decides that a more formal approach is needed to resolve the dispute, the Dean will also discuss the matter with the relevant Faculty Dean. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies will then inform both the Department Head or equivalent, the Faculty Dean, and the faculty member of his/her conclusions in writing. If the result of the Dean’s investigation is curtailment of the supervisory duties of the faculty member, the Dean will inform the faculty member in writing.

Judgment of Student Performance

Supervisors and Graduate Program Coordinators must inform students on a regular basis about their academic progress. If a student’s performance is judged to be below an acceptable level, this judgment should be expressed to the student formally and in writing at as early a stage in the graduate program as possible. If academic programs remains unsatisfactory, a student may be required to withdraw from their program of studies.

Participation of Supervisor in Thesis/Dissertation Preparation

The supervisor is expected to provide frequent and prompt comments on drafts of thesis and dissertation chapters. Normal turn-around time should not exceed three to six weeks. While the supervisor should attempt to be critically constructive and encouraging, the thesis or dissertation must be the creation of the student.

Supervisory Committee

Depending on the program, the student’s supervisory committee is formed at the outset of a student’s program or when the student begins work on the thesis proposal (master’s students) or comprehensive exams (doctoral students). The supervisor and any co-supervisors are automatically members of this committee. Other committee members may be drawn from inside or outside the program in which the student is registered. Graduate Program Coordinators in IGS programs should note specific IGS supervisory committee requirements. The supervisory committee is responsible for the intensive mentoring, supervisory and examination work on the student’s thesis proposal, comprehensive exams, dissertation prospectus, and dissertation.

Faculty members sit on supervisory committees to provide support and be available for consultation on student theses. Varying types of expertise can provide different perspectives on theses progress.

To fully benefit from a supervisory committee, a student should:

  • Ask the committee for advice and guidance on thesis or dissertation development and direction early in their program;
  • Be in regular contact with their committee as research progresses and the thesis or dissertation develops;
  • Ask for feedback on written materials from individual committee members;
  • Request their supervisor call a full committee meeting at various stages in the development process.

Master’s Students

The student’s supervisory committee guides the student in planning his/her research and in preparing the thesis. Committee composition must conform to the following the guidelines:

  • The committee must comprise at least three faculty members.
  • The committee may include faculty members from other graduate programs.
  • The committee may include qualified non-faculty members or faculty external to UBC upon approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
  • The majority of the committee must be faculty members on the UBC Okanagan campus.

Doctoral Students

The student’s supervisory committee guides the student in planning his/her research and in preparing the dissertation. Committee composition must conform to the following the guidelines:

  • The committee must comprise at least three faculty members.
  • The committee may include faculty members from other graduate programs.
  • The committee may include qualified non-faculty members or faculty external to UBC upon approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.
  • The majority of the committee must be faculty members on the UBC Okanagan campus.

IGS Supervisory Committees

IGS supervisory committees require:

  • at least three members. If a student has a supervisor and co-supervisor, only one additional supervisory committee member is required.
  • at least one member of the supervisory committee to be from an area outside of the supervisor’s discipline.
  • evidence of faculty experience and expertise to support the academic plan of study.

Participation of Supervisory Committee Members in Thesis or Dissertation Preparation

Supervisory committee members are expected to provide prompt comments on drafts of the thesis or dissertation. Normal turn-around time should not exceed three to six weeks.

Changes in Committee Members

It may be necessary for a student to change committee members during the program. Reasons for committee member changes include, but are not limited to: change of research area; sabbatical; leave; retirement. If a change in committee members is required, the student should complete and submit the Change of Student Supervisor Committee Member.

Graduate Program Coordinators

Graduate Program Coordinators assist students (and their supervisors) who are pursuing graduate degrees in their departments, or programs through each stage of the graduate education process (application, progression and completion). Graduate Program Coordinators fulfill the key administrative duties pertaining to graduate studies in a department or program. Departments create their own Graduate Program Coordinator position description and graduate committee terms of reference, including committee membership guidelines.

Communications

The Graduate Program Coordinator compiles and coordinates information concerning deadlines, procedures, and other matters of programmatic interest, and communicates these regularly to graduate students and faculty members. S/he ensures that faculty who are supervising or teaching graduate students are aware of, and adhere to, applicable policies and procedures.

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Program Coordinator to survey the Department Head or Program Director and program colleagues about key Graduate Council and/or Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Committee discussion issues prior to meetings, and then to communicate new College of Graduate Studies policy and procedural decisions, as well as information about workshops and other upcoming events, back to their Department Head or Program Director and colleagues.

Student Advising

The Graduate Program Coordinator answers current student and supervisor inquiries. This activity occurs throughout the year and concerns graduate courses, scholarships, proposals, PhD candidacy and other degree progression matters. Such questions may need to be forwarded to the College of Graduate Studies office for response and the Graduate Program Coordinator him/herself may need to contact the College of Graduate Studies for clarification of its policies. Graduate Program Coordinators are encouraged, however, to first consult the College of Graduate Studies website.

Submission of Forms

Graduate Program Coordinators and Supervisors should keep a copy of all paperwork submitted to the College of Graduate Studies for department/program records.

Graduate Program Statistics

Graduate Program Coordinators should compile the following statistics concerning graduate students in their department/program:

Graduate Student Performance Statistics

The Graduate Program Coordinator should prepare a yearly graduate student performance report for the Faculty Dean and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, including awards received, conferences attended, publications, and student GPAs.

Graduate Student Program Statistics

The Graduate Program Coordinator should prepare a yearly report of graduate student graduation numbers, number of graduate courses and course enrolments and FTE equivalents for the Faculty Dean and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Student Employment

Working While Studying

Student service appointments are intended to help qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University.

Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities. Normally, only those students registered full-time in the College of Graduate Studies are eligible.

Appointments offered to students prior to their admission to the College are contingent upon admission.

Appointments: General

There are five categories under which graduate students may be appointed: Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) I and II, Marker, Graduate Research Assistant (GRA), and Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA).

Only registered full-time graduate students are eligible for GTA, GRA, and GAA appointments.

The hours of work for a GAA shall not exceed an average of 12 hours per week. Permission to exceed this limit may be granted by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies in special circumstances.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA)

Most faculties have a limited number of GTA positions available for registered full-time graduate students. Full GTA positions entail 12 hours of work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction. Many graduate programs offer partial GTA appointments with fewer than 12 hours of work per week.

Full details concerning GTA rates and employment guidelines are available in the full document, Collective Agreement between UBC and BCGEU.

Graduate Research Assistants (GRA)

Many faculty members offer Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) positions to full-time graduate students under their supervision. The duties may constitute part of the graduate degree requirements for the student. Funding for such positions comes from the research grants of the faculty member and are coordinated and administered at the program level.

Stipends for GRAs vary widely and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

The entire stipend of a GRA is considered a scholarship, the conditions of which may be specified by the granting agency. For tax purposes, the stipend is considered an award rather than payment for work. Appointments may be for any specified period satisfactory to the grantee, and conditions of appointment may be specified by the granting agency. A GRA appointment is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement.

Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a Graduate Research Assistantship is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The amount is determined by those who administer the funds, including grant holders and granting agencies.

Individual faculty members should ensure that payments from grants are consistent with the norms of their graduate program and discipline.

All letters to students offering funding through a graduate research assistantship should clearly state the period to which the offer applies. Students requiring Study Permits must have such letters in order to enter Canada. Such letters should indicate that the offer is subject to satisfactory academic progress and to demonstrated competence in duties and/or other procedures relevant to the student’s area of study.

Transfers from one degree program to another, or from one supervisor to another, may affect the remuneration or even retention of GRAs.

The continuation of a research assistantship is always contingent on the student maintaining satisfactory academic standing in his or her graduate program.

Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA)

The duties of a Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA) include all academic duties not conforming to those specified in the GRA role (for example, research not directly related to the research of the student performed for a faculty member).

The stipend for a GAA may not be considered a scholarship.

Teaching a Course for which a Board of Governors Appointment is required

The UBC Board of Governors has set up specific requirements for graduate students to teach a course requiring a Board of Governors Appointment:

  • A graduate student must have suitable academic credentials or experience to teach any course that he or she is assigned;
  • All teaching appointments of a graduate student require the Dean’s Approval for a Graduate Student to Teach;
  • A master’s student may not normally hold an appointment to teach a course unless the master’s degree program in which the student is enrolled is the highest level credential offered at the University in that field of study, or unless the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies determines that an exception may be made;
  • A doctoral student admitted to candidacy may be granted a part-time appointment as a sessional lecturer to teach up to nine credits of coursework per academic year, with no more than six credits of coursework per term;
  • In general, a doctoral student not yet admitted to candidacy may only be granted an appointment to teach courses in special circumstances. In those cases where a doctoral student holds suitable credentials independent of those being acquired through pursuit of their degree program, they may be appointed to teach up to six credits of coursework per term, up to a maximum of nine credits of coursework per academic year;
  • A graduate student may not hold an appointment to teach a graduate course. Exceptions may be granted at the discretion of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies when it is determined that:
    • allowing such an appointment is unlikely to give rise to any conflicts of interest;
    • the appointment meets all other requirements of Policy 75; and
    • the appointment is consistent with the purposes of Policy 75;
  • The graduate student must be making satisfactory progress in their degree program;
  • Teaching appointments will not normally be made if they will raise a student’s employment commitment 
to the University above the level of 12 hours per week averaged over the year;
  • Prior to accepting an appointment under Policy 75, graduate students are advised to ensure that the number of hours worked under such employment will not affect their eligibility to receive or maintain scholarships and fellowships, whether internally or externally funded.

Teaching While on Program Extension

Only under exceptional circumstances will a student on a first program extension (in the seventh year of their PhD program) be permitted to teach a course or courses for which a Board of Governors appointment is required.

A request for permission to teach must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies and must include an outline of the exceptional circumstances. A detailed timeline for degree completion, signed by both the student and their supervisor, must accompany the request.

Teaching responsibilities should not significantly impede a student’s progress towards degree completion.

Students on their second extensions (in the eighth year of their PhD program) are not permitted to teach a course for which a Board of Governors appointment is required.

These restrictions are intended to ensure that the student’s main occupation is finishing their doctoral degree and that the student’s best interests in this regard are protected. Granting a second or third extension because a student’s progress has been slowed by teaching responsibilities is undesirable and in some cases, in contravention of policy.

For full details, please read the complete policy document at Policy No. 75.

International Student Employment

If you are an international student and you want to work in Canada, you need to follow certain regulations and may require a work permit.

On-campus work

On-campus employment is defined as employment within the boundaries of the campus or in facilities owned, leased, or rented by UBC. Further information regarding on-campus work is available on the International Programs and Services website.

Off-campus work

Off-campus work allows eligible international students to work off-campus while completing their studies at UBC. Further information on off-campus work is available on the International Programs and Services website.

Co-op placement or internships

Co-op work permits allow international students to work when the work is for credit and is integral to your program of study. Further information is available on the International Programs and Services website.

Work for spouse or common-law partners

If you are an international student studying full-time with a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit. For further information, visit the International Programs and Services website.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your legal status or ability to

work/study in Canada, please visit International Program and Services.

Course Scheduling

Regularly Scheduled Courses

Each department or graduate program has specific processes for scheduling graduate courses. The College of Graduate Studies does not normally play a role in these processes if the courses have previously been approved by Senate. Details for these processes are available through the relevant graduate program or department.

The College of Graduate Studies is responsible for approving and scheduling IGS courses only.

New Graduate Courses

New graduate courses must successfully move through the Senate curriculum approval process before they can be submitted for scheduling. That process is illustrated in the chart below.

Directed Studies Courses

For Directed Studies courses, after they have obtained permission from their supervisor to take the course, graduate students approach a faculty member with a request for such a course. If the faculty member agrees, a course outline is developed and submitted, along with a Directed Studies Course Scheduling form, to the Graduate Program Coordinator for approval. Such a course must typically be approved by a graduate committee in the department or program before the Graduate Program Coordinator submits it for scheduling. Such courses must normally be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator at least eight weeks before the course begins.

Graduate Versions of Undergraduate Courses

For graduate courses cross-listed with undergraduate courses, the course outline must clearly indicate the graduate-level course requirements, which must be above what is required of undergraduate students.

IGS Courses

IGS Courses are scheduled through the College of Graduate Studies. For all IGS courses, the IGS Course Scheduling Request Form must be completed and accompanied by the graduate-level course outline and corresponding undergraduate course outline (if cross-listed with an undergraduate course). New faculty members proposing such courses must submit a CV with the course scheduling request. All documentation should be submitted to The College of Graduate Studies at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the session.