Minimum Funding Policy for PhD Students

In June 2021, UBC Okanagan Senate passed the Minimum Funding Policy for PhD Students, which took effect in September 2021. The goal of the policy is to assist PhD students to be full-time scholars and to aid in graduate recruitment, by having a guaranteed minimum funding level.


The Faculty Handbook on the Minimum Funding Policy for PhD Students describes the Minimum Funding Policy and suggests best practices for faculty and graduate support staff in operationalizing this policy.


Policy Overview:

View the full policy in the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar. 
  • Effective September 2024, all full-time current and incoming UBC students (domestic and international) in PhD programs at UBC Okanagan will be provided with a minimum funding package of at least $24,000 per year for up to the first four years of a PhD.
  • In many cases, PhD students will receive more than the Minimum Funding Package (PhD students at UBC-O currently receive an average of $31,681 per year).
  • Graduate programs may set their own policies to require a funding level that is higher than the campus-wide minimum.
  • The Minimum Funding Policy will be reviewed annually by Graduate Council. Any annual increases will apply to both new and current eligible PhD students.


  • All full-time current and incoming UBC students (domestic and international) in PhD programs at UBC Okanagan are eligible for the minimum funding package.
  • Students with unsatisfactory progress become ineligible for award funding. Students will regain eligibility when improvement required or satisfactory status is reported in the required six month interim progress report or a subsequent annual progress report (see UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar for a definition of satisfactory progress).
  • Students transferring from a UBC master’s to a PhD program without completing the master’s will be eligible for the minimum funding package effective the date of transfer to the PhD program. Consistent with UBC academic policies, the start of the PhD program for these transfer students will be the date of first registration in the master’s program. Hence, a student who transfers to a PhD after one year of master’s study will be provided with a minimum funding package for the following three years.

Applicable Funding Sources:

  • The funding package may consist of any combination of external or internal scholarships, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or graduate academic assistantships
  • Part-time employment in the field of the student’s research may be considered part of the funding package, whether the work occurs on or off-campus.
    • Example: A PhD student continues part-time nursing practice to maintain professional skills and to understand current research needs in that setting.
  • Other stable sources of income may be considered. In such cases, if the student’s work and financial situation were to change, the department and supervisor will make their best effort to provide a minimum funding package, but this might not be possible as funding is planned well in advance.
  • The minimum funding package does not include the International Partial Tuition Award (IDPT).
  • For the purpose of this policy, internships will be considered similar to research assistantships, i.e. funds received from an internship position count toward the minimum funding package.
  • If a student declines a teaching assistantship the graduate program is not obligated to replace that funding in order to meet the minimum funding level.

Funding Process:

  • Students who do not receive the funding they anticipated under the Minimum Funding Policy should first discuss this with their supervisor.
  • If the issue is not resolved, they should then speak with their Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Program Coordinator may need to consult with the Department Head or Dean of their disciplinary faculty for a solution.
  • If no solution is found, the Graduate Program Coordinator, as well as the student, can consult with the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

About Minimum Funding Policies

A minimum funding guarantee helps to attract outstanding PhD students to UBC Okanagan, enhancing our research enterprise and educational goals.

Funding has a substantial impact on student satisfaction: PhD students with insufficient funding have longer completion times, greater likelihood of attrition, and lower satisfaction regarding their graduate student experience.

In the 2019 Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey, 43% of UBC Okanagan PhD students considered financial pressures to be a major obstacle to academic progress. Those who considered them a major obstacle rated their academic experience more poorly relative to those who did not consider them an obstacle.