Minimum Funding Policy for Phd Students

In June 2021, UBC Okanagan Senate passed the Minimum Funding Policy for PhD Students. 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 approved by UBC Okanagan Senate in 2021 and suggests best practices for faculty and graduate support staff in operationalizing this policy.

view the handbook

Policy Roll-Out

September 2021 launch

Effective September 2021, all eligible full-time current or incoming UBC students (domestic and international) in PhD programs of the Okanagan campus will be provided with a minimum funding package equal to $20,000 for each of the first four years of a PhD as of September 2021.

Graduate programs may set their own policies to require a funding level that is higher than the campus-wide minimum. This funding can be used to pay for university-related expenses (e.g., tuition, books) as well as general living expenses. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, or graduate academic assistantships. If a student receives additional funding (e.g., a scholarship) or other income that elevates their package above the minimum funding package, their support from on-campus funding sources may be reduced.

Enhancements in September 2023

Effective September 2023, the value of the minimum funding package will increase to$22,000 per year. After 2023 the Minimum Funding Policy will be reviewed annually. Any annual increases will apply to both new and current eligible doctoral students.

Policy Details:

View the full policy in the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar. 
  • 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 (e.g., 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 taken into account. 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.

  • For 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.

  • The minimum funding package is inclusive of vacation pay and benefits, as well as external awards or sponsorships, if applicable. It does not include the International Partial Tuition Award (IDPT). Students must apply for scholarships as required by their graduate program to continue to qualify for the minimum funding package. Students will be required to disclose their sources of university or scholarship funding, as well as other income sources, to their graduate program and must inform their program immediately of new funding sources.

  • Selection, scheduling and payment of teaching assistantships must adhere to the Letter of Understanding with BCEGU.

  • The minimum funding package does not apply to students enrolled part-time. The minimum funding package is contingent on satisfactory academic progress (see UBC Okanagan calendar for a definition of satisfactory progress).

  • When the student completes their program (or withdraws without completing) while receiving financial support through the Minimum Funding Package, this support may be subject to repayment or pro-rating for the remainder of the term.

  • 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.

  • In some cases, a program may choose to only accept a student if they are successful in a particular scholarship competition. In this case, the department can inform the student about the conditional acceptance, but state that a formal offer of admission will not be made until the condition has been removed.

  • In rare cases, a student may switch from one UBC supervisor and/or UBC graduate program to another UBC supervisor and/or UBC graduate program. The new supervisor and graduate program will be responsible for ensuring that the student continues to be provided with a minimum funding package.

  • This Minimum Funding Policy requires that graduate programs only admit doctoral students that the graduate program and supervisors have the means to support, considering factors such as support from supervisor’s grants, internal and external scholarships, availability of research and teaching assistantships, and financial commitments to existing students. However, it is recognized that unexpected situations can occur. We encourage departments and Faculties to develop their own methods of dealing with emergency funding. It is expected that the Graduate Program Coordinator will consult with the Department Head and/or Faculty Dean.

  • 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 CoGS.

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.