Before Arrival

Graduate students are invited to an orientation meeting in late August or early September. This will give you a chance to meet some faculty members and other students, and to learn about the courses offered in the coming year.

Before orientation there are steps to take to ensure you are ready for life at UBC:

  • Study! All incoming PhD students are strongly encouraged to write the qualifying exam that takes place in early September (MSc students are exempt).
  • Obtain a study permit, if you are not a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
  • Apply for on-campus housing, or explore the alternatives. 
  • Get an account on the Student Service Centre (SSC), check fees and register for courses.
  • If you will be applying for an Affiliated Fellowship, bring one or two sealed reference letters from a professor at your University. The letters should not exceed one page, and should be written on official letterhead. Let your referee(s) know that the reference letter is for a University Graduate Fellowship competition.
    For this competition, The Faculty of Graduate Studies accepts certified copies of original, official transcripts for all university-level studies. For NSERC applications, transcripts must be original and official, received by the department in sealed envelopes from the issuing institution. We strongly encourage all students arriving from countries where it is difficult to obtain official transcripts to request multiple official, original transcripts from their home universities before coming to UBC. These documents can be kept in your departmental file for future use.

 Study Permit

All International Students must hold a valid Study Permit, issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). General information about Study Permits is supplied on the CIC website.

You can apply for a Study Permit from the nearest Consulate or Canadian Immigration Office, or at a port of entry or border crossing. A copy of your offer letter is needed for this application. Once you receive your Study Permit, you will be allowed to study at UBC on a temporary basis. If you are planning to leave Canada during your stay at UBC (for vacations, conferences, etc.), ensure that you notify Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) when you apply for the first time, to ensure that the appropriate visa is issued. Please note that not all persons are eligible for a multiple entry visa entry.

Please note that you are not allowed to begin working until the effective date of your study permit; for example, if you were hired effective July 1st, but your study permit is not effective until August 15th, your start date will be August 15th. If you are reappointed and need to renew your permit, you must apply to CIC's Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta. Once you receive your new study permit, please forward a copy of it to the Graduate Program Coordinator (EMAIL LINK).


On-campus Housing

UBC Housing offers a wide range of on-campus housing for both single students and families.
• Acadia Park Student Family Housing 
Fairview Crescent
Marine Drive
• Thunderbird Residence 
Green College 
St. John's College

See also UBC Housing Essential Application Facts.

Off-campus Housing

The Alma Mater Society (UBC's students union) maintains a list of off-campus housing on Rentsline. UBC campus is easy to access by transit, bike or car. 
For more information on housing or information about nearby neighbourhoods, visit UBC's Graduate School housing page.