FAQs for Current Students


Directed Studies courses are designed by a student and instructor faculty member to meet the needs of a student in an area that is not addressed in the current curriculum. The Directed Studies courses are given the course code RES 500B, are 3 credits/1 term in length, and can be taken in any term. Most often a student initiates the request to take a Directed Studies course with their supervisor. If you would like to have another faculty member to be your Directed Studies instructor, you must first obtain confirmation from your supervisor. Students interested in taking a Directed Studies course must complete the RES Directed Studies Form and submit it to the IRES Graduate Program Manager prior to starting the course.

Yes. Master's students may take courses through the Western Deans Agreement (WDA) and transfer those credits to their RES program. Courses taken by doctoral (PhD) students under the WDA will not be credited to their degree program. For Master's students, it is important to confirm with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) prior to starting any course the maximum number of transfer credits allowed.

It is also possible for masters and doctoral students to take courses through the Graduate Exchange Agreement.

For both Master's and doctoral students, you will need the approval of your Supervisor and the RES Graduate Advisor before being able to register in any Agreement and take courses elsewhere, and all Agreements require approval to take the course well in advance of the course start date.

Absolutely. As we are an interdisciplinary program, we encourage all students to look at courses in other departments which may be pertinent to their program of study. Ask your Supervisor or fellow students for suggestions on this, or see the list of popular non-RES courses.

Yes, you may take undergraduate courses as long as you still meet your RES Program Requirements. For the RES Master's program, only 3 credits can be taken in undergraduate courses numbered 300-499. Any undergraduate courses numbered below 300 will not count towards your minimum credit requirements for your program. You are welcome to take undergraduate courses in addition to your minimum course requirements, however it is best to discuss taking any undergraduate course with your supervisor(s) prior to registering.

Yes, however it is important you discuss this option with your supervisor(s) first. You can Audit courses by providing a completed Change of Registration Form to UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS), which will need to include both the course instructor's signature and the RES Graduate Advisor's signature. Audited courses cannot be used towards degree requirements, nor can courses that have been Audited be subsequently taken for credit. The Audit option is appropriate for situations where a student would like to become more knowledgeable about a particular topic but does not wish to (or is unable able to) complete the course for credit.

RES doctoral students who have completed an RMES/RES Masters degree must complete the credit equivalencies of the RES doctoral (PhD) course requirements (i.e., six course credits at the graduate level). Course selection will typically emphasize methods, and may also include enrolling in an RES 502-like course if the RES doctoral student's research areas are significantly different from their RMES/RES Masters research areas. Courses must be selected in consultation with the RES doctoral student's supervisor, and should also be reviewed by the RES Graduate Advisor.



Typically, yes. Your supervisor was carefully matched to you and the Supervisor-Student relationship is a fundamental part of your program, so changing supervisors mid-program can presents significant challenges.  Learn more about the Supervisor-Student relationship.

It is possible that you may have been assigned co-supervisors when you entered the RES program, and it is possible to add a co-supervisor during the earlier stages of your program. If you are interested in having a co-supervisor, please discuss this with your current supervisor.

It is important to try to maintain a positive and constructive relationship with your supervisor. Both student and supervisor have responsibilities to the other to ensure a smooth student-supervisor relationship. It is important to be have clear and regular communication with your supervisor from the start of your program.

However, if, for example,  you are having trouble communicating with your supervisor or having trouble meeting with your supervisor, please first let your supervisor know how you are feeling about the situation and provide constructive solutions to try to resolve the issue. If that does not work, please come speak to the IRES Graduate Program Manager or the RES Graduate Advisor.


Financial & Funding

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be guaranteed a minimum funding package of $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. This guaranteed minimum doctoral funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work (TA), Research assistant (RA), and Graduate Academic Assistant (GAA).

Additional funding opportunities for PhD applicants may come from UBC’s Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF): an $18,200 stipend plus full tuition coverage per year, for four consecutive years.

RES students have also been highly successful in receiving support from the most prestigious funding agencies. Many of our students are Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) or Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)  recipients, and in recent years we have seen our students receive both Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship, the most highly-regarded scholarships in Canada. You can review a detailed list of the most commonly applied to scholarships on our website.

In addition to external scholarships and funding options noted above, RES typically distributes one-time entrance awards to the majority of incoming students. The amount of these awards varies year to year, however over the last three years the awards have been in the range of $3000-$5000.

It is important for applicants to the RES program to confirm the details of any funding package that may be available to them prior to accepting an offer of admission to the program.

To see a detailed list of scholarships available to students in our program, click here.

Lastly, Canadians and Permanent Residents are eligible for government student loans and UBC bursaries. To learn more about these resources, click here.

No. There is no guarantee of funding for Master’s students in RES. That being said, many of our master’s students receive funding during their program and/or receive scholarships or awards.

RES typically distributes one-time entrance awards to the majority of incoming students. The amount of these awards varies year to year, however over the last three years the awards have been in the range of $3000-$5000. This amount is in addition to any funding you may receive from a faculty grant, external scholarship or award.

Funding for Master’s students can come in the form of a Research Assistant (RA) position with a faculty member, a Teaching Assistant (TA) position as well as from various scholarships and awards.

However, as there is no guarantee of funding for your program, it is important to have a discussion with a potential supervisor about what funding might be available to you prior to accepting any offer of admission to the program.

Lastly, Canadians and Permanent Residents are eligible for government student loans and UBC bursaries. To learn more about these resources, click here.

Not necessarily. Doctoral (PhD) students often have their tuition covered by their funding guarantee, however there is no guarantee of funding or tuition coverage for Master’s students.

It is therefore important to discuss funding with a potential supervisor prior to accepting any offer of admission to the RES program.

For information UBC Graduate Tuition and Fees, please see the Tuition & Fees tab on our website.

As we are a graduate program with no undergraduate courses in our department, we are not able to offer Teaching Assistant (TA) positions directly. However, some of our students have found TA positions in other departments such as Land and Food Systems, Geography and via the Environmental Sciences (ENVR) program.

Please visit our Awards, Funding and Fellowship opportunities page found here.

UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) also has a database of their awards opportunities, which is found here.

It is also recommended you look for funding opportunities from your home country, your previous work affiliations and/or from organizations related to your field of study.

There are two main routes you could receive funding during your RES degree:

  • Payments via your UBC Student Service Centre (SSC) account
    • University or external awards
    • Tuition coverage
  • Payments via UBC Payroll
    • TA and RA positions
    • Stipends from faculty grants.

Your SSC account and UBC payroll are separate entities and you may have to correspond with both during your time in RES. Both the SSC and UBC Payroll require separate direct deposit accounts to be set up to receive funding.

SSC Direct Deposit

UBC Payroll Direct Deposit

Yes. Both the UBC Student Service Centre (SSC) and UBC payroll require that direct deposit be set up so you can receive electronic payments. As the SSC and UBC payroll are separate entities, you will need to complete separate Direct Deposit information for each:

For SSC Direct Deposit

For UBC Payroll Direct Deposit

We do not have tax expertise and cannot advise you on tax issues. However, below are some links that should help you determine your specific tax requirements.

UBC Tax Forms

Filing taxes for international Students

UBC Tax Assistant Clinic for Students


Leave of Absence (LOA)

First, you should read the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) policy on Leaves of Absence.  Once you have informed yourself of your LOA options and your responsibilities while on LOA, you should then discuss this option with your supervisor(s). If your supervisor supports your request for an LOA, you may fill out the G+PS LOA form and bring that to the IRES Graduate Program Manager.

A leave of absence will normally begin on the first day of September, January, or May. Leaves of absence will be granted for periods of four, eight, or twelve months. The total duration of all leaves of absence granted in a graduate program is normally limited to 24 months for a doctoral student and to 12 months for a master's student.

While on a leave of absence, graduate students must pay an on-leave fee.

While on a leave of absence, graduate students are expected to not undertake any academic or research work related to the program for which they have taken a leave of absence. Access to the University's facilities and resources, including faculty supervision, while on a leave of absence may be limited. Consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for current information in that regard.

Graduate students must inform their program of their intent to return from a leave of absence prior to recommencing their studies.

Time spent on leave of absence is not counted as part of the allowed time to complete a degree.

No, however you will be responsible for paying the On-leave fee which is charged for each On-leave term you take. The On-Leave fee is paid via your UBC Student Services Center (SSC) Account.

While on a leave of absence, UBC graduate students are expected to not undertake any academic or research work related to the program for which they have taken a leave of absence. A list of the various resources and their availability can be found here.

A graduate student granted a leave of absence retains the full value of any fellowship or other award for which the terms and conditions are established by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS); award payments will be suspended at the onset of the Leave of Absence and will resume at the termination of the leave period, provided that the student returns to full-time study at that time.

Awards for which the terms and conditions are not established by the G+PS will be paid according to the terms and conditions established by the donor or granting agency.

For more information on this, please see the UBC Calendar Leave of Absence Policy


Yes! There are several important steps you need to take in order to Graduate from UBC.

You may have your degree awarded in either May or November. Once the degree has been awarded by UBC Senate, a notation will appear on the transcript. Formal conferral at Congregation ceremonies and official degree parchments will remain available in May and November only.

For more information, please see Applying to Graduate.

Students will have their tuition fees prorated to the end of the month in which the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) confirms that all degree requirements have been completed. This includes the submission of their dissertation to G+PS. Student fees are not prorated. Please review the Program Completion information to find out how to request your tuition refund.

Additional Questions

Under very exceptional circumstances, an RES Master's students may be considered to 'Fast-Track' to the doctoral (PhD) program at the end of their first year of master's studies. Fast-Tracking is a departmental decision and several G+PS Fast-Tracking requirements must be met in order for this to be considered.

Professors wishing to endorse a candidate for fast-tracking ought to speak to five criteria: (1) completion of required Master's coursework with first class (80%) average; (2) excellent academic standing; (3) funding in place to complete a doctoral program; (4) demonstrated exceptional ability to propose and execute an academic research project in timely fashion; and (5) strong support from at least one other committee member.

If a student transfers from a master's program to a doctoral program without completing the master's program, the start of the doctoral program will be the date of first registration in the master's program. This can have negative implications in terms of being eligible to apply for doctoral funding competitions, so it is very important that a clear doctoral funding plan be in place for any student considering this option.


Other Resources