Incoming Students

(This page was last updated June 27, 2018.)

Spring/Summer before your program starts

Respond via email to your RES offer of admission letter before/by the deadline indicated in our letter whether:

  • You will be accepting our offer.
  • You need additional time to consider our offer. If so, please indicate a specific date by which we will receive your response.
  • You choose not to accept our offer. If this is the case, we would appreciate a brief note to tell us why you are declining.

Your RES offer of admission letter may include an offer of specific funding, or it may indicate that you should follow up with your research supervisor(s) to discuss the details of any funding that may be available to you.

It is important that you confirm in writing that you accept your funding offer. If you need to follow up with your research supervisor(s) to confirm what funding is available to you first, you should confirm a clear amount of funding and the time frame in which you will receive it.

How you will receive your funding depends on its source.

If you are receiving an External award (ex: SSHRC, NSERC) or UBC Award (ex: 4YF, GSI):

  • This funding will be assigned by UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) directly to your UBC student service centre (SSC) account. The funding is usually assigned sometime in late August or early September. You must login to your SSC account and accept the award before your funding will begin.
  • Awards valued less than $1000 will be paid out entirely in September; Awards valued between $1000-$5999 will be split and paid out evenly in September and January; Awards valued at $6000 or more will be divided and paid out in three equal installments in September, January and May.
  • These awards will first pay any outstanding amounts due in your SSC account and the remaining amount will be refunded to you via Direct Deposit.
    • It is important to ensure your Direct Deposit details are set up with G+PS ahead of your program start.
    • SSC Direct Deposit

If you are receiving funding via a Faculty Grant (ex: GRA, GAA):

You will not be granted full admission by UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) to the RES program until you have cleared all listed conditions on your admission. Your conditions for admission will be detailed in your online application to the RES program. Make sure you follow those instructions carefully and check your online application account regularly until all conditions are cleared.

Admission offers will not be finalized and applicants will not be allowed to register in RES courses until one set of all required official academic records are received and validated by G+PS. To be considered official, academic records must either be received in official university envelopes, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or be sent via secure electronic delivery by the issuing institution.

UBC G+PS International Transcript, Degree Certificates and Translations

UBC G+PS Canadian Transcripts

The UBC Student Housing application process is entirely separate from the admissions process and it is very important to apply as early as possible if you plan to live on campus. UBC Green College and UBC St. John's College are two graduate student residences where a number of RES students have lived.

If you plan to live off-campus, information on areas of Vancouver can be found here. Other housing options can be found here and here.

As an RES graduate student, it is your responsibility to be aware of - and meet! - all your program course requirements. Be sure to review the required courses for your program (Master’s/PhD) and confirm your course selection with your supervisor to ensure that you have registered for the correct and most appropriate courses.

UBC Course Registration for September opens for registration each year in early/mid June.


Graduate student tuition and fee payments are due at the start of each of the three academic terms: September, January and May. The UBC Calendar contains the official International and Domestic tuition assessment for full–time Master’s and Doctoral students. Your tuition and fee amounts are paid via your SSC account.

All International RES graduate students are automatically awarded the UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) International Tuition Award (ITA), which reduces your total annual International tuition amount by $3200. The ITA is split evenly over the three terms (i.e. $1066.66/term) and is put against your tuition amount. It is important you check your SSC account to confirm the ITA has been assigned to you for each term.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you do you not have any amounts owing in your SSC account for the duration of your program. A good tip is to check your SSC financial details at least twice per term – at the start and end of every term.

Student Fees

There are many different UBC Student fees, some of which you may be eligible to opt-out of. Carefully review the details of your student fees and the opt-out provisions.

There are several major awards competitions held in the beginning of the fall term, such as the NSERC, SSHRC, Vanier and Trudeau. Competition for these awards is very strong, and preparing a successful application can take several weeks. You should discuss what awards you are eligible to apply for with your supervisor(s) in the Spring or early Summer before your program start. If you plan to apply for any awards, you will want to contact potential referees and begin working on your application as early as July before your program starts in September. All RES students are encouraged to apply for all awards they are eligible for!

Learn more about these individual awards on our Awards page.

It is important to keep your most current mailing address, email address and phone number updated on your UBC Student Service Centre (SSC) account. Your password for this site is initially set to your date of birth in YYMMDD order, with six digits only. Please change this to maintain security of your records.

Medical Services Plan (MSP)

If you are moving to BC, you must apply for the Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage as soon as you arrive. There will be a statutory waiting period consisting of the remainder of the month of arrival plus two months.

Carefully review the information on UBC Student Health Insurance.

  • Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents from other provinces should make arrangements with former medical plans to ensure continued coverage.
  • International students will be automatically enrolled in iMED, a basic insurance plan that covers the remainder of the month of arrival plus two months. Please carefully review the Medical Services Plan (MSP) for  International Students.

AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan

All UBC Graduate students are automatically enrolled in the AMS/GSS Health and Dental Plan when they register for courses, however you may opt-out of this plan if you have appropriate coverage from another source.

The Graduate Student Society (GSS) and the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) hold orientations for graduate students in late August and early January of each year.

The RES Student Society works to pair you with a current student mentor who will help guide you through your entrance into the program, introduce you to the great people here and answer any questions you might have about the student experience. While your mentor should contact you during late summer, you are always welcome to get in touch with the IRES Graduate Program Manager with your questions as well.

Once School Begins in September

You can obtain your UBC student card  online or from the carding office located within the UBC Bookstore. To get the card, you need to know your CWL login information (if applying online), your UBC student number and present one piece of government-issued photo identification such as a driver's license, provincial/state identification or passport obtained within the last five years. Photocopies of official documents are not accepted. To be eligible for a UBC card, you must also be registered in courses at UBC.

U-Pass BC provides unlimited bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and Canada Line transit services within Metro Vancouver, as well as discounts on West Coast Express.  All eligible students at UBC’s Vancouver campus have access to the U-Pass BC program.

You can load your U-Pass BC onto an adult-class Compass Card, which are available from any SkyTrain Station and TransLink Fare Dealers including the UBC Bookstore.  The U-Pass BC program currently costs $39.50 per month and is assessed as part of your UBC student fees.

Under specific conditions, you may be eligible to opt-out of the U-Pass BC program.

You will be assigned a student mailbox in the IRES department. It will be located in the student area near the West (Main) photocopier. Any mail arriving for you will be put there, so keep an eye on your mailbox!

We host a mandatory IRES orientation and welcome-back event during the first week of classes in early September called the Annual Celebration. This is an excellent opportunity for you to meet the faculty and staff at IRES, as well as your RES student society members and new colleagues. This event is announced in the summer of each year.

Student Desks

As a new RES student, you have the opportunity to use a desk space on the 4th floor of the AERL building (2202 Main Mall).  Your UBC Card will be be activated to provide you access to our building and our floor. We will provide you with a key to your desk cabinet and we will order you a key to access the graduate student desk area, which you pick up at the UBC Bookstore.  Please refer to the RES Student Desk Policy for more information about how student desk spaces are assigned.

IRES profile

Email with your headshot, a 200-word bio written in the THIRD person, and links to any social media so you can be listed as a Master's or PhD student on our website.

IRES Printers

Your IRES printing/photocopying/scanning access code is assigned to you by the RES Program Support staff member, who is also your first contact for IT related questions. The RES Program Support staff member will email you instructions to follow for setting up printing access on your laptop.

The Grad Guide for new graduate students from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website is a useful resource to check out.

The International Student Guide is a useful resource for international students.

Lastly, when it doubt, first Google your question! This is not a joke; most program information is online. Doing some initial research into your program question will help reduce workloads and help you become a more informed and empowered graduate student.