This section contains general information. Specific details may vary depending on your personal situation, for example if you are an international student. The Grad Guide also has information about awards, scholarships and financial aid.
Research Supervisors in the CELL Program must commit to supporting you financially during the course of your training. The minimum level of financial support is $30,000 per year (starting January 2023), for a minimum of 2 years (M.Sc. students) or 4 years (Ph.D. students). As a general rule, financial support continues to the completion of your degree, so long as performance is satisfactory and you remain in good academic standing. Students are expected to pay tuition from their stipend.
Financial support is in the form of a minimum funding package which can be made up from several sources – usually a combination of a Scholarship/Award, a Teaching Assistantship (from teaching duties as a graduate student, to a maximum of two 0.5 TAships per year) and a Research Assistantship (paid from a Supervisor’s research funds). There are no citizenship requirements for Teaching or Research Assistantships.
Scholarships and Awards. Students in the CELL Program are required to apply for as many scholarships and/or awards for which (s)he is eligible. Students who receive a scholarship equal to or more than $8,000 per year receive a minimum top-up of $3,000 per year above the minimum funding level for the duration of their scholarship/award (i.e. these students will receive a minimum funding package of $33,000 per year). Students who receive a scholarship equal to or more than $16,000 per year receive a minimum top-up of $6,000 per year above the minimum funding level for the duration of their scholarship/award (i.e. these students will receive a minimum funding package of $36,000 per year). In the case of students receiving scholarships/awards totaling $35,000 per year or greater, any top-up is at the discretion of the Research Supervisor. When a major award ends, continuation of the top-up is at the Research Supervisor’s discretion.
Scholarships and Awards are available from external agencies as well as the University and the CELL Program itself. A complete list of awards for graduate students is available on the G+PS website. The CELL Program Coordinator sends updates and reminders about award opportunities to current students via the CELL Program email list. See the G+PS website for FAQs about the administration of graduate awards.
These include Scholarships and Fellowships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). CIHR and NSERC awards are very competitive, open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, and may be applied for in the early fall in the year preceding entry into the Program. A number of not-for-profit foundations and societies, e.g. the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, also offer Fellowships to graduate students.
Internal awards and scholarships are usually awarded on a competitive basis and many are open to international as well as domestic students. Some examples are provided below. Please see the G+PS website for additional information.
UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowships (4YF). Very competitive. May be held by domestic or international students in the Ph.D. program. Provides financial support of at least $18,200 per year plus full tuition for up to four years. Students holding CIHR or NSERC Doctoral Scholarships automatically become 4YF designates and may be eligible for tuition coverage.
The 4YF competition is held in June/July. The CELL Program Coordinator will inform you if you are eligible to apply. Students in the Ph.D. program at the time of application must have a first class average in the last 2 full-time years of study and are eligible to apply only if entering the 2nd or 3rd year of their doctoral program (i.e. applicants must have completed a minimum of 12 months and no more than 36 months in the CELL Program when the award starts). Students in the M.Sc. program who will be transferring to the Ph.D. program may also apply as long as they have a first class average in the last 2 full-time years of study AND will have transferred to the Ph.D. program by the time the award starts.
UBC Affiliated Fellowships. Awarded on the basis of merit. Open to domestic and international M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. M.Sc. students can hold a fellowship in the first 24 months of their M.Sc. studies and Ph.D. students can hold a fellowship during the first 48 months of their Ph.D. studies. If a student enters the Ph.D. Program directly from a Bachelor’s, (s)he can hold a fellowship during the first 60 months of Ph.D. study.
UBC International Tuition Award. All full-time international students (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) receive the International Tuition Award, unless they are a recipient of external scholarship(s) or external funding that pays their tuition. This award significantly lowers (by ~40%) the amount of tuition paid by international students for the entire period of their degree. Students do not need to apply – eligible international students will receive an email advising them that they are being offered the award and that they need to accept it so that it can be applied towards their tuition.
UBC Graduate Student Travel Award. Graduate students are eligible to apply for a Graduate Student Travel Award once per degree program. This award provides one-time travel support to a maximum of $500 per graduate student who presents a paper or poster at an official conference or symposium.
Faculty of Medicine Awards
The Faculty of Medicine offers a limited number of competitive awards open to graduate students. Further details can be found here.
CELL Program Awards
Graduate Entrance Awards. These one-time awards of $500~$1000, when funds are available, are offered to new incoming M.Sc. and Ph.D. students and are not considered part of a student’s funding package. Students do not need to apply – they are awarded automatically.
One Year Fellowships (1YF). Every year, the CELL Program awards a number of 1YFs valued from $8,000-$16,000. The competition, held in June/July, is open to domestic and international M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. The Program Coordinator will inform you if you are eligible to apply. The eligibility criteria are:
M.Sc. & Ph.D. students: First class average in the last 2 full-time years of study and
M.Sc. students: Applicants must have completed a minimum of 12 months in the CELL Program when the award starts.
Ph.D. students: Eligible to apply only if entering 2nd or 3rd year in the CELL Program immediately after the competition in June/July. Applicants must have completed a minimum of 12 months in the CELL Program when the award starts.
A student can receive a maximum of two 1YFs during the entire course of his/her degree.
Teaching Assistantships. Students may be able to act as a paid Teaching Assistant in one or more undergraduate and/or graduate courses offered by a variety of Departments at UBC. The decision to apply for a TA position should be discussed with, and approved by, your Research Supervisor. Students in the CELL Program can hold a maximum of two 0.5 TAships per year. The CELL Program encourages Research Supervisors to allow students to receive their Teaching Assistantship stipend in addition to their regular stipend.
Graduate Research Assistantships. Students not fully supported by scholarships, awards and/or Teaching Assistantships are supported financially, subject to maintaining satisfactory academic standing and/or progress in research, by a Graduate Research Assistantship. As noted above, Graduate Research Assistantships are paid from research grants typically held by your Research Supervisor. Additional information regarding GRAs can be found here.
Tuition and other fees
Tuition. Unless they hold a UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowships (4YF), students in the CELL Program are responsible for paying their tuition fees from their stipend.
Tuition fees vary according to whether you are a domestic or an international student. For M.Sc. and Ph.D. students starting in the CELL Program, 2018/19 tuition fees are $4,995.78 per year (domestic students) and $8,776.74 per year (international students). Eligible international students receive the International Tuition Award which significantly lowers tuition by up to $3,200 per year.
Full details of tuition fees for M.Sc. students in the CELL Program can be found here. Full details of tuition fees for Ph.D. students in the CELL Program can be found here. For domestic students ONLY, tuition fees change according to the number of months in the degree program.
Student fees. Currently ~$930 per year. These mandatory fees help to cover the costs of resources available to students and also provide some important benefits, including the U-Pass. In addition, anyone living in BC for six months or longer (including international students) is required by law to enroll in the Provincial health insurance plan (MSP) and pay the plan’s premiums. Further details can be found here.
Other student fees that may apply to graduate students include:
Extended Heath Care (the AMS/GSS Extended Health Care Insurance Plan) which provides coverage for expenses not covered by the Provincial basic health insurance plan (MSP), including most prescription drugs, travel health insurance, vision and dental care, etc. 2018-19 rate: $244.69/year. Students with equivalent personal insurance can opt-out if they wish. Partial or full reimbursement of the Health & Dental Plan fee is available on a need basis from the AMS and GSS through the AMS/GSS Health Plan Premium Assistance Fund. Returning students as well as students who began their academic year in September and who have not opted out of the AMS/GSS Extended Health & Dental Plan may apply for the bursary before the application deadline (typically mid-September). The application form is available at www.gss.ubc.ca/health/.
All new international students pay a one-time only i-Med fee, which provides basic health insurance for the 3 month waiting period between first arriving in Canada and the start of the Provincial basic health insurance coverage (MSP). It covers emergency hospitalization and medical services (including doctor’s visits) for unexpected sickness or injury. 2018 rate: $180. This fee is charged once when you first register.
More information about health insurance for graduate students can be found here.