Financial Support/Tuition/Fees

This section contains general information. Specific details may vary depending on your personal situation, for example if you are an international student.

Financial Support

As a condition of acceptance of a student into the CELL Program, Research Supervisors must commit to supporting you financially during the course of your training. The minimum level of financial support is $30,000 (starting January 2023) per year, for a minimum of 2 years (for a student registered in the M.Sc. program) or 4 years (for a student registered in the Ph.D. program). As a general rule, financial support continues to the completion of the degree, so long as performance is satisfactory and you remain in good academic standing.

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) 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).

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.

External 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 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.

Prospective international students should investigate through their current university their eligibility for sources of government support for study at UBC. UBC also has special agreements with several countries to host graduate students who have financial support from their home governments; these include China (China Scholarship Council) and Mexico (CONACYT Scholarships).

      University Awards

A number of internal awards and scholarships are available to graduate students. These 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 to Ph.D. students 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.

University Doctoral Fellowships. This program supports top international students who are starting UBC-Vancouver doctoral programs. Each fellowship provides funding for a total of five years: a $30,000 stipend plus tuition for four years and a minimum $18,000 funding package (from the recipient’s supervisor/department/Faculty, comprising awards, teaching assistantships and/or research assistantships) for the fifth year. Approximately 35 new fellowships are awarded each year. Details are available here.

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 automatically receive the award.

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.

      CELL Program Awards

Graduate Entrance Awards. These one-time awards of ~$1000 are offered to new incoming M.Sc. and Ph.D. students only and are not considered part of a student’s funding package. Students do not need to apply – they are awarded based on the information supplied in your application for admission to the Program.

One Year Fellowships (1YF). Every year, the CELL Program awards a number of 1YFs valued from $8,000-$16,000. The competition is open to eligible domestic and international M.Sc. and Ph.D. students. Specific eligibility criteria can be found here.

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. 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.

Tuition and other fees

Tuition. Tuition at UBC is one of the lowest in Canada and is lower than most international universities. Unless they hold a UBC Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) or a University Doctoral Fellowship, 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 in the CELL Program, 2016/17 tuition fees are $4,707.66 per year (domestic students) and $8,270.55 per year (international students). As noted above, eligible international students receive the International Tuition Award which significantly lowers tuition by up to $3,200 per year. Please see FAQs for additional information.

Other fees. All UBC students are assessed fees. Detailed information about fees for graduate students at UBC can be found on the G+PS website.

In brief, fees for students in the CELL Program are ~$850 per year. These mandatory fees not only help to cover the costs of resources available to students but also provide some important benefits. In addition, anyone living in BC for six months or longer (including international students) must enroll in the Provincial health insurance plan (MSP) and pay the plan’s premiums. Please see FAQs for additional information about other fees that may apply to graduate students at UBC.