Graduate students receive funding in a variety of ways. The Department's undergraduate teaching relies on the services of Graduate Teaching Assistants. Faculty members often employ graduate students as Research Assistants. In addition, some students may receive scholarships. Typically, graduate students who do well in their courses and in their research and are responsible and enthusiastic in their teaching can combine various sources of funding to increase the level of their financial support.
Students holding a teaching assistantship (TA) will typically conduct tutorial sessions or computer labs, hold office hours and grade homework and exams. Typically, more experienced graduate students hold positions with more responsibility and, occasionally, experienced graduate students teach courses. A full TA will work an average of 12 hours per week, with specific duties assigned by the course coordinator. TAs are obliged to demonstrate and maintain a satisfactory level of communication skills and teaching performance. TA duties provide a forum for ongoing development of communication and teaching skills, but presume the student has already achieved a reasonable level of proficiency. TA training is offered to new and interested continuing TAs at the beginning of each academic year.
During the academic year, some students receive some financial support as graduate Research Assistants. In the summer months, virtually all students are supported in the role. Research assistantships (RA's) are available from research grants and contracts held by individual faculty members. Typically, entering students do not receive an RA. However, there are ample RA opportunties once a student has demonstrated the necessary statistical, computational and communciation skills. Often RA work will evolve into a thesis or project, leading to publications. RA work is definitely not routine. It is challenging, involving the development of quite a few skills. Through the RA-ship, students learn to work independently. Thus, RA-ships are an integral part of the graduate program learning experience.
Recently, students have served as RA's on a variety of research projects. In addition to research supported by individual faculty research grants, students are working with Air Care (the province's automobile emission monitoring agency), with the Environmental Protection Agency on a joint project with Harvard University, with the BC Lung Association on a joint project with researchers in Medicine at UBC, and with the Multiple Sclerosis/MRI study conducted in Medicine at UBC.
Scholarship opportunities, including merit-based awards, need-based awards and financial aid, and external funding agency opportunities (including NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR and Science Council of BC) can be found at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Awards web site.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) awards each year, in open competition, a number of postgraduate scholarships to assist students in undertaking graduate study and research leading to advanced degrees. These scholarships are given on the basis of high scholastic achievement and evidence of capacity to do research. The scholarships are currently valued at $17,500 for twelve months for M.Sc. students and $21,000 to $35,000 for Ph.D. students. Applicants for NSERC award holders must be either Canadian citizens or landed immigrants (permanent residents). Application must be made through the university you are currently attending or last attended. You can find detailed information on Master's and Doctoral NSERC scholarships on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.
Four Year Fellowship (4YF)
In addition to the NSERC scholarships, there are a limited number of Four Year Fellowships (4YFs) awarded within the university to PhD students. Recipients are chosen by the Faculty of Graduate Studies from lists of nominees provided by individual departments. In the Department of Statistics, nominees are generally chosen from among newly admitted PhD students. All PhD students entering our program are considered for this award, so there is no need to apply. Both domestic and International students are eligible for this award. However, domestic students who are awarded a 4YF are required to apply to the NSERC competition during their first two years. The Fellowship is a four-year award worth $18,200 per year plus tuition, with no duties required of the recipient. The Department usually supplements these awards with the offer of a partial Teaching or Research Assistantship.
For the most up-to-date information on tuition fees for graduate programs, please consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Tuition is paid in three installments throughout the year. These figures do not include applicable student fees, housing or other expenses.
Eligible international students receive the International Partial Tuition Scholarship (IPTS), which brings the cost of tuition down to the same level as domestic students. Essentially, international students at UBC do not pay higher tuition costs than domestic students do!
PhD students may be eligible for tuition scholarship from the Faculty of Science, which covers all tuition costs, but does not cover the cost of fees.
For comprehensive information regarding fees, tuition and living costs in Vancouver, please refer to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies webpage.