Funding

Vancouver consistently ranks as one of the world's most livable cities, which has translated into rising costs of living around here. As a result we have revamped the funding packages offered to outstanding MASc and PhD students. A summary of the typical sources of funding is provided here, together with examples of funding packages. Please note that standard funding models do not exist and a variety of arrangements are possible, often mixing the sources listed below. Additional information about scholarships, awards, and funding is available at this page maintained by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and this page at UBC Student Services. 

Funding Sources

Students who demonstrate exceptional academic performance will receive funding from one main source and possibly one or more supplementary sources:  

Main

  • Graduate research assistantships (GRA)
  • Four-year fellowships (4YF)
  • NSERC Awards
  • Affiliated awards
  • Vanier scholarships

Supplementary

  • Top-ups
  • GSI merit awards
  • International student tuition fee awards
  • Teaching assistantships (TA)

 

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

A GRA is essentially a salary provided by your research supervisor. The Department of Civil Engineering does not maintain minimum or maximum levels for this funding. Some students may receive amounts near $20,000 per year, others partial amounts, and others none, depending on individual circumstances and other founding sources.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Marker Positions

The Department of Civil Engineering offers opportunities for many of its graduate students to assist with the Department’s teaching mission. A number of teaching assistantships and marker positions are available in undergraduate and graduate courses.  You must apply for these positions, which are allocated each year in September and January, when the student enrolment numbers have been finalized. Graduate students who are new to the Department in September are eligible to apply for a Teaching Assistant or Marker position that begins in the second-term (January to April). The number of paid hours varies from course to course, and some courses have marker positions, which is paid less than TA positions. The TA salary is approximately $30 per hour and a student who serves as TA in one course per term will sometimes reach 100 hours per year, i.e., $3,000 annually. The department aims to assign a maximum of 100 TA hours per student per term. The goal is to give opportunities to as many as possible and to promote balance between research/coursework commitments and TA commitments.  More information about rates of pay and conditions of work for  Teaching Assistant and Marker positions are described in the collective agreement approved by the University of British Columbia and CUPE 2278. Since teaching assistants play a very important role in our undergraduate teaching process, all prospective students who have not held a previous TA position are required to attend the TA workshop presented by the Faculty of Applied Science. A workshop is also available at The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. Please limit your applications to six courses per term.  

Applications for 2017-18 are now closed.

Four Year Fellowships (4YF)

The UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies administers the four-year doctoral fellowship (4YF) program and every year the Department of Civil Engineering nominates several candidates. Nominations are usually submitted in May for award payments commencing the following September. 4YFs provide our best PhD students with financial support of $18,200 per year plus tuition and a $5,800 top-up award from the research supervisor for up to four years of doctoral studies. The Department of Civil Engineering typically considers PhD students who have been in the program for up to one year and more rarely exceptional incoming students.

Annually in May the Associate Head for Graduate Programs will, in consultation with the departmental Graduate Program Committee, review the academic performance of all PhD students whose start date in the program falls in the period from May the previous year to January of the present year. Faculty members can also nominate exceptional incoming PhD students; these nominations are made in February/March during the review of graduate applications and are considered on a case-by-case basis in the May review of all 4YF candidates. 

In April an academic progress form is distributed to students and research supervisors to assist in the evaluation of 4YF candidates. It is the responsibility of the student and the supervisor to submit these forms by the announced deadline. The academic progress form includes information about coursework, grades, publications, and presentations, as well as information about other relevant academic contributions within the last 12 months.  

The quota allocated to the department limits the number of 4YF nominations. The Associate Head in consultation with the Graduate Program Committee can decide to forward fewer nominees to the Faculty of Graduate Studies; awards not allocated will roll over to the next year.

The two most important selection criteria are academic excellence and research productivity. Peer-reviewed journal papers will normally carry more weight than conference papers, and grades from UBC will normally carry greater weight than grades from elsewhere, although every effort will be made to normalize the GPA to account for varying class averages and different grading systems.

NSERC Awards

The National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) offer awards to exceptional students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Students who secure NSERC funding also receive top-up funding from the Department of Civil Engineering, at amounts provided below on this page. There are three types of NSERC awards for our graduate students:

  • NSERC CGS M Scholarships for MASc students at $17,500 for one year, non-renewable
  • NSERC PGS D Scholarship for PhD students at $21,000 per year for two or three years
  • NSERC CGS D Scholarship for PhD students at $35,000 per year for two or three years

Affiliated Awards

International students can apply for Affiliated Awards, not NSERC Awards. The application deadlines coincide with those of the NSERC awards, but there exists an array of Affiliated Awards, at various amounts. A tuition fee waiver, up to $4,5000, is included if the award is under $35,000.

Vanier Scholarships

Vanier scholarships are extremely competitive but they pay $50,000 per year for three years. Nominees from the Department of Civil Engineering have been successful in the past, but only for candidates with high grade-point averages and a substantial number of publications.

Top-Ups

By means of GSI funds and also by contributions from the research supervisor, NSERC-funded students are provided with top-up awards. The amounts are as follows:

NSERC CGS M recipients are given a top-up of $6,000 with $4,000 from the department via GSI funds and an additional $2,000 from the research supervisor, yielding a total annual award of $23,500.

NSERC PGS D recipients are given a top-up of $6,000 with $4,000 from the department via GSI funds and an additional $2,000 from the research supervisor, yielding a total annual award of $27,000.

NSERC CGS D recipients are given a top-up of $10,000 with $8,000 from the department via GSI funds and an additional $2,000 from the research supervisor, yielding a total annual award of $45,000.

GSI Merit Awards

In the Department of Civil Engineering, funds from the UBC Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) are distributed as NSERC top-up awards and merit-based awards for exceptional students. Annually in February all MASc students in the first two years of the program and all PhD students in the first four years of the program are considered for GSI merit awards, currently at $4,500.

In February an academic progress form is distributed to students and research supervisors to assist in the selection of GSI merit awardees. It is the responsibility of the student and the supervisor to submit these forms by the announced deadline. The academic progress form includes information about coursework, grades, publications, and presentations, as well as information about other relevant academic contributions within the last 12 months.  

The academic progress form submitted at this time is also used in the distribution of a handful of small awards and scholarships.

The two most important selection criteria are academic excellence and research productivity. Peer-reviewed journal papers will normally carry more weight than conference papers, and grades from UBC will normally carry greater weight than grades from elsewhere, although every effort will be made to normalize the GPA to account for varying class averages and different grading systems.

For recruitment purposes we place emphasis on rewarding productive PhD students and also students who have already completed other degrees at UBC.

International Student Tuition Fee Award

This award is explained at this webpage at the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  

Co-op Employment Opportunities

The co-op program represents an opportunity to gain work experience and extra income during Master’s level graduate studies at UBC. MEng students apply here and typically start the program in the fall with a mandatory pre-employment training workshop. Then, after completing a year of study followed by two four-month work terms in the summer and fall semester, they return to campus to complete the final semester of academics prior to graduation. MASc students apply here and should consult their research supervisor prior to any co-op commitment.

Work Learn Program

The Work Learn Program supports and subsidizes work experiences on campus that offer the opportunity for current students to develop their professional skills and learn in a work environment. From these experiences the students gain  mentorship opportunities, an expanded network, ownership and responsibility of work, self-awareness and reflection, as well as a chance to apply their knowledge in practical settings, contributing to personal learning goals and the university in a practical way.

Funding Example 1

An outstanding student in the PhD program may be able to secure the following annual funding, depending on academic performance and available stipends:

 

 

Source

Annual value

   Main

   Graduate research assistantship

$20,000

   Supplementary

   Teaching assistantship, Term 1

   Teaching assistantship, Term 2

   GSI merit award

$1,500

$1,500

$4,500

 

Total:

$27,500

 

Funding Example 2

An outstanding student in the PhD program may be able to secure the following annual funding, depending on academic performance and available stipends:

 

Source

Annual value

   Main

   Four-year fellowship

$18.200

   Supplementary

   Mandated 4YF top-up

   Teaching assistantship, Term 1

   Teaching assistantship, Term 2

   GSI merit award

$5,800

$1,500

$1,500

$4,500

 

Total:

$31,500

 

Funding Example 3

An outstanding student in the PhD program may be able to secure the following annual funding, depending on academic performance and available stipends:

 

 

Source

Annual value

   Main

   NSERC PGS D

$21.000

   Supplementary

   Mandated top-up

   Teaching assistantship, Term 1

   Teaching assistantship, Term 2

   GSI merit award

$6,000

$1,500

$1,500

$4,500

 

Total:

$34,500

 

Funding Example 4

An outstanding student in the PhD program may be able to secure the following annual funding, depending on academic performance and available stipends:

 

 

Source

Annual value

   Main

   NSERC CGS D

$35.000

   Supplementary

   Mandated top-up

   Teaching assistantship, Term 1

   Teaching assistantship, Term 2

   GSI merit award

$10,000

$1,500

$1,500

$4,500

 

Total:

$52,500

 

Funding Example 5

An outstanding student in the MASc program may be able to secure the following annual funding, depending on academic performance and available stipends:

 

 

Source

Annual value

   Main

   Graduate research assistantship

$17,000

   Supplementary

   Teaching assistantship, Term 1

   Teaching assistantship, Term 2

   GSI merit award

$1,500

$1,500

$4,500

 

Total:

$24,500

 

Funding Example 6

An outstanding student in the MASc program may be able to secure the following annual funding, depending on academic performance and available stipends:

 

Source

Annual value

   Main

   NSERC CGS M

$17.500

   Supplementary

   Mandated top-up

   Teaching assistantship, Term 1

   Teaching assistantship, Term 2

   GSI merit award

$6,000

$1,500

$1,500

$4,500

 

Total:

$31,000