Funding and Awards

Graduate students in the Department of Psychology receive financial support at levels comparable to those at other major universities. Graduate students receive a minimum guaranteed level of support for the first two years of the MA ($17,500 per year for two years) and the first four years of their PhD ($18,000 per year for four years), unless other arrangements are made at the time of admission. Support is comprised of some combination of fellowships, awards, teaching assistantship, and research assistantship. Students are expected to apply for scholarships and financial awards during their studies here. Financial support is contingent on maintaining high academic standing and making satisfactory progress toward degree completion. Funding is available to both domestic and international graduate students.

All entering and continuing students who have applied for fellowships (Tri-Council doctoral and master’s awards, UBC Affiliated Fellowships) will be adjudicated and ranked by the Awards Committee. These applications and rankings are the basis for awarding university and department fellowships. The Associate Head for Graduate Affairs combines these rankings to determine allocations of funding including UBC’s Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) and 4-Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) awards. All eligible students must apply for funding (e.g., external fellowship or UBC-Affiliated fellowships) in the fall if they want to be considered for any university or department funding for the following academic year.

Other funding opportunities include Research Assistantship (RA), Teaching Assistantship (TA), and Travel Awards for both MA and PhD students. Refer to the awards opportunities page on the Graduate Studies website to learn more about other internal and external funding opportunities.

The major external granting agencies for Canadian graduate students are within the Tri-Council group: the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). These awards are open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents; international students are not eligible.

Fellowships at the master’s level are worth $17,500. For information and instructions on submitting an application for a CGSM awards, please review the Harmonized Tri-Council Awards website. The application deadline for CGSM is December 1 and applications are submitted directly via Research Portal.

Tri-Council CGSM applications are adjudicated by the department’s Fellowships Committee, comprised of six faculty members plus a faculty member Chair and Co-Chair. The committee forms two-member subcommittees that independently rank each application on the basis of scholarly record, research productivity, leadership, and letters of reference. The top candidates will be nominated to compete at the university level (adjudicated by G+PS). Applicants who have successfully secured both the CGSM and GES will receive their CGSM award during the first year, and the GES will be deferred to the second year of the MA study.

The major external granting agencies for Canadian graduate students are within the Tri-Council group: the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). At the doctoral level, the agencies offer a range of multi-year fellowships with varying amounts of support. These awards are open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents; international students are not eligible. Visit the specific agency websites for more information about applying.

Tri-Council doctoral scholarship applications are adjudicated by the department’s Fellowships Committee, comprised of six faculty members plus a faculty member Chair and Co-Chair. The committee forms two-member subcommittees that independently rank each application on the basis of scholarly record, research productivity, leadership, and letters of reference. The top candidates will be nominated to compete at the university level (adjudicated by G+PS).

NSERC-doctoral fellowships provide support to the most promising researchers at a pivotal time in their careers. The fellowships are also intended to secure a supply of highly qualified Canadians with leading-edge scientific and research skills for Canadian industry, government, and universities. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students who are interested in the program to apply.

SSHRC provides financial support for post-secondary research training and knowledge mobilization activities for students pursuing doctoral studies in social sciences or humanities.

CIHR is Canada’s federal funding agency for health research and provides funding opportunities for four themes of health research: biomedical, clinical, health systems services, and social, cultural, environmental and population health.

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) offers approximately 50 UBC-Affiliated Fellowships each year to meritorious students for full-time study leading to a graduate degree. Awards are made on the basis of academic excellence, with applications open to current and prospective full-time UBC graduate students regardless of citizenship or visa status.

UBC-Affiliated Fellowships applications are adjudicated by the department’s Fellowships Committee, comprised of six faculty members plus a faculty member Chair and Co-Chair. The committee forms two-member subcommittees that independently rank each application on the basis of scholarly record, research productivity, leadership, and letters of reference. The top candidates will be nominated to compete at the university level (adjudicated by G+PS).

UBC-Affiliated Fellowships range in value from $175 to $30,000, but most are in the range of $16,000. Applicants for doctoral funding should confirm the graduate program deadline in mid to late September.

The Department of Psychology receives funds from the university to support one-year fellowships for graduate study. This funding comes from the UBC Graduate Support Initiative, a program for funding graduate students through entrance scholarships, multi-year funding packages, tuition awards and scholarship top-ups. The department allocates these fellowships based on the Fellowships Committee rankings of applications.

UBC automatically offers a tuition scholarship of up to $3,200, which is applied to tuition paid by non-Canadian students who are registered full-time in a master’s or doctoral program that assesses tuition fees of $8,271 per year. Visit the International tuition award page for more information.

Each year, the department awards several Four-Year Doctoral Fellowships (4YF). AS its name implies, the 4YF provides funding for up to four years of doctoral study, beginning in either the first or the second year of the PhD and contingent on satisfactory academic progress. Fellows receive a minimum stipend of $18,200 per year plus tuition. Both Canadian and International students are eligible for the 4YF.

Students holding a Tri-Council doctoral award automatically become 4YF designates and may be eligible for tuition support and a 4YF stipend, depending on the value and duration of the Tri-Council award. There is no separate application for the 4YF; allocation decisions are made at the department’s discretion based on Fellowships Committee ranking of applications.

In addition to funding provided by the program supervisor, students may receive up to four travel awards during their MA and PhD programs. This funding may be used to reduce the cost of delivering a talk or presenting a poster at an academic conference. Students apply first to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Graduate Student Travel Fund for one trip in each of the MA and PhD program and then to the Department for one additional trip in each program using the Graduate Student Travel Grant Application (GSTA) form. Note: the GSTA is only available to students who are registered in the Psychology (PSYC) Graduate Program.

The department also has funding available from the estate of a distinguished alumnus, Dr. Michael J. Quinn. In addition to other activities, we’ve established Quinn Exchange Fellowships for students pursuing a graduate degree in Psychology at UBC through short-term exchanges with graduate students in universities outside of British Columbia. In addition to enhancing research opportunities, we anticipate that this program will foster new ties with foreign academics, create opportunities for innovative research collaborations, and broaden job prospects for our graduates. Depending on the distance and duration of the trip, up to $3000 will be provided for each partner in an exchange (the host and the visiting student). Visit Quinn Exchange Fellowships website for more information.

The Faculty of Arts also has the Graduate Research Awards for MA and PhD students. These awards are designed to help Graduate students with their research program associated with their degree. Awards are up to $1,000 and are to cover the costs of travel and other research-related expenses (but not conference or workshop attendance and travel).

If you receive travel or expense reimbursement through the University, it will usually be paid to you through direct deposit to your bank account. You can see the detail regarding these reimbursements on the expense reimbursement tab of the UBC Human Resources Self-Service portal.

Research Assistantship (RA)

Research assistantships are desirable because they involve students directly in work that is relevant to their research interests.  It is quite common for a student to be supported by a combination of research and teaching assistantships (RAs and TAs).  RAs are arranged directly with the faculty member concerned, who is usually, but not always, the student’s supervisor.

It is important to remember that RAs, TAs, or a combination of the two, should not involve work for more than an average of 12 hours per week during the months September through April.  This is a G+PS recommendation.  In some cases, fellowship or union rules preclude additional hours of work.  This means that students should consult with the department administrator prior to taking on any extra work.  RAships are given at the discretion of the faculty member concerned and may be granted for as long as the faculty member wishes.

Teaching Assistantship (TA)

Teaching assistantships are normally granted to many students who have been accepted into the graduate program.  If the student is receiving no other support, then the TA position may be for 12 hours per week.  A student with a fellowship may, if funds are available, receive a part-time TA appointment.  TA assignments are coordinated by the department administrator in consultation with the Teaching Assistant Committee.

TA policies and procedures are governed by a contract between CUPE 2278 (TA union) and the university.  This contract details rules regarding application for TA positions, work conditions, preference for re-hiring, and so on.  A full 12 hr/week TAship for an academic term (September to December or January to April) totals 192 hrs and pays approximately $5,789 for MA students and $6,016 for PhD students.  TA appointments for fewer hours per week and prorated accordingly.

Questions concerning financial support or TA assignments should be directed to the department administrator.

Getting Paid

Payroll must be set up for direct deposit to your bank account.  Normal pay dates are the 15th of each month and last day of the month.  You must complete a form (available at Financial Services or from the departmental Executive Coordinator) to arrange direct deposit.  A TA position is paid as 80% “regular” earnings and 20% “fellowship” earning.  An RA position is fully paid as “fellowship” earnings.  This can be confusing when you view your pay statement, as the amounts shown will reflect these types of earnings and not your job titles.  For example, you will see REG and FEL earnings, instead of RA and TA earnings; just make sure that the total is what you expect.  You are always welcome to ask the department administrator if you have questions about understanding your pay.

UBC offers an online system for viewing payroll information and to update your personal information.  Go to the UBC Human Resources Self-Service portal.  Note that you may not be able to log in to this portal from off campus unless you are using a VPN.  You should also fill out the form to set your tax deduction level.  If you hold a fellowship, taxes usually have not been deducted.

Numerous awards are bestowed each year on graduate students in our department whose scholarly work represents an exceptional contribution. Most nominations are made by the MA thesis committee or the PhD supervisory committee following the thesis defense or the Dissertation Approval Meeting (DAM), although nominations for some awards are generated by an open call to faculty to nominate their students. Some of these awards are accompanied by a small cash prize.

  • The Coren Prize recognizes the most outstanding thesis for MA psychology students registered between September 1 to April 30 and completing all degree requirements by September of the following year.
  • The Belkin Prize goes to the most outstanding psychology dissertation submitted to G+PS between September 1 to April 30.
  • The British Columbia Psychological Association (BCPA) Graduate Medal in Psychology recognized outstanding achievement of a graduate doctoral student in Clinical Psychology.
  • CPA awards a Certificate of Excellence to MA and PhD psychology students in recognition of outstanding research contributions of the thesis or dissertation submitted to G+PS between May 1 to April 30.
  • The Governor General’s Gold Medal is awarded at both the MA and PhD levels to recognize UBC students with outstanding overall academic achievements.
  • The CAGS/PROQUEST-UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award and the CGS/PROQUEST Distinguished Dissertation Award are two prestigious national awards recognizing dissertations of exceptional quality. Nominations from the department are forwarded for university-level competition and the best university nominations are forwarded for the final competition.