International Students


UBC values diversity and strongly encourages dedicated international students to apply to our graduate programs.

About 30% of master’s students, and 44% of doctoral students at UBC Vancouver are international students. We have close to 3600 doctoral students and 6200 master’s students, the fourth largest graduate student population among Canadian universities, and our 85 academic units offer over 250 research-based programs and 85 course-based master’s programs.

Why come to UBC?

  • International

    Times Higher Education ranked UBC as the most international university in North America in its “World University Rankings 2020.”

  • Academic Excellence

    UBC is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world.

  • Welcoming

    Canadians are friendly people with an open and welcoming culture. Canadians rank among the happiest people in the World Happiness Report.

  • Innovative

    UBC was named one of Canada’s “most innovative universities” by Reuters in 2019.

  • Study-Life Balance

    Vancouver is one of the most attractive cities in the world, according to rankings by The Economist (world’s most livable city), Mercer Consulting (best city in the world) and by Condé Nast Traveler magazine (best city in the Americas).

  • Academic Library

  • Economic Strength

    Canada was ranked 2nd in the 2018 Best Countries Ranking by US News, which measures global performance on a variety of metrics.

  • Mild Climate

  • Supportive

    UBC focuses on your success and offers dozens of professional development events and career sessions over the course of your program.

  • Entrepreneurial

    Seed funding, tech accelerator, incubator, executives in residence – UBC provides support for all stages of venture creation, from ideation, through business model creation, to company building.

Program Options

Course-based programs

Course-based pograms, sometimes referred to as professional programs, require a student to complete a set number of courses to obtain a degree. Submission of an individual research thesis is usually not required, but programs may include major projects, capstone courses, internships or other work placements. Course-based programs tend to be shorter in duration and more flexible in program delivery, usually with higher tuition costs. These are often targeted at professionals with some work experience to attain the next career promotion or a change into another field.

Research-based programs

Research-based programs usually include some coursework at the beginning of the degree and then focus on individual independent research under the supervision of a faculty member that culminates in the formulation of a thesis or dissertation. Most master programs require 2 years of study and PhD programs usually require between 5-7 years of study. Research degrees provide the possibility to become an expert in a chosen field of study with the possibility to pursue an academic career as professor as well as exciting careers in non-academic environments. Many UBC programs expect applicants to have obtained a master’s level qualification before entering a PhD, although direct entry into PhD progams is possible at UBC.

Scholarships, Awards and Funding

UBC is a research powerhouse and invests heavily into attracting the best young scientists into its programs. Compared to other institutions of similar reputation UBC offers very high quality education at a significantly subsidized low tuition cost. Apart from the low base tuition excellent candidates for research-programs will benefit from scholarships and awards.

Selected Awards

Common Questions

Do I require an English language test?

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

English is one of the two official languages of Canada, and the primary language of instruction at UBC. Strong English skills mean new students can settle quickly into their academic environment, and get to know their fellow students and faculty members who will be their colleagues during their time at UBC. Students with good English skills are far more likely to succeed; they experience far less stress and get greater enjoyment and fulfillment from their studies.

Applicants are advised to focus on learning how to speak, listen, read, and write in English, independent of studying for the TOEFL (or other tests), as this will best prepare them for communicating in all types of situations. Students with strong English skills are more likely to do well on the TOEFL.

Individual graduate programs may require higher English language proficiency scores, and may require minimum scores on individual components of any of the tests. Please check individual program websites to verify English language score requirements.

Acceptable Tests

English Language Tests

The minimum TOEFL score required for all applicants to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is


Some programs

require a higher score. TOEFL scores must be issued to UBC directly from the Educational Testing Centre. Please ensure that you include the following on your TOEFL sheet:

Score submission

TOEFL and IELTS test takers can request electronic submission of scores to universities. We accept electronic delivery directly from the test centre to UBC only. For all other tests, an official paper test score report ordered from the testing agency is required. Photocopies of test scores are not acceptable.

A minimum overall band score of 6.5 is required with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component of the academic (NOT general) IELTS test.*

Individual graduate programs may require higher English language proficiency scores, and may require minimum scores on individual components of the test. Please check individual program websites to verify English language score requirements.

Score submission

UBC requires an official score to be sent to us electronically from the test centre.

On the IELTS application form you will be asked to specify institutions where you would like the results being sent to. To ensure UBC receives your results correctly, you have to use the following details on the application:

A minimum overall score of 70 is required with 60 on the speaking sub-test.

Individual graduate programs may require higher English language proficiency scores. Please check individual program websites to verify English language score requirements.

Score submission

English for Academic Purposes (EAP): Applicant must achieve a 75% in each component of the 600 level.

A minimum overall score of 65 on the academic (NOT general) test is required with minimums of 60 reading, 60 writing, 60 listening, and 60 speaking.

Individual graduate programs may require higher English language proficiency scores. Please check individual program websites to verify English language score requirements.

  • PTE Home / Online are not accepted for application to UBC-Vancouver

Score submission

Please email [email protected] when you have a test score ready for download.

Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)

A minimum overall MELAB final score of 85 (with 3 in the speaking test) is required by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Alternative English Language Proficiency Test

Submission of Test Results

TOEFL and IELTS test takers can request electronic submission of scores to universities. We accept electronic delivery directly from the test centre to UBC only. For all other tests an official paper test score report ordered from the testing agency is required. Photocopies of test scores are not acceptable.

Conditional Admission Program

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may extend a conditional offer of admission to a highly-qualified graduate applicant who does not quite meet the minimum English language proficiency requirement set by the graduate program to which the student has applied.

Conditional Admission Program Details

A conditional admission allows a student to obtain a study permit (if necessary) and begin their studies in the UBC English Language Institute (ELI) or an equivalent institution approved by the Provost. Upon successful completion of the prescribed terms of study in the ELI English for Academic Purposes Program (or pre-approved, equivalent alternative), the student will proceed directly into the graduate degree program. 

Normally, a student must achieve a 75% overall assessment at the 600 level of the UBC ELI English for Academic Purposes Program (or equivalent assessment level in another approved program) to meet the terms of the Conditional Admission Program. A student who completes an approved English Language training program, but does not achieve the required assessment level has the option of taking an approved English Language Proficiency examination (e.g. TOEFL). If the student achieves the minimum score required by the admitting graduate program, they may proceed directly into the graduate program.

To be eligible for the Conditional Admission Program, the applicant must:

In recommending conditional admission, graduate programs guarantee a student admission at the date specified in the admission letter, assuming the student’s successful completion of the terms of the ELI program (or approved equivalent). Students admitted via the Conditional Admission Program are not allowed to make academic progress toward their graduate degrees before they successfully complete the English language training program and are admitted without condition to the graduate program.

Note to graduate programs: Students cannot be admitted to the Conditional Admission Program through eVision. They must be admitted through the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies via a manual letter. Please contact G+PS for information.

UBC Calendar: http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=12,204,340,182

What are the academic minimum requirements by country?

Applicants should have academic backgrounds within the general requirements listed by country below.

Given that the number of applicants exceeds the number of positions available, a record that satisfies basic entrance requirements does not guarantee admission to graduate studies.

Important note to students with three-year bachelor’s degrees from European institutions (except UK): Most three-year, Bologna-compliant degrees from research-intensive universities are acceptable as a basis for admission to master’s programs at UBC. Contact the UBC program of interest and see individual country listings below for further information.

Other Resources

Other sites that might come in handy as you prepare to apply:

How do I submit transcripts and degree parchments?

Process

Each entry under the Academic History section of the application must include pdf copies of official, up-to-date, transcripts for all current and previous post-secondary study (see exception for UBC documentation, below). 

Note: Grade sheets/records are not transcripts and will not be accepted in lieu of copies of official transcripts.

Uploading transcripts in the application system

  • The application to graduate school must be made under the current/former CWL (Campus-wide Login). Applying with the correct CWL will automatically transfer the UBC record into the application.

  • Official academic documentation for all other post-secondary institutions that have been attended (e.g., exchange year, transfer year, etc.) will need to be uploaded as part of the application.

Applicants with Canadian transcripts (other than UBC) must obtain an official transcript for every post-secondary institution they have attended.

Examples:
Peng Zhang-University of Waterloo Transcript.pdf
Peng Zhang-CV.pdf
Peng Zhang-Journal of Neurosciences Paper.pdf

Applicants must obtain an official transcript for every post-secondary institution they have attended (other than UBC).

Examples:
Peng Zhang-Peking University Transcript.pdf
Peng Zhang-Peking University Transcript English Translation.pdf
Peng Zhang-CV.pdf
Peng Zhang-Journal of Neurosciences Paper.pdf

After Being offered Admission

Conditional admission offers are made based on documents uploaded to the application system. Once an offer of admission is received: 

How to Submit Official Academic Documents

To be considered official, academic records must either be received in official university envelopes, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or be received via secure electronic delivery from the issuing institution.

If you applied with your CWL account, your transcript will have been received electronically. No hard copies of UBC transcripts are required. Please ensure to submit official documents of any other institutions.

Documents being provided to meet conditions of admission should be sent directly to:

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
The University of British Columbia
170 – 6371 Crescent Rd
Vancouver, BC CANADA  V6T 1Z2

See below for information on meeting the condition of admission with secure electronic documents. 

To be considered official, academic records must either be received in official university envelopes, sealed and endorsed by the issuing institution, or be received via secure electronic delivery from the issuing institution.

If your university issues only one original set of academic documents (transcripts/degree certificates):

Make photocopies of your original academic documents and send them to your home university. Ask your home university to:

If your academic documents are issued in a language other than English:

Note: Academic records must be translated in their entirety, including any information that appears on the reverse side of any document.

Do not order academic records that are not in sealed and endorsed envelopes, or not sent by secure electronic delivery. It will only delay the processing of your application.

Documents being provided by post/courier to meet conditions of admission must be sent directly to:

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies
The University of British Columbia
170 – 6371 Crescent Rd
Vancouver, BC CANADA  V6T 1Z2

See below for information on meeting the condition of admission with secure electronic documents. 

Document Ownership

Documents submitted in support of applications become the property of the University and are not returned to the applicant or student. Refer to the UBC Academic Calendar statement on ownership of application documents

Applicants are strongly discouraged from sending irreplaceable documents and are advised to follow the instructions for verified copies found under Official Academic Documents, above.

Secure Electronic Delivery

The issuing institution must send a link to a secure site to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) at . G+PS will download the transcript from the secure site. Important: an e-transcript is downloaded via a link to a secure site. It is NOT an email attachment of any kind, even if sent from an authority at the issuing institution.

*Due to COVID-19 G+PS is temporarily accepting encrypted transcripts sent by email directly from the issuing institution as official.

Do I have to take the GRE?

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The Graduate Record Examination has two components: a General Test measuring verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning skills, and a Subject Test measuring achievement in particular  fields of study. The table GRE Requirements by Program lists which graduate program at UBC requires a GRE test.

GRE Requirements by Program

Graduate Management Test (GMAT)

Applicants to the MBA and MScB programs in the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration are required to submit GMAT results (applicants to the MScB in Transportation may submit the GRE or the GMAT). Applicants to the PhD program in the Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration must submit either GMAT or GRE results.

Where is UBC and what is the campus like?

The University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus is located at the western tip of the Point Grey Peninsula, close to the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. UBC’s second campus – Okanagan campus – is located in Kelowna, about 5 hours north-east of Vancouver.

The University Endowment Lands community (also known as University Hill) is situated adjacent to the campus to the east, while 763 hectares of forested parkland known as Pacific Spirit Regional Park serves as a “green belt” between Vancouver and the campus.

The main campus is bounded by Chancellor Boulevard to the northwest, Marine Drive to the southwest, Wesbrook Mall to the northeast, and West 16th Avenue to the southeast. This represents the administrative and educational core of UBC.

The South Campus is bounded by Southwest Marine Drive to the south, West 16th Avenue to the northwest, and Pacific Spirit Park to the northeast. The South Campus houses many research facilities.

The East Campus is bounded by West 16th Avenue on the south, Wesbrook Mall on the west, Acadia Road on the east, and on the north its border zigzags from Toronto Road to Agronomy Road to Fairview Avenue. A large part of the East Campus is made up of student, faculty and staff housing, along with child care buildings and the local police and fire department. UBC’s first market housing development, known as Hampton Place, is also located here.

Although many buildings on campus are quite new, the University’s history actually dates back to 1877.

Campus locations

Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies is responsible for the majority of graduate students at the Vancouver campus, including those who study at many of the affiliated facilities in the city of Vancouver and BC. The majority of graduate programs are offered at the Point Grey campus or the affiliated facilities, one program (Digital Media) is offered at the Great Northern Way Campus (Vancouver) and few programs such as the Master of Health Administration and business programs are offered at UBC Robson Square (Downtown Vancouver). If you are interested in the Okanagan campus (Kelowna, BC), please visit the website of the College of Graduate Studies.

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Campus Videos

Campus Map

Campus Tours

Due to the diversity of our many research facilities, we do not offer campus tours specifically for graduate students. However, individual departments or research groups may offer open houses or other outreach events that may allow you to visit their facilities. Please check on the websites of individual departments or programs for such opportunities.

You can enjoy one of our many self-guided campus walking tours, such as from the Sustainability Initiative or the Art Outdoor Tour. Or you may decide to walk in Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Or try out one of these five 30 minute walking maps:

Campus Gallery

Attractions on Campus

How much will it cost?

UBC provides outstanding education as recognized by the various rankings and at the same time is able to offer graduate degrees at very competitive tuition rates. Our stunning location in one of the most livable cities might lead to higher living costs than what you are used to. If you compare UBC with other universities, adding up all costs and income sources, we think you’ll find that UBC’s competitive tuition and several funding initiatives allow you to get extraordinary value for your investment.

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