We work with every student to try to provide a consistent, basic level of funding of a  minimum $23,000 in income per year to all graduate students. Most of our full-time MA/MSc and PhD students receive income in the form of scholarships/fellowships and/or teaching/research assistantships.

Graduate Support Initiative

The Graduate Support Initiative (GSI) is a system for funding graduate students through entrance scholarships, multi-year funding packages, tuition awards and scholarship top-ups. Within Geography, all incoming graduate students (except those with appropriate funding in hand), are considered for GSI funding upon their application to the program.

Application files are reviewed by faculty members on the Graduate Committee. Rankings are then established based on transcripts, publications, proposals, conference presentations, and referees’ comments. The committee’s foremost concerns are with the referees’ letters and the quality of student transcripts (including grades, prizes and distinctions). In evaluating transcripts, most weight is given to the grades, but committee members also consider consistency of performance across courses, the institution from which the grades were received, and the relevance of the courses to the graduate programme.

The committee is particularly impressed with students who display exceptional grades across varied disciplines and scholarly traditions. Evidence of scholarly output in the form of refereed publications and conference activity is also considered.  Refereed publications in high quality, peer-reviewed journals are valued most highly. Expectations are tailored to the degree and type of work for which the student is applying, so that masters’ applicants are not compared directly with doctoral applicants, nor biogeoscientists with human geographers.

Major Scholarships and Fellowships

Many of our graduate students are supported by:

  • NSERC scholarships
  • SSHRC scholarships
  • CIHR scholarships
  • Four Year Fellowship Funds (UBC)
  • Killam Predoctoral Fellowships

A long listing of awards is available on the Graduate Awards website.

Teaching and Research Assistanship

Teaching and Research Assistantships are intended to help properly qualified graduate students meet the cost of their studies at the University. Student appointments may involve part-time duties in teaching, research, or other academic activities. Appointments offered to students prior to their admission to the faculty are contingent upon admission.

Teaching Assistantships

The purpose of teaching assistantships is to support the undergraduate teaching program and to provide teaching opportunities for graduate students.

In most cases, a teaching assistantship is offered to all full-time MA/MSc (thesis option) students in their first two years and all full-time PhD students in their first four years of their study. The appointments of TAs are based on CUPE 2278 union requirements, the skill set required to TA the course, and the financial commitments made to the student in their offer letters. TA openings are posted on our recruitment page in April. It is very competitive and there are few openings in human geography.


Research Assistantships

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

The department is also part of a Collaborative Research and Training Experience on Atmospheric Aerosols (NSERC-CREATE–AAP). This is a unified training and fellowship-funding program designed to develop interdisciplinary skills for atmospheric aerosol researchers ranging from undergraduate students to post-doctoral fellows.



Awards are generally paid to you through your SSC UBC account.  Login to your account to confirm and accept payment.  Graduate Support Initative funds will be directed to pay your tuition fees first.  Excess funds will be paid out through your account.

Teaching and research assistant salaries are paid bi-weekly through payroll .  Ensure you have filled out and submitted a Direct Deposit form to UBC Payroll prior to starting your work (see Forms and Policies).  You can check your payment status/payments by logging into your staff account.

Other Resources