Make the most of the financial resources available to you as a UBC student.

The Department of Geography has various funding opportunities for all graduate students including internal and external awards, scholarships, and research funding.

We work with every student to try to provide a consistent, basic level of funding of a minimum $25,000 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 (GSI)

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.

Within Geography, all incoming graduate students (except those with appropriate funding in hand), are considered for GSI funding upon their application to the program.

Graduate COVID Program Delay Tuition Award

Graduate Covid Program Delay Tuition Awards are provided to support graduate students whose academic and/or research progress was delayed by disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Students who were registered in an eligible graduate program during the Summer 2020 term will receive an award equivalent to their tuition assessment, less any other tuition awards received for the same term, if they remain registered beyond the median duration of their degree program (in most cases, upon registration in the 8th term of a Master’s program or the 17th term of a doctoral program).

The program has been designed so that an application is not required: awards will be automatically assigned to eligible students when they reach their eligibility milestone.

Awards, Scholarships, & Fellowships

Many of our graduate students are supported by the following:

A $4,000 award has been made available through a gift from Sandra "Sandy" Lapsky (B.A. 1980) for international graduate students in good academic standing in the Department of Geography. Sandy has been an Administrator in the Department of Geography at UBC since 1989. This award was established in recognition of Sandy's deep affinity to the Department of Geography. The awards are made on the recommendation of the Department of Geography, in consultation with the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

The Larry Bell LDC Graduate Award in Urban Studies was developed to encourage Master-level program enrollment of students from those countries classified by the UN as the poorest and most vulnerable countries in our international community.

The award is available to incoming master-level students, specializing in Urban Studies in the UBC Department of Geography, who are citizens and primary residents of one of the 47 countries on the United Nations’ Least Developed Countries list (LDC) for the course of a two year program. In addition, all applicants to our program LDC’s will have their UBC application fee waived.

Award Details
Applications are reviewed based on academic merit and research strengths in Urban Studies (Geography). This award is only available to incoming Master-level students in the UBC Department of Geography.

The award covers the following:
Year 1
Tuition Full coverage – approx. $8,605
Living stipend $18,200
Moving costs $3,500

Year 2*
Tuition Full coverage – approx. $8,605
Living stipend $18,200

Total value over 2 years $39,900 + tuition
*Master degree funding is only for two years. Student fees not covered.

All eligible, admitted students will be automatically considered for the award and no additional application is required. Recipients must maintain good academic standing in their program.

$500 is made available to a current full-time 4+ year undergraduate, master or doctoral student, who is studying/using cartography or geographic information systems (GIS) in their academic work.

Students are encouraged to speak with their supervisor or a faculty member in the Department of Geography in January to be nominated for the Emily S. Acheson Student Support Fund.

Adjudication will take place at the end of February each year.

Award Details

The award is granted to one recipient per year.

Students must be:

  • Enrolled full time in their 4th year (or higher) of undergraduate degree or pursue full time graduate studies in the Department of Geography
  • Studying/using cartography or geographic information systems (GIS) in their academic work (demonstrated in their thesis project, class projects, or relevant coursework)
  • In good standing
  • Domestic and international students are eligible
  • Preference is given to graduate students
  • Recipients of large grants or scholarships should not be considered for this fund
  • A student can only receive this funding once during their studies at UBC
  • Students from other faculties (e.g. Forestry) or departments are not eligible to apply

Donor commitment to support this fund is in place for 5 years, starting in 2020. After 5 years, the fund description and criteria may be adjusted in consultation with the Department of Geography and the donor.

Teaching & Research Assistantships

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.

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

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.

Travel & Research Funding

The Department of Geography Graduate Student Travel Fund (GSTF) provides support for conference and fieldwork/research travel expenses to an in-program total of $400 for MA/MSc students and $700 for PhD students.

All claims against this fund must be backed with appropriate original receipts (to conform to UBC Financial Services regulations) and must be accompanied by a properly completed Graduate Student Travel Fund Form.

Eligible expenses include:

  • Travel (economy airfare or other public transport, vehicle rental, or mileage at approved rates)
  • Accommodation
  • Registration (if attending a conference)

In all cases, it is the claimant’s responsibility to keep track of expenses, to produce receipts, and to submit properly documented claims. Failure to do so will result in rejection of the claim. It is not necessary for a student to present a conference paper in order to claim against the GSTF. No claims for amounts of less than $75.00 will be processed. If you have smaller expenditures, save the receipts and details for a later consolidated claim. Claims on the GSTF can be made to supplement awards from the G+PS Graduate Student Travel Fund, provided that both claims are properly documented. Completed GSTF claims should be submitted to Sandy Lapsky, the Department Administrator, for processing within 12 months of incurring the expenses. Signatures of both student and supervisor are required. It normally takes three to four weeks to process complete applications. Cheques will be sent to the Department or deposited to your bank account if you are on payroll. All claims must be submitted within two years of initial registration for MA/MSc students and within four years of initial program registration for PhD students. No claims will be accepted from students no longer registered in a program or on leave of absence.

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