Download a PDF of this section: The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Print this page Email this page

Doctoral Student

Full-time Classification

Full-time students are expected to engage in their studies on a full-time basis and are assessed fees according to Schedule A. Full-time students are eligible for graduate scholarships and fellowships. Normally, teaching assistantships (TAs) and research assistantships (RAs) are limited to full-time students.

Graduate programs may articulate specific limitations regarding concurrent paid employment as consistent with the definition of full-time study. Recipients of teaching assistantships (TAs) must adhere to the TA union's regulations governing number of hours worked while holding a teaching assistantship.

Part-time Classification

Part-time studies are designed for students who are unable to devote full-time hours and expect they will require a longer timeline to complete their studies. Full-time students typically devote a minimum of 35-40 hours per week to academic activities (e.g., research, teaching or research assistantship, and professional development) related to their studies. Students may have a number of reasons for undertaking part-time studies, including professional obligations (e.g., government or industry work, consulting, self-employment, or equivalent) or personal circumstances that make it impossible for them to devote full-time attention to their program of study. Note that students with a permanent disability who require a reduced level of academic engagement can consider the Full-time with Reduced Workload stream.

Part-time studies are only available in some programs as part-time study may not fit the curriculum or research in some fields of study. Programs that offer part-time studies must demonstrate that their curriculum (e.g., sequence of coursework, research activities) will be feasible for students studying part-time. Programs approved to offer part-time PhD studies are listed on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.

Admission to part-time study will also depend on finding a suitable supervisor as part-time studies may not suit the research topic of the student or some faculty. The expected academic workload of students classified as part-time is determined by the graduate program.

Students who wish to be classified as part-time must obtain approval from their proposed supervisor and graduate program advisor as part of the admission process.

Students classified as part-time are assessed tuition fees according to Schedule C. Part-time status is not to be used as a means of reducing total tuition paid. Part-time students are expected to be self-funded and typically may not be eligible for funding or scholarships. Furthermore, students must not be encouraged to take part-time studies because a department/supervisor cannot provide a full-time funding package to the student.

Students who are on Schedule C and who are classified as part-time are advised that:

  • They may not be eligible to receive interest-free status government loans, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, student housing, and some fellowships or scholarships
  • They are exempt from the Minimum Funding Package guarantee for PhD students
  • Part-time doctoral students are eligible for the UBC Graduate Student Travel Fund
  • A maximum 8-year time period is allowed for completion of the part-time doctoral program (compared to a 6-year time period for full-time students)
  • Students who pay tuition fees according to Schedule C are not permitted to revert back to Schedule A. Likewise, students who pay tuition fees according to Schedule A are not permitted to revert back to Schedule C.
  • Due to Canadian immigration regulations, part-time study has particular implications for international students. International students should seek advice from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant before pursuing part-time classification.

Doctoral Students with Disabilities Who Are Deemed as "Full-Time with Reduced Workload"

An alternative tuition schedule may be established by the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in consultation with the University Registrar for doctoral students who have been assessed by the UBC Access & Diversity Office as having permanent disabilities requiring a reduced level of academic engagement. The alternative tuition schedule is structured to reflect a reduced academic engagement over a longer period of time.

For doctoral students designated as “full-time with reduced workload”, the maximum time in the program is normally eight years. Such students are deemed to be equivalent to “full-time” for all purposes.

Administrative procedure:
Doctoral students pursuing registration as “full-time with reduced workload” must register with and be assessed by Access & Diversity to determine eligibility and recommended academic accommodation. If determined to be eligible by Access & Diversity, the student must agree to have this information released to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The Faculty will establish an alternative tuition schedule based on academic accommodations recommended by Access & Diversity and liaise with the University Registrar to implement the schedule. Permission to convert retroactively to an alternative tuition schedule will not normally be granted.

Page last updated: May 19, 2017

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Student Services
Vancouver Campus
1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia