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Visiting Graduate Student

A visiting graduate student is one who is attending UBC to complete coursework and/or research toward the requirements of a graduate degree at another recognized university. To be eligible for admission as a visiting student to UBC, the student must be currently registered in a graduate program with good standing at the home university, and must present evidence of English proficiency, where applicable, in the form of an official TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB score. Normally, students may hold visiting status at UBC for a maximum of 12 months. Prior approval of the home university, the UBC graduate program, and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is required.

Visiting students, with the exception of those governed by the Western Deans' Agreement, Graduate Exchange Agreement, and other special agreements, pay tuition fees on a per-credit basis.

Visiting Students under the Western Deans' Agreement

The Western Deans' Agreement provides an automatic tuition fee waiver for visiting students from participating universities. Under the terms of this agreement, graduate students in good standing from UBC can register in any of the universities listed below without paying tuition; all other fees apply. The same is also true for students of other participating institutions who wish to attend classes or conduct research at UBC.

The following institutions support the Western Deans' Agreement:

  • Athabasca University
  • University of Alberta
  • Brandon University
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • Concordia University College of Alberta
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Regina
  • Royal Road University
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Victoria

    Visiting Students under the Graduate Exchange Agreement

    The Graduate Exchange Agreement allows graduate students in good standing at UBC, McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Montreal to take courses at each other's universities without having to pay tuition fees to the host institution.

    Students wishing to apply for visiting student status under either of these special agreements should consult Policies and Procedures for more information.

    Visiting International Research Student (VIRS)

    UBC is a hub for outstanding researchers from around the world and welcomes Visiting International Research Students (VIRS) to participate in our community of inquiry.

    A VIRS is an international student who is enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or graduate-equivalent program at another university, or is a participant in a UBC-recognized (through Go Global) "bridging" program between undergraduate and graduate studies, who visits UBC for one month or longer to conduct research only. All research conducted at UBC is subject to University policy regarding scholarly integrity. A VIRS may be required to undertake specific research ethics and/or safety training prior to conducting research at UBC.

    A VIRS must be supervised by a UBC faculty member throughout the visit, and must have the written permission of their home institution or sponsoring program to visit UBC to conduct research. The department head for the unit or laboratory with which the visitor will be affiliated has final authority to approve a VIRS visit. Students whose home institution has a formal academic student exchange agreement with UBC will be registered as exchange students unless reciprocity quotas are filled; in which case additional students may come under the VIRS designation.

    A VIRS will be registered in VURS 499 (undergraduate level), VGRD 500 (master's level), or VGRD 600 (doctoral level), a non-credit activity which denotes full-time student engagement in academic research. A VIRS may be initially registered at UBC for any period from one to 12 months, not necessarily related to academic terms, but will be registered in VURS 499/VGRD 500/600 for all terms which overlap with their visit. A VIRS may not enrol in UBC courses, but may apply during their stay to be admitted as a Visiting Undergraduate or Graduate Student should they wish to enrol in courses.

    A VIRS pays an administrative fee and has access to the UBC Library, email services, Go Global services, and, on an urgent need basis, health/counseling services. As any new international student, VIRS will participate in the iMED health insurance program. Use of other services and facilities including but not limited to areas such as athletics and transcripts can be accessed on a fee paying basis, as available.

    Administrative Procedure

    A completed VIRS form, with all necessary signatures, is to be submitted to the UBC Go Global office at least eight weeks prior to the planned visit. Once the visit is recorded by Go Global in the Student Information Service Centre, the prospective VIRS will receive their formal letter of invitation to UBC, suitable for applying for a study or work permit, as appropriate, and be directed to pay the relevant fees through the Student Service Centre.

    A VIRS will normally come to UBC for a maximum of one year. At the end of the approved visit period, the student may request an extension for up to one year. A visit lasting more than one year will require renewal of their permissions, registration, and fees.

    Graduate Courses at the Affiliated Theological Colleges

    A limited number of graduate courses at the theological colleges may be taken for graduate credit at UBC. For a list of such courses and their instructors, please contact the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

    Other Exchange Agreements

    Graduate programs may have exchange agreements with similar programs at other institutions. Students should consult their Graduate Advisor or UBC's Go Global: Student Mobility Programs.

    Page last updated: March 14, 2017

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