Visiting Students

A Visiting International Research Student (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.

Visiting International Research Student Application:

Visiting international research students will have to apply through Go Global. For application information, please visit the Visiting International Research Student application website

Please follow this link for the VIRS application form

Applicants will have to coordinate with Go Global directly at go.global@ubc.ca if they have any further questions with regards to applying as a visiting international research student.

Eligibility for Admission

A VIRS student has to have:

  • A plan to conduct research only at UBC for one month or longer (maximum 12 months)
  • Home supervisor approval of research activity at UBC
  • Host UBC supervisor approval (UBC faculty member who has agreed to act as supervisor through research period at UBC)
  • Prior approval of the home university or sponsoring program
  • Prior approval of the UBC Department Head for the unit or laboratory with which the visiting research student will be affiliated

Application Process

A prospective Visiting International Research Student must:

  1. Download and save the VIRS Application Form onto you computer
  2. Complete the form with all the necessary signatures
  3. Submit the completed form by email. You can print/scan the form and email it to go.global@ubc.ca

Admission Procedure

The Go Global office will document the planned visit , issue a formal letter of invitation to UBC that would be suitable for applying for a study or work permit, and then direct the VIRS  to pay the relevant fees through the Student Service Centre.

A VIRS will be registered in VURS 499, VGRD 500 or VGRD 600, a non-credit activity which denotes full-time student engagement in academic research at the undergraduate, masters or doctoral level respectively.

Notes and conditions:
  • A VIRS may be initially registered at UBC for any period from one to twelve months, not necessarily related to academic terms, but will be registered in VURS 499, VGRD 500 or VGRD 600 for all terms which overlap with their visit.
  • A VIRS may not enroll in UBC courses, but may apply during their stay to be admitted as a Visiting Undergraduate or Visiting Graduate Student should they wish to enroll in courses.
  • If students whose home institution has a formal agreement with UBC, the students can be registered as exchange students (unless reciprocity quotas are filled; in which case additional students may come under the VIRS designation).
  • 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.

VIRS Fees

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.

  • A $391.50 VIRS fee* will be charged to any VIRS registered at UBC for any period from one month up to one year. The fee must be renewed after one year. One fee for all durations (1-12 months).
  • A VIRS will be automatically enrolled in iMED at the time to be registered. Until July 1, 2014, iMED costs $50 per month.  Effectively July 1, 2014 the monthly fee will be $60. You can find iMED opt-out information online.
  • No tuition fees will be assessed.
  • A visit lasting more than one year will require renewal of their permissions, registration and fees.

*VIRS fees will be reviewed on an annual basis and are subject to change without notice.

Visiting regular students have full status as graduate students but are not pursuing a degree at the University of British Columbia. Visiting students may hold this status for a maximum of twelve months. Applicants must submit an application form, transcript, and letter of permission from their home institution. They must have the support of the Department(s) in which they intend to study. Credits completed while a visiting student may not subsequently be credited toward completion of a degree at the University of British Columbia.

Please note that while the LLED department accepts visiting students, there is a department quota each year for accepting visiting students due to limitations in course/class size. The department can only accept two visiting students per year. Before applying, please contact our Graduate Program Assistant, at lled.gradassistant@ubc.ca, and indicate which term you are planning to apply for. Please note that the deadline for application as a visiting student is approximately five months before the semester starts (e.g. if applying for January 2012 term, the deadline is August 2011). There are only two intakes for visiting students each year, in the Fall (September, Winter Term 1) and Winter (January, Winter Term 2) terms. Visiting students are also limited to taking or auditing 2 courses per semester.

Before proceeding with your online application, please ensure that you have contacted a potential LLED faculty sponsor/supervisor as a visiting student, describing the graduate program that you are currently enrolled in, your progress to date, your plans for taking coursework at UBC, and your intended graduation date at your home university. The LLED faculty member must agree to supervise you for the duration of your stay at UBC. If you do not have a faculty sponsor/supervisor in the Department, your visiting student application will not be processed.

After you are admitted, we can offer you access to the UBC Library system and to events which other students in the Department and Faculty are entitled to attend; however, we regret that we are unable to offer visiting students office space or computers. Please also note that visiting students will need to make their own travel and accommodation arrangements. International students are also responsible for their own visa applications. There is no financial aid program to visiting students, and students are responsible for payment of their fees

Please visit the UBC Student Services website for information about fees.

  • After the online application has been completed, please submit the following supplementary documents directly to our department in order to process your Visiting Student application.
  • A letter of support from an LLED Faculty member who has agreed to be a sponsor
  • Two sets of official transcripts (in sealed envelopes issued by the Registrar of the home institution) of the graduate program for which the applicant is currently registered
  • Letter of permission from the home university’s Registrar or department head confirming that the coursework and/or research undertaken at UBC while a visiting student is for the purpose of completing the graduate degree requirements at the home university and will be accepted
  • Evidence of English proficiency (where applicable) in the form of an official acceptable English language test score

For English language tests accepted by UBC grad programs, please visit English Proficiency Requirements.

For the Faculty of Graduate Studies link and more information on visiting students, please visit Regular Visiting Students.

All applications will be reviewed by the LLED Admissions Committee. Successful applicants will be notified by email.

Exchange Agreements

Graduate students in good standing at UBC or any of the following universities can take courses at each other’s university without having to pay extra tuition fees at the host university under the terms of the Western Graduate Deans’ Agreement and the UBC/McGill/Montreal/Toronto Exchange Agreement.

Western Graduate Deans’ Agreement

  • Athabasca University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Brandon
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Victoria

UBC/McGill/Montreal/Toronto Exchange Agreement

  • McGill University
  • Université de Montréal
  • University of Toronto

For further information on the Agreement, please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

Authorization forms are available here.


For those interested in applying for Postdoctoral Fellow positions, please consult UBC`s Policies and Procedures.