Health insurance at UBC

Health insurance at UBC

Medical insurance and health coverage are important topics for all new students – whether you’re coming to UBC from another province or territory, or from across the globe. As a UBC student, you must have both basic and extended health insurance coverage over the course of your studies. Here’s a quick look at what steps you need to take (if any).

How do I get basic health insurance?

Basic health insurance will vary from student to student. You may have one or a combination of out-of-province health insurance, the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), or iMED.

BC students

If you’re a resident of BC and currently covered by MSP, no action is required on your part.

Out-of-province students

If you’re a Canadian student with a health plan in another province or territory, you do not need to switch to BC MSP. You’ll be covered by the health plan in your home province or territory as long as you remain a student. If you choose to switch to MSP, you’ll need to apply and pay monthly premiums.

Canadian students coming from abroad

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada returning to Canada after living abroad, you may already have health coverage in BC or another Canadian province or territory. If you don’t, you’ll need to apply for MSP and make arrangements to join the Global Campus Health Plan or another temporary insurance plan for the three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect.

International students

Canada has a public health care system. Everyone living in BC for longer than six months is required to join MSP, a basic health insurance policy for the province’s residents. If you’re an international student, you’ll need to apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. During the three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect, you’ll be covered by a required temporary health insurance plan called iMED.

If you have questions about health care or coverage in Canada, please contact an international student advisor on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.

How do I get extended health insurance?

As a UBC student, you will be automatically enrolled in the extended health and dental plan offered by the UBC Students’ Union Okanagan (UBCSUO) on the Okanagan campus or the Alma Mater Society/Graduate Student Society (AMS/GSS) on the Vancouver campus when you register for courses. Your health and dental plan fees will appear alongside your tuition and student fees in your Student Service Centre account.

This extended health and dental plan through UBC works alongside your basic health insurance plan. For details on your coverage, or how to opt out if you already have equivalent coverage, please visit the Studentcare website.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you’re being treated for a medical condition, consult your health care professional to make sure you’re well enough to take on the challenge of university. If you’re well enough to attend UBC, you’ll need to plan for treatment during your studies.

Find out if the treatment you need is available at UBC or nearby, how much it costs, and whether it will be covered under your basic and/or extended health insurance. The Health and Wellness Centre on the Okanagan campus and Student Health Service on the Vancouver campus offer on-campus medical clinics that are free for all UBC students.

What if I have a documented disability?

If you have a documented disability and require disability-related accommodation or academic support, please contact an advisor at the Disability Resource Centre on the Okanagan campus or Access and Diversity on the Vancouver campus to discuss your eligibility.

IB and AP: Course registration and first-year credit

IB and AP: Course registration and first-year credit

If you have International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) credit and you’re wondering what to do next, this blog post is for you.

Step 1: Send us your scores

Arrange for your scores to be sent from the International Baccalaureate or The College Board to UBC so we can evaluate your eligibility for first-year credit. For more information about which IB and AP courses are eligible for credit, and the minimum scores required, check out our online guide for first-year credit.

Step 2: Start registering for courses

Because IB and AP scores aren’t typically available until early July, you should go ahead and start registering for first-year courses in the meantime. Once UBC has received your scores and updated your academic history, you can log in to the Student Service Centre to drop your first-year course(s) and register for the corresponding second-year course(s).

Questions?

If you have questions about degree planning and course selection, please contact an academic advisor in your faculty on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.

First-year English requirements

First-year English requirements

As a UBC student, you’re expected to have excellent reading, writing, and speaking skills in English – regardless of your first language or citizenship. To ensure you develop those skills, all UBC undergraduate students are required to earn between three and six credits of first-year English.

Is this the same thing as the English Language Admission Standard?

No, they’re two different things. The English Language Admission Standard (ELAS) is an admissions requirement that you had to meet before being admitted to UBC. Your faculty’s first-year English requirements are something you need to meet now that you’re a UBC student.

What are my first-year English requirements?

To check how many English credits you must complete and which English courses will fulfill your degree requirements, please refer to the undergraduate degree requirements for your faculty on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.

What is the first-year English course entry requirement?

To stay enrolled in your first-year English courses, you must meet the first-year English course entry requirement on the Okanagan campus. One way to do this is by writing the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) test, an exam that assists UBC in determining your competency in writing at a university level.

First-year English courses on the Vancouver campus do not have any pre-requisites.

Do I have to write the LPI test?

Review your options for meeting the first-year English course entry requirement on the Okanagan campus. Please note that the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) do not exempt you from the LPI test. If you do need to write the LPI test, you can register online.

Bachelor of Arts students on the Vancouver campus: You do not need to write the LPI test. To review the courses that fulfill your writing requirement, please refer to “Meeting the Faculty of Arts Writing Requirement with English courses” on the For students in the Faculty of Arts page.

Programs spotlight: Education

Programs spotlight: Education

Do you believe education should put students and the quality of their learning first? Do you enjoy sharing knowledge with others and helping people find and develop their innate talent? Consider one of UBC’s seven Bachelor of Education degrees for an internationally recognized learning experience that will launch your career as an educator in Canada and beyond.

Explore your program options

Teaching Elementary, Middle or Secondary Programs

Gain hands-on experience teaching elementary, middle or secondary school curricula in one of UBC’s education programs. UBC Vancouver offers two pathways, Elementary and Middle Years and Secondary, while at UBC Okanagan students can choose between the Teaching Children and Teaching Adolescents programs. Students in all programs will complete school-based practicums and engage in collaborative learning with instructors, classmates, practising educators, and community partners, and have the opportunity to participate in place-based learning opportunities.

West Kootenay Teacher Education Program (WKTEP)

If you believe rural and small school settings present exciting educational opportunities for teachers, WKTEP could be for you. Based in the WKTEP Learning Centre in Nelson, BC, and in the surrounding communities, this 11-month post-degree program offers an opportunity to develop the professional qualities and practices necessary to teach in today’s complex learning environments. With a strong focus on community, collaboration, and innovation, you’ll graduate prepared to teach in an elementary, middle, or secondary school setting.

Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NITEP)

Build upon your Aboriginal identity and cultural heritage while learning how to be an effective educator in public, band, and independent schools in BC. In NITEP, you’ll develop the skills and academic knowledge expected of beginning educators and complete a specialization in Indigenous Education. As a student on UBC’s Vancouver campus, you’ll have access to the Xwi7xwa Library, a centre for academic and community Indigenous scholarship.

 International Baccalaureate (IB)

Join a community of students focused on international education in Canada’s first IB-recognized teacher education program. You’ll learn key concepts and transdisciplinary themes through enriching, hands-on learning opportunities that promote discovery, exploration, and thinking about real-world issues. You’ll graduate with a strong foundation in the educational practices and underpinnings of IB, and will be eligible for the Level 1 IB Educator credential.

 


See a full list of education programs at UBC


Financial planning and student loans

Financial planning and student loans

University is an investment – there’s no doubt about it. The cost of tuition, books, residence fees or rent, food, monthly bills, clothing, and entertainment can add up quickly, so having a plan for financing your education is essential. Student loans and bursaries are two options you may want to consider.

Student loans

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you may be eligible for a student loan. Student loans offer two big advantages. First, the government will pay the interest on your loan as long as you’re a full-time student. Second, you’re not required to begin repaying your loan until six months after you graduate (or you cease to become a full-time student). If you’re a BC student, apply for a loan online through StudentAidBC. If you’re coming from another province or territory, apply through your provincial or territorial lender.

If you’re a US citizen, you’re eligible to apply for a direct loan (direct subsidized and/or direct unsubsidized loan). It can take a while for loan applications to be processed, so we recommend applying at least six weeks before the term starts to ensure funding is available in time.

Bursaries

If you’re a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or refugee, and you have unmet financial need even after applying for a student loan, you may be eligible for a UBC bursary. If you’re interested in a bursary, we recommend submitting a student loan application by July 15 to ensure that your student loan is confirmed by the bursary application deadline of September 16.

Questions?

If you have questions about financial planning or financial aid opportunities, UBC can help.

Okanagan campus

Contact Student Services and Financial Support at sis.ubco@ubc.ca or +1.250.807.9100

Vancouver campus

Contact your Enrolment Services Advisor

Five reasons to register for Jump Start

Five reasons to register for Jump Start

Transitioning to university life can be challenging – especially if you’re moving to a new city, coming from a different country or culture, or both. Jump Start is a week-long orientation program held at the end of August, designed to introduce you to your campus, your faculty, and other first-year students.

It’s the best way to start life at UBC – but don’t take our word for it. We asked students on both UBC campuses about their Jump Start experiences and here’s what they had to say.

1. You’ll get to know your way around UBC.

“Attending the Jump Start program was a fantastic decision. Not only did I meet new people, I became more comfortable with the transition of moving away from home.”

“You’ll know how to move around campus and Vancouver.” [Or Kelowna, if you’re on UBC’s Okanagan campus!]

2. You’ll get answers to your questions from current UBC students.

“The orientation leaders provide the benefit of their experiences and are able to understand your concerns as a first-year student.”

“The student leaders are a meaningful resource and you can discuss anything and everything with them.”

3. You’ll feel more prepared for the start of the school year.

“Jump Start prepared me for the biggest change in my life, giving me the confidence I needed to emotionally succeed in this experience.”

4. You’ll get a taste of just how diverse the UBC community really is.

“You will meet people from all over the world.”

5. You’ll start making friends before classes even begin.

“Jumpstart enabled me to form long-lasting friendships and made me feel like a part of the UBC community.”

“You’ll get to know the people in your program as well as some of your professors.”

Ready to register?

Register for Jump Start on the Okanagan campus by July 31.

Register for Jump Start on the Vancouver campus by July 8.

UBC Collegia: A home away from home on campus

UBC Collegia: A home away from home on campus

Whether you’re facing a long commute or a taking a quick bus ride to UBC, feeling like part of the university community can be challenging if you don’t have a home base on campus. UBC Collegia are spaces that help commuter students to fully experience life at UBC.


Okanagan campus

Each Collegium on the Okanagan campus has comfortable furniture, dedicated workspaces, and a kitchen to make you feel right at home.

 

There are three different Collegia spaces on the Okanagan campus where you can relax, eat lunch, do schoolwork, or spend time with friends between classes. Each Collegium is staffed by senior students who can answer your questions, refer you to campus resources, and help plan activities and events. 

 

First and Second Year Collegium

Also known as the Junior Collegium, this space is the perfect place for new-to-UBC students to find community on campus. Come here to meet other students from your program – or cross paths with people from completely different faculties.

 

Upper Levels Collegium

Also known as the Senior Collegium, this space is traditionally a quieter spot for students to study, work on group projects, or unwind. Come here to enjoy a peaceful coffee break or get a head start on your assignments.

 

Global Collegium

You don’t need to be an international student to visit the Global Collegium. If you’re interested in discovering new cultures and sharing your own, you’re welcome here – no passport required! Come here to meet UBC students from across Canada and around the world.

 

What students are saying

“Working in a Collegium allowed me to meet so many students and make friends that I may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. It’s a great resource for students to feel like part of a community.”

– Collegia assistant, Biology, Okanagan campus

How to get involved

No registration or membership is required to use the Collegia on the Okanagan campus. If you’re interested, stop by for a visit.

Learn more about UBC Collegia on the Okanagan campus


Vancouver campus

If you’ll be commuting to campus, you’re part of the majority: more than 75% of students on UBC’s Vancouver campus bike, drive, or take transit to campus. As you begin to think about your first year at UBC, you may be wondering where you’ll be able to warm up your lunch, relax between classes, or meet people.

UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus provide all of this and more. Each space has a kitchen, comfy couches, and friendly advisors who are happy to chat and help you settle into life at UBC. There are also lots of activities designed to connect you with new friends, on-campus services, faculty members, and peer support.

 

What students are saying

“I always feel welcome when I visit Collegia, which is almost every day. It is an amazing place just to take a break from a hectic school day or to just visit and socialize.”

– Collegia member, first-year Arts, Vancouver campus


“UBC Collegia was a space where I could catch up with friends during the day and study in the evenings. I got a good head start on getting involved, learning about the resources on campus, and getting myself to delve out of my comfort zone. Overall, I definitely feel more equipped to venture off to second year with the start UBC Collegia provided.”

– Collegia member, first-year Science, Vancouver campus

 

How to get involved

If you’re a first-year commuter student on UBC’s Vancouver campus and you’re interested in Collegia, register now to secure your spot.

Never too early for a campus tour

Never too early for a campus tour

Are you heading into your final year of high school in September? Now’s a good time to start thinking about which universities you’d like to apply to for admission in 2020. Visiting campus is the best way to see if you can picture yourself at any university, including UBC.

How we do campus tours at UBC

All of our campus tours are led by our friendly (and knowledgeable!) student ambassadors – actual UBC students who are currently studying at the University and eager to show you around the Okanagan or Vancouver campus. They’ll take you to some of their favourite spots to learn, study, work up a sweat, and relax between classes. Best of all, you’ll get to see it all through the eyes of someone with firsthand experience of UBC life.

Three tips to make the most of your tour

  1. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Your walking tour will last approximately 90 minutes on the Okanagan campus or 2 hours on the Vancouver campus – and you’ll spend much of that time outside.
  2. Bring your family. Choosing a university is a big decision and significant financial commitment. If you fall in love with UBC, you’ll want your family on board too.
  3. Ask questions! During the tour, your student ambassador guide can tell you more about student life, and campus events and activities. After the tour ends, a UBC advisor will be available to answer questions about undergraduate programs, admissions, finances, and scholarships and awards.

Ready to come for a visit?

Sign up for a campus tour online