Health insurance at UBC

Health insurance at UBC

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


How do I get basic health insurance?

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.

Canadian students coming from abroad

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada coming 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 private temporary insurance plan for the first three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect.

International students

Canada has a public healthcare 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 first three-month period before your MSP coverage takes effect, you’ll automatically be enrolled in a temporary health insurance plan called iMED after you register for courses if you are a new UBC student. Your iMED coverage will begin on August 1 and will be valid until October 31. If you are a one-term exchange student or Visiting International Research Student, you have different coverage dates. If you are an international student who previously studied at UBC, you will not be covered under iMED and should make arrangements to join the Global Campus Health Plan or another private temporary insurance plan for the three-month MSP wait period.

A couple of tips:

  • If you arrive in BC before August 1, purchase advance iMED coverage.
  • If you arrive after August 31, submit a date change form so that your iMED dates match your MSP waiting period.
  • If you already have MSP, or you will be covered by another provincial health plan for the waiting period, or you already have required health insurance through a third party organization who is funding your studies, be sure to opt-out of iMED by the deadline.

Visit the health insurance for international students page to learn more about the differences between iMED, MSP and the AMS/GSS Health and Dental plan (Vancouver campus) or SUO Health and Dental Plan (Okanagan Campus). If you have questions about healthcare or coverage in Canada, please contact an International Student Advisor on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus.


How do I get extended health insurance?

Extended health and dental plans are designed to take care of some expenses not covered by basic health insurance plans. 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. Certain exceptions may apply, so make sure you check your Student Service Centre (SSC) account to confirm that you’ve been enrolled and charged the appropriate fee.

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 healthcare 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 Student Health Clinic on the Okanagan campus and Student Health Service on the Vancouver campus offer on-campus medical clinics. If you are an international student you can also connect with International Student Advising on the Okanagan or Vancouver campus for guidance.


What if I have a documented disability?

If you have a documented disability and require disability-related accommodation or academic support, please make an appointment to discuss your eligibility with the Disability Resource Centre on the Okanagan campus or Centre for Accessibility on the Vancouver campus.



UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus: A home away from home for commuters

UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus: A home away from home for commuters

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, and peer support.



What you’ll find in your Collegia

In your first-year Collegia, you can expect:

  • Bright, open space with floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Kitchen facilities with an oven, microwaves, refrigerators, small appliances, dishes, and cutlery
  • Study spaces with desks, lamps, and shelves
  • Comfortable lounge chairs, sofas, and fireplace
  • End-of-trip facilities including showers and lockers
  • Secure Wifi and plenty of outlets to charge your devices
  • A social area with board games, cards, and activities


šxʷta:təχʷəm Collegium

šxʷta:təχʷəm Collegium is a community for self-identifying Indigenous students of all years, both undergraduate and graduate, to meet one another, connect over their experiences at UBC, and learn from upper-year peer leaders and faculty members.

First-year Indigenous students will have access to both a first-year Collegia community as well as the šxʷta:təχʷəm Collegium community.


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. Registration closes on August 31, 2023.

If you are an Indigenous student who has self-identified on the SSC, then you will be automatically granted access to šxʷta:təχʷəm Collegium in the fall!

First-year writing, communication, or English requirements

First-year writing, communication, or English requirements

As a UBC student, you’ll need to have 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 writing, communication, or 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 writing, communication, or English requirements are something you need to meet now that you’re a UBC student.


What are my first-year writing, communication, or English requirements?

To check how many credits you must complete and which courses will fulfill your degree requirements, please refer to the undergraduate degree requirements for your Faculty at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver.


What is the first-year English course entry requirement?

UBC Okanagan

To stay enrolled in your first-year English courses, you must meet the first-year English course prerequisites for UBC Okanagan.

UBC Vancouver

First-year English courses for UBC Vancouver do not have any prerequisites.



Financial planning and student loans

Financial planning and student loans

Going to university is an investment in your future. 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. To help you offset your costs, student loans and bursaries are two options you may want to consider.

Student loans

For Canadian citizens or permanent residents

If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you may be eligible for a student loan if you’re studying at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver. 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 at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver. 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.

For US citizens or dual US-Canadian citizens

If you’re a US citizen, or a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, you’re eligible to apply for a Direct Loan (Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and/or Direct PLUS 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.


If you’re a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or refugee, and you have unmet financial need even after receiving a student loan, you may be eligible for a UBC bursary from UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver. If you’re interested in a bursary, we recommend submitting a student loan application by July 31 to ensure that your student loan is confirmed by the bursary application deadline of September 15.


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

UBC Okanagan: Contact Student Records and Financial Services at or +1.250.807.9100

UBC Vancouver: Contact your Enrolment Services Advisor.

IB, AP, and A-Levels: Course registration and first-year credit

IB, AP, and A-Levels: Course registration and first-year credit

UBC offers International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP) credit and A-Level (British-patterned education) credit to new first-year students who are eligible. If you think you’re eligible for first-year credit based on your IB, AP, or A-Level courses and grades, you’ll need to follow these steps.

Step 1: Send us your scores

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

If you are waiting for credits to appear on your record, please be patient. You will likely see your credits start to appear on your Student Service Centre account from the final week of July until late August. To view your credits, log in to the Student Service Centre and click “Grades & Records,” followed by “Transfer Credit.”

Please don’t contact us if you don’t see all of your first-year credits applied all at once. We evaluate credits subject by subject, so you might see credit posted on different dates.

Step 2: Plan to register for your UBC courses

Make sure that you’re ready to register for your classes. Read up on tips for registration, find your Okanagan registration date or your Vancouver registration date, build your draft worklists and review any first-year credits in your Student Service Centre (SSC).

Please note that it is only when your first year credits are updated, that you can consider making changes to your schedule and course registrations by the course change dates (also known as the add/drop deadlines).

If you have questions or concerns about what courses you need to register for – for example, whether you should be registering in first- or second-year courses – please contact your faculty or academic advisor at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver for assistance and recommendations.

Other questions?

If you have other questions about degree planning and course selection, an academic advisor from your faculty at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver will be the best resource.

Register now for Academic Essentials

Register now for Academic Essentials

If you’ve accepted your offer to UBC Vancouver, you can start sharpening the skills you’ll need to succeed in your first term by taking part in Academic Essentials. These free online courses will help you develop strategies and techniques to successfully transition to university learning – all at your own pace.

Why Academic Essentials?

The Academic Essentials courses are designed to make sure you have a strong grasp of fundamental concepts, and the academic skills and mindset to succeed in a university setting, all so that you can hit the ground running in September.

All of the courses are offered for free and none of them are for credit (so they won’t appear on your transcript), meaning you can engage with them at your own pace and on your own schedule. As part of the curriculum, you’ll be able to access a library of online materials and resources, and you’ll to study on your own time. You’ll also have the opportunity to interact with your course facilitators, who are all current UBC students and who will be happy to share their own tips and academic experiences with you.

All Academic Essentials courses run from July 4 to August 11, 2023.

What you’ll learn

Academic Essentials courses are self-paced and self-directed, with new content released every week. For each course, you’ll enjoy two-to-three hours of engagement with the material each week, and take part in assignments to help you get the most out of the content. You can register for as many courses as you like. Choose from:

Academic Essentials: Reading and Writing at University

  • Learn strategies for active listening and critical reading for your UBC classes.
  • Become familiar with the UBC library system and the structures of academic articles.
  • Begin to develop your own writing voice, and explore different areas of research.
  • Interact with course facilitators through discussions and short writing exercises.

Academic Essentials: Readiness for University Mathematics

  • Discover the habits and strategies you’ll need to be successful in your math classes at UBC.
  • Learn how to approach and solve new problems, and when to ask for help.
  • Practice fundamentals like algebra, functions, graphs, and geometry.
  • Self-assess the prerequisite skills and concepts needed for UBC calculus classes.

Academic Essentials: Live Well to Learn Well

  • Get tips on how to transition from high school to university.
  • Develop a personalized action plan to excel in your time at UBC.
  • Develop study strategies and self-assessment skills that will ensure success in your studies.
  • Find out how to access academic and wellness resources at UBC.

How to register

Click the links below to enrol in the course(s) of your choice. You can choose from one, two, or all three courses, and you’ll need to register for each individually. You’ll need your CWL from your UBC admission package to sign up.

Register for Reading and Writing at University

Register for Readiness for University Mathematics

Register for Live Well to Learn Well

What students are saying

“[Academic Essentials] was a great way to get a taste of university life and explore different aspects of academic work. I was able to see how the same content taught to me can be approached and understood in different ways. The feedback and support from the peers and mentors in the program helped me feel more confident in what I knew, while allowing me to learn and grow.”Rajalakshmi N., Bachelor of Applied Science

Register now for Jump Start at UBC Okanagan

Register now for Jump Start at UBC Okanagan

If you’re entering first year at UBC Okanagan and coming directly from high school, Jump Start at UBC Okanagan is for you! In this multi-day orientation you will take care of the essentials before your first day, let you meet your UBC Okanagan academic community, and make your first friends.

What to expect

You’ll take part in Jump Start’s commuter stream or residence stream, depending on whether you’re living on or off campus in your first term. Each stream is a tailored way to help you make friends before the first day of term through fun social activities in small groups of around 25. You’ll join us on campus during the day for fun programming, and optionally in the evenings for a variety of social events.

Whichever stream is right for you, you’ll enjoy academic success workshops designed to welcome you to your program, as well as the chance to connect with faculty members, staff, and upper-year students who are available to help you throughout your time at UBC. You’ll find out what it’s like to learn in a university environment and take part in sessions hosted by UBC Okanagan instructors to show you the campus’ resources and services. By getting the fundamentals out of the way, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters on your first day.

Jump Start dates

Jump Start at UBC Okanagan runs from August 28 to September 1. Residence students may begin moving in on August 26 – 27.

Register now

Registration is now open! Visit the Jump Start Okanagan webpage to complete the registration form, pay your fees, and save your spot. Registration will close on August 2 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

What students are saying

“I loved my experience being in Jump Start. Being surrounded with possible classmates and creating inseparable bonds and long-lasting fun memories was my largest take-away. Being a part of Jump Start allowed me to adjust and figure out the campus very quickly. I would highly recommend joining Jump Start for all incoming students.”Marvin L., Bachelor of Management


“Jump Start was incredibly helpful in helping me to make friends before school began. Through the program, I was able to meet a lot of new people who were also incoming first-year students. We participated in a variety of activities and events together, which helped us to bond and get to know each other better. By the time classes started, I already had a solid group of friends who I could turn to for support and advice.”Soumil C., BSc in Computer Science

Register now for Jump Start at UBC Vancouver

Register now for Jump Start at UBC Vancouver

If you’re entering first year at UBC Vancouver and coming directly from high school, you’ll want to register for Jump Start at UBC Vancouver. This multi-day program is designed to give you a first look at university life, let you meet your professors and academic community, and help you make your first friends!

What to expect

You’ll join a learning community of 30 students, led by an upper-year UBC student leader and a faculty fellow. Together, you’ll participate in a full range of activities during the program, from discovering the university learning environment and the classroom setting to fun events such as trivia nights, photo challenges, games, exercise, sports and dance tutorials, and art activities.

Residence stream

If you’re planning to live in student housing on campus (known at UBC as “residence”) in your first year, Jump Start gives you the opportunity to move in early, get to know campus, and meet new friends. You will enjoy scheduled group events with your classmates, as well as sessions and offerings you can take part in at your own pace.

Move-in for the Jump Start’s residence stream takes place on August 27. The five-day program runs from August 28 to September 1.

Commuter stream

If you’re planning to live off campus and will be commuting to UBC in your first year, Jump Start gives you the opportunity to practice your route to classes, get to know your new campus and your Collegium, and meet your first friends. The three-day program will include scheduled group events with your classmates, as well as sessions and offerings you can take part in at your own pace.

Jump Start’s commuter stream begins on August 30 and finishes on September 1.

Register now

Registration is now open! Visit the Jump Start Vancouver webpage to complete the registration form, pay the program fee, and save your spot.

Jump Start registration will close on July 6 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

If you’re concerned about your ability to afford Jump Start, contact your assigned Enrolment Services Advisor so they can learn more about your situation and provide you with financial guidance.

What students are saying

“Jump Start is such a great way to start the school year. I got to meet so many people who share common interests with me, and many of them I know I will be close friends with for life. It is also the perfect transition from summer to university, and also a great way to meet people and become familiar with the campus prior to classes.” – Katie A.

“I would recommend Jump Start because it has given me more time to get to know the campus and the people around me. I feel much more comfortable talking to new people and finding my way around campus than I did when I first arrived. I am glad that I already have this level of comfort now that classes are starting, and that I don’t have to try and figure it all out while also navigating my courses.” Keira S.