Graduate Awards Overview

The University of Northern British Columbia is committed to encouraging students from diverse backgrounds and experience to further their academic education through the establishment of scholarships, which promote academic excellence, and bursaries, which assist students in overcoming financial barriers to post-secondary education. All awards established at the University of Northern British Columbia are subject to acceptance by the University Senate.  The on-line Scholarship, Bursary and Award Guide is a comprehensive listing of awards available to UNBC students.

To view detailed information on available awards and selection criteria consult the Scholarship, Bursary and Awards Guide.

Graduate Entrance Award Competitions
Under Review - the Graduate Entrance Award competition process is currently under review by the Vice President Research & Graduate Programs Office.  Once finalized information will be listed here.

  • GES & GERA Competition for May* 2018 Semester & September 2018 Semester Entries - CLOSED
  • GES & GERA Competition for January* 2019 Semester Entry - CLOSED

* Not all graduate programs have entry in these semesters.  Check the Graduate Admissions website to determine available entries for the graduate program you are interested in.

2018-2019 UNBC Award Competitions - Closed
The 2018-2019 UNBC Award Competitions are now closed (the deadline was March 1, 2018).

Students who applied for awards by the March 1st deadline should monitor their mail/email* as award offers will start to go out as follows, and will continue going out over the summer months:

  • General Awards - June
  • Graduate Awards - revised to June

    * Ensure that your mailing address is up-to-date via your MyUNBC Student Online Services portal, AND ensure you monitor your UNBC email over the summer months. 


Unless otherwise stated these definitions apply to the criteria listed in the online Awards Guide.

Academic Excellence

Normally a minimum A average, equivalent to or greater than a 4.00 GPA.

Academic Proficiency

Normally a B+ average, equivalent to or greater than a 3.33 GPA.

Satisfactory Academic Standing

Normally a minimum B average, equivalent or greater than a 3.00 GPA.

Minimum Standing

For the purpose of awards eligibility, minimum standing ("passing grades") shall be considered equivalent to satisfactory academic standing.

Cumulative GPA

For continuing graduate students, academic standing shall be determined by the cumulative GPA in the student's current graduate program.

Full-time Graduate Student

A full-time student is a graduate student who is enrolled in six credits or more per semester, or is enrolled in a thesis, project or comprehensive examination.

Resident of Northern BC

A person who resides in a northern community located within the regions established under the College and Institute Act for the College of New Caledonia, Northern Lights College and Coast Mountain College.

A resident of northern British Columbia is defined as a person whose principal residence for twelve consecutive months immediately prior to admission at UNBC is within the defined region.

Health Sciences

For those awards where "health sciences" is stated in the criteria, students who are considering a career in health sciences related fields are encouraged to state their academic/career goals on the appropriate online awards application.  Examples of eligible programs included but are not limited to:

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Community/Health Science
  • Disability Management
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Social Work

Award Types


An award may be a fellowship, scholarship, bursary, prize or other monetary recognition assigned to a student.


Usually available only to graduate students, awarded on the basis of high academic achievement (academic excellence or academic proficiency) toward which secondary criteria may be applied.


Awarded on the basis of high academic achievement (academic excellence or academic proficiency) toward which secondary criteria may be applied.


Awarded on the basis of demonstrable financial need, provided the student has met the requirement of satisfactory academic standing, toward which secondary criteria including academic achievement may be applied.


The award's value may be non-monetary, such as a book or other gift-in-kind, or if monetary, its value is normally less than $250.


The award is an academic medal, awarded on the basis of academic excellence or academic proficiency, toward which secondary criteria may be applied.

Award Categories


Graduate Awards are set aside for students who have been admitted into the Graduate Studies program at UNBC.

Graduation Awards

Please see Academic Regulation 17 (Academic Distinction).

Graduation with Distinction

Each year a very small number of students will be graduated with Distinction.  Selection criteria take into account the student's overall academic record and, as appropriate, the quality of the thesis; and are applied by a Dean's Committee on Graduate Honours chaired by the Dean of Graduate Programs.  Students do not apply for graduation with distinction.


These awards may be available to a variety of UNBC students, including new undergraduates, transfer, undergraduate in-course students, and graduate students. Some awards may also be available to Faculty.

Administrative Policies

Unless otherwise stated these policies apply to the criteria listed in the online Awards Guide.

Graduate Awards

Students commencing or continuing in Graduate Studies at UNBC are encouraged to apply for UNBC's Graduate Awards. To be considered for awards adjudicated on the basis of criteria such as community service or written research intent, it is recommended that students submit a resume, or curriculum vitae and thesis proposal along with a completed Graduate Awards application form to the Awards and Financial Aid Office. Applicants may be evaluated on the basis of their admission GPA or their cumulative GPA.

Awards Ceiling

The University reserves the right to limit the amount of money awarded to any student and, if necessary, to reassign awards to other students by reversion. The Senate Committee on Scholarships and Bursaries will generally recommend that no individual student receive an award or combination of awards exceeding a determined value.  Currently the Graduate award ceiling is $15,000 per academic year (this does not include external awards).


It is generally understood that students will be enrolling in both the Fall and the Winter Semesters. Funds will be deposited directly into the students' UNBC accounts in two equal disbursements: the first on or about September 10 and the second on or about January 10.

Awards over a determined value may be disbursed on a monthly basis over a twelve month period.

Awards for continuing graduate students may  normally be deferred for a period of one semester only. Requests for deferrals must be made in writing to the Awards and Financial Aid office.  New graduate students who have been offered an entrance award may be granted a deferral of their award only if they have been granted a deferral of their admission to UNBC.

The University reserves the right to apply awards proceeds against outstanding fees owing to the University. If the amount of the award or awards exceeds the unpaid fees for the semester, the student may apply for a refund of the excess balance after the add/drop deadline has past.


The full amount of scholarships, fellowships, and bursaries that are received by students with respect to your enrolment in a program that entitles you to claim the education amount are not taxable and are no longer reported as income on your tax return.  If you are not eligible for the education amount, report on your tax return only the amount that is more than $500.


Any award may be withheld or cancelled for any of these reasons: lack of suitable candidates; failure to meet the terms and conditions of the award; withdrawal from the University or withdrawal of the award by the donor. Furthermore, the University assumes liability for the payment of scholarships, bursaries, prizes, and other awards only to the extent that expected gifts from donors or returns from particular investments of endowed funds are realized. The University also reserves the right to make whatever changes are required, including cancellation of particular awards or changes to criteria.


Unless otherwise stated, all awards are conditional upon confirmation of full-time registration at the University of Northern British Columbia in the semesters immediately following the granting of the award.