Graduate Awards Overview

All awards established at the University of Northern British Columbia are subject to acceptance by the University Senate. The online 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.

Main Annual 2021-2022 UNBC Award Competition - Offers Sent

The majority of award offers for the above competition have been emailed to student email addresses.  More may be coming over the summer.  If you have been granted admission to UNBC, stay tuned to your "MyUNBC / Awards & Financial Aid / Award Application" menu as the "Status" column will update to state "offer sent" if the above occurs, which should prompt you to check your UNBC email for the award offer and terms/conditions.

If you missed applying for the main Annual UNBC Award Competition, don't worry - stay tuned as the Fall 2021 UNBC Awards Competition will open Sep 15th and close Oct 14th.  This competition is for students who register in courses for the September 2021 Semester and will have any awards remaining from the main Annual UNBC Awards Competition, and any newly created awards that we can disburse at that time.

Graduate Entrance Research Scholarship (GERS) - Applicants Automatically Considered For

Valued at $15,000 each, these scholarships are available to full-time* students who are entering a Master's or Doctoral program at UNBC for the first time who have not previously held an Entrance Award**. To be eligible for an award students must have the intention to enrol in a Thesis or a Project based degree. Consideration is based on a Graduate Admission GPA of 3.67 or greater, and an alignment with UNBC's research priorities.

UNBC's research priorities can include but are not limited to:

  • UNBC Strategic Research Areas:  Environment and Natural Resources; Community Development; Northern, Rural and Environmental Health; First Nations and Indigenous Studies.
  • A connection to the mandate, goals or areas of specialization within the UNBC Graduate Studies Program.

If applicants to a UNBC Master's or Doctoral program meet the eligibility requirements they will be automatically considered for this award, there is no application required.  Students will find out if they have received an award after they receive notification of their admission decision.

* Applicants/students in the MBA Program are not eligible to apply for this scholarship as the MBA Program is offered on a weekend delivery basis.
** A Graduate Entrance Scholarship (GES), Graduate Entrance Research Award (GERA), Graduate Entrance Research Scholarship (GERS).  GES & GERA competitions no longer active past January 2020 Entry.

BC Graduate Scholarship Program for Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents - Closed

Valued at $15,000.00 each, these awards are available to full-time students who are entering a Master’s or Doctoral program at the University of Northern British Columbia. Scholarships are provided by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training(the ministry) as a merit based scholarship to reward student excellence within research-intensive and professional graduate programs.

Eligibility: Students must be in a graduate level program and have completed between 0 - 12 months of studies by September 1st, 2021. Students must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. Students cannot have previously received a BC Graduate Scholarship or other Entrance Award from UNBC during their program.

Eligible degree programs will include both research-intensive and professional graduate programs, with an emphasis, but not exclusive focus, on disciplines related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship and Design, Indigenous and regional programs. Consideration is based on a Graduate Admission GPA of 3.67 or greater, and an alignment with UNBC's research priorities. Students can only apply once during their degree. Priority will be given to students who have not previously received a UNBC entrance award.

It is anticipated that decisions on recipients of the BC Graduate Program Scholarship will receive an offer to their email address with terms and conditions starting in mid-to-late July 2021.

Award Information


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 applies for admission with full-time status and who enrolls 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.  For UNBC Award purposes the above encompasses north of 100 Mile House up to the Yukon border, east to the Alberta border, west to Haida Gwaii. 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 an online Graduate Awards application to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit via Depending on award eligibility/criteria, applicants may be evaluated on the basis of their Admission GPA (AGPA) or their Cumulative GPA (CGPA).

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 September and the January Semesters. Funds will be deposited directly into the students' UNBC accounts in two equal disbursements, just prior to start of classes in the September Semester and the January Semester.

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 via email to the Awards and Financial Aid Unit via  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 tuition/fees owing to the University. If the amount of the award or awards exceeds the unpaid tuition/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.