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Visiting International Research Students (VIRS)

UBC is a hub for outstanding researchers from around the world and welcomes visiting international research students (VIRS) to participate in our community of inquiry.

The VIRS program provides admission to UBC for international students conducting research full-time at UBC. The student is under the supervision of a UBC faculty member. Since 2014, UBC has welcomed over 2500 VIRS students from over 650 universities and 85 different countries. The VIRS program is managed by Go Global under the Office of the Vice Provost, International. 

While registered as full-time students at UBC, VIRS students may not enroll in academic courses for credit, nor formally audit courses.

What is Full time?

The VIRS admission process is rolling and there are no deadlines. We strongly encourage students to submit their applications at least 8 weeks before the intended date of arrival. Learn more about the VIRS application process.


Students must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for admission:

  1. Not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status (i.e. international student)
  2. Actively pursuing a degree at a post-secondary institution in Canada or abroad (undergraduate, graduate, or graduate-equivalent program) OR be part of a recognized bridging program
    • Examples of bridging programs: The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) and Mitacs Globalink. Please contact us with respect to other programs.
  3. Will maintain enrollment at their home university for the duration of their stay at UBC
  4. Intend to come to UBC for 1 to 12 months for the primary purpose of research related to their academic program at their home university
  5. Have no intention to enter into an employment relationship with the university related to the research
  6. Obtain the approval for research activities at UBC by obtaining signatures from:
    1. Host supervisor (i.e. a UBC faculty member who has agreed to act as supervisor through the proposed research period at UBC),

    2. UBC Department Head for the unit or laboratory with which the visiting research student will be affiliated,

    3. Home university or sponsoring program,

    4. Supervisor from home institution.

English language and academic qualifications

There is no specific English-language proficiency requirement, nor an academic grade point average requirement, for admission through VIRS. It is the responsibility of the UBC host professor and department to determine VIRS applicants’ qualifications to undertake the research. Go Global will review students’ applications for basic eligibility, and admit eligible students to the university.

Apply Now

Getting a UBC supervisor as a VIRS student

It is the responsibility of an individual applicant to identify, contact, and obtain approval from a UBC faculty member who will be their VIRS supervisor.

Identify a potential supervisor who best matches your research interests and academic background.

UBC's Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website hosts a database of UBC professors and their research interests.

UBC Research Supervisors Database

Faculties and Schools at UBC's Vancouver Campus

Faculties and Schools at UBC's Okanagan Campus

Prospective students - is VIRS the right pathway?

VIRS is the approved pathway for international students who wish to do research-only activity at UBC. If you meet the eligibility requirements and do not wish to take courses at UBC, then VIRS is the correct admission pathway.

In other scenarios, there are other pathways that may be appropriate:

Learn more about the VIRS Program


VIRS Program Advisor

Email enquiries + advising appointments

When emailing us, please include your full name and student number in the subject line.

Go Global advising available via email at

VIRS Program Advisor

Pavlo Bereas

Go Global

Telephone: 604 822 0942

UBC Life Building
1100 - 6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1

Go Global Vancouver Office Hours

9:30 am - 4:00 pm
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
9:30 am - 4:00 pm