Special circumstances for students receiving awards


Most undergraduate students who earn scholarships and other merit-based awards are required to meet the minimum credit-load and academic performance criteria, according to the Regulations Governing University Awards. However, there are some special circumstances in which exceptions apply.

Exceptions to minimum credit rules

To earn and retain a scholarship or other academic awards, undergraduates must be registered in 24 percentage-graded credits in a Winter session. In the following cases, students may be able to earn and retain an award with a reduced credit load:

Varsity athletes

If you are a UBC varsity athlete, you may receive and earn scholarships and academic awards on as few as 18 credits in the Winter session. You will need to provide a letter from Athletics confirming their commitment to the varsity team and their need to study at a reduced course load.

Students with a disability

Students registered with the Centre for Accessibility 

You will need a letter or email from an Accessibility Advisor confirming your registration and need to study at a reduced course load. The letter must indicate the number of credits you can take each term, which would be equivalent to a full-time course load.

Students not registered with the Centre for Accessibility 

You will need a letter from a medical professional confirming your medical condition and the need to study at reduced course load is required.

Final year of study

If you are registered in fewer than 24 credits in your final year of study, you may retain scholarships or other academic awards and/or be eligible for a prize or other year-end award. This is possible if their Faculty or Department confirms that this number of credits is sufficient to meet graduation requirements for the May graduation period (at the end of the current Winter session).

Extenuating circumstances

You will be required to submit supporting documentation to Enrolment Services confirming your inability to meet the minimum requirements under Senate Regulations.

Depending on the situation, the documentation can be from a physician, counselor, academic advisor, or other appropriate professional.

If you have already provided documentation to another UBC unit/faculty who approves this request, you do not need to submit documentation to Enrolment Services. Staff in Enrolment Services can make a decision based on communication received from another UBC unit/faculty.

Students on exchange terms

A number of scholarships and awards are available specifically to students going on exchange. 

Retain your award while on exchange

Students who are registered in exchange for only one academic term must complete a minimum of 12 credits during the UBC academic term in order to retain their award and renewable award eligibility.

Eligibility for scholarships after exchange

Renewable scholarships

Recipients of renewable scholarship may continue to receive funding while registered in an exchange program. Students on exchange are presumed to be enrolled in a full-time course load at the exchange institution. Since UBC scholarships are based on results from your previous Winter Session at UBC, you won't receive automatic eligibility because UBC will not have grades or credit information from your time away on exchange. You'll be required to submit a transcript to the office administering your award and meet the UBC award credit and academic requirements.

For details, please contact Enrolment Services.

Non-renewable scholarships

Students participating in an approved exchange program may be eligible to receive scholarships and other academic awards provided if they satisfy UBC Senate Regulations and the following special conditions:

  • For scholarships in the following Winter session, students on exchange must be registered in a minimum of 24 percentage graded credits overall at UBC and/or the exchange institution during the current Winter session.
  • For recommended awards, students normally need to submit an exchange transcript to their faculty/department. Check with faculty or department advising offices for details.
  • For scholarships adjudicated by Enrolment Services, students must submit a copy of their exchange transcript by the award program deadline. For competitive scholarships, grades from exchange terms will need to be compared and converted to UBC grades so that a GPA can be calculated for award eligibility, where required.

Students on co-op terms

Students in a Co-op program may be eligible for scholarships in the following academic term, as long as they satisfy the UBC Senate Regulations and the special conditions below.

Co-op term during a Winter Session 

If you have one Co-op work term and one academic term (in classes) over the same Winter Session, scholarships will be affected in the following ways:

For scholarships during a Co-op year

  • You must be registered in at least 12 credits during the academic term to receive the scholarship.
  • The full amount will be paid during the academic term, even if it would normally be split over both terms

Scholarship eligibility for the following year

  • Co-op courses will not count toward academic averages when calculating awards eligibility for the following year
  • Since you will have taken fewer credits during the year with one Co-op term, the average for scholarships will be calculated on the best 12 credits (normally based on 24 credits).
  • Because you will have only completed half a full course load during the Co-op year, you will only be eligible for scholarships at half-value the following year. This eligibility should balance out over the course of the degree, as it will take a year longer to complete and you will have an additional year of scholarship eligibility as a result.

Example scenario: A student receiving a $2,000 scholarship this school year was on Co-op for Term 1. They received the entire $2,000 in Term 2, since they were registered in at least 12 credits.

The same student is now being considered for a $3,000 scholarship for the following year. Their academic average is based on their best 12 credits (not counting the Co-op course). If the student is eligible, they will receive $1,500 of the scholarship, because they completed only half an academic course load this year.

Two Co-op terms during a Winter Session

You will have their award deferred to their next academic term during the Winter Session after their co-op year.

Co-op courses will not count toward academic averages when calculating awards eligibility for the following year

Example scenario: Annie is registered in 24 credits during the 2020 Winter session. Based on the grades in this session, she earns a Trek award in the 2021 winter session. Annie decides to complete two co-op terms in the 2021 Winter session (both Sep – Dec 2021 and Jan – Apr 2022). Her award will be deferred to the 2022 Winter Session where she will once again be in academic studies.

Renewable awards

If you are a Co-op student with a renewable entrance scholarship, you will receive the same total monetary value, but the funding will be spread over the Winter Session academic terms only. These rules are identical to those listed above, and the student will still need to meet the renewal criteria specific to their scholarship.

Sign up for Direct Deposit

University awards are normally applied to your tuition first. If your award is greater than your tuition, a refund for the remaining amount will be issued. Sign up for the direct deposit on your Student Service Centre (SSC) to have the refund directly deposited into your bank account. Direct deposit is highly recommended to ensure you receive the award funding. If you have questions, please contact an Enrolment Services Advisor (ES Advisor). Learn more about direct deposit

If you would like your cheque paid into your UBC tuition account, contact an ES Advisor.

If you have questions

If you're an undergraduate student, please contact your Enrolment Services Advisor directly. To find your advisor’s contact information, log into your Student Services Centre (SSC) and select “UBC Contacts” under Personal Info.  

Graduate, postgraduate, and all other students can contact an Enrolment Services Advisor by calling 604 822 9836 or submitting your question through the online form.