Living in Vancouver

The Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries is located on the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey Campus. This is the unceded, ancestral, and traditional territory of the Musqueam people.

Learning at UBC means enjoying a superb campus in one of the planet’s truly spectacular cities – Vancouver. Vancouver is British Columbia’s cosmopolitan urban centre, providing a temperate climate, safe streets, a vibrant arts and cultural scene, and a welcoming, culturally diverse population.

Getting to Canada

For all international students, before you arrive to Canada please ensure that you have acquired all of the necessary immigration documents. Please apply for a study permit as soon as possible after your acceptance into UBC. The process can typically take up to four to six months. In addition, you must have the following documents upon your first arrival:

  • Passport
  • Letter of Introduction (issued by Canadian visa officers as approval of study permit application)
  • Temporary Resident Visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), depending on country of citizenship
  • UBC Letter of Acceptance
  • Proof of funds

If you do not have the required documents, you will not be allowed to enter or study in Canada.

For more information on immigration requirements, please click here.


As a world-class city, accommodation is competitive and cost of living is high. Before your arrival, please ensure that you have made the adequate financial and accommodation arrangements. For details on costs and expenses, please visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Cost of Living Estimate.

On-campus accommodation

UBC offers various on-campus accommodation options, including four residences specifically for graduate students:
Fairview Crescent, Thunderbird, Marine Drive Residence, and Acadia Park.

Places are allocated on a first-come, first served basis so apply early (before Feb 1).

There are three residences run independently of UBC Housing.

Additional housing options are available on the:

Off-campus housing

Several resources are available to help find housing:

  • UBC Housing’s Living off campus site
  • AMS Rentsline
  • Housing boards and notices around campus – Grad Student Centre, AMS Nest, UBC bus loop, departmental notice boards, etc.
  • Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Courier classified ads
  • Students may ask the Graduate Program Officer or their supervisor to send a notice out to the current students asking if anyone has a room to rent.

Note: Be careful when applying for housing through anonymous online services, (e.g., CraigsList). There have been attempts to defraud new UBC students. Always get someone to verify the legitimacy of a rental before paying anything.

Getting Around

  • Transit (TransLink buses, Skytrains and Seabus)
    • U-Pass: Through the U-Pass provided by UBC, students get unlimited access to bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and Canada Line transit services within Metro Vancouver, as well as discounts on West Coast Express, at a greatly reduced rate that is assessed as part of your student fees. Your U-Pass can be loaded onto an adult-class Compass Card, which are available from any SkyTrain Station and TransLink Fare Dealers including the UBC Bookstore. The U-Pass must be requested monthly and may take up to 24 hours to activate; you can request your U-Pass starting on the 16th of every month.
  • Vancouver cycling routes and maps
  • UBC Parking: Brought your own car? Yes, there is parking on campus (though it is expensive and not always plentiful).

More Information