Visiting International Research Students

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. Go Global’s VIRS program gives students from outside Canada university admission when they are conducting full-time research at UBC under the supervision of a UBC faculty member. 

Our university has welcomed more than 2,500 VIRS students from 650-plus universities and 85 countries since 2014 alone. The framework provides a consistent status for researchers and resources for both faculty and their visiting students in order to avoid risks associated with working on campus without formal affiliation.

UBC admits VIRS students with full-time student status for the period of the research studies. They get a university student number, online login and UBC student Card. Students can use the login ID and UBC Card to access our libraries and systems, online research tools and access to some campus locations, such as labs, computer labs and departmental lounges.


The supervisor’s role varies depending on the nature of the research and the arrangement between the student and the professor.

Expectations for UBC faculty are:

  1. Student selection
    The UBC host professor and/or department is responsible for determining the qualifications of prospective VIRS students. Go Global reviews applications for basic eligibility, but does not assess students’ academic history or English language ability.
  2. Provide a workspace and appropriate access to departmental facilities
    VIRS students should have a reasonable space to undertake their research. Once they are on campus, students will get a UBC Card to access facilities.
  3. Mentorship and accessibility
    The host profession should be accessible to the student for consultation and discussion of the student’s academic progress and research. The frequency of meetings will vary according to the discipline, stage of work, nature of the project, independence of the student, full- or part-time status, etc.
  4. Discuss mutual expectations, deadlines and forms of communication
    We recommended that the host supervisor discusses mutual expectations with the student and defines a research plan at the outset.
  5. Departmental and safety orientation
    We ask that you ensure your VIRS student is introduced to relevant students, staff and faculty in your lab or department, and provide relevant safety training.
  6. Report accidents and consider accident insurance
    Should any accidents occur involving the student, please report the details on UBC’s Centralized Accident / Incident Reporting System (CAIRS). You may obtain optional student accident insurance on the student’s behalf through UBC Risk Management. The cost is $7/year per student and the insurance must be purchased through the department administration.

“The student had a very strong background and his presence in my laboratory was inspirational to my other students. Useful engineering/science discussions were frequent, and positive networking was established.”

“The student was able to revitalize an area of research in the lab that no one was currently working on. It further allowed Canadian students in my lab to have a future connection to a German laboratory.”

“In addition to working on self-initiated research, I had the opportunity to involve the student in a new project I got involved in. This resulted in a submission to a special issue in a journal and a quick acceptance of the paper.”


More information