Living and Studying in Vancouver

Cost of Living

Rental costs in Vancouver typically range between $800-$1200/month depending on where in the city you choose to live. The beauty of Vancouver as a city is in its urban neighbourhoods, each of which has its own character. Our students live all over the city - from the convenience of on-campus apartments, to nearby Kitsilano and the eclectic buzz of Commercial Drive - finding their own niche wherever they feel most at home.

Vancouver has an excellent public transit system and your UBC student fees cover monthly transit passes. The 99 B-line connects UBC with Commercial Drive (at the opposite end of the city) with a steady stream of buses throughout the day, especially during peak hours.

Although the actual costs of living varies considerably between individuals, living costs typically range from $17,000-$21,000 per year, the largest variable being the cost of housing. The table below breaks down estimated costs for major living expenses based on a typical graduate student sharing an apartment. This analysis was based on the data provided by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  For a personalized cost of living calculation visit their website: (for Ph.D. students "tuition" should be deselected)

Housing $ 10500
Groceries $ 3900
Clothing/Personal Items $ 1500
Entertainment $ 1000
Student Fees (incl. UPass) $ 923
Medical & Health $ 682
TOTAL $ 18505


This table provides a reasonable idea of how much you should expect to spend on an annual basis to live in Vancouver while pursuing graduate studies at UBC. Our stipend exceeds these costs (although the details do depend on the specifics of your situation) and allow for some additional disposable income.

What do you get in return?


Vancouver (and Victoria) are the only major cities in Canada with an average low that remains above freezing during its coldest month. Other Canadian cities, such as Toronto (-7.9°C), Montréal (-14.9°C), Calgary (-15.7°C) and Edmonton (-17°C) have a different perspective on winter – and a far more personal relationship with snowbanks.

Things to do

Less than an hour from campus are three ski resorts: Cypress Mountain (1,432 m), Grouse Mountain (1,249 m), and Mount Seymour (1,265 m) - each of which is the height of Mont Tremblant, Québec (875 m) and Blue Mountain, Ontario (452 m) combined! Whistler Blackcomb is only a 2.5 hour drive north of Vancouver along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Vancouver is more than just excellent skiing and a mild climate. It is also synonymous with beaches and a wide variety of ocean-going and other water activities including boating, kayaking and scuba diving. Proximity to both ocean and mountains makes the lower mainland of British Columbia one of the world's centres for outdoor activities and truly embodies the concept of the Great Outdoors, all with the comforts of urban life. It's not just about surviving graduate school, it's about living it and we don't feel that there's a better combination than UBC and Vancouver.

About Vancouver

Nestled between the Coast Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, the city of Vancouver has consistently been ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world. Located in British Columbia, Canada, the city has a mild climate and beautiful scenery, and offers fantastic things to see and do year-round.





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