CMS Grad Fellows Program

The CMS Grad Fellows Program supports outstanding UBC graduate students who are engaged in research related to human migration and mobilities. The annual program offers an interdisciplinary community in which students may expand and deepen their migration studies through opportunities for mentorship, speaker and workshop events, presenting research-in-progress, and more. Fellows are a vital part of our academic community, contributing to the relationships and initiatives that underpin the Centre’s research excellence.

Who is eligible?
The Fellows program is open to any UBC graduate student currently enrolled in a Master’s, Ph.D., or professional graduate program at the UBC Vancouver campus. New and continuing students are welcome. Fellows must be enrolled for the duration of the fellowship (i.e., the Winter T1 and T2 academic year). Prior Fellows are not eligible to apply.

When is the program?
The Fellowship runs each academic year (Winter Term 1 & Term 2), October – April.

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2023-2024 cohort.

Key Dates: 

  • Sept 22, 2023 (11:59pm PDT): Deadline to receive complete application materials. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Oct 6, 2023: Successful applicants will be notified
  • Oct 10, 2023, 5:30-7:00pm: Welcome Gathering for New Cohort (*Save this date in case your application is successful*)

What are the benefits of the program?

  • $400 financial award to support research and/or professional goals (may not be applied toward tuition; see details below)
  • Shared desk space in the CMS Community Room
  • Opportunity to join CMS Research Groups
  • Mentorship by a CMS faculty affiliate from a different academic discipline
  • Opportunity for small group meetings with visiting speakers
  • Opportunity to organize and present at an all-day research symposium
  • Professional/academic development events
  • Immersion in a supportive and intellectually stimulating network of faculty and graduate student affiliates from more than 30 units across campus, plus other community partners
  • Weekly Coffee Hour
  • Bi-Monthly Community Luncheons

Financial Award
CMS Fellows are provided a $400 award to support their research and/or professional development.

  • Funds are distributed via reimbursement for purchases made out-of-pocket by the Fellow. Purchases are subject to pre-approval by the Centre.
  • The funds may go towards conference travel, research equipment/materials, professional development activities, and other expenses that would support their research and/or professional goals.
  • Funds may not be used for tuition.
  • Funds are accessible immediately upon entry into program
  • Fellows will report on their use of the award and how it supported them to achieve their goals during their fellowship. This comprises part of the final one-page fellowship report.

What is expected
of Fellows?
Fellows are expected to actively engage in the life of the Centre and to help foster a supportive, collaborative environment with other Fellows in their cohort. (Remember, before ‘fellowship’ meant a monetary award, it meant – and still means – a group of companions.) To that end, Fellows are expected to reside in the Vancouver area for the duration of the fellowship.

Over the course of the academic year, Fellows will:

Meet 3 times with their CMS faculty mentor
Each Fellow is matched with a faculty mentor from outside their home discipline to provide academic/research guidance and conversation based on the Fellow’s specific interests and concerns.

Attend 4 CMS public events
CMS hosts diverse speaker events and workshops each year, as do our subsidiary Research Groups. (Grad Power Hours, Grad Fellows’ Symposium, and closed Research Group meetings may not be counted towards the four required events.)

Attend 2 Grad Power Hours
Grad Power Hours are lunchtime presentations made by UBC graduate students researching topics in migration and mobilities. The series is a collegial opportunity to present work-in-progress with dedicated time for engaged feedback and Q&A with attendees. Fellows are also strongly encouraged to present at a Grad Power Hour, though this is not required.

Attend 1 CMS-hosted professional development event
CMS offers 3-4 such events per year, such as: interactive sessions with professionals working in the immigration sector (whether government, policy, or nonprofit) or panel discussions on how to navigate academic publishing.

Organize and present in the Grad Fellows’ Winter Symposium
In February, Fellows present an all-day symposium open to the UBC public. All Fellows present their research at the Symposium, as well as participate in organizing and executing the event, which includes the selection and invitation of a keynote speaker from outside UBC.

Submit a one-page report at the end of the fellowship
In this brief report, Fellows indicate how they met the program participation requirements and how they used their award funds to further their academic work.

How are Fellows chosen?

Fellows are selected through a competitive application process. Applications are evaluated by faculty members of the CMS Executive Committee, which is comprised of UBC faculty affiliates from diverse disciplines whose work is related to migration and mobility.

Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Clear interest or engagement in migration-related research, as demonstrated through academic coursework or community engagement
  • Potential to cultivate relationships and collaborations across disciplines
  • Understanding and willingness to grow in areas of decolonization and diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Academic performance (transcript-based)
  • Expected personal development as a result of access to CMS resources
  • Prospects for future engagement in migration-related work (including, e.g., policy, academics, community engagement, etc.)
  • Contribution to disciplinary diversity of the Grad Fellows cohort

How do I apply?

Students must complete the online application form (below), which includes an upload of their resumé, academic transcript, and a 500-word statement of interest. The statement should address the following:

  • Your research interests and motivations and, if applicable, your experience with migration-related community or policy engagement
  • Your motivations for becoming a CMS Fellow, including how it might help you grow in your research and/or professional goals and enrich your student experience
  • How your research interests and, if applicable, other related experience, align with the research ethos and other of the Centre (While previous relevant experience in research, professional work, community engagement, or with CMS is not required, please indicate if you have such experience.)
  • What you hope to contribute and/or accomplish as a CMS Fellow (considering, e.g., our research ethos, values, relationships, and/or programming to help ground your answer)


If you have questions about the program or the application, please contact the Program and Administrative Assistant, Atmaza Chattopadhyay, at