Academic Policies

UBC lists Policies and Regulations in the Academic Calendar found on the Student Services website. The following list of Policies are UBC-wide but are relevant to SCARP students. 

Academic Progress

Masters Students

A minimum of 60% must be obtained in any course taken by a student enrolled in a masters program for the student to be granted Pass Standing. However, only six credits of Pass Standing may be counted towards a master's program. For all other courses, a minimum of 68% must be obtained.

On the recommendation of the Chair of the Master's Program and the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the student may repeat a course for higher standing or take an alternate course. Both marks will, however, appear on the student's transcript. If the School does not make such a recommendation, or if the recommendation is not approved by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the student will be required to withdraw. A student who obtains a grade of less than 68% in an excessive number of courses will normally be required to withdraw. The student will be informed of unsatisfactory academic progress in writing before any action regarding withdrawal is taken.

PhD Students

A minimum of 68% (B-) must be achieved in all coursework taken for credit with the exception of PLAN 602 - Advanced Planning Theory where an A- is required (see candidacy requirements). Where a grade of less than 68% (B-) is obtained in a course, and on the recommendation of the graduate program and the approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the student may repeat the course for higher standing or take an alternate course. If the graduate program advisor does not make such a recommendation, or if the recommendation is not approved by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the student will be required to withdraw. A student who obtains a grade of less than 68% in more than one course will normally be required to withdraw. If progress in research is unsatisfactory, a student will be required to withdraw. The student will be informed of unsatisfactory academic progress in writing before any action regarding withdrawal is taken.

A minimum mark of 68% must be obtained in all courses taken by a student enrolled in a doctoral program. When repeating a failed required course, a minimum mark of 74% must be obtained. Higher minimum marks may be required by individual graduate programs.

For doctoral students registered in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Fail (F) for individual courses is defined as below 68%.


To appeal a grade a student should first discuss the situation with the Instructor and then if not satisfied, with the Chair of their program or Director. A graduate student may ultimately apply to the Registrar for an official review of a course mark if this becomes necessary. Appeals based on alleged prejudice or bias or on improper or unfair procedures may be heard by the Dean of Graduate Studies, and then the Senate Committee on Academic Standing (application to the Senate Committee must be made within 10 days of the Dean's decision). The Dean and the Senate Committee on Academic Standing have no jurisdiction for appeals based on academic judgment and such appeals will be dismissed. See the General Information section of the UBC Calendar for further information.


Writing term papers, theses and project reports is part of a student's professional training. Submissions are expected to be professional in both form and content. Papers should be properly structured as technical documents following a logical outline consisting of (for example):

  • introductory statement including the explicit focus and purpose in analysing that focus;
  • elaboration of the specific problem being addressed (e.g., history, context, controversies, unresolved issues, specific research objectives);
  • brief description of methods (data sources, analytic framework);
  • results and findings;
  • discussion and conclusions

Most courses in the School require students to write short assignments and term papers. In addition, a major part of every student's program is his or her individual research project leading to either a Master's thesis/project or Ph.D thesis. To facilitate all such writing assignments students should review the Chicago Manual of Style, new online version.

Unless otherwise specified, all assignments should be:

  • less than 20 pages
  • typed in 12-point font and double-spaced on 8.5"x 11" paper . Double spacing is necessary to provide room for comments
  • all assignments should have your name, course number and course instructor on the first page
  • all professional papers should have full explanatory titles, meaningful sub-headings, and page numbers

Any of these lapses would be unacceptable as a professional report to an employer or client. All students should thoroughly review their papers and reports prior to submitting them to identify typing errors, redundancies, and obvious grammatical errors. In all cases, the text should be subjected to a spell-checker. Language provides the tools for thought, particularly critical thinking. A fine-grained understanding and facility in grammar and syntax, and a good vocabulary, is essential for fine-grained dissection, analysis and resolution of a problem. One cannot adequately elaborate and discuss complex social, economic and ecological problems with only a tenuous grasp of one's working language and word meanings any more than one can use the relatively clumsy tools of a diesel mechanic to repair a fine Swiss watch.

Late assignments will not be accepted without prior approval by the course instructor and penalties will apply.

A student must submit a medical note to the course instructor if they are unable to complete a course by the grade submission deadline.

Assignments are not to be faxed or e-mailed to the SCARP office.

Academic Integrity

The University is an environment that fosters learning and the free exchange of ideas while maintaining responsibility and integrity. Violations of academic integrity include but are not limited to plagiarism, cheating, dishonesty, fabrication of information, submitting previously completed work and misusing or destroying school property. Any material or ideas obtained from digital or hard copy sources must be appropriately and fully referenced. Students are expected to uphold all the standards articulated in UBC's academic integrity site. If the instructor finds evidence of a violation of academic integrity the case will be investigated by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and, where appropriate, action will be taken. Disciplinary action may lead to a failing grade or suspension from the University.

Learning is continuous throughout an individual's professional life. There never seems to be enough time to learn everything one might want to know about a particular subject. Students should make meeting deadlines a professional habit. SCARP strives to help students learn quickly, to manage their time and to meet deadlines - all are important professional attributes. Students should be reflective, but should also be on time.


SCARP students are expected to attend every session in every course. In the event that students are unable to attend due to illness or emergency, they must notify their course instructor prior to class. Please review UBC's policy on attendance.

Course Cancellations

The School reserves the right to cancel a course if there are five or less Planning students registered or a minimum of 8 students in the case of classes taught by Adjuncts. The Instructor and the Director will determine whether to offer courses with low registration. The decision will normally be made by the end of the second week of each term.

Course Enrollment

Planning students may register in any courses offered by the School during their two years in the program after consultation with their Program Advisors/Research Supervisors. All students must have their program of studies approved and "signed off" by their Program Advisors/Research Supervisors using a Program Record form.

Course Exemptions (MCRP)

The MCRP curriculum begins with a strong core sequence of 18 credits spread across eight courses that address a range of fundamental topics in planning. These courses are necessary for meeting accreditation standards for the Professional Standards Board in Canada and the Planning Accreditation Board in the United States. All MCRP students are required to complete the 18 credit core sequence.

Students who believe that they have completed previous coursework or have gained other experience that adequately covers the material addressed in one of the eight core courses can apply for an exemption. At a minimum, students should have received at least an A- standing in their previous coursework to be considered for an exemption. Students should not expect to receive an exemption and exemptions will only be granted in exceptional cases.

The MCRP Request for Course Exemption form is available for download from the SCARP Forms Page and outlines the process and supporting documentation required for requesting an exemption.

Course and Teaching Evaluations

Course Instructors are expected to allot time in class for students to complete standard course evaluations. Course Evaluation forms are done online. A compilation of course evaluation results will be given to the instructor, to the Faculty of Applied Science, and placed in the instructor's file at SCARP. Comments will also be used for curriculum development and in faculty tenure and promotion reviews.

Course Withdrawal

Students should check the Student Service Centre to see what the deadline is for their individual courses. SCARP offers several courses that have different start and end dates which changes the add/drop date.

Students must ensure that their records are accurate by checking the Student Service Centre regularly. The Faculty of Graduate Studies has a strict policy that students must add or drop their courses by the dates listed on the Student Service Centre.

Ethical Review

Ethical Review forms must be completed in advance of undertaking research involving human subjects including routine survey and questionnaire based research. An online tutorial and forms are available online through the Office of Research Services.


Description of grades



Letter grade

Numerical grade*

Extraordinary performance. Extremely professional, thorough, original, and insightful.



95 - 100%

Consistently high quality work. Substantially exceeds expectations of SCARP students. Performance better than that of most peers.



90 - 94%

Fully meets and occasionally exceeds expectations of SCARP students. Work conducted on time, competently, and professionally.

Very good


85 - 89%

Generally meets expectations of SCARP students.



80 - 84%

Some deficiencies; e.g., assignments late, instructions not followed, writing/presentation lacking professionalism, analysis superficial or problematic.



76 - 79%



72 - 75%



68 - 71%

Serious or frequent deficiencies in work.

Serious deficiencies


64 - 67%

Marginally pass


60 - 63%

Does not meet minimum expectations.



0 - 59%

*Note: The correspondence between letter and numerical grades is set by UBC.

Requirements of the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

No more than six credits of Pass standing may be credited towards a graduate program. Students failing a course (below 60%) may be required to withdraw from the program.

Students who fail to complete the course requirements within the term in which they register must provide the instructor with a written request for an extension before the date on which grades are due in the SCARP Office. Requests must give reasons and indicate a proposed completion date. If the request for an extension is approved by the instructor, it should be endorsed by him or her and forwarded to the Director for approval.

Students who fail to complete the requirements of a course (except Directed Studies, Internship or Thesis) within the academic year in which they registered for it will receive an "F" grade.

A student obtaining at least 60% in a credit course may, with the Director's approval, repeat the course to improve his or her grade. Both marks will, however, appear on a student's transcript.

Any student suffering from medical or emotional problems that affect his or her performance should advise the Director immediately. This must be done before attempting examinations or other critical assignments to avoid a negative effect on grades.

To fully understand options and resources open to them, students should also visit UBC’s Access & Diversity Services.

International Studio Course Guidelines
  1. Enrollment must total a minimum number of eight (8) SCARP students.
  2. No undergraduate students may enroll, except in special cases requiring approval of SCARP Director. These students must meet minimum qualifications to take a graduate course.
  3. A list of students in field studio must be provided to SCARP Administrator and Graduate Administrator at least one month before field course commences.
  4. A list of SCARP students on field studio waitlist must be provided to SCARP Administrator and Graduate Administrator.
  5. A field studio will be cancelled if items 1 and 3 are not met.
Leaves of Absence

Leaves-of-absence (LOA) may be granted once during a student's graduate program. Leaves may be requested for one term, one session or a maximum of one year (4, 8 or 12 months) and will begin on the first day of a term. Requests for a LOA should be made by submitting a letter to the SCARP office to the attention of the Chair of your program. The student must indicate why he or she requires time completely away from his or her academic responsibilities. There is a broad scope permitted including personal, health, or other reasons such as financial need. Work, holiday, or travel during a single term is considered a normal part of a student's schedule and is not an acceptable justification for a formal LOA. The student's progress in the program and the anticipated time for completion of all requirements will be considered (the student should include this information in his or her request for LOA to the Chair). The final decision rests with the Associate Dean - Records, in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Leaves are rarely granted retroactively. The student must not pursue graduate academic work during an approved LOA. On-leave tuition fees are assessed and charged to the student during a LOA.

Registration Policies

Registration Priority

SCARP students are given priority for registration in all graduate courses offered by SCARP (those with the course code PLAN). Registration opens across UBC campus on the same date and SCARP aligns its registration period with the rest of UBC. During the first two weeks of the registration period, only SCARP students are eligible to register in PLAN courses. All other students should register in the appropriate waitlist (additional information below).

Following the first two weeks of the registration period, registration opens to all students, including non-SCARP students.

In some cases, second year SCARP students are given priority to register in SCARP courses, as first year students will have future opportunities for enrolment.


If registration in a course is noted as ‘BLOCKED’, students should register for the waitlist. Waitlists are reviewed periodically and if any seats become available in a blocked course, the Graduate Administrator will move students from the waitlist to be registered into the course. Students will receive confirmation of their registration by email.

Thesis & Dissertation

Students are responsible for registering in the appropriate dissertation of thesis course for their program and continuing their registration each term until their program is completed. Doctoral students must register in PLAN 649. Research Masters students (MAP and MSCP students) must register in PLAN 546 (pending Senate Approval).


MCRP students submit the appropriate paperwork to the Graduate Administrator in order to be registered in the Capstone course (PLAN 528A or PLAN 528B).


Registration in an internship (PLAN 527) requires students to submit the appropriate forms to the Graduate Administrator. Forms should be submitted prior to commencing the internship.

Forms are available on the SCARP Forms Page.

Directed Studies

Registration in a Directed Studies course requires students to submit the appropriate forms to the Graduate Administrator. Forms should be submitted prior to commencing the directed studies.

Forms are available on the SCARP Forms Page.


Students wishing to audit a course must receive permission from their faculty advisor/ supervisor, the Masters/PhD Chair and the course instructor.  Students taking a course for audit are expected to complete all course requirements, except the final exam (arrangements should be made with the course instructor directly). A change or registration form for Audit is available on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website and should be submitted to the Graduate Administrator for processing.

More information

Non-SCARP Students

Core courses, or courses required for the completion of any SCARP graduate degree program are not open to students from outside of SCARP. See the SCARP website for a complete list of required core courses for each program.

Non-SCARP Masters or PhD students are generally welcome to enroll in SCARP courses. However, enrolment of non-SCARP students in any PLAN course is at the discretion of the instructor.

Non-SCARP Registration Policies

Course Registration is governed in part by UBC and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS). Students should seek information about registration related the topics below from the G+PS webpage regarding registration, and connect the with SCARP Graduate Administrator with any questions or concerns, including:

  • Continuous registration
  • Adding and dropping courses
  • Audit
  • Transfer credits
  • Visiting Graduate Students
  • Exemptions from course requirements
  • Registration in Courses outside of SCARP
  • Western Deans’ Agreement
  • Graduate Exchange Agreement
  • Unclassified Student Registration
  • Undergraduate Student Registration
  • Registration in undergraduate courses
Student Accident Insurance

Insurance coverage is available to a UBC student performing course work in environments where the risk of injury is greater than in the classroom (e.g., certain field work, practicums, and laboratories). Students must also have the basic BC Medical Plan or its equivalent from another province in place as the insurance plan provides only a measure of excess medical coverage. The plan does not provide 24-hour coverage; it applies only during the involvement of the student in course work. Course work taking place outside of Canada and involving travel in chartered aircraft are excluded from the plan. The cost is $7.00/year/student (subject to change). See the SCARP Administrator for further information. Note that the School does not automatically take out Insurance policies on behalf of the students.

Supervision of Master's students extending beyond two years

Master's students and their research supervision committee must be informed that SCARP has a two-year master's program.
The following policies apply to master's students who under extenuating and exceptional circumstances extend their program beyond two years:

  1. Master's students entering their third year in the program must meet every four months (i.e. at least once every regular term and once during the spring/summer session) with their research committee members. A copy of the meeting minutes taken by the student and approved by the committee members must be submitted to the SCARP office for the student’s file.
  2. Master's students entering their fourth year in the program must meet every month with their research committee members. A copy of the meeting minutes taken by the student and approved by the committee members must be submitted to the SCARP office for the student’s file. If the student is doing a thesis (Plan 549C) and there is no substantial progress, a student must switch to a professional project (Plan 547C) at the start of the fourth year of the program.
  3. Twice a year, in year three to five, the student must meet with the Chair of the Master's Program (in September and January) to discuss their progress in the program.
  4. At the end of the fifth year in the program, an extension will not be approved if there is no significant progress in the thesis or project research.
Teaching – PhD Students

As of November 15, 2013, UBC Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has granted an exemption to allow SCARP PhD candidates to teach master's-level courses. The following are SCARP’s policy guidelines regarding this.

• Approval to teach a Master’s level course will be contingent upon availability of funding and will be decided on case-by-case basis according to the following criteria:

  • The student must be advanced to candidacy.
  • The student should have prior experience and/or particular strength in the subject area.
  • The course should be related to the student's research area/subject.
  • The course would be a significant contribution to the curriculum.
  • The course would be offered in the current MA/MSc program or the proposed MCRP program and would have no overlap with PhD program requirements so as to avoid potential conflict-of-interest issues.

• A student may propose a course for 1 or 3 credits. Approval for the course will be at the discretion of the SCARP Director in consultation with the PhD Program Chair, the student’s Academic Supervisor, and the SCARP Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Committee. A proposal for a course should include an outline and description of the course, indicate the relevance of the course to the SCARP curriculum, and convey the qualifications of the PhD student to teach the course.

Time Limitations for SCARP Masters Programs

Full-time students must complete their Master's Program within two years with the possibility of extending the program only under extenuating and exceptional circumstances.

SCARP's program is designed to be completed within two academic years and "on time" completion by students is considered to be part of their professional education.

Permission to register in a third academic year will be granted by the Director to students who are able demonstrate significant progress on their theses/projects, or who can provide an acceptable reason for slow progress. Only in the most exceptional circumstances will registration be permitted beyond the third year. Signed Research Progress forms are due in the SCARP office by the middle of August.


A waitlist will be opened for all courses that are designated for second year SCARP students. SCARP students in first year and non-SCARP students will be asked to register on the waitlist (a note will be put on the online registration system). The master's graduate secretary will monitor registration.

How the waitlist works
  • If a course reaches maximum enrolment the Administrator will block further registration, and further registration requests will be added to a waitlist.
  • If a student manages to jump the queue they will be moved to the waitlist.
  • Enrolment will be reviewed periodically and if there is any space in the course second year students will be moved from the waitlist, in order of the date and time they registered. Second year students should register within seven days of registration opening.
  • A timeline is required for faculty to prepare their courses and for other students to be able to confirm their course schedule. If second year students have not registered within this timeline all other students will be given an equal chance of registering for the course.
  • Drop-outs do not open up spaces; if a student drops out of the course no one else can register directly in the course.
  • Registration cannot be blocked for first year master’s students; we can only block non-SCARP students from registering in Planning courses. Several SCARP Faculty members prefer to have a class with a mix of students from other departments.
Equipment for Student Use

The following office equipment is available for student use:

  • Photocopier: LASR 423/WMAX 244 - Ask office staff to assign you a code. The charge is 10 cents per copy.
  • A/V Equipment: The following equipment is permanently stored in:
    • WMAX 240: ceiling mounted digital projector
    • WMAX 150: 2 ceiling mounted digital projectors

Other A/V Equipment is available (including laptop and flip chart). To book, contact or phone (604) 822-3276. Please book at least 24 hours in advance.

Video cameras and related equipment (microphones, etc) are available only to students who have completed PLAN 548R (Multimedia for Planners) or who can demonstrate and have evidence of prior training with this equipment.