First week

Very Important Things to Do Your First Week

T.A. Assignment
Student/library card
Bus pass
Getting paid
Paying Tuition
Grad Student Society
Who Do I Contact About..?

CWL: The first thing you need to do is set up your CWL (campus wide login). This will allow you to do all sorts of important things like renew library books online, register for classes, accept awards/fellowships, pay tuition and housing fees, etc. Go to the Student Services website ( and log in using your student number as the login and your birthdate (in YYMMDD format) as your password. That will allow you to set up your account, and then you can choose a new login name and password. Heed their advice: “Be sure to choose an appropriate CWL Login Name as it will become a part of your email address.” Your CWL account allows you to download free anti-virus software (Sophos), and we recommend you use this if you don’t already have an anti-virus program. You can also download a free Microsoft 365 subscription as an active student.

Email: The most important thing to grad students everywhere is an e-mail account. Most students here have email accounts. Your psych account will give you space on the psychology server to set up a personal webpage or use for backup, and give you a more official-sounding address. You can then read your email through the webpage. There are lots of online tutorials for doing things like setting up wireless access, downloading email onto your computer, etc.

To set up your Psych account: Download and fill out a form here. Then put it in Dusko’s mailbox. More tutorials (e.g. setting up the SSH server so you can do your webpage, setting up Outlook/Eudora to download your email) can be found by clicking on the department’s IT & Digital Services webpage. Once your email address is established, you can login to your email by clicking on the Zimbra link on the bottom right of the Psychology web page, or through this link.

To set up e-mail forwarding: All students are also eligible to sign up for a UBC email address,, which can be used even after graduation. This address can be forwarded to an email mailbox of your choice. To register for your email address, visit the UBC IT Service Catalogue here. A Campus-Wide Login account is required for sign up.

Once you have decided which account you want to use as your main account: be sure to tell Monica Deutsch, our Grad Secretary, in the main office. She will make sure you’re on the right mailing lists for the department.

Courses: Now that you have your CWL, you can log in to the Student Services Centre (  and check that you’re registered for your courses (including the ceremonial “Masters Thesis” course, Psyc 649, that you all need to be registered in). One reason this is important is that the prof often emails the list of registered students to tell you when your organizational meeting is. What’s that? Unlike undergrad courses, the schedule of most grad courses is picked by consensus between the students and the prof (the major exception to this is Stats, which is scheduled in advance).  The organizational meeting when the students of the course and the prof get together and decide when they will hold the class.  So, once you have picked your courses (clinical folk already have their courses chosen for them, so you guys can do this en masse), if you haven’t received an email, start looking for announcements for the meetings.  Now, these meetings are notoriously under-advertised, but usually the professor will e-mail everybody in the class or occasionally the entire grad student listserv.  If you still don’t know when the meeting is by the time classes start, the best advice is probably to e-mail or go see the prof to ask her or him when the meeting will be held.

T.A. Assignment: Tara Martin is in charge of TA Assignments, and you likely got an email from her regarding this at some point. If not, contact Tara immediately for more information — it may not be too late. If you signed up to be a TA, check the TA list on the bulletin board in the copy/mailroom, which is across the hall from the main office to find out which course(s) you are assigned to (if any). Do this early so that you can contact the professor who is teaching the course to find out what your duties are. We also strongly recommend you attend the Departmental T.A. workshop, to be held in early September. Tara Martin is in charge of organizing TA assignments and exam invigilations. Contact her if you have questions about your assignment. As a TA, you will be required to attend the Departmental T.A. workshop, usually held in late August/early September. These workshops are typically run by Dr. Catherine Rawn, so if you need more information about a past or upcoming event, she’s the one to contact.

Follow this link to get a copy of the TA Handbook and a copy of Scantron syntax:

Student I.D./Library Card: So, you know about your T.A. assignment and you have your courses planned.  Now, you have to get your butt to the UBC Carding Office located in the UBC Bookstore and get yourself a library/ID card before someone gives you an assignment.  The UBC Bookstore is located at the Southwest corner at University Blvd. and East Mall. This card serves as your library card, your student ID, and your after-hours building access card (see Keys). Just go into the main doors of the Bookstore, turn right behind the checkout counters, and walk towards the back of the store, to the Access Desk. You should see an area with a long winding line-up on the right side. Be prepared to have your picture taken! Make sure you have your student number handy, because they will need this and can’t look it up for you.

Bus Pass: While you’re at the UBC Carding Office, you should also get your U-Pass/Compass Card. What is that, you ask? As UBC students, we are fortunate to pay a tiny monthly fee for a transit pass that you can use all around the city, including the SkyTrain and cute little SeaBusses. They also have handy foldable pocket-sized transit maps for free. The mandatory U-Pass fee is included in your student fees. You need to pick up your Compass Card, which is a reloadable, plastic fare card that replaces TransLink’s paper passes and tickets. For UBC students, the U-Pass system is totally integrated into this Compass Card system. See more at UBC U-Pass/Compass Card website. Compass cards are obtained at the UBC Bookstore in the carding office by swiping your student card at a vending machine. You only need to get your Compass Card once, and then link it to your UBC ID card here. To actually use your bus pass throughout the year, you need to request (or “load”) your Compass Card every month, at the same U-Pass BC website. On the 16th of each month, you can request your bus pass for the next month. More details here.

If you do not want a bus pass, you can only be exempt if you have no official reason to come to campus (e.g. not taking any classes). If that’s so, you can log into the SSC website within the first two weeks of class and fill out a brief questionnaire (see “Exemption Term 1” under “Other” on the Student Services website). The term’s fee will then be taken off your next term’s account.

You can easily look up bus routes at or Make sure to pick up a complimentary pocket-sized transit map, it will serve you well. You can also get full bus schedules in the main floor of the SUB, by the post office. At any bus stop, text the stop number to 33333 to receive a text message telling you when the next bus will arrive.

Keys: You’ll want to get keys for your office, lab, and the mail/photocopy room; you’ll also want to get a “fob”, which gets you into the department after closing. Also check with your area to see if you need keys to a TA room, a research room, or the psychology clinic. To get all of these keys, first get a green key form in the main office. They are behind the reception desk in an ‘in-box’ style tray. You can also find them on the departmental forms website, under “Space”. Fill in the door numbers of each of the rooms for which you require keys, as well as your student number and email address. Ask your supervisor if you need any other keys. To get access to the building, check off the Kenny Building Entrance option, and fill in your UBC student ID card expiry date. This will get you access to the building after-hours by swiping your student ID card in one of the main entrances. Finally, you’ll need the signature of your advisor. (Note that if you are getting keys for the labs of different advisors, you’ll need a separate form for each of them, since the “owner” of each lab needs to sign before you can get its key.) Hand in this form to Rosemarie in the main office. If you have requested building access, your card should work the next afternoon. For all the other keys, within a few days or a week, you should get an email from Key Services telling you that you can pick up your keys. To pay your deposit ($20-$50) and get your keys, go to the Card Office in the UBC Bookstore (6200 University Boulevard). Remember to bring your student I.D and be prepared to stand in line for awhile. It could be fun to go in a group, so you can keep each other sane. Some others suggest getting to the building for the opening of the office (check their website for opening times), to avoid the rush. You see, the Card Office is used by all students to get their student IDs, bus passes, etc. and this is a very popular area during first week.

Getting Paid: Most of this is set up by Tara Martin, who can direct you to the appropriate place if you’re unsure what to do. You may also need to fill in a Direct Deposit form, available here; You’ll need a voided cheque and some account info. You can mail it through campus mail or drop it off in-person at Payment & Procurement Services. (Note for non-Canadians: you’ll need to get your S.I.N. set up before you can get paid.) If you haven’t filled out a direct deposit form by the time your first check is issued, you will need to go pick up the check in person at Payment & Procurement Services. Starting September 15th, you will receive your payment semi-monthly. To get more detailed information about your paycheque use your CWL login to access this page. If you received a award/fellowship/scholarship (not including Tri-Council Awards, i.e. CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC) you will receive notification in your Student Service Centre account once your check is ready for pick-up. You can then pick-up your check at Brock Hall (the building with lots of undergraduate student services north of the SUB with the big welcome sign). Note that these are not semi-monthly payments and instead come in lump sums 2-3 times per year and you will need to pick up every cheque.

Paying Tuition: You can no longer pay your tuition by credit card, but there are lots of other ways to do it, such as through online banking. To find out how to pay your tuition and how much you owe, take a deep breath and go to the Finances section of the Student Services Centre website. If you want to pay in person, you’ll need to stand in line at the Enrolment Services Counter located in Brock Hall (north of the Student Union Building); you can also put a cheque in a drop-box near the counter. For other payment options, including automatic deduction from NSERC/SSHRC scholarships, direct deduction from your paycheque etc., check out for directions on how to set it up. If it’s really your first week, it’s too late to have your tuition deducted from your T.A. or Fellowship cheques right now, but you can do this in the future (the next tuition instalment is due in January). If you are a new Ph.D. student, go see Monica about your Ph.D. tuition waiver. Important: Even if your tuition is paid by a PhD Tuition Award, you must pay student fees, so check your finances online to see how much you owe.

Mail: The mail room is right across the hall from the main office. Graduate students, like faculty and staff, have their own mailboxes (green labels, off to the right-hand side of the room). A lot of important info is put in your mailbox, so it is a good idea to check it fairly often. Other places to get info are the two bulletin boards outside the mailroom. The mailroom also has two spiffy copiers/printers. Speak to Rosemarie in the main office to set up your copy code. You receive $25 of free copying/printing (the idea is that you will eventually use this to copy your thesis). Anything you copy/print after that will be billed to you at the end of the year at 5 cents/page. Additionally, you can scan documents using the printer/copier and email them to yourself and others. Check the bulletin board in the mailroom or with Rosemarie for instructions.

Grad Student Society: Finally, you may want to subscribe to the Graduate Student Society (GSS) Notes. The GSS Notes is an electronic newsletter put out by the Graduate Student Society containing notices of various social events, talks, training courses, or other general information that could be helpful to grad students.  To subscribe to this, send an email to majordomo(at) and type “subscribe notes” in the body of the message.  This will add your email address to the mailing list.  Alternatively, you can access the Notes via the GSS web site.

Who Do I Contact About..? Is there something else you need, but you aren’t sure who to call? Tara periodically updates and disseminates the Who to Call list, which is also posted inside the mailroom and outside the main office. Check this for information about financial matters, room bookings, and other miscellany you encounter while you get settled in. If all else fails, ask around the front office. We’re lucky to have such a friendly staff/admin team supporting us.