Program Fee

Understanding the SBME Program Fee

When students in SBME’s undergraduate program enter their second, third and fourth years, a program fee is added to the cost of tuition. This page details why this fee exists, and what the funds are put toward in the program.

Why a program fee?

Our goal is to provide a unique, high-impact Biomedical Engineering program that prepares students for the emerging opportunities in our field.

The complexities of in-person, hands-on learning in the BME undergrad program are extensive: we have laboratories that cover cell culture, biophysics, biomechanics, bioinstrumentation, anatomy and physiology, informatics, microscopy, microfluidics and more. This broad range of state-of-the-art research is unique at UBC. In other engineering programs, only a subset of these concentrations and corresponding facilities are available.

These labs are costly to establish, run, improve, and expand. These development states are active across all lab in our program and they are why the BME program originally worked with the UBC Senate to establish the Program Fee.

Receiving a BASc in Biomedical Engineering from UBC signals that students have graduated with specific, unique and in-demand biomedical engineering skills. We are committed to making sure students gain these skills regardless of the constraints and limitations of the pandemic. The program fee is helping us accomplish this.

Effective 2022W, BMEG students are expected to pay their program fee a total of 3 times in their undergraduate degree: when they enter year 2, 3 and 4.

What the program fee covers at a glance

Some of the general expenses covered by the program fee include state-of-the-art lab equipment, maintenance, cell culture supplies, consumables, reagents, instruments, computers, personal protective equipment and more.

As the number of lab and capstone offerings continue to expand, the fee helps support the hiring of the necessary support staff.

It’s important to note that the though program fee is put toward these overall expenses, it doesn’t cover them entirely; and it likely never will. SBME makes up for the difference in fee total and actual cost with school funds. It is only a supplemental fee, and every dollar of it is allocated to enhancing the student learning experience. 

Program Fee Vs. Lab Fee

The program fee should not be regarded strictly as a “Lab Fee.” There are extensive lab and experiential learning activities in all levels of our program covered by the Program Fee. These costs extend beyond laboratory cost (as noted in the partial list above). The program fee is used to optimize these courses and experiences across all program years.

BMEG Specific Program Fee

The SBME’s expansive range of labs, scientific concentrations and activities across multiple sites is unlike that of any other program, and maintaining its quality of education and experience is our guiding principle. Though funding models differ from unit to unit at UBC depending on needs, subject, and facilities. The BME Program Fee is integral to our program because our needs, subject and facilities span multiple disciplines, buildings and teaching modalities.


In no way do we want the program fee to be a surprise to any of our students. We are working with UBC Enrolment Services, Faculty of Applied Science and Faculty of Medicine recruiting units to make sure this fee and all that it supports is described to prospective students early and clearly. The fee is now included in the communication inviting students to submit their PBME Supplemental Form and effective 2021W, 2nd Year Placement forms included a note regarding the Program Fee.

Historical Changes to the Program Over the Years

*Year-to-year fee rise in fees is due to UBC’s automatic annual increase that are meant to reflect and compensate for inflation and cost of living.

**$188 between 2018W and 2020W for students repeating are not considered an installment, and does not count towards the 3 installments mentioned.

***When students are entering into their next year level and are not in a Co-op during Winter Term 1, they will pay the program fee. To further clarify, the program fee excludes the following students for that year:

    • Students registered in Co-op Winter Session Term 1
    • Students repeating the same year level


Academic YearYear-Level StandingProgram FeeAdditional Notes
2020W1NoStudent is not in BMEG
2022W2NoStudent is repeating year level
2023W3 - Co-opNoStudent is in Co-op even though they entered a new year level
2024W3YesStudent did not pay the year before due to Co-op
2025W4 - Co-opNoStudent is in Co-op even though they entered a new year level
2026W4YesStudent did not pay the year before due to Co-op
2027W4NoStudent is repeating year level

SBME Student Services will identify the following students and send it to Enrolment Services at the beginning of September each year so they can remove the fee from student accounts:

  • BMEG Students registered in Co-op Winter Session Term 1
  • BMEG Students are repeating the same year level

Students who have already paid the fee will have that amounted credited back to their account and used towards their next payments. If a student would like a refund, they can contact their Enrolment Services Advisor.