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Visiting graduate research students

Advance your research goals at Dalhousie

Graduate students from across Canada and around the world are drawn to Dalhousie to conduct their research on a short-term basis of up to one year (three terms). As a visiting graduate research student, you will benefit from Dalhousie’s network of research institutes and centres and our culture of collaboration and partnership.

Before you apply

The Visiting Graduate Research Student application process can take up to four months. Planning ahead will help you avoid delays.

Important information to know before completing an application.

  • You must be enrolled in a graduate program at an international educational institution other than Dalhousie University.

  • You must intend to come to the Dalhousie solely for the purpose of conducting research on a full-time basis that is academically relevant to your program.

  • You must not intend to take courses at Dalhousie. 

  • You must first connect with a prospective supervisor who agrees to supervise your research.  

  • If your home university has an exchange agreement with Dalhousie, please contact Dalhousie’s International Centre for guidance.


How to apply

  1. Complete the Visiting Graduate Research Student application form [PDF - 524kb].
  2. Request a letter from your Dalhousie supervisor that supports your stay of no more than one year at Dalhousie, indicates the specific start and end dates of your stay and includes the signatures of your supervisor and department head. Supervisors are encouraged to use our template letter, available on our internal myDal site.
  3. Request a letter from your supervisor at your home university that supports your stay of no more than one year at Dalhousie. Your letter must be on letterhead, and include the specific start and end dates of your stay. Please note these dates must match the dates in the letter provided by your Dalhousie supervisor in step 2 above.
  4. Send your application and the application fee of $115 to the Dalhousie Registrar’s Office either by email at registrar@dal.ca or by mail at PO Box 15000, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2 Canada. Send your two letters to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at vgrs@dal.ca.
  5. It is strongly recommended that the completed application be received by Dalhousie University no later than four months before the proposed start date.

References, transcripts, TOEFL scores, or other supporting documents for VGRS applications are not required. The maximum term for Visiting Graduate Research Students is one year (three terms).


Registration & fees

Once you have been admitted as a Visiting Graduate Research Student and arrived at Dalhousie, you must inform the Faculty of Graduate Studies by emailing vgrs@dal.ca to register. As a visiting graduate research student, you must register for each term that you plan to study at Dalhousie. 

As a research visiting student you will not pay tuition, however you will be charged incidental fees for each term you are registered, even if you plan to study at Dalhousie for only a portion of a term. This will allow you access to the libraries, campus-wide wi-fi, labs and other facilities and services. If you reduce the length of your study at Dalhousie by a term, you must inform the Faculty of Graduate Studies by emailing vgrs@dal.ca, or you will be responsible for the fees for the full original stay.


International students

Get support

Once you have established an agreement with a supervisor at Dalhousie to oversee your research while at university, contact Dalhousie's International Centre with any questions you may have related to the steps you need to take to conduct research in Canada as a graduate student. 

Health insurance

As an International Visiting Graduate Research Student (VGRS), you are required to have coverage and will be automatically enrolled in the DSU International Health Plan upon registration with coverage starting in the term in which you will start at Dalhousie University until August 31st. This plan provides coverage for doctor visits, hospital visits, medical emergencies, lab testing, and more. For more information, please visit www.studentvip.ca/dsu.

Coverage start dates per term:  

Fall: September 1 – August 31

Winter: January 1– August 31

Spring/Summer: May 1 – August 31

As the DSU-provided health insurance is active starting in the term in which you start your studies, it is the responsibility of the VGRS to ensure that adequate health insurance coverage is in place during any stay before or after the DSU-provided coverage start or termination date. For further information, a VGRS should contact the DSU for guidance.

DSU Health and Dental Plan Administrator
T: 902-494-2850  | 1-877-803-0030 (Toll Free)  
www.studentvip.ca/dsu
dsuhlth@dal.ca

VGRS who are here for the full academic year will be automatically billed and enrolled for the DSU International Health Plan.

VGRS who are here for a full term will be automatically billed and enrolled for the DSU International Health Plan with active coverage until August 31. If you are here for less than a full year, you can request to opt out of the DSU International Student Health Plan for the terms in which you will no longer be at Dalhousie University. For more information:

  1. Contact the DSU Health Plan Office within one week of your arrival in Halifax.
  2. You will need to provide your letter of acceptance and invitation to study from your Dalhousie Supervisor.

VGRS who are here for short durations (under four months/one term) would be eligible to opt out of the DSU International Health Plan and enroll under the DSU Short Term Plan. For more information:

  1. Contact the DSU Health Plan Office within one week of your arrival in Halifax.
  2. You will need your letter of acceptance and invitation to study from your Dalhousie Supervisor ready.
  3. The minimum time for which you can purchase the DSU Short Tem International Health Plan is your study/research period as indicated in your invitation letter.

If you have own health insurance, you may be able to opt out of Dalhousie coverage. To do so, contact the DSU Health Plan Office to discuss your current health insurance plan. The DSU will evaluate the plan to ensure that it meets all the needed requirements.