Toope is leaving to pursue his academic and professional career in international law and international relations. He will stay in the job until June 2014, while the university finds a replacement.
Toope became the 12th president of UBC in March of 2006 and started his second five-year term in 2011. Before coming to UBC he was the dean of McGill's Faculty of Law.
"Professor Toope’s accomplishments during his tenure as president have been truly outstanding," said UBC Board of Governors chair Bill Levine in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.
Levine said it was not unusual for Toope to leave mid way through his second term.
"it is very common among leaders of academic institutions to leave office early to pursue other interests," he said
During Toope's term, UBC was consistently ranked among the top 40 universities in the world, and grew to over 55,000 students and nearly 14,000 faculty and staff, making it one of the largest employers in British Columbia, said Levine.
Toope was also asked by the B.C. government to conduct an investigation into its handling of the BC Rail investigation.
His final report issued in 2011 stopped short of condemning the government's handling of the case, but said it was highly unusual for the government to pay the huge legal bills of former political aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk after they pleaded guilty to breach of trust in the corruption scandal.