A UBC student is recovering in hospital after an attempted robbery early Tuesday morning left him with cuts and slashes to his upper body.

The 18-year-old student was walking back to his residence in the 2500 block of West Mall on UBC's Vancouver campus just after 4 a.m. PT when he was approached an unknown man holding a small knife.

The assailant demanded the student's wallet and cell phone before lunging forward and slashing the victim as he tried to run away.

The student managed to outrun the attacker, who fled in an unknown direction following the incident.

UBC RCMP says the attack does not appear to be related to a recent string of sexual assaults that have plagued campus, but are reminding students and staff to be "constantly vigilant and aware of their potential vulnerability when walking alone on campus."

"This is a despicable act of violence that has occurred in a community which is already on high alert and sensitive to other recent attacks on students," says Sgt. Drew Grainger with UBC RCMP.

According to police, the attacker is described as a white man, approximately 40-years-old with a greying beard and short grey hair. He has an average build and was wearing a light coloured hoodie sweatshirt and dark sweat pants at the time of the attack.

UBC RCMP are asking anyone with information to help identify the attacker to call them immediately at 604-224-1322 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.