Year-by-Year Overview of Your Degree

Students » Year-by-Year Overview of Your Degree
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UBC Science offers a broad variety of courses, specializations and degrees. Deciding what to take and when you should take it might be one of your biggest challenges!

You can pursue a Combined Major in Science or a major, honours, combined major, combined honours or double major across a wide range of specializations. In addition, you can apply for a minor. And as if that wasn't enough, there are co-op and student exchange program options that help to round out your university experience.

When choosing your courses, don't overextend yourself. Make sure that you have enough time and energy to devote to them. Take a reduced course load, if necessary. Completing four successful courses is better than failing courses. If you pass a course in UBC Science you will not be able to repeat the course for higher standing. UBC offers many exciting courses—choose some purely out of interest. You’ll find it easier to get through the tough courses if you're also taking classes you’re passionate about. Remember, there's more than one path to medicine, law or grad school!

Important Credit Minimums Per Session

  • 30 credits to enter into an Honours program in later years (or continue in one)
  • 27 credits to be eligible for scholarships the next year
  • 24 credits to be eligible for housing (12 per term) 24 credits, including 12 from Lower-level Requirements, to be eligible for promotion
  • 18 credits to be eligible for BC student loans (9 per term)

Credit Exclusions

Visit the UBC Calendar to get a handle on credit exclusions--courses in which there is sufficient overlap that credit can be obtained for only one selection. And remember, the fact that two courses overlap doesn’t mean they’re interchangeable. Program specifications may require a specific course selection.

Year-by-Year Overview of Your Degree

First Year

  • Keep your doors open when planning courses—don't limit your program options.
  • Be proactive. Talk to people and get information on programs you might be interested in.
  • Attend Beyond First Year (or, if you can't make it, check out the workshop slides on choosing your major) and the Science Career Expo.
  • Physics and computer science students: apply for Science Co-op if you're interested.
  • End of first year: Choose a specialization. Check if it's declarable online. Apply to most Science specializations via a coordinated admissions process run by the Faculty.

Second Year

Students entering the second year of their studies with UBC Science are expected to be preparing to decide which program they are going to follow. This is also a good time to begin your breadth requirements. It is important to check the requirements for your desired program—they may also include a minimum average for admission or continuation. In particular, pay close attention to the courses that are needed as prerequisites. Some of these must be taken at a specific time in your degree. Also, not all courses are offered every term, so be sure to plan core courses ahead of time so that you are not missing a key course. Consult with Science Advising, departmental advisors, and above all, familiarize yourself with the UBC Calendar and the program websites for any program that you are pursuing, or about which you would like more information.

  • Register in your intended specialization.
  • Take the prerequisites for third- and fourth-year courses in your program. And remember that mot all upper year courses (300+) are offered every year!
  • Attend the workshops offered by Career Services.
  • Apply for Science Co-op (most programs set their deadlines for second year).
  • Term 2: Apply for a minor in Commerce or Kinesiology if interested.
  • End of second year is the best time to ensure that you'll satisfy the requirements for Dental School, Medical School, etc.
  • Send in your program application, if required.

Third Year

By this point, the majority of students with UBC Science will have chosen their program. The beginning of third year is a good time to review Faculty and program requirements (refer to your program in the UBC Calendar). Both sets of requirements must be fulfilled before you graduate with a BSc.

  • Term 1: Apply for most minors (Arts, Land and Food Systems).
  • Many departments formally 'accept' students into their programs based on second-year grades. If you have not been able to gain admittance to the program of your choice, consult with the program advisors for other programs you may be interested in.
  • Pharmacology and biochemistry students: Apply for Science Co-op if interested.
  • Make a checklist of all the requirements for your program. Plan out your third and fourth years and be sure that you've got your list covered. Breadth requirements are met by taking courses outside of your specialization.
  • See a program advisor to go over your program.
  • Use Career Services to improve your resume writing, job interview and networking skills.
  • Students considering graduate studies should get to know professors and volunteer in labs to gain research experience. You'll need solid academic references by first term of fourth year.

Fourth Year

  • Apply for graduate school or other schools if interested. Although some deadlines extend into the spring, you normally must apply by December (1st term) to be eligible for financial awards or support.
  • Apply for graduation by the end of February. If you don't apply, you won't graduate! Get your grad photos taken, and prepare for graduation.
  • Review Faculty requirements early in the first term of your fourth year (or even earlier) so that you will have enough time to make any necessary changes to your course list.
  • In fourth year, Science Advising automatically conducts preliminary graduation checks for Faculty requirements towards the end of Term 1. These checks are based on the list of winter session courses that the student is registered in as of October. Courses added or dropped after this term may not be reflected. Students who are deficient in only a few credits (for example, 3 credits of Arts), will be notified via email in December. Students who are short far more credits than can be corrected in Term 2 may not receive such an email. Lastly, students who appear to meet all Faculty requirements will also not receive an email from Science Advising.

Please note: Students must meet all of the graduation requirements for the degree within a maximum of 180 credits of coursework attempted. Those who do not will be required to withdraw from the Faculty.