Second Year Application: The Basics

Students » Second Year Application: The Basics
The 2016 UBC Science Second-Year Application will open in early June.
UBC Science runs a coordinated admissions process for second-year specializations. All eligible students must take part in this application process.

All Majors, all Combined Majors, and a few second-year declarable Honours and Combined Honours specializations can be applied to via this application. Students eligible to apply are notified by e-mail in advance of the opening of the application.

Why a Coordinated Application?

Space in many frequently required and popular second-year science courses is limited. It's not to a student's advantage to designate a specialization in second year if they’re not likely to advance, but on the other hand, some students do better academically in second year and should have the opportunity to shift specializations. The process reserves space in key courses (e.g., BIOL 200, CHEM 203 or CHEM 233) for strong applicants. At the same time, by managing enrolments in targeted specializations, it enables them to accommodate student shifts going into third year.

Consider the Combined Major in Science

The Combined Major in Science offers a strong foundation in science which prepares students for fields where knowledge in several science disciplines, expertise in handling scientific data and communication skills are essential.

How Does the Selection Process Work?

This is a competitive application process. You'll be asked to rank your first, second and third choice for preferred specialization. Students are then assessed relative to admission requirements and placed in specializations based on their most recent Winter session average, or admission average (for transfer students).

When Will I Learn the Results?

You'll be notified via the e-mail address you entered in the Student Services Centre before you need to register in July. If you're placed in your first, second or third choice, that specialization will be entered for you on the SSC. If you don't get one of your three choices, you’ll be given further instructions. Check your e-mail frequently.

What if I Don't Get Into My Chosen Specialization?

You may apply again for many specializations after second year. If you complete the required courses and get competitive marks (the standard is set each year by the strength of the applicant pool) then you may be able to switch specializations. Most of the specializations won't fill up with second-year students so there'll be room to move after second year. The exceptions are Biochemistry and Chemistry, which share some chemistry courses that students in other programs may not take.

More Details and Fine Print

Q. I’ve heard about General Science but friends tell me that this specialization is no longer available. Are the rumours true?

A. Yes! This specialization is no longer available in second year. You are strongly encouraged to consider other specializations such as the Combined Major in Science or the Integrated Science Major.

Q. Why should I consider the new Combined Major in Science?

A. The CMS is about big picture science--it offers students a broad scientific education and valuable transferable skills. If you want to ensure that, when you graduate, you have a firm grasp of several science disciplines, will be able to generate and interpret data comfortably, and will be able to communicate ideas and findings to specialists and the general public, consider the CMS seriously. It features courses specifically designed to ensure that you can learn interesting aspects of biology, chemistry, earth science, or mathematics or physics without going through long strings of prerequisite courses.

Q. What if the exact program specialization I want isn't on the list?

A. Choose a closely aligned specialization and then adjust your course selections. Let’s say you want to take Environmental Chemistry. Apply for Chemistry and, if you get in, you’ll get the standard set of required courses. Adjust your courses (add, drop) to fit the exact needs of your desired option.

Q. Can I register for a specialization without going through the application?

A. No. All eligible UBC Vancouver Science students entering second year must apply through this application.

Q. I'm interested in combining life sciences with other areas. Can I apply to the Integrated Sciences program through this process?

A. Yes! The Integrated Sciences program welcomes your interest.

Q. I am really interested in the Pharmacology or Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences specializations but I don’t want to waste any of my three choices if my sessional average is too low to have a chance of being accepted. What do I do?

A. Several of our specializations (e.g., life science and chemistry specializations) have a fixed number of seats and can’t meet all student demand. While the minimum sessional average required to gain admission to one of these specializations changes each year the following list gives you some idea of past minimum standards. Meeting these standards does not guarantee admission. Actual minimum averages may fluctuate up or down in a given year. » Major (0244): Biochemistry (BIOC) 75% » Major (3095): Biology (BIOL) 64% » Major (0409): Chemistry (CHEM) 68% » Major (1153): Microbiology and Immunology (MBIM) 78% » Major (0311): Pharmacology (PCTH) 82% » Honours (3221): Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences (CAPS) 82%

Q. Will there be more spaces in specializations in third-year?

A. Many of the specializations admit some students at the third-year level.

Q. If I'm admitted to a specialization for second year, am I guaranteed to continue into third year?

A. If you successfully complete all the required courses for the specialization and maintain a competitive average, yes. Competitive usually means at least a 60% to 65% average and there are courses that absolutely must be at least passed. Each of the specializations involved in this process normally reviews the records of interested students after second year to determine who is eligible to continue in, or enter, the specialization in third year.

Q. If I don't get my choice of specialization, can I get it in third year?

A. In some cases, yes. You may have a registration date for second year that is early enough to enable you to get space in all of the required courses for the specialization of your choice even if you aren’t designated as being in that specialization. Then you can apply to the specialization itself to get in for third year. If your marks are high enough you may be admitted. 
However, if Biochemistry or Chemistry was your choice and you were not admitted then you’ll be able to enter in third year only if your academic record is strong and you’re willing to lose credit for CHEM 205 (if you take it) and take CHEM 203 and CHEM 213/245. Students with CHEM 235 and greater than 76% in CHEM 233 may, subject to space, access CHEM 213/245. Students wishing to enter Biochemistry also need BIOL 200, BIOC 203 (or BIOL 201 or BIOC 202 with at least 76%). Talk to the specialization advisor while in second year.

Q. Can I enter Biochemistry or Chemistry in third year if I wasn't admitted in second?

A. Possibly. Depending on available space in the required CHEM 203 and CHEM 213/245 students entering third year may be admitted to one of these specializations but only if they’re willing to lose credit for CHEM 205 (a course they may already taken) and then are given space in CHEM 203, 213/245. Students with CHEM 235 and greater than 76% in CHEM 233 may, subject to space, access CHEM 213/245. Students wishing to enter Biochemistry also need BIOL 200, BIOC 203 (or BIOL 201 or BIOC 202 with at least 76%).

Q. Can I take BIOL 200, CHEM 233, etc. if I am not admitted to a specialization that requires those courses?

A. Yes. Space will be available for students whose marks are good and who have the prerequisites.

Q. I also applied to the Pharmacy degree program. If I'm admitted to Pharmacy and to a specialization through this application process, what happens?

A. Notify us of your choice between Pharmacy and the specialization we offered you through this process. Another student will be glad to take the space you decline.

Q. I was already enrolled in the Computer Science major as a first-year student. Do I need to participate in the application process?

A. You only need to participate if you are planning to apply for transfer to another specialization.

Q. Once I submit my choices in the Common Application, can I change them?

A. No. Think carefully before submitting your choices.

Q. If I miss the application deadline, can I send in information later?

A. If you miss the deadline, then e-mail for instructions.

Q. How should I prioritize my three choices?

A. Do your homework. Determine if you’ve completed the prerequisites. Select the specialization you really want as your first choice if you meet those requirements. Don’t select Biology as your first (or second or third) choice if you don’t have credit for CHEM 123. Don’t select Mathematics as your first choice if you really want to be a Physics Major and you have completed Math 101 as well as the required first-year PHYS courses. You will likely get your 'first' choice—that's what 'first choice' means!