First Year Focus: Computation


Home | Why Computation | Schedules and Options | Frequently Asked Questions

First Year Focus helps students build a strong foundation in the computational sciences in a supportive, cohort-based program. You'll form friendships, be part of an inclusive community of diverse students, and build the skills you need to explore a wide range of disciplines as you advance to second year at UBC Science.

What is First Year Focus?

First Year Focus is intentionally designed to help you connect with fellow students formally and informally–both in class and during social and extracurricular activities.

First Year Focus (FYF) students take a common set of five computer science, math, data science and communications courses (16 credits) with the same class of about 90 UBC Science first-year students—your community. You select the remaining courses (usually four to five, in-person or online) based on your interests and to meet the requirements for promotion to second year in UBC Science. You’ll immerse yourself in the computational sciences while gaining the flexibility to pursue almost everything UBC Science has to offer as you progress in your degree—from the earth sciences to the life sciences to the physical sciences.

Why First Year Focus?

  • Take all your big, first-year classes with the same students—work in consistent, small teams
  • Tackle the computational sciences and explore your career options in a supportive environment
  • Enjoy your own, dedicated FYF study space at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
  • Take advantage of FYF’s mentoring and networking programs, career and scholarly sessions, and special events

What will my classes look like?

FYF classes are dedicated sections of courses that already exist at UBC. Students are registered in all five courses together as a group. The cohort design allows students to build a core group of friends and peers while still giving freedom to explore their own personal interests. The cohort design gives students more freedom to pursue extra-curricular experiences and maintain a healthy, balanced approach to their studies.

Term One Courses Term Two Courses
Computer Science 110 Data Science 100
Mathematics 100 Mathematics 101
Communications course (WRDS 150)  
+ up to 2 self-selected courses + up to 3 self-selected courses

How does First Year Focus differ from a typical first-year experience?

The vast majority of UBC Science students design their own timetable in first year—tailoring their courses to the requirements of the program specializations they want to apply to. FYF offers less course selection flexibility, but gives students a greater sense of community in first year. First Year Focus is designed to provide learners with more opportunities for connection with fellow students, based on research on the importance of community and social capital in academic performance and wellbeing First Year Focus students will have opportunity to attend workshops, events, and programming to help transition into first year and develop connections with fellow students.

Does First Year Focus cost more than other first-year options?

No. FYF Computation is provided at no additional cost beyond UBC's typical credit fees.

What happens after first year?

Like all UBC Science students, you’ll apply to a program specialization (e.g. major) and continue your degree studies. UBC Science offers a huge variety of programs specializations in anything from biological to environmental sciences, mathematics to geophysics, chemistry to computer science, and a wide range of other options.

Who should apply?

First Year Focus is open and accessible to any first-year BSc student who has completed Calculus 12 (or equivalent). It's designed for learners who are passionate about applying computational knowhow to a range of problems across the sciences. Space is limited, and the application is designed to help identify students who will benefit most from—and contribute the most to—a supportive, cohort-based first-year experience at UBC Science.

UBC is committed to inclusion and Indigenization, and encourages applications from individuals who identify with diverse groups including Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, LGBTQ+, and first-generation learners.


Start by applying to UBC in the Faculty of Science! You will need to have applied to UBC to apply to join FYF. 

Applications for FYF for Winter 2022 will open in the Spring!


If you have any questions about the program, email Beth Dennis, FYF Coordinator at