First Year Focus: Computation


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Connect. Explore. Grow.

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 (FYF) students take a common set of five online computer science, math, data science and communications courses (16 credits) with the same class of about 200 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.

What will my classes look like?

FYF classes are dedicated sections of courses that already exist at UBC. Students are registered in all five online 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

Why computation?

The computational and data sciences have become key to studying complex problems—climate change, food scarcity, pandemics—across every domain of science. They’re fundamental skill sets scientists use to develop models and simulations to understand natural systems at all levels. In particular, areas in the life sciences—like bioinformatics, ecology, protein structure and metabolic modelling—are becoming increasingly important and computationally intensive.

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.

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—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.

Check back here in early March for more details on the application.