Second Year Application: The Basics

Students » Second Year Application: The Basics

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General information and FAQs are available on the UBC site.

The 2020 UBC Science Second-Year Application will open Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 9AM well before 2020 registration.
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.

New in 2018: Biochemistry and Forensic Science

UBC and BCIT have launched a joint Combined Honours in Biochemistry and Forensic Science. Visit the program page and UBC Calendar for details.

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

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.

A. CMS emphasizes breadth and includes a laboratory requirement and a mandatory course in science communication. It's ideal for students who wish to develop strong foundations in multiple scientific disciplines rather than specializing in a single science.

Integrated Sciences emphasizes depth and interdisciplinarity. Students create their own specialization requirements (with faculty approval). It’s an ideal choice for students who want to explore a specific topic that crosses disciplines.

While CMS is more structured than Integrated Sciences, both programs offer students flexibility in their choice of courses and disciplines.

Combined Major in Science Integrated Sciences
Course selection Choose three 'packages' (i.e. disciplines/areas) Choose specific courses in consultation with your mentor
Core required courses SCIE 300, STAT 200, two approved lab courses ISCI 300 + 6 more credits of ISCI
Degree options Major, Co-op Major, Honours, Co-op, Exchange
Program alumni go on to Professional schools, graduate school, research, industry, education, various professional careers, etc.

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.

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

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

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.

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 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.

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 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%).

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

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

A. No. Think carefully before submitting your 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!