Second Year Application: The Basics

Students » Second Year Application: The Basics
The UBC Science Second-Year Application is now closed. It will re-open in June 2021. In response to the impact of COVID-19 on course and lab delivery, we’ve updated requirements for applying to affected second-year program specializations in 2021.
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.

How does the process work?

Students are placed into their first-choice specialization (so long as they meet pre-requisites) ordered by average, as long as there's still room in that specialization. Applicants are ranked by their most recent winter session average or admission average (for transfer students). For the student with the highest grade, we start by reviewing their first choice. If they meet the admission requirements, they will be placed in their top choice that still has space in it. When a student’s application meets admission requirements but there isn’t space in their first choice, we move to their second choice and do the same evaluation. If there isn’t room in their second choice, we review their third choice.

We’re able to place the vast majority of students into one of their three choices--especially when you select specializations that align with your grades and completed coursework (admission requirements).

When will I know the outcome of my application?

Roughly two weeks after the application has closed you’ll receive an email at the address you’ve listed on the Student Service Centre. It will direct you to log into SSC to learn which specialization you’ve been placed in.

Can I change my application after I’ve submitted it?

No. Ensure you’re confident in your choices and have done the recommended research to inform your decisions before you submit your application.

What happens if I don’t apply for a specialization?

If you have second-year standing and don’t have a specialization, you will not be able to register for courses. If you’ve missed the application deadline, email yr2application@science.ubc.ca with your name and student number to inquire about next steps.

Step 2 - Make Sure You're Eligible

More FAQs

General | Transfers | Science Co-op

Can I complete the requirements for my chosen specializations over the summer?

No. The listed specialization application requirements must be completed before you apply.

Can I register for courses without a specialization?

No. Once you’ve been promoted to second year standing, you must have a specialization in order to register for courses.

What if I’m not placed in one of my three choices?

This is typically avoidable—ensure you apply to three choices and have done your research to confirm your choices are reasonable for your completed coursework and sessional average. If you’re not placed in one of your three choices, we’ll reach out via email regarding next steps. It’s important that you check your email and respond quickly—the next steps are on a first-come, first-served basis.

What if the exact program specialization I want isn’t listed?

Some specializations, like some Honours, only allow entry in third year and therefore aren’t part of this application. See our full list of specializations and cross-reference with the current Academic Calendar to ensure they’re currently offered. For now, apply to a major related to the specialization you’re interested in (e.g. major in the subject if you’re interested in honours in that subject) as part of the UBC Science Second Year Application. You must complete this step in order to register for courses in second year. Check the website of the relevant department to learn more about requirements and timelines for getting into your intended specialization.

What if the combined major I want isn’t listed?

Some combined majors and honours only allow entry in third year and therefore aren’t part of this application. Examples include the Combined Major in Mathematics and Economics and many small combined honours specializations, such as Combined Honours in Mathematics and Statistics. See the full list of specializations in the BSc degree.

For now, apply to at least one of the two majors you’re interested in. At the end of second year, you can apply to the combined major or combined honours. Check the websites of both relevant departments for more information—sometimes you need to apply to both departments to be considered for the specialization in third year.

If I don’t get into the specialization I want, can I take the courses it requires during winter session (while in another specialization) and apply to switch for third year?

Maybe. Depending on your registration date/time, you may be able to register in some or all of the courses required for your ideal specialization. However, you’ll also want to look at the courses required for your current program specialization—if you’re not successful in gaining entry to your ideal specialization next year and haven’t progressed in your assigned program specialization, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re not eligible to continue your studies. Do your research and make informed decisions about the level of risk you’re willing to take on. For example, if you reach 78 credits attempted and aren’t making progress in your program (e.g. promotable to third year), you’ll be required to withdraw from the Faculty. Start your research by looking at promotion and Calendar requirements for the specialization you’re in and the specialization you hope to be accepted to in third year.

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

If you successfully complete all the required courses for the specialization and maintain a competitive average, generally the answer is yes. Competitive usually means at least a 60% to 65% average and there are required courses that must be passed (or better). 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. Note: Honours Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences and Major Microbiology and Immunology have an application to apply for third year that all students completing their second year in the program must submit.

Transfer Questions

I’m going into second year in UBC Science but I've applied to transfer to another faculty and I haven't heard back yet. Should I still complete the specialization application?

Yes. Submit an application for a specialization so that if you don’t transfer, you’ll be eligible to continue in your current program. If you receive the outcome for your request to transfer before we notify you of the results, please email yr2application@science.ubc.ca to withdraw your application so that we can place another student instead.

My application to transfer to UBC Science is still pending. Should I still apply for a specialization (e.g. major)?

Yes. If you’re waiting for an outcome regarding your UBC application, you still need to apply to the UBC Science Second Year Application. If you’re offered admission to UBC Science, it’s an important step you need to have completed.

If I’m not accepted as a transfer student into the Faculty of Science until after the application closes, will you still put me into one of the three specializations I chose in the application?

When the application closes, we continue with the applications of all admitted students. If you are admitted after the application closes, please reach out to yr2application@science.ubc.ca right away to learn what your options are. There may be a chance that we can consider your three choices if there is space in one of them (and you meet the requirements), but you may need to select from one of the specializations that still has room.

UBC Science Co-op

Can you only apply to UBC Science Co-op in second year?

Great question. The best place to find answers about Co-op is the source itself. See the UBC Science Co-op Frequently Asked Questions for students.

If I don’t state that I’m interested in Co-op as part of the application, can I still apply to Co-op? If I do say I’m interested in Co-op, am I required to apply?

Your answer to this question helps us plan--it’s not a commitment from you. No matter what you answer, it will still be an option for you to apply (or not) to UBC Science Co-op.