Degree Types: Majors, Minors, and More

Students » Degree Types: Majors, Minors, and More

A major involves specialization in a single field, while allowing sufficient elective space to explore other areas. It may lead to graduate studies if you achieve sufficiently high standing.

» Explore Majors (Program Specializations)

» Moving from First to Second Year


UBC Science students select their major in June, after their first year. In March, students attend informational workshops such as “Beyond First Year” and the annual “Meet Your Major” event to learn more about specializing.
Yes - talk to the department that offers the major you want to get into to see if they will accept you. Normally you would have to wait until the next winter session to change your major.

Requirements for a Major

  • Completion of a minimum of 120 credits (some programs require more)
  • 7 calendar years to complete your major


Double Major

A double major involves specializing in two fields. There are three double major options in Science:

  • Double Major, Both Majors in Science
  • Double Major, First Major in Science and Second in Arts
  • Double Major, First Major in Science and Second in Fine Arts

In a double major with both majors in Science, students must satisfy all the specialization requirements for each major, and all Faculty requirements for Science. For Double Major in Science and Arts, the Arts requirement of the Faculty of Science degree can be satisfied by the courses taken to satisfy the Arts major requirements.

A double major may also lead to graduate study if sufficiently high standing is obtained.

» More about Double Majors

Requirements for a Double Major

  • A BSc degree requires a minimum completion of 120 credits
  • Usually 130 to 150 credits are required to satisfy all requirements for a double major


Email a completed application form to Science Advising. This would normally be done at the beginning of your third year, after you have been in your first Science major for a year.

» Application for Double Major, Both Majors in Science

» Application for Double Major, First Major in Science and Second in Arts 

See an advisor for each major for careful course planning. Some courses are only offered in specific terms and you should ensure you’re taking the courses you need when offered to complete your requirements. You may then need to plan some of your other courses around these Science courses. For specific courses for the two majors, contact the program advisors. Learn more about Double Majors
If you need to make any changes to your previously approved course plan for your Double Major specialization, you are required to email a Course Change Form to Science Advising.

» Course Change Form for Approved Double Major, Science

» Course Change Form for Approved Double Major, Science and Arts


Combined Major

A combined major involves specialization in two fields, but students complete defined combinations of the degree requirements of two programs in the Faculty of Science. Consult the program specialization options in the UBC Academic Calendar to view whether you can combine a specialization with another. This program may lead to graduate study if sufficiently high standing is obtained. Currently, this program has limited combinations between specializations.

» More about Combined Majors



Honours and Combined Honours

Usually involves intense specialization in a single field or a combination of fields, and is the traditional route to take if you want to pursue graduate studies.

Requirements for Combined Honours

A combined honours allows students to bridge two disciplines, but doesn’t include every course from each individual honours program. The same requirements apply as for Honours students.

UBC Science Requirements for Honours

  • Completion of all courses attempted (e.g. no failed courses)
  • Completion of a minimum of 27 credits per winter session (often more are needed)
  • A minimum 68% average per academic session
  • Your department may have additional requirements - e.g. higher minimum sessional average

» More about Honours


Requirements for Honours

  • High academic standing
  • Preparation of graduating thesis in some cases
  • Completion of 132 credits, within 5 calendar years

Some honours and combined honours specializations accept applications from students entering second year; for these, the application must be done through the Second Year Application. Most honours programs accept students upon entry into third year. Students already in a specialization and wishing to change to an honours or combined honours should contact the appropriate advisor for the specialization.

Applicants are expected to demonstrate they meet academic standing and course load requirements for honours students. If you’re interested in an honours specialization but do not meet these requirements (e.g. completed only 26 credits in your first winter session) you may request consideration for honours in an appeal to the Associate Dean of Students.

This appeal may be submitted after you have demonstrated your potential for honours by completing at least one winter session with 27 or more credits at UBC and achieving the high academic standing expected in honours. Transfer students may also follow this procedure.

  • The letter should be concise
  • Explain why you are seeking an honours specialization
  • Explain why you did not meet the honours requirements in a prior year
  • Upload your appeal letter to Science Advising via the "leave a message" feature: