Majors, Honours and Minors

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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. To complete a major degree, you need to complete a minimum of 120 credits. Some programs will require more. Major students have seven calendar years to complete their degree.

You can change your major after declaring it—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.

Double Major

Involves specializing in two fields. Students doing a double major will have to complete the degree requirements of two programs in Science or one program in Science and one in Arts. If you want to complete a double major in two Science fields, you need to satisfy all of the degree requirements for each program, and all Faculty of Science requirements.

A double major in Science and Arts requires satisfying all degree requirements for each major, and all Faculty requirements for Science. You can use courses to satisfy requirements for Science. For example, the Arts requirement of the Faculty of Science can be satisfied by the courses taken to satisfy the Arts program requirements.

A double major may also lead to graduate study if sufficiently high standing is obtained. A degree requires a minimum completion of 120 credits, but usually 130 to 150 credits are required to satisfy all requirements. If you’re interested in pursuing a double major, you must apply by submitting the application form to the Science Information Centre. This would normally be done in the beginning of your third year, when you’ve been accepted into your first major. It would be wise to see an advisor for each major for careful course planning. For instance, some science courses are only offered in specific terms and you should ensure you are taking the courses you need when they are offered in order to complete your required courses. You may then need to plan some of your other courses around these science classes.

Students may do a double major with both majors in Science, or your first major in Science and your second major in Arts. Read the Double Major section of the Calendar as well as the sections for each of the two majors. If you have further questions regarding specific courses for the two majors, please contact the program advisors.

Applications for Double Major

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

Course Change Forms

» 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. Currently this program limits combinations to those of Computer Science and another field. This program may lead to graduate study if sufficiently high standing is obtained.

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. An honours requires maintenance of a high academic standing and usually involves preparation of a graduating thesis. You'll have to complete at least 132 credits (rather than the 120 required for the major degree). Honours students must complete their degree within five calendar years.

UBC Science requires that honours students complete all courses attempted (no failed courses), complete a minimum of 30 credits per winter session (often more are needed), and maintain a minimum 68% average per academic session. Furthermore, your department may have additional requirements—for example, a higher minimum sessional average.
A combined honours allows students to bridge two disciplines, but does not include every course from each individual honours program. The combined honours involves the completion of at least 132 credits, the maintenance of a high academic standing, and usually a graduating thesis in one of the two disciplines.

Some honours and combined honours specializations accept applications from students entering second year; for these, the application must be done through the existing Second Year Application Process. Most honours 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 courseload requirements for honours students. If you are interested in an honours specialization but do not meet these requirements (for instance, completed only 28 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 30 or more credits at UBC and achieving the high academic standing expected in honours. The appeal letter should be concise but explain why you are seeking an honours specialization and why you did not meet the honours requirements in a prior year. Email the letter to Transfer students may also follow this procedure.


A minor involves taking courses in Science but outside the main area of specialization, or in Arts, Land and Food Systems, Commerce (Sauder School of Business) or Kinesiology. It allows students to focus their electives in a single subject or field of specialization. Science students applying for any minor must do so through the Science Information Centre. Deadlines depend on the type of minor.

UBC Calendar on Minors,215,410,410

Science Minor: Minor in another Science Specialization
A minor in science may be undertaken by students in an honours or major program. Courses taken for the minor must be courses in the Faculty of Science that are acceptable for a B.Sc. major or honours in the proposed subject area or field. All Science minors must be approved by your major and minor advisors before being submitted to Science Advising.

» 18-credit Minor in Science

Arts Minor
Students should design a course of studies for their proposed Arts Minor, which must be approved by a senior faculty advisor in the Faculty of Science Dean's Office at the beginning of third year.
For the 18-credit Minor in Arts students must download and complete the application, then email it to the Science Information Centre for review.
For the 30-credit Minor in Arts students need approval from the appropriate department/program advisor in Arts (not the Arts Academic Advising Office).

» Application: 18-credit Minor in Arts
» Application: 30-credit Minor in Arts

Commerce Minor
Apply in term 2 of your first or second year: deadline is May 15 (4 PM). You must be eligible for second or third-year standing in UBC Science the next September and have achieved an average of at least 60% in the current academic year. Some COMM courses are offered with 'flexible' online components and less frequent in-class sessions.

» BSc Commerce Minor Program
» Website: Commerce Minor Program
» BSc Commerce Minor Application Form

Kinesiology Minor
Deadline for applications is May 15 (4 PM). Students must have completed PHYS 100 or 101 and be eligible for third-year standing in the Faculty of Science with a cumulative average of at least 68% in the previous two years, and be eligible to enrol in either CAPS 301(6), or BIOL 363(3) and 364(2).

» BSc Kinesiology Minor Program
» BSc Kinesiology Minor Application Form

Land and Food Systems
A minor in Land and Food Systems may be undertaken by students in a major, honours, general science, or integrated sciences program. Please download and fill out the application form, then submit it to the Science Information Centre via email.

» Application: 18-credit Minor in Land and Food Systems

Course Change Form for Minors

» Course Change Form for Approved Minor