Frequently Asked Questions: Courses

Students » Frequently Asked Questions: Courses
Register for both Term 1 and Term 2 courses on your registration date, which will be shown when you click the “Registration” tab in the Student Service Centre. You will also receive an e-mail from Enrolment Services two weeks before registration opens, notifying you of your registration day and time. Until that date, you may notice a message indicating that registration is “Blocked”, meaning that registration has not yet opened for you.
You can expect that most Science courses are offered in-person. UBC has a number of modes of delivery for courses. Learn more about them and how to figure out which mode your course(s) are offered in.
You can switch sections of courses to change your timetable. However, if you drop a section, you risk not being able to add another because the other section is full. If you try to switch from one course section to another and the desired section is full, you will get a message to indicate why your request couldn't be completed and you will still be registered in the original section of that course.
Most courses are graded on a percentage scale, a very few are simply “Pass” or “Fail” (P or F). Some courses may be taken as either percentage grading, or as Credit/D/Fail. Credit/D/Fail courses allow students to receive a credit, a D, or a Fail standing instead of a percentage grade. In first year, take only percentage-graded courses; any course required for the specialization you pursue will need a percentage grade. Wait a year or two before using the Credit/D/Fail option for an elective. We don’t recommend you choose Credit/D/Fail for any Science course, unless you are certain you won’t need it for your specialization or a future minor. It’s hard to make that call in first year!
Decisions on promotion to the next year-level are made in May or June after winter session. Make sure your choice of first-year courses will meet the promotion requirements on the UBC Academic Calendar.
Sometimes, you will see a message that the available spots in a certain courses section are “restricted”. Seats in some course sections are part of a standard timetable (STT) or are reserved for students studying in a particular degree program. If you see the word "restricted" in the course status, look at the details of the section to see if there are "general seats" as well. If you are unable to determine if you can register for the course, try to register anyway; you may qualify for one of the restricted seats. If you have difficulties, check with the appropriate department for help:
A lot of registration changes happen in the first week or so of school, sometimes even right up until the add/drop deadline. Read this blog post on how to try and secure a spot in a class, or a particular section of a lab.
Consult the Student Services Registration Guide for information on building worklists, paying for your registration or acceptance deposits, registering for courses, and more.

Don’t panic. With a little patience you will probably be able to resolve it yourself.

  1. Check to see if the course is full – if so, look for another section.
  2. Check to see that you have the required pre-requisite. For instance, you need either BIOL 111 or Biology 11 or 12 to register in BIOL 112. If you don’t have high school Biology, register for BIOL 111 in term 1, and BIOL 112 in term 2.
  3. Make sure you aren’t trying to put two courses in the same timeslot. This includes waitlisted courses.
  4. If you are still not able to register, check out the helpful information pages departments have provided:

If your registration problem is still not solved, and it is NOT due to a full course, consult your Enrolment Service Advisor (ESA) or Science Advising. As noted above, we can’t put you in a course if it’s full; however, if you’ve encountered another difficulty that is not resolved with the above steps, connect with us right away.

Bachelor of Science (BSc) students don’t declare a specialization until they have completed first year and have been promoted to the next year level. Once you are promoted to second-year standing, and before you register for the next winter session’s courses, you will have to enter a specialization (major or honours). Each specialization has specific course requirements that you should take in first year, so keep these in mind as you choose your first year courses.
Not every course listed as a 'first-year course' in the Calendar description of your major has to be completed in your first winter session. Be strategic. For example, if your intended major includes second-year CHEM courses, then you have to complete the first-year CHEM courses in first year. Another example is if your major doesn’t include any second-year PHYS courses, you could delay a required first-year PHYS course until second year.
Plan to complete promotion requirements and specialization admission requirements during your first winter session. Some summer courses will not be completed until August, which is after the time you will be registering for winter courses (July), so you may encounter difficulty. Additionally, some high-demand second-year courses require that you have credit for the prerequisite first-year course before being able to register.
There are two terms in the summer session, one from May to June, and the other from July to August. Since the summer terms are significantly shorter than the winter terms, lectures will be longer and fast-paced, and workload will be more intense.
It is not required to take courses over the summer, but you can choose to balance your course load by taking fewer courses during the winter session and adding some during the summer session. Remember to meet courseload requirements if they apply to you (e.g. Housing, Loans, Honours).
When you are planning your courses for the winter session (e.g. 2024 Winter), you can use the current summer course schedule (e.g. 2023 Summer) as a general guide of what could be offered next summer (e.g. 2024 Summer). Many courses are offered regularly in the summer, so this can provide some assistance for decision making. Please note: There is no guarantee that courses available this summer will also be scheduled next summer.
You will receive an email notifying you of your summer session registration date around late February.
For certain Biology courses (e.g. BIOL 112), you may see a warning message about prerequisites when you add the course to your worklist. This is an automated message and may not apply to you specifically. Review your high school (or transfer) courses and if you do have the correct prerequisites, you should be eligible to register and you should continue to plan the rest of your courses.

Have More Questions?

Drop in to Science Advising and speak with a Science advisor.