Communication Requirements

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For detailed information on the Communication Requirements, please consult the UBC Academic Calendar.

Six credits of communication coursework must be completed before promotion to Year 4. View eligible courses. First-year students may take SCIE 113 (First-year Seminar in Science) to fulfil part of the Communication Requirement. However, at least one* course in ENGL may also be required (only students who get into the Combined Major in Science can count on using SCIE 300 as the second communication course. Students in a Chemistry specialization take CHEM 300 as a second communication course).

*Currently the Faculty of Medicine at UBC requires applicants to pass two ENGL courses.
Once admitted to UBC, students will not normally be permitted to satisfy the Communication requirement at another institution.

In order to take any ENGL course at UBC you must have a good grasp of the English language. The Language Proficiency Index (LPI) exam is used to determine a student's eligibility to register in first-year English courses. First, find out if you’re exempt from the LPI exam.

Not exempt from the LPI exam?

  • Write the LPI exam before the end of first year
  • Register in SCIE 113 for first year
  • Plan to take a first-year English course once an LPI score of 5 is achieved

If you do need to pass the LPI exam, it might be a good idea to limit your credits in first year so as to have the time required to build your writing skills through formal study and practice. The UBC Extended Learning office offers a non-credit writing course (WRIT-098) that may help you improve your skills.

Exempt from the LPI Exam?

Those who are exempt from the LPI may still take SCIE 113 in first year, but can also choose from several first-year English courses. SCIE 113 is available only to BSc students with Year-1 standing.

Students admitted directly from secondary school should take at least one communication course in Year 1 if eligible. Those who have not met the requirement to take an ENGL course (see above) risk having their credit release limited after first year if they do not make progress.

Students who are accepted on transfer from other post-secondary institutions, who are readmitted to the Faculty after being required to discontinue, or who are admitted with a prior degree must meet the Communication Requirement while classified in second or third year.

Promotion to fourth-year standing requires that the Communication requirement be met. There are limits on the number of credits that can be attempted while in second or third years (see the UBC Academic Calendar entry for second-degree students and for other students). Students who reach those limits without meeting the Communication Requirement will be required to discontinue studies in Science.

Students admitted to the BSc program from either the Faculty of Applied Science or the Faculty of Arts at UBC Vancouver and who have credit for APSC 176; ASTU 100, 150; or WRDS 150 may apply the credits toward the Communication Requirement.

Students who are not exempt from the LPI exam and did not pass either SCIE 113 or an ENGL course in the first winter session will be limited in the credits they may attempt the following summer and winter sessions until they achieve a level 5 LPI score. If that score is not achieved by the end of their second winter session, they will not be permitted to register in any additional credit courses until they do.

Students admitted to the BSc degree who have not met the Communication Requirement by the time they have met the other requirements for promotion to fourth-year standing will not be promoted or permitted to enroll in courses other than Communication courses until the requirement is met. See Promotion Requirements.

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