Choosing what to study

Choosing what to study

A common question we’re asked here at UBC is about the difference between a degree and a program. What’s a program? What’s a degree? And why is it important to tell them apart when you’re deciding what to study?


Degree versus program. What’s the difference?

At UBC, your degree refers to the level and type of study you will complete during university (e.g., Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science). It’s the designation you’ll earn at graduation.

A program refers to the subject you choose to specialize in (e.g., your major in Anthropology or Biology). It’s your area of focus within your degree. For most degrees, you don’t have to commit to a program until your second or third year of study.

For example, if you study in the History program, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. If you study in the Civil Engineering program, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree.


Determine your UBC degree

Before you apply to UBC, you need to decide which degree and campus you’ll choose. To do so, take a look at our programs page to discover what you want to what to study, and find the degree information in the grey box.

Find out more information on choosing what to study.


Filling out your UBC application

The online application allows you to select two degrees (a first and second choice), which can be on different campuses and in different faculties.

When you go to fill in the online application, you’ll enter those degree choices in the Program Selection tab. Enter your first-choice degree in the “First Program Choice” field and enter your second-choice degree in the “Second Program Choice” field.




Join us for a live virtual campus tour!

Join us for a live virtual campus tour!

Are you wondering what life at UBC is like? Are you curious about your new classes, or how to build your community? Maybe you’d just like to see if UBC feels like the right place for you?

If so, come and join us for a live virtual campus tour! In light of COVID-19, we’re now running our tours for both UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver online.

You’ll be in excellent hands as you join our friendly student ambassadors, who provide an in-depth look at UBC. Tours of the Okanagan campus last for 75 minutes, and the Vancouver campus tours run for 90 minutes. Both finish with a Q&A panel where you can ask your questions. Our ambassadors are current students who are excited to share their knowledge and experiences with you, and help you discover what it’s like to be a UBC student!


Tour schedules

Tours are scheduled at both UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver on various days throughout the week. Take a look at our campus tours page to see the most up-to-date schedule.

All tours take place using Zoom.


Additional tours for Indigenous students

Indigenous students (First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit) and their guests can also take part in a live virtual Indigenous campus tour of UBC Vancouver. From the comfort of your own home, you can meet an Indigenous student ambassador who will highlight their favourite locations on campus, show you our Indigenous-specific spaces, and help you navigate programs and resources for Indigenous students. After the tour, an Indigenous student advisor will be available to answer your questions.

We do not currently offer Indigenous-specific virtual campus tours of UBC Okanagan, but you are welcome to join one of the live virtual campus tours for all students. If you would like to connect with an Indigenous advisor following the tour, please email with the date and time of the tour you registered for.


How to register

To view all upcoming campus tours and to register, visit our Tours and events page and select the campus tours tab.

If you are an Indigenous person of Canada and you’d like to request a virtual Indigenous campus tour of UBC Vancouver, send us an email.


Keep exploring

If you are unable to attend one of our live virtual campus tours or you want to learn more about UBC at your own pace, you can also experience our two campuses by taking a self-guided virtual tour.


We’re looking forward to meeting you online!



UBC fees for dual citizens and permanent residents of Canada

UBC fees for dual citizens and permanent residents of Canada

You don’t have to be a Canadian-born student to be eligible for domestic tuition fees. UBC usually determines what fee structure you’ll follow based on your citizenship, but there are a few exceptions.


Canadian students

UBC considers you to be a Canadian student if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are a Canadian citizen;
  • You hold multiple citizenships and one of them is Canadian;
  • You are a permanent resident of Canada;
  • You have refugee status in Canada; or
  • You are the dependent of a diplomat assigned to Canada (your fees and status will change to international once they leave their post in Canada).


International students

All other students will follow the international student fee structure, unless you’re eligible for one of these exemptions:

  • You have an affiliation with an Indigenous nation of Canada (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit);
  • You identify as a member of an Indigenous nation that extends across the Canada-US border (American Indian or Alaska Native);
  • You are in Canada with a full-time, employer-specific work permit for more than one year; or
  • You are the dependent or spouse of an individual who is in Canada with a work permit that fulfils the same criteria.

If one of these bullet points describes your situation, you might be eligible for domestic tuition. Make sure to get in touch with Student Services (UBC Okanagan) or your Enrolment Services Advisor (UBC Vancouver) before the tuition fee payment deadline to confirm.


Calculate your costs

Now you know which tuition fees you’ll pay at UBC, use our cost calculator to estimate your first-year costs for your chosen campus and degree.



Top five UBC online application tips

Top five UBC online application tips

Ready to apply to UBC? You must submit your application to UBC through the EducationPlannerBC website when the portal opens in October.

Before you get started, check out our short video for a step-by-step walk-through of our top five online application tips. You’ll find out why it’s important to:

  1. Start early
  2. Double your chances
  3. Let the application guide you
  4. Take your time
  5. Check your work


Looking for more tips?

For even more helpful ideas, read through our detailed application tips and watch our short video on writing a strong personal profile.



What are the requirements for admission to UBC?

What are the requirements for admission to UBC?

Each year, UBC receives approximately 40,000 undergraduate applications like yours from across Canada and around the world. You may be applying directly from high school or transferring from another university or college, studying at a Canadian school, or following any one of a number of international curricula. English may be your first language, or your second or third or fourth.

Each person who applies to UBC is unique, so each of you will have your own way of meeting our requirements. Here are four questions to ask yourself before you begin your application.


Four questions we’ll ask

Do you meet UBC’s English language requirement?

English is the primary language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students are required to demonstrate English language competency before they’re admitted.

Do you meet UBC’s general admission requirements?

Your general admission requirements will vary depending on whether you’re a Canadian high school student, an international high school student, or a post-secondary transfer student from Canada or abroad.

Do you know what you’re interested in studying at UBC?

You don’t need to select a program (or major) just yet (e.g., English or Biology), but you’ll need to identify which degree you’re working toward (e.g., Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science). Choosing what to study will help you determine which degree-specific requirements you must meet when you apply to UBC and help you understand how your application will be reviewed.

When you complete your application, you can select a first and second choice of degree. You don’t have to indicate a second choice if you don’t have one or if you only meet the requirements for your first-choice degree, but it’s always a good idea to keep your options open. Some degrees are offered on both UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver, so one approach is to apply for the same degree on both campuses as your first and second choices.

In the online application, you’ll enter those degree choices in the Program Selection tab. Enter your first-choice degree in the “First Program Choice” field and enter your second-choice degree in the “Second Program Choice” field.

Does your chosen degree require a personal profile or supplemental application?

All high school applicants and some transfer applicants are required to submit a personal profile as part of their application to UBC. Depending on the degree you choose, a supplemental application, portfolio, or audition may be required, too.


Find your admission requirements

No matter where you’re from, what you want to study, or which UBC campus you’re applying to, our Undergraduate Programs and Admissions website can help you find the admission requirements that apply to you.

Still have questions? Contact us and we’ll point you in the right direction.



Connect with a UBC advisor near you

Connect with a UBC advisor near you

As you settle into your new school year, our UBC advisors are ready to help you plan for 2022, and the next steps in your journey to UBC.

Our advisors can answer all of your questions about the university, including admission requirements, the application process, and what life is like as a UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver student.


Find an event in your area

Given the global outbreak of COVID-19, we’re currently holding our events online. You can take part in information sessions, fairs, student experience events, and student meetings – all from the comfort of your own home.

At these events, you’ll get to ask us your questions about UBC, and find out information relevant to where you live and what curriculum you’re studying.

Keep checking back to see if more sessions have been added!


How to register

To find out if UBC is hosting an event specific to you and your area, visit our tours and events page. Based on your profile, we’ll show you a list of all the events available to you – just click the category you’d like to browse.

To register, simply click the event card and follow the instructions to reserve your spot.

After you’ve created your account, you can find all of the events you’re registered for any time on the your account page.


Other ways to connect with UBC

If UBC isn’t running any events specific to your region, there are still plenty of ways to connect:


We’re looking forward to meeting you!



Do you follow us?

Do you follow us?

At UBC, we’re pretty social. In fact, we have dedicated accounts on InstagramFacebookSnapchatTwitter, and TikTok for anyone who’s aspiring to be a UBC student, applying to UBC, or getting ready for their first day on campus. Sound like you? Click that “follow” button for answers to your questions, important reminders, and to have a peek at student life.


Get answers to your questions

Have a question about UBC? Head over to InstagramFacebook, or Twitter. Our team of advisors is online Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Pacific Time), answering all of your questions about applications, admissions, awards, and more. If you’re in a different time zone, leave us a message and we’ll get back to you when we log in for the day. 


Get important info and reminders

Looking for application tips? Worried about missing a deadline? We’ve got you covered. On our Instagram, Twitterand Facebook, you’ll find information on how to apply to UBC, reminders about key dates and deadlines, and the inside scoop on events of all kinds – starting with info sessions before you apply, celebratory events, and even orientations.



Get a peek at student life

If you’re curious what life is like at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Instagram and TikTok.



On Instagram, we share our own photos from around campus and re-post our favourite shots. On Instagram Stories and TikTok, we often hand the microphone (and camera) over to current students so you can see UBC life through a fresh set of eyes.



Happy first day of summer classes UBC! Where should we study? 🤔 #ubc #ubco #study #fyp #campus #university #kelowna

♬ Eenie Meenie – Sean Kingston & Justin Bieber



Find us on social media

@youbcpic on Instagram

@youbc on Facebook

@youbc on Twitter

@youbc on TikTok

@youbcsnaps on Snapchat



Programs spotlight: Media and fine arts

Programs spotlight: Media and fine arts

Whether you’re a budding storyteller, an aspiring actor, or a concert pianist in the making – or someone who’s at ease in front of an easel, at a keyboard, or behind the scenes – there’s a UBC program for you. You can develop your skills in film, theatre, music, visual art, creative writing, media, and more.


Explore your program options

Media Studies

Media Studies at UBC Okanagan is much more hands-on than you might expect. The degree is a computational arts program, which means that you’ll have the chance to use many different technologies to build your creative projects. In your first two years, you’ll study courses that include creative writing, cultural studies, digital humanities, media studies, and visual arts, and learn how to write computer code. Depending on your preferences and career aspirations, in your final years you can choose to focus on visual arts, or specialize in the degree’s custom-created computer science pathways.


The student scoop

Lark Spartin Media Studies UBC story

Meet Lark Spartin, a Media Studies student who uses technology and computer-based skills to create film and animation, website design, mobile app prototypes, and more.



Music: Advanced Performance

Imagine having a world-class concert hall like The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts in your backyard! In the Music: Advanced Performance program at UBC Vancouver, you’ll study music theory, technology, and musicianship while completing four years of private instruction in voice, opera, piano, organ, guitar, harpsichord, or an orchestral instrument of your choice.



Visual Arts

Visual Arts UBC Okanagan will let you study in a variety of traditional media, such as painting, drawing, sculpture, analogue photography, and printmaking. You’ll also have the opportunity to work on digital media projects, including video, digital photography, sound art, animation, and the creation of virtual worlds. The degree is designed to prepare you for a career as an artist, so much of your time will be spent doing hands-on studio work in the beautiful Okanagan, a location with the feel of an arts retreat.


The student scoop

Meet Barb, a Visual Arts alumna who graduated as valedictorian. Barb’s career has taken her back to her Tlingit community to work alongside established artists to help others feel and express their culture through art.


Theatre: Design and Production

Learn more about set, costume, lighting, and sound design, including set and costume construction, stage and production management, and other production technologies. As a graduate of the Theatre: Design and Production program at UBC Vancouver, you’ll be ready to work in professional theatre or film, or pursue advanced training in grad school.



See a full list of media and fine arts programs at UBC