Choosing your first-year courses

Choosing your first-year courses

As soon as you’ve been admitted to UBC, you can begin thinking about the courses you’ll take in first year. If you familiarize yourself with how to read course descriptions now, you’ll have a head start when it’s time to build your course timetable. Registration for first-year programs on the Okanagan campus and registration for first-year programs on the Vancouver campus both begin in June.


Review your degree requirements

It’s important to be aware of your degree requirements. These are the courses you must complete to graduate with your chosen degree. Step seven of the Next steps for admitted students guide lists the basic requirements for each degree, but some degrees may require additional courses.

For a full list of your degree requirements, check out the Academic Calendar and your faculty website:

If you have questions, you can contact Academic Advising on the Okanagan campus or an academic advisor for your faculty on the Vancouver campus.


Pay close attention to any English requirements

Most undergraduate degrees at UBC also have an English, communication, or writing requirement that applies to all students, regardless of first language or citizenship.

Most UBC faculties on either campus will require you to take three or six credits of first-year English, and you should check your Faculty requirements before you register to be sure that you are taking the right ones for your program.

Learn more about first-year English courses on the Vancouver campus.

Learn more about first-year English requirements on the Okanagan campus.


Start exploring your options

Most students are able to fit in a few courses beyond their degree requirements – and there’s a wide range to choose from. Taking courses outside your faculty is highly encouraged at UBC, so don’t be shy about choosing electives that take you beyond your degree and help you pursue other interests. Start exploring the Academic Calendar and see what you find!



New deadline if you’re thinking of deferring your admission

New deadline if you’re thinking of deferring your admission

Last updated: May 18, 2021


The vast majority of students who accept their UBC offer will begin their classes in September. A small number apply to defer their entry and start their studies a year later.

If you have a reason to delay the start of your courses, you may be able to postpone your first day at UBC.


Who is eligible

To request a deferral, you must be admitted to the first year of a degree and expect to study full time.

You won’t be able to defer your admission if you’ve been accepted to a limited enrolment degree (for example the the Bachelor of Computer Science, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Midwifery, Bachelor of Education, or Bachelor of Commerce). You also can’t defer your admission to attend another post-secondary institution.


Reasons to defer

When you apply to defer your studies, you have to tell us why. Some reasons to apply might be:

  • You are planning to take a gap year.
  • You are required to complete mandatory military service.
  • You will be participating in a Rotary program.

Each deferral application is examined on a case-by-case basis, and not all requests will be granted.


How to apply

After you’ve accepted your offer of admission and fulfilled its conditions, you must submit a deferred admission request form before July 1 if you are admitted to a UBC Vancouver program, or before August 15 if you are admitted to a UBC Okanagan program.

Applications submitted after this date may be reviewed if your circumstances have changed beyond your control.



Accept your offer of admission by May 1

Accept your offer of admission by May 1

If you’ve received an offer of admission to UBC, congratulations! Getting into UBC is no easy feat, so all of your hard work paid off. The next step is to formally accept your offer and pay your acceptance deposit before the deadline to confirm your spot.


How do I accept my offer?

To accept your offer:

  1. Log in the Student Service Centre.
  2. Click Admissions followed by Accept or Decline My Offer.
  3. Select Yes, I accept this offer.
  4. Pay your acceptance deposit ($500 if you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or $1,000 if you’re an international student). This deposit will be credited to your first term’s tuition.


Considerations due to COVID-19

As students around the world continue to be affected by the pandemic, we understand that you’ve had to deal with challenges and disruptions. You may feel overwhelmed or unsure about where to start with your next steps to university.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to accept your offer of admission to UBC before the May 1 deadline, or the deadline indicated in your offer letter.



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Why do some students have different deadlines?

The deadline for you to accept your offer will depend on when your offer was made, to which degree you’ve been admitted, and which campus you will attend. Please refer to your letter of admission or your Student Service Centre account for your specific deadline.


Where do I find my deadline to accept?

You can find the deadline to accept your offer in two places:

  • Your letter of admission (see page 2)
  • Your Student Service Centre account (click Admissions followed by Accept or Decline My Offer)

Be sure to accept your offer on or before the stipulated deadline. Spaces at UBC are in high demand, and if you miss the deadline, your offer is likely to be withdrawn and made to another student.



Your UBC orientations

Your UBC orientations

Last updated: May 21, 2021



Your first day at UBC is coming up fast! Once you’ve accepted your offer, you’re ready to start thinking about the orientation options available for you this summer. Together, they’re designed to help you meet your first friends, get familiar with your new campus, and hit the ground running as soon as classes begin in September.

Take a look through the four choices below to find out more about what to expect, and which ones you’re eligible to attend. The orientations are listed in the order that you should complete them.



UBC 101

UBC 101 is a self-guided, online course that takes around two hours to complete. You’ll discover the history and traditions of UBC Okanagan, learn about the academic transition to university, be introduced to on-campus support services, and take care of the essentials before classes start. Throughout the summer, you’ll connect with a current UBC Okanagan student – your peer mentor – who can answer your questions, and you can meet and chat with other new students on UBC 101’s discussion boards.

Who should take part

All students coming to UBC Okanagan

Timeline for completion

Any date between mid-April and September – but because you’ll learn important info about course registration, we recommend completing UBC 101 before June. You can register now.



Academic Essentials

Academic Essentials is an online program that will prepare you for academic success as you transition to university. You’ll refresh and build your academic skills in math, reading, and writing; feel confident about your academic readiness in all three areas; and have access to a library of learning and wellness resources to use in your first year. There are three courses you can choose: Reading and Writing at University, Readiness for University Mathematics, and Live Well to Learn Well. Each course is self-paced and self-directed with new content released weekly. You’ll be guided by course facilitators who are current UBC students from your campus, so you’ll learn from those who know your UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver curricula first-hand.

Who should take part

All incoming first-year students, from both campuses.

Timeline for completion

Academic Essentials runs from July 5 to August 12, 2021. Registration opens soon, so keep checking the webpage.



Jump Start at UBC Vancouver

The five-day program is the university’s academic orientation, and is designed to give you a first look at university life, let you meet your professors and academic community, and help you make your first friends at UBC Vancouver. UBC is working closely with public health authorities to determine what a safe return to campus will look like in the fall. This year, you’ll be able to participate in Jump Start virtually or in person.

Jump Start’s fully-virtual option will include both live and pre-recorded activities to accommodate for time zone differences and accessibility. Each day will include two to three hours of scheduled events, plus a number of sessions, socials, and other offerings that you can take part in at your own pace.

If you’re planning to be on or near campus in the fall, Jump Start is offering an in-person option for students living in residence or commuting to UBC. This stream will be delivered in a hybrid way, providing a mix of on-campus small-group sessions, and virtual programming.

Who should take part

All first-year students coming to UBC Vancouver from high school.

Timeline for completion

Jump Start at UBC Vancouver runs from August 29 to September 3, 2021. Register now for Jump Start.



Jump Start at UBC Okanagan

Jump Start at UBC Okanagan will help you discover campus life, learn about opportunities, and connect with other students. It’s a great way to make friends before classes start through fun social activities. Jump Start at UBC Okanagan will also let you choose from one of two streams: virtual-only, or a mix of in-person and online.

Whichever stream you opt for, you’ll enjoy academic success workshops designed to welcome you to your program, as well as the chance to connect with faculty members, staff, and other students who are available to help you throughout your time at UBC. You’ll find out what it’s like to learn in a university environment, and can take part in workshops hosted by UBC Okanagan instructors to show you the campus’s resources and services. By getting the fundamentals out of the way, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters on your first day.

Who should take part

All first-year students coming to UBC Okanagan from high school.

Timeline for completion

Jump Start at UBC Okanagan runs from August 30 to September 3, 2021. Registration will open soon, so keep an eye on the webpage or sign up for Jump Start email updates.



Get ready for Destination UBC

Get ready for Destination UBC

It’s nearly time for Destination UBC!

Remember: this is your opportunity as an admitted student following the Canadian curriculum to find out what makes our Okanagan and Vancouver campuses such vibrant places to live, play, and study. Destination UBC runs over two weeks, and is here to help you discover whether UBC is the right school for you.


Your first event begins soon

The first kickoff session starts on Saturday (April 24), at 9:00 a.m. PT. In this 30-minute welcome, meet your fellow admitted students for the first time as you celebrate your offers together and learn more about what’s in store for you at Destination UBC. Join in to win prizes, and settle in for the full schedule of events!

Across the two weeks you can take part in info sessions, Faculty sessions, campus tours, and more, and enjoy social events such a dance party curated by one of BC’s top DJs.


Deadline for registration

You can still register for Destination UBC! Check out our step-by-step guide on how to sign up for each event.

Registration will close 24 hours before the start of each session – so there’s still some time to put your name down for the events you want to choose.


What you’ll need for Destination UBC

 There’s nothing you have to prepare for any Destination UBC sessions. All you need is an internet connection, and you’re good to go!

If you’re an Indigenous student who’s registered for events including the beading workshops or paint night, our team will be in touch with you to send out the supplies.



Destination UBC for Okanagan campus students

Destination UBC for Okanagan campus students

If you’re a Canadian student who’s received an offer of admission to UBC Okanagan, you’re invited to take part in Destination UBC: a two-week online experience where you’ll make friends with other UBC Okanagan offer-holders, find out more about your Faculty, and learn all about your new campus!


Sessions for UBC Okanagan students

Destination UBC is designed to help you decide whether UBC is the right place for you, and to discover what makes the Okanagan campus a world-class place to live, play, and study. Across the two weeks, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a number of sessions specific to UBC Okanagan students.


UBC Okanagan social events

As well as the kickoff event and info sessions open to everyone, you can take part in our six UBC Okanagan social events. These are open only to students with offers from the Okanagan campus, and are created so you can meet the students you could be joining on campus in the fall.


UBC Okanagan campus tours

You’ll also have two chances to check out a UBC Okanagan campus tour. During these 75-minute Zoom sessions, you’ll learn more about UBC, see photos from some of our favourite spots around your new campus, and hear from current UBC students about their experiences in class, residence, and beyond.


UBC Okanagan Faculty events

Your Faculty on the Okanagan campus will become your second home, and as part of Destination UBC, you’ll be welcomed by your new professors during your Faculty events. They’ll show you how to register for your courses, and find out more about your first steps. Best of all, you’ll meet other new students in your UBC Okanagan degree program.


Why attend Destination UBC as a UBC Okanagan offer-holder?

UBC Okanagan is a tight-knit community, and across campus you’ll form close relationships with your peers and professors. Destination UBC will let you start building your social network early, and make your very first friends. Plus, by discovering more about the campus and your Faculty, you’ll get a head start on knowing your way around if you choose to make UBC Okanagan your new home in the fall.

During Destination UBC, you’ll discover your new favourite things about the UBC Okanagan campus. Here are a few of ours!


Register for Destination UBC now

Registration for Destination UBC is now open, and will close 24 hours before each session.

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to sign up for each event!



What you need to know about registration deposit deferrals

What you need to know about registration deposit deferrals

In most cases, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in the Student Service Centre when you accept your offer of admission to UBC. The acceptance deposit counts as your first registration deposit, and is applied to your tuition fees after you register for classes.

There are some exceptions, though. If you’re receiving a major award or sponsorship funding – from UBC or a third party – and that funding is delayed, you can request for your registration deposit to be deferred until when your tuition fees are due, by contacting an advisor on the Okanagan campus or your Enrolment Services Advisor on the Vancouver campus.

If you’ve self-identified as an Aboriginal person of Canada, your registration deposit will be automatically deferred in an effort to support students who are being funded by third parties, including their band or Nation.


After your deferral has been approved

Don’t worry if you are still prompted to pay a deposit on your registration screen. If you have confirmation that your registration deposit has been deferred, you can safely ignore this default warning.


Who can help me with financial planning?

If you have financial concerns or you’re facing financial challenges, please contact an advisor on the Okanagan campus or your Enrolment Services Advisor on the Vancouver campus. We can help you plan how to finance your studies at UBC.



Should you join Science’s First Year Focus study option?

Should you join Science’s First Year Focus study option?

Now you’ve applied for the Bachelor of Science degree, it’s time to start thinking about how you’d like to structure your first-year courses.

There are two ways to shape your degree. The first lets you pick the classes you’re most interested in, and build your own timetable.

The second lets you join a predesigned course schedule for your first year, where you’ll take nearly all of your classes with the same people. For Science students, you can choose between Science One, or First Year Focus.


What is First Year Focus?

First Year Focus will help you build a strong foundation in the computational sciences. As a cohort-based first-year study option, you’ll form friendships, be part of an inclusive community of diverse students, and build the skills you need to explore a wide range of disciplines as you advance to second year at UBC Science.


What to expect

As a First Year Focus student, you’ll take five online computer science, math, data science, and communications courses with the same class of about 200 UBC Science first-year students. You’ll select the remaining courses (usually four or five, either in-person or online) based on your interests and the requirements you’ll need to meet to enter your second year in UBC Science.


Why choose First Year Focus?

Because First Year Focus is limited to a particular group of students, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of time with your cohort, which will help you make friends. You’ll immerse yourself in computational sciences while gaining the flexibility to pursue almost everything UBC Science has to offer as you progress in your degree—from earth sciences to life science or physical sciences. Best of all, First Year Focus makes registering for your courses simpler.

As part of the study option, you’ll begin to build your knowledge in one of the most exciting areas of science. Computational and data sciences have become key to studying complex problems, such as climate change, food scarcity, and pandemics. They’re fundamental skill sets scientists use to develop models and simulations to understand natural systems at all levels. In particular, areas in the life sciences—like bioinformatics, ecology, protein structure, and metabolic modelling—are becoming increasingly important and reliant on computation.


How to apply

First Year Focus is open to any first-year BSc student, but is designed for learners who are passionate about applying computational skills to a range of problems across the sciences.

If you want to take part in First Year Focus, you’ll need to submit your application by April 30, 2021. Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a rolling basis, but only if there is still space in the program.