Study at UBC with STEPS Forward: An inclusive post-secondary initiative

Study at UBC with STEPS Forward: An inclusive post-secondary initiative

UBC prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. If you have developmental or intellectual disabilities and are interested in attending post-secondary education in a way that supports your strengths and learning style, you can study at UBC through the STEPS Forward initiative.


What is inclusive post-secondary education at UBC?


If you are selected for the initiative, you may enrol in UBC courses for four years, following an area of study of your choice. You’ll be part of the same classes, tutorials, and labs as UBC students studying for their degrees, but as a participating auditor: a status that allows your assignments and exams to be modified to suit your individual learning style. You’ll also be supported by UBC’s inclusion facilitators to discuss your courses.

At the end of your studies, you’ll receive a Certificate of Completion at convocation alongside students earning their Bachelor’s degree in the same field.

Student life

During your time at UBC, you’ll enjoy student life in the same clubs and social spaces as other undergraduates, and be supported in individualized ways to make decisions about what you want to explore on campus.

Career development

Over the summer months (April to August), we’ll help you to find paid work, internships, training, networking, and other volunteer opportunities that relate to your career dreams.


Who is eligible?

There are no minimum academic requirements to be accepted – instead, STEPS Forward will look at your desire to learn and have a typical student experience. The initiative is committed to supporting the inclusion of students with significant and/or complex support needs.

Discover more about the criteria used to select students.


How to apply

  1. Get in touch with us to find out more about whether accessing your studies through UBC’s inclusive post-secondary initiative (STEPS Forward) is right for you:


  1. Attend an interview with your campus inclusion facilitator. The interview is a way for us to learn more about what you want to get out of post-secondary education. You’ll be asked questions about what you’re hoping to gain from the experience and how you’ll grow from UBC’s academic teaching and student life. TIP: Before your interview, think about topics such as:
    • What makes you feel great about going to school?
    • Why do you want to continue your education after high school?
    • How do you want to get involved with sports, clubs, and campus events?
    • How can you get the most out of being a student with facilitator support?


  1. Receive your offer. About a month after your interview, we’ll contact you to let you know if you are accepted. If your application is successful, STEPS Forward will set up a series of meetings with you over the summer to prepare with you and your chosen family, advocates, or allies.


The deadline to begin your application is January 31, 2023.



What have UBC graduates gone on to do?

What have UBC graduates gone on to do?

As one of the globe’s top 40 universities, it’s no surprise that some of UBC’s graduates have gone on to accomplish incredible things. Applying to UBC opens the door for you to try many new academic avenues, clubs, sports, volunteer opportunities, and more. Your path might help you follow the footsteps of some of these outstanding alumni.


Canadian prime ministers

UBC has educated three prime ministers. Our current leader, Justin Trudeau, earned a bachelor of education from UBC in 1998. Kim Campbell and John Turner, who have also held the top office, were both graduates from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC.


Nobel Prize winners

Eight Nobel Laureates are associated with UBC – most famously Michael Smith, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993 for his ground-breaking work in reprogramming segments of DNA. Smith was just one of a longstanding community of faculty and alumni who have earned international recognition for their important work. At UBC, you can conduct research as an undergraduate, led by our outstanding academic faculty.


Olympic athletes

The Thunderbirds Varsity program has an enduring legacy of success. Their athletes have won more intercollegiate championships than any other Canadian university, and they boast an impressive roster of champions that includes 241 Olympians. During your time at UBC, you can join or cheer on some of the best athletes in the world.


Rhodes Scholars

The Rhodes Scholarships, established in 1902, were designed to bring outstanding students from across the world to study at the University of Oxford in the interests of promoting international understanding and public service. Eleven Canadians are selected each year to join a class of 84 Scholars from across the world. In that time, 71 UBC students have been selected for the prestigious award. You could be studying alongside them, or claim the honour yourself.


Royal Society of Canada Fellows

The Royal Society of Canada is the highest accolade a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences in Canada. A total of 226 UBC professors have been named to the Fellowship across multiple faculties, and a number of them could be teaching you in the fall.