Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences

at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

Take courses in human structure and function with emphasis in nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and gastrointestinal systems while you study life processes. The overarching goal of this program is to provide interdisciplinary training in life and health sciences while preparing you for a career in academics, or biotechnology or medical fields.

Why this program?

  • Study in a highly selective honours program with small classes in upper years ensure you get individual attention.
  • Prepare for graduate studies in health sciences or for medical, dental, pharmacy, physical therapy, or veterinary medicine.
  • Attend lectures and labs in UBC’s state-of-the-art Life Sciences Centre.
  • Receive instruction from the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s world-renowned researchers.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours Yes
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

The Honours Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences (CAPS) program enriches a core study of physiology through a broad curriculum. You’ll study the human body structure and function, but also receive interdisciplinary training that prepares you for a wide range of careers in academic, biotechnology, or medical fields. Courses are offered in human structure and function with emphasis in nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and gastrointestinal systems.

Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences is available only as an Honours degree. The program is extremely competitive, with only about 15 students admitted to the specialization each year. Students apply at the end of their second year. The specialization is specifically geared towards students intending to pursue graduate studies in the biological sciences (including medical, dental, pharmacy, or veterinary school), with the majority of graduates from the program each year entering medical school.

Campus features

The Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology Club of UBC is a thriving club in the Alma Mater Society. It’s a great place for first-year students to make contacts with current undergraduate and graduate students, and get a sense of what a major in these programs is all about.

Experiential learning and research

As a CAPS student, you’ll spend a year carrying out a research project under the supervision of a research faculty member that forms the basis of a graduating honours thesis. In addition, you may choose to do a 12-16 month cooperative education program, working in a research laboratory as part of their undergraduate training.

Your future

Program graduates frequently enter graduate programs in biological or health sciences. The rigorous, cross-disciplinary nature of the specialization makes it an ideal pathway for entry into professional schools such as medicine, pharmacy, or dental.

Program graduates

  • Medical student, University of British Columbia
  • Graduate student in Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University
  • Medical student, Queen's University
  • Research assistant, UBC Biomedical Research Centre
  • Master of Physical Therapy candidate, University of British Columbia
  • Dentist, Emerald Park Dentistry

Program requirements

English-language requirements

English is the language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students must demonstrate English-language competency prior to admission. There are numerous ways to meet the English Language Admission Standard.

General admission requirements

IB Diploma Programme

  • Completed IB Diploma, including at least three Higher Level courses.

IB Certificate Courses

  • IB Certificate courses (Standard and Higher Level) may be used in an admissions average if you are graduating from a recognized high school curriculum that can be used as your basis of admission.
  • IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, do not satisfy the math requirement for admission to UBC’s science-based programs, the Faculty of Management, the UBC Sauder School of Business, or the Vancouver School of Economics.

Degree-specific requirements: Science

  • IB Math Analysis and Approaches SL or HL, or IB Math Applications and Interpretations HL (IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, are not acceptable)
  • One of IB Biology, IB Chemistry, or IB Physics
  • Grade 11 or equivalent Chemistry, and
  • Grade 11 or equivalent Physics (may be waived with grades of 5 in IB Chemistry and in your IB Mathematics course)

Note: Grade 11 Chemistry and Physics requirements listed are only relevant to students who are not completing the equivalent IB Diploma Chemistry and/or Physics courses.

For students studying outside of Canada, some examples of courses that may be accepted as Grade 11 equivalents are junior-level courses for American students, and IGCSE and O Level for those following British-patterned curricula.

Related courses

The following subject categories are particularly relevant for this degree. Consider taking courses in these areas in your junior year and senior year.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics and Computation
  • Sciences
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