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 – that is, 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 a faculty academic advisor 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.

On the Vancouver campus, most UBC faculties require students 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.

If you are on the Okanagan campus, find out your first-year options.

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!



Accept your offer of admission by May 1

Accept your offer of admission by May 1

As students around the world continue to be affected by the current outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), 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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Accepting your offer

Accepting your offer is easy to do online:

  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.


Receiving an offer from UBC is a big achievement! All your hard work so far has paid off, and our professors, faculty, and staff are looking forward to providing you with a world-class UBC experience in September.

We are very excited to welcome you to our community, so remember to accept your offer before the deadline.



COVID-19 and UBC housing for September 2020

COVID-19 and UBC housing for September 2020

This blog post will be updated as new information becomes available.

Last updated: April 27, 2020


As countries around the world continue to be affected by the current outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we understand that you may have questions about living in residence when classes begin in September.

While we are continuing to monitor the situation in conjunction with the provincial health authorities, we hope to be able to offer on-campus housing as usual in September 2020.


Is there any flexibility on the May 1 housing application deadline?

To qualify for the First Year Guarantee of student residence at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver, you must apply by May 1. Student Housing will do its best to assist late applicants if space is available, but we strongly encourage you to apply before the deadline.

If UBC classes are online in September 2020, will your housing deposit be refunded?

Although we have not yet determined what form instruction will take, we want to assure you that your UBC education will begin on September 8, 2020. In the event that UBC delivers its curriculum online and we must withdraw our residence offer, we will refund your residence acceptance deposit. If you have to cancel your residence offer yourself, we will also refund your residence acceptance deposit.

If you want to enter student housing in January 2021 instead of September 2020, what should you do?

If you don’t accept your residence offer for September 2020 but you want to keep your residence application active, you can contact Student Housing at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver to request this. If you receive a residence offer for January 2021, you will accept the offer by paying your residence acceptance deposit at that time.

What precautions are being taken if students move into residence in September?

While it is too early to speculate about what the situation in September will look like, UBC is working in consultation with provincial health agencies and will follow their guidelines. We will continue to emphasize the importance of hand-washing, cough hygiene, and not touching your face. Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing will continue in the lobbies, community bathrooms, elevators, and other high-touch areas.

Will you be able to defer your housing deposit for financial reasons?

To accept your residence offer, you must pay a residence acceptance deposit. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please contact our office at UBC Okanagan or UBC Vancouver to request a smaller initial deposit, and arrange a payment plan for the remainder over the next couple of months.



Programs spotlight: History, law, and politics

Programs spotlight: History, law, and politics

Deepen your knowledge of the past and build on your understanding of current events by studying one of UBC’s history, law, and politics programs. The topics within these fields are wide-ranging – Indigenous studies, religion, international relations, anthropology – and can lead to a number of diverse career paths, including social work, journalism, government work, education, and more.

Explore your program options

International Relations

In the International Relations program at UBC Okanagan, you’ll develop a solid background in related areas of political science, history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and modern languages. The program stresses critical thinking, and will equip you with the skills necessary to assess the contours and dynamics of international politics and events – from conflicts in Afghanistan and the Congo, to the rise of women as political actors.


The student scoop

Michael Flood, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Meet Michael, a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics students who was looking for a university experience that would challenge him socially and academically.

Political Science

In the Political Science program at UBC Vancouver, you’ll study the nature, causes, and consequences of collective decisions and actions taken by groups of people embedded in cultures and institutions that structure power and authority. Topics include the nature of power, the causes of conflict, the tensions of Canadian federalism, security in the post-Cold War international system, globalization, critiques of liberal democracy, feminist analysis, democratization, the rise of Asia, and much more.


The student scoop

Dela Hini, Political Science

Meet Dela, a Sociology and Political Science student who found her calling by getting involved with student leadership.

Indigenous Studies

In the Indigenous Studies program at UBC Okanagan, you can build the foundational skills needed to pursue a career in government, Aboriginal Peoples organizations, Indigenous leadership roles, or resource management. Your studies will include Indigenous perspectives and governance, the justice system, land claims, traditional ecological knowledge, and the protection of heritage in the Okanagan, Canada, US, and world communities.


The student scoop

Duncan McCue, UBC Law

Meet Duncan, a UBC Law alum who became an award-winning reporter for the CBC.


The Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC Vancouver is one of Canada’s leading law schools, and has a strong global reputation. Innovative researchers, inspiring teachers, and outstanding graduates have established a national presence and international reach. You’ll receive a first-rate legal education that balances traditional areas of practice with emerging fields of specialization.


See a full list of history, law, and politics programs at UBC

Post-secondary transfer applications

Post-secondary transfer applications

Did you know that you can apply to study at UBC even if you’ve already begun your studies at another post-secondary institution? Every year, the University receives and reviews more than 9,000 post-secondary transfer applications from students in Canada and elsewhere around the world.

Application assessments in light of COVID-19

We are in the process of evaluating applications and are in close contact with your post-secondary institution and local decision-makers to determine next steps. Please rest assured that you will not be disadvantaged by any disruptions you’re experiencing due to COVID-19. If you applied by December 1, your application will be evaluated on the interim grades that you have already provided. If we ask you for a final transcript, we will evaluate your application based on the available grades from that document. In the event that we require any additional information from you in order to process your application, an advisor will be in touch.

Offers of admission

Admission decisions are posted in the Student Service Centre. Keep an eye on your Applicant Status for the most up-to-date information.

Transfer credit

Any transfer credits that you have been granted will be posted in the Student Service Centre under Grades & Records. If you are transferring from a BC institution, you can use the online BC Transfer Guide to determine what transfer credit you can receive. Please note that in some cases, your transfer credits may not appear until you’ve accepted your offer and paid your deposit.

If you have a prior degree, transfer credits are not assessed. Please connect with your faculty advising office to determine second-degree requirements. Remember that you can only satisfy up to 50% of your second degree with credits from your first degree, even if your first degree is from UBC.

If you have questions about your post-secondary transfer application or transfer credits, please contact us.



How can I maintain my offer of admission?

How can I maintain my offer of admission?

UBC will be as flexible as possible to ensure that your application is not disadvantaged by the disruptions caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus).


What happens if you can’t complete your required courses or final exams?

All our offers of admission are conditional on you completing secondary school, including the courses required for your admission. However, we know that many schools and exam providers have been affected by COVID-19 and that some of you may not be able to take your final exams or complete your courses. We understand how difficult this is for you, and we are here to support you. UBC still cares about how you’re doing in school, no matter what form that takes right now, and we want you to be as academically prepared as you can be for your first year at UBC.

In order for us to confirm your offer of admission, you should:

  1. Complete whatever form of coursework your school has made available to you; and
  2. Email us at to confirm that you have completed your courses. You can submit the final documents your school or exam provider gives you when they are available. If UBC is able to receive your final documents electronically (e.g., directly from educational departments/ministries or International Baccalaureate Offices), you do not need to email us or send us your final documents.


How will UBC confirm your offer of admission if you can’t send us any final documents or grades?

If you are not able to complete your coursework at all – because, for example, your school did not provide an alternative to classroom learning – please send us documents that confirm this. For details, contact the Admissions Office directly using our online form.


What will happen if you can’t meet the conditions outlined in your UBC offer letter?

We recognize that many of you may not be able to meet all of the conditions outlined in your offer letter because of the disruptions from COVID-19. Don’t worry! We will be as flexible as possible with our admissions practices to ensure that your offer isn’t disadvantaged. You can find out more about the conditions that you do currently need to meet to keep your offer of admission.



International students: Remember to apply for a study permit

International students: Remember to apply for a study permit

Unless you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, you’ll need to obtain a study permit before you start classes at UBC, and ensure it remains valid for the duration of your studies. Study permits are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Depending on your country of origin, you may also need a temporary visitor visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and/or a medical examination.

When do you apply?

You should apply for a study permit as soon as you receive your letter of admission to UBC. Applications can take several months to process, particularly if you’re from a country with additional visa requirements. If you’re a U.S. student, see below.

What documentation will you need?

When you apply for a study permit, IRCC may require you to provide the following:

  • Your letter of admission from UBC
  • Proof of funds adequate to support you for your first year of study in Canada
  • Your passport
  • Photo(s) that meet IRCC specifications
  • Biometrics
  • Remember to check for any additional documents required by your country’s visa office; for example, letter of explanation, study plan, medical exam, family information form etc.
  • Your completed application forms

How do you apply?

  • Online: If you meet certain conditions, you may be able to apply for your permit online.
  • By mail: If you are unable to apply online, you must complete a paper application. Your first step should be to visit the website of the Canadian visa application centre for your country. Check which documents are required, determine if you need a temporary resident visa and/or medical examination, and confirm how to mail your application and pay the application fee.

What if you’re a US student?

As a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, or a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon, you can apply for a study permit directly at an international airport in Canada or at most major US/Canada border crossings or upon entry into Canada.

Follow the same steps as outlined on the study permit tutorial. Please note:

  • You can pay the application fee ($150 CAD) directly at the border by cash, debit, or credit card.
  • If your spouse or common-law partner will accompany you, bring along documentation of your relationship, such as a marriage certificate or common-law partnership declaration.
  • If you’re under 17 years old and come to Canada without a parent or legal guardian, you must secure a custodian.

What if you’re already studying in Canada?

You are coming to UBC from a Canadian high school

If you have been studying in secondary/high school in Canada and you have been admitted to UBC, you must apply to extend your study permit. You must do this within 90 days of receiving written confirmation of high school completion, or before your study permit expires – whichever comes first.

You should apply as soon as you receive your letter of admission from UBC.

You are transferring to UBC from a Canadian college or university

If you already have a valid study permit for post-secondary study in Canada, you can use that permit to study at UBC.

As a post-secondary student, you can transfer between programs of study and institutions by simply changing your Designated Learning Institution (DLI) online via your MyCIC account.

If you still have questions

More guidance on study permit requirements can be found in UBC’s International Student Guide.



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 to when your tuition fees are due.

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.

Can I apply to have my registration deposit deferred?

There’s no need to apply. If your deferral has been approved, your acceptance deposit counts as your registration deposit for the following year, and will be automatically deferred.

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.