Biotechnology

at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

Enjoy hands-on laboratory training and high-calibre foundational courses as you learn about scientific manipulation of living organisms. This program equips you with current scientific and technical expertise and the business and communication skills to start your biotechnology career as soon as you graduate.

Why this program?

  • Study in a rigorous, highly specialized honours program.
  • Complete laboratory training at BCIT.
  • Enhance your learning and professional development with practical experience in co-operative work placements.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
  • Length 5 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.

Biotechnology harnesses our scientific understanding of biology and chemistry to create products, processes, or services relevant to areas such as health, energy, agriculture, and the environment.  Biotechnology applications include the design and production of vaccines, the discovery of new antibiotics, genetic engineering of tissues, the design of disease and drought resistant crops, and clean-up of environmental pollutants. The discipline uses computers to model biological structures and processes as well as analyze and compare DNA and RNA sequences. Some of the cutting-edge technologies employed in biotechnology include CRISPR Cas9 gene editing systems, mass spectrometry, and Next Generation DNA sequencing.

The Honours Bachelors of Biotechnology program is offered in cooperation with the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT). You must complete a 30-credit first-year program at UBC before transferring to BCIT for two years. Then you return to UBC for two years of academic and co-op work terms. The program spans a range of scientific disciplines including microbiology, immunology, virology, cell biology, plant biology, bioinformatics, chemistry, and statistics.  The program also provides a solid foundation in business communications, accounting, and marketing.

Campus features

You’ll take courses in the new state-of-the-art Biosciences Teaching building, the flagship Life Sciences Centre, and the Michael Smith Laboratories, the latter of which is named after the Nobel laureate and UBC professor Dr. Michael Smith.

Experiential learning and research

The Honours Biotechnology degree provides the best of two educational worlds: UBC’s leading-edge biotechnology research and teaching, and BCIT’s hands-on laboratory training and foundational courses. Laboratory and lecture components of the program are uniquely integrated through the use of an experiential approach to learning.

Life at UBC's Vancouver campus

Biotechnology's undergraduate teaching labs are housed in the new state-of-the-art Biosciences Teaching building. The department’s faculty are internationally recognized for their contributions to microbiology, molecular biology, virology, and immunology. You will have the opportunity to experience the cutting edge molecular approaches to the study of problems in biotechnology in the department’s world class facilities.

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Your future

The Honours Biotechnology program helps you develop a strong foundation in skills relevant to the rapidly changing world of biotechnology and provides practical training in the skills and techniques of biotechnology. Co-op education is a mandatory part of the program, ensuring that you graduate with relevant work experience.

Many Honours in Biotechnology graduates go on to earn an MSc, PhD, MD, or MBA.

Program graduates

  • MSc candidate in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto
  • Research technologist, STEMCELL Technologies
  • PhD candidate in Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia
  • Research assistant, BC Cancer Agency
  • Medical student, UBC School of Medicine

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.
  • Students who complete the IB Diploma in English are required to achieve a minimum score of 3 in an IB Group 1 English course at either Standard or Higher Level. (If you are an international student with a score of less than 3, you may be eligible for UBC Vantage One programs.)
  • 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.
  • Van Test

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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