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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Engineering

At the University of British Columbia you can choose from a wide array of academic disciplines (most subjects are available). Enrolling directly in the large university, you can really immerse yourself in the academic culture as you take courses alongside local and international students.

Unique study opportunities

  • Take upper-division marine science courses at a unique research and teaching facility on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the fall.
  • Study behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, marine plant aquaculture, microbiology, or toxicology.
  • Explore credit-bearing research opportunities in a directed studies course.
  • Engage in an internship on campus (off-campus internships not available).


Language of Instruction: English

Language Study: Optional

You can study a variety of languages through the Languages and Linguistics Department.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Four courses and a minimum of 24 quarter/16 semester UC units per semester. Most courses at UBC are worth 3 units which is equivalent to 6 quarter/4 semester UC units.
  • You may take one of your four courses per term on a P/NP basis.

Current Program Courses

While many departments are open to international students, others have limited or no availability of courses. Check the availability of courses in each department before deciding on your academic plan.

Course numbers at UBC are used to identify the UC division of the course: 100s are considered lower division; 200s are considered lower or upper division on a case-by-case basis; 300s and 400s usually considered upper division; 500+ are graduate-level courses are considered upper-division or graduate level on a course-by-course basis.

Undergraduate Research

There are some for-credit research opportunities available at UBC. After identifying your research area and supervisor, you can enroll in a Directed Studies course within the department or faculty you are conducting your research (e.g. Faculty of Arts). Directed Studies can be found in the UCEAP Course Catalog. Examples of a General Studies course include GRSJ 450A, GRSJ 450B, and GRSJ 450C. Each requires a research project under the supervision of a faculty member and a final written paper or equivalent.

Marine Science Courses

During the fall, qualified biology majors have the opportunity to take upper-division marine science courses at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC). The BMSC is a unique marine-oriented research and educational facility. It is located in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island close to the major Canadian government marine institutions. The pristine nature of the surrounding marine environment, coupled with a rich habitat and organismal diversity, makes it an ideal location to study behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, marine plant aquaculture, microbiology, and toxicology. You will enroll in five courses, which are rigorous and include field trips to the beaches of many local islands, forests, lakes, bogs, and rivers. They may also include unique opportunities such as snorkeling and driving small outboard boats.

To qualify, you must have:

  • A background in biology, botany, or zoology
  • Completed at at least two courses covering introductory ecology, introductory invertebrates, and/or nonvascular plants (highly recommended)
  • Class standing as a graduate student, senior, or junior with at least two years of biology
Graduate Students

If you are a graduate student with UCEAP-approved study plans, you can be accommodated in many fields. UBC has strong graduate programs in biology, microbiology, sociology, anthropology, Asian studies, geography, physics, chemistry, forestry, public health, and neuroscience. Research may be arranged. Some areas of study are not open at the graduate level. 

Internships and independent study are not available in this program.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

The University of British Columbia has a rigorous academic schedule, and coursework and grading are competitive. Students work independently, with less direction, and receive very few in-term tests and exams. The advantage of such a system is that you can set the agenda of your own education and tailor it to your interests.

Depending on your area of study, a course grade may be entirely dependent on one or two big exams or you may be graded on class participation as well as regular quizzes, presentations, or papers. Some courses may have lab, tutorial, or discussion components which also contribute to a final course grade. This is discipline-specific.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Fall grades are usually available in February; spring grades are usually available by the end of August but may not arrive in time to accommodate degree verification deadlines for the term of participation.