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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 up to one-third (33%) of your total unit load per term on a P/NP basis. Most campus departments prohibit the pass/no pass grading option for any course in the major.

Current Program Courses

After arrival, on-site staff will help you find and enroll in classes to fulfill degree or general requirements.

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

Research and Independent Study

Research and independent study are typically not available.

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.

To succeed, you will need manage your workload wisely to avoid falling behind, complete the readings, explore additional suggested resources and get a solid grasp of the material to ensure you get a good final grade. Success will also require being flexible with the courses you take. There is some uncertainty initially as to how courses will count towards your UC requirements. Self-motivation helps, particularly when it comes to selecting coursework.

You will have a UCEAP Liaison Officer on site to help you adjust to to the academic rigor and structure of the UBC system. If you have any academic difficulties, see the Liaison Officer in the Go Global Office on campus as soon as possible (i.e., do not wait until the end of the term to get help).


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. A course grade can be entirely dependent on only one or two big exams, so you need to maintain strong study habits. You may not know where you stand academically in some courses until final exams at the end of the semester. Depending on your area of study, however, 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. Even in disciplines where there is more regular assessment, much of the final grade is still dependent on the final exam or paper.

Fall grades are usually available in February; spring grades are usually available by the end of August.