Download a PDF of this section: The Faculty of Science Print this page Email this page

Credit at UBC and Elsewhere

General Rules on Credit

UBC awards credit toward the B.Sc. degree for certain advanced high school courses (see Advance Credit), for many academic courses taken at recognized post-secondary institutions, and for UBC academic courses in any faculty. It is important to check that the credit applies to the B.Sc. and determine whether the credit is Arts or Science or credit from another faculty. There are minimum requirements for 72 Science credits (Science Requirement) and 12 Arts credits (Arts Requirement). See also the Summary of Minimum Program Requirements.

Courses eligible for credit must be numbered 100-499; students wishing to use graduate-level courses for B.Sc. requirements need prior approval from the course instructor, the department offering the course, the Faculty of Science, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (see Upper-Level Requirement).

Credit gained from taking one undergraduate Student-Directed Seminar may be used for elective credit but may not replace required courses for a student's specialization.

Up to 18 credits of coursework in a faculty other than Science or Arts may be taken for credit toward the B.Sc. These courses may not replace specific courses in a science program or count towards the minimum 72 credits of science (Science Requirement) or the minimum 12 credits of Arts courses (Arts Requirement) required by the B.Sc. or the 9-credit Arts or Science Breadth Requirement in major programs. The 18 credits may count toward the required upper-level credits for the B.Sc. subject to the Upper-level Requirement if they are upper-level credits.

Credit earned through co-operative work placement courses numbered 298, 299, 398, 399, 498, and 499 in the Faculty of Science can be used only toward graduation in a co-operative education program and will not fulfil academic requirements of honours or combined honours, major or combined major, double major, General Science, or minor programs.

Credit earned as an unclassified student does not automatically apply to a B.Sc. program should the student subsequently be accepted in the Faculty.

Students accepted to pursue the B.Sc. as a second undergraduate degree must discuss exemptions based on prior study with the Science Information Centre in advance of registering. See Second Degree Studies.

To progress in the B.Sc. program, students must meet degree requirements within limits on credits attempted (see Promotion Requirements). These provisions are especially important for students with advance credit or previous study at the post-secondary level, all of which (if applicable to the degree) may be considered "credits attempted."

A student who does not meet the graduation requirements for the B.Sc. within a maximum of 180 credits of coursework attempted will be required to withdraw from the Faculty.

Auditing Courses

If a student gains permission to audit a course, it appears on the transcript without credit and the course may not be retaken for credit. See Audit.

Credit/D/Fail

UBC allows students to take a limited number of elective courses which are normally graded on a percentage basis, for either "credit" (a grade of 55% or higher), "D" (at least 50 but less than 55%), or "Fail" (less than 50%). See Credit/D/Fail. When a student chooses this option the instructor will not know. For B.Sc. students, courses that fulfill the Lower-level Requirements (communication, computational sciences, physical sciences, biology, and laboratory sciences) and requirements of their specialization(s) are not electives in this regard. Courses not used to fulfill the previous requirements and taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis may be used to satisfy in part the Science, Arts, Breadth, or Upper-Level Requirements. Note that "specialization(s)" includes all specializations a student might qualify for including minors and second majors.

Students are cautioned when choosing courses to take for credit/D/fail to ensure that they are truly elective and are not or will not become a requirement for their degree, specialization(s), professional accreditation, or future professional program. For example, students contemplating a future application to medical, dental, and other professional programs should check those programs' websites for advice.

Credit Loads

Although full-time students take at least 24 credits per Winter Session, and a standard load is 30 credits per Winter Session, some programs require more. First-year students especially should note that taking more than five lecture courses per term (some may be combined lecture-lab courses, some may be lecture-only) with or without separate lab courses may make the transition to university studies more difficult than necessary. Although the number of credits in the specialization listings for first year may exceed 30, with careful planning and due regard for prerequisites, some first-year courses can be deferred to second year without jeopardizing progress. See the Faculty of Science website for guidance.

The minimum number of credits required for any Bachelor of Science is 120 credits, but some programs require more. Full-time students must normally complete graduation requirements within seven calendar years following admission to first year or its equivalent.

First-year students at UBC or students transferring to UBC from another institution must request permission from the Director of the Science Information Centre in order to register for more than 38 credits. Students who do not pass all courses in one session will be restricted to 30 or fewer credits in their next Winter Session, except with special permission of the Director.

Students may study part-time without permission of the Dean but are required to complete graduation requirements within seven years to avoid complications resulting from program changes, or from substantial changes in course material, or from both.

Students hoping to qualify for an honours option must take at least 30 credits in each preceding winter session and successfully complete all courses.

Advance Credit

Credit may be granted for some courses in the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement enriched secondary school programs, and in the A-level (British style) system as long as the required coursework and exams have been completed prior to attendance in a degree program at UBC. Such students are advised to consult departmental advisors at UBC before registering in any second-year courses. Prospective UBC students who have completed or are registered in a secondary school calculus course should see the Calculus Examination Certificate.

Advance credit will count toward a degree program unless an equivalent course is taken at UBC, but does not count as part of the credit load in the first year at UBC. A student who is eligible for advance credit but who chooses to take an equivalent UBC course and does not pass it may not use the advance credit toward a degree.

For detailed information about advance credit for courses taken in the International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, or A-level programs, consult youbc Vancouver.

Transfer Credit

UBC will grant credit for academic study at recognized post-secondary institutions. In general, transfer credit is limited to courses at the 100- and 200-levels to a maximum of 50% of the minimum credit requirements for the primary specialization pursued in the B.Sc. program.

Credit at a more senior level is possible if prior written permission has been obtained from the Science Information Centre. Under no circumstances will a student be granted transfer credit for more than 12 credits of upper-level course work. Although pre-approved upper-level transfer credit may be included in the required credits numbered 300 or above, a B.Sc. program must include a minimum of 30 credits of upper-level UBC Vancouver Science courses required by the specialization.

The limits noted above apply equally to students admitted from UBC Okanagan, although for them, courses attempted at both campuses appear on one transcript, so the term "transfer credit" is not applied.

Because similar courses at different UBC campuses often bear different course numbers and credits, a student who transfers from another UBC campus is advised to consult the Science Information Centre regarding applicability of credits to the UBC Vancouver B.Sc.

The Admission Office provides students with general information about the UBC Vancouver equivalents of courses taken elsewhere. Not all credits will apply towards specific degree requirements.

Questions about the applicability of transfer credits should be directed to an academic advisor in your preferred area of study, who will then communicate with the Director at the Science Information Centre who will confirm the final decision.

Of the courses taken as part of the International Program at the UBC Vantage College, credit for Science and Arts courses and for VANT 148 and 149 will apply to a program in the Faculty of Science. VANT 140 and LLED courses will not apply.

Students transferring to the Faculty from other programs at UBC must consult the Science Information Centre regarding applicability to the B.Sc. of credits earned prior to entering the Faculty.

Summer Session Credit

Summer Session credit will count toward a degree program, but Summer Session courses do not count as part of the full-time program in a Winter Session. The maximum credit for any Summer Session is 14 credits, except with the permission of the Director of the Science Information Centre. It is not possible to take two laboratory science courses concurrently in Summer Session. Summer Session is assessed independently of Winter Session (see Continuation Requirements).

Students accepted into the Summer program at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) may take up to 18 credits of MRNE courses in a single Summer Session. Students accepted to the BMSC Summer program may contact the Director of the Science Information Centre to have their credit limit adjusted.

Studies at Other Post-Secondary Institutions: Letter of Permission

Students newly admitted to the B.Sc. are not permitted to continue taking courses at their previous institution at the same time as they take UBC courses.

Once accepted to the Faculty of Science, students are expected to complete all further credits required for the program with courses offered by the Vancouver campus or through exchange at a Go Global partner.

A Letter of Permission may, in special circumstances, be issued authorizing a student to study at another post-secondary institution with the intention of later transferring credits earned to the UBC transcript. The Faculty has no obligation to grant transfer credit unless a prior Letter of Permission has been obtained. To be issued a Letter of Permission, the student must:

  • be in Good Standing
  • have eligibility to continue in the program
  • have personal circumstances that necessitate study elsewhere
  • not be registered at UBC in the same term

For the duration of the degree program, study on a Letter of Permission is limited to six credits. A student with unusual personal circumstances that necessitate an absence from campus and who wishes to take more credits elsewhere should present the case to an Advisor in the Science Information Centre.

Permission will be considered only for first- or second-year courses but not for courses that fulfill the Communication Requirement, or Lower-level Requirements or are required for a specialization.

A student who is granted a Letter of Permission is responsible for ensuring that the other institution sends an official transcript directly to Undergraduate Admissions in Enrolment Services. The student must also submit to Enrolment Services an Added Credit for Letter of Permission form.

The application for a Letter of Permission is available on the Science students’ website.

Permission to study at one of UBC's Go Global exchange partner institutions is obtained through a separate application process (see Go Global Student Exchange below), not via a Letter of Permission.

Page last updated: March 14, 2017

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Student Services
Vancouver Campus
1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia