Admission for Secondary School Applicants

Please note that this section of the UBC Calendar has been updated with information specific to undergraduate admissions in 2019. For information regarding undergraduate admissions in 2018, please see the archived version of the 2017/18 Academic Calendar.

Admission Requirements

Academic criteria are the primary basis for determining admissibility to UBC. Many programs also consider non-academic information. For secondary school applicants, the academic assessment consists of an overall assessment and a core academic assessment, the latter being specific to the program(s) to which the student has applied. In addition, breadth, rigour and relevancy of secondary school coursework may also factor into the admission decision.

Although there is not a strict minimum number of course required, UBC does recommend that students graduating with a Canadian secondary school credential present at least six academic ad non-academic Grade 12-level courses (including Grade 12-level courses taken in the Grade 11 year). Non-academic courses include subjects classified as Applied Design, Skills and Technologies, Career Education, Physical and Health Education, or Faith-based. For applicants from outside of Canada, the minimum number of senior-year courses will vary by jurisdiction. Students with fewer than the recommended number of Grade 12-level courses will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Academic averages for the purpose of admission are based on final or in-progress Grade 11 and Grade 12 (or equivalent) course grades available in the spring. The minimum academic qualification for admission is secondary school graduation from a recognized secondary school.

The Overall Academic Assessment (All Programs)

The overall academic assessment is designed to broadly assess an applicant’s academic history. The assessment is the same regardless of the program to which the student has applied and focuses on the marks presented in all academic Grade 11 and 12 coursework (regardless of the year in which the course was completed). Wherever possible, UBC will exclude the academic course with the applicant’s lowest grade so long as the course is not required or relevant to the intended area of study at UBC.

The Core Academic Assessment (Program-Specific)

The core academic assessment is designed to assess an applicant’s aptitude for a particular area of study within the university. The core academic assessment will vary depending upon the program to which the student has applied (see table outlining “Program Requirements for Canadian Secondary School Applicants”). The assessment focuses on the grades presented in all relevant academic Grade 11 and 12 (or equivalent) coursework, although in cases where the student presents a course at both the Grade 11 and the Grade 12 level, emphasis is placed upon the mark obtained in the more senior-level course. There is not a minimum number of courses required for admission, but applicants are encouraged to challenge themselves with a substantial number of courses that are relevant to their intended area of study at UBC. Certain programs may require a competitive minimum grade in individual prerequisite courses used in the core academic assessment.

Additional Considerations

In addition to the marks presented in the academic Grade 11 and Grade 12 (or equivalent) coursework noted above, both the overall and the core assessments may be influenced by a number of factors. While none of the following are required to gain admission to UBC, where it is potentially to the student’s advantage, the following may receive additional consideration:

  • Breadth of coursework: Students are encouraged to pursue all their academic interests in secondary school. Students who evidence doing so by pursuing a heavier course load may be advantaged in the admissions process. This may also be evidenced by students who present dual high-school diplomas through a second language immersion program.
  • Rigour of coursework: Students are encouraged to challenge themselves in secondary school.
  • Students who evidence doing so by presenting more academic courses, including those that contain rigorous/first-year university content may be advantaged in the admissions process. This includes courses such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Calculus, or Dual-Credit.
  • Relevancy of coursework: Students are encouraged to pursue additional courses that are relevant to their intended area of study at UBC, even if the course marks are not used in the calculation of the admission average. Students who evidence doing so may be advantaged in the admissions process. Examples include: applicants to the Faculty of Applied Science who present applied courses in electronics or robotics; applicants to the Faculty of Management who present applied courses in accounting or marketing. The relevancy of a particular course will be determined as part of the admissions process.
  • Personal Circumstance: In some cases, it may not be possible for students to demonstrate breadth, rigour, and/or additional relevant courses. For example: an applicant may attend a school in a smaller community that does not offer a wide selection of courses; an applicant may take a smaller course load in secondary school to attend to family commitments (e.g. caring for younger sibling) or other personal circumstances (e.g. working a part time job to fund their education). Applicants will be invited to include this type of information with their application and such situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis within the undergraduate admissions process.

As a general rule, grades received as a result of challenging a course may not be used in the calculation of an admission average. However, students may use challenged courses to satisfy program prerequisites such as the requirement for an approved Language 11 and/or the language degree requirement in the Faculty of Arts.

If there are circumstances where an applicant must present a challenge-based mark for a required Grade 12 mathematics, science, or English course, or where a strong academic student wishes to challenge a UBC-required Grade 12 course in order to take a more advanced course load in high school, please contact UBC Admissions for consideration on a case-by-case basis.

A minimum overall admission average of 67% or equivalent on a 50% pass scale is required for consideration to all undergraduate programs. Due to receipt of many more qualified applicants than there are spaces available in most programs, a higher average is often required.

Applicants who, because of administrative difficulties in their school or because they have a physical, sensory, or specific learning disability, cannot present the courses as required, may be excused a specific admissions course requirement. Supporting documentation sent by the principal of the school concerned is required.

All courses must be completed by June. Summer school courses or grades obtained in supplemental examinations will not be considered.

All offers of admission are subject to satisfactory completion of secondary school graduation requirements, completion of all required courses, and maintenance of minimum university admission standards. Offers of admission may be withdrawn from students who do not satisfy these requirements.

The Personal Profile

In order to assess a student’s preparedness and potential for university study, UBC will evaluate applicants on a broad range of criteria including academic performance, as well as personal experiences and achievements. The UBC personal profile consists of short answer questions where applicants are encouraged to share significant achievements, as well as what they have learned from their experiences and the challenges that they have overcome.

Page last updated: April 6, 2018

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