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Introduction to Degree Options

The B.Sc. degree begins with study of the foundations of science and provides options for either continued broad study across the sciences or specialization in one or two disciplines. In addition, there is ample room for study outside the sciences.

To earn a B.Sc. students must follow one of the following seven options:

  • Major. This option involves specialization in a single field while allowing sufficient elective space for a student to explore other areas of study.
  • Combined Major. This option involves a single specialization combining select requirements from the fields of different majors in Science. Combined major specializations are not defined between all fields. Consult the listings of individual departments for descriptions of available specializations.
  • Double Major. This option involves two specializations in two fields. Students complete the requirements of two majors in Science or the degree requirements of one major in Science and the additional requirements of one major in Arts.
  • Honours. This option usually involves intense specialization in a single field. An honours B.Sc. requires maintenance of a high academic standing and may involve preparation of a graduating thesis.

    Honours candidates are required to follow the course of study as set out in the Calendar, to pass all courses completed, and to maintain a minimum overall 68% average in each academic session (higher in some disciplines). These requirements apply whether the candidate studies at UBC or at a Go Global exchange partner.

    Candidates for honours must meet the credit requirements below both before entering honours and while in honours. Honours specializations that have corresponding majors specializations normally admit qualified students upon promotion to third year (see Course and Specialization Approval).

    Honours candidates who register for courses in both terms of Winter Session are required to meet the standards above on at least 30 academic credits. Honours candidates who register for courses in only one term of Winter Session are required to meet the standards above on at least 15 academic credits. This provision applies to students who spend the other term on a Go Global international study or service activity or on a Co-operative Education work term, or who do not pursue their UBC degree for one term. Honours candidates who do not meet the requirements above will not be admitted to honours or will be removed from honours at the time of the annual sessional evaluation. If they think they have grounds to appeal, they should discuss their situation with an academic advisor in their specialization before appealing (see Course and Specialization Approval). In their last Winter Session honours students may attempt fewer than 30 credits if all academic degree requirements are completed during this last session.

    Students interested in entering an honours specialization upon promotion to third year must consult an advisor in the area of specialization before being admitted, and must remain in contact with an advisor throughout their degree studies.

    Pursuit of an honours B.Sc. is not normally permitted in a second-degree program (see Second Degree Studies).
  • Combined Honours. This option involves a single specialization combining select requirements from the fields of two honours specializations in Science. Combined Honours specializations are not defined between all fields. Consult the listings of individual departments for descriptions of available specializations. See Honours entry above for general regulations governing all honours options.
  • Dual Degree in Science and Another Subject. This concurrent option offers eligible students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science with a bachelor degree in Arts, education, or music. Students must satisfy all of the requirements for both the B.Sc. and the B.A., B.Ed., or B.Mus. degrees in their chosen areas of specialization. The requirements for the B.Sc./B.A. dual degree option exceed those for a double major in science and Arts (above).
  • Master of Management Dual Degree Option This dual degree option offers qualified students the opportunity to earn, in one course of study, an undergraduate B.Sc. degree from the Faculty of Science and a Master of Management Degree from the Sauder School of Business. This dual degree option can be completed in four and one half years through intensive study and scheduling that includes one summer following fourth year. The Business Career Centre in the Sauder School of Business will also provide extensive professional development and career preparation throughout the dual degree program of study. Additional specialized fees for the Master of Management will be paid by all students admitted into the Dual Degree Option. For further information, see Dual Degree Option.
  • The General Science Program. This option provides the opportunity for some specialization in chemistry, earth science, life science, mathematical science, or physics, but also requires study in one or two more of those disciplines. The General Science Program is appropriate for those continuing in other professional areas such as dentistry, education, law, medicine, or veterinary medicine, and is not normally intended for students planning to continue with graduate study in science. Space in General Science is strictly limited; entry is at the second-year level and is controlled through the common application process all students take part in (See Moving from First to Second Year in Science). Questions can be addressed to the Science Information Centre.

Although an honours option is often the preferred preparation for graduate studies in some fields, all majors and honours options listed above may lead to graduate study if sufficiently high standing is obtained. For additional information regarding preparation for graduate study, please consult an advisor in your field of interest.

More information on the common requirements of the degree options introduced above is found elsewhere: see General Degree Requirements; Communication Requirement; Science, Arts, and Breadth Requirements; Lower-level Requirements; and Upper-level Requirement. See also Double Major and Dual Degree. The specific courses required for each specialization (e.g., Major in Earth and Ocean Sciences) are defined in the alphabetically arranged list of specializations.

In addition to the following one of the seven degree options above, a B.Sc. student may be interested in the following opportunities:

  • Minor. An optional minor comprising courses taken in science but outside the main area of specialization or in another faculty (Arts, Commerce and Business Administration, Kinesiology, or Land and Food Systems) may be completed as part of the B.Sc. The minor allows students to focus their electives in a single subject or field of specialization. Most types of minor require 18 upper-level credits but a minor in a specified subject in Arts requires an additional 12 credits in the subject for a total of 30 credits. See Minor Options in this section.
  • Part-time Study. Some degree options are amenable to part-time study. Students should inquire at the Science Information Centre for direction in arranging a part-time study.
  • Co-operative Education Programs. Co-operative education integrates students' academic education (classroom-based learning) with relevant, supervised, and paid work experience (work-based learning) in employer organizations. In order to graduate in a co-operative education option, students must successfully complete the required number of work terms in addition to the regular academic requirements in a department. For detailed information, see Co-operative Education.
  • Study Abroad. Students may spend one or two terms at a partner university while accumulating credits toward the degree and experiencing a new culture. Consult Go Global.

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