Frequently Asked Questions

How is Science One different from other first-year science programs?

Below is a comparison of the three different options you have entering into your first year of science at UBC. 

Design your own Timetable (Mainstream)Science One (Enriched)First Year Focus
Offers the most flexibility. Students select courses according to the requirements of the specialization they want to enter in second year, and that fit their schedule. Lectures are large (150 to 300 or more students) but labs and tutorials are held in smaller groupsStudents take a single 28 credit course in the same classroom. Professors and students form an incredibly tight-knit learning community. Class size is capped around 80 students, with tutorials held in smaller groups.Students take six of their courses together (15-17 credits) to build a foundation in computational sciences or life sciences. Students form a tight-knit learning community.
Instructors from different disciplines work independently with few, if any, coordinated activities.Science One instructors attend each other’s classes and meet weekly to create a coordinated curriculum.Instructors from different disciplines work independently with few, if any, coordinated activities.
Students attend labs with others taking the same course, but possibly in a different lecture section.Students attend labs comprised primarily of fellow Science One students, including enriched versions of physics labs.Students attend their First Year Focus course labs and tutorials with other First Year Focus students, and attend other labs with others taking the same course. 
Students receive subject- specific academic help from the departments that teach their courses, and support from UBC Science Advising.Students have their own work and study space, which they share with their instructors and TAs.Students have their own work and study space, and receive support from peer mentor and FYF coordinator in addition to subject-specific academic help from the departments that teach their courses. 
Students don’t have dedicated multidisciplinary workshops, but can combine interests through their course selection, or take cross-cutting classes like SCI 113.Students enhance their scientific skill set with workshops, guest lecturers, extra instruction in science literacy and computer programming, mentored research projects, student conferences, and field trips.
Students enhance their first-year experience with specialized programming including workshops, special events, and peer mentoring. 

How many credits is Science One?

Science One is a single 28 credit course that spans 8 months (two semesters). This appears on a student's transcript as a single grade. 

Who is the ideal candidate for Science One?

Science One is ideal for students who have a passion for science and for learning. Grades aren’t everything. We want the kind of people who curious about things, who ask the right questions and aren't satisfied until they fully understand the answer, who dream big.

Where do students go after Science One?

The alumni page offers some profiles of where students have gone after doing Science One. You’ll see that it ranges the whole gamut of careers, from medicine to law, from academia to industry. Many of our alumni go on to graduate school and earn a PhD, or go on to a professional school. One out of every ten Science One students has been accepted to UBC Medical School, which is amazing given that only about 1/3rd of the students even applies for medical school. Here’s a sample list of places our alumni are currently at:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Apple
  • Cambridge Law
  • D-Wave Systems
  • Google
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • RockStar Games
  • Stemcell Technologies
  • Veterinarians Without Boarders
  • Zaber Technologies

What Scholarships are available to Science One Students?

There are five scholarships that are only available to Science One students. Details can be found on the Science One Scholarships page. 

Will students have the necessary background for second year classes?

Science One covers all required first-year material in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. It also presents an integrated view of science and how it is done, while providing a solid foundation of knowledge on which to base future studies. Students will be well prepared for all that follows in their university career. Science One also provides a strong foundation for professional school. One in 10 Science One alumni are accepted into the UBC Medicine. This is a huge portion considering that many Science One students aren’t interested in medical school and many go on to medical schools at other institutions. It’s also common for Science One students to transfer into engineering and go on to law school.

Science One also fulfills the requirements for entry into many computer science degrees.  

Do I have to be a UBC student before I apply for Science One?

Students can be offered a seat on the Science One Program on the condition that they are admitted to UBC (Vancouver Campus) in the Faculty of Science by the end of August.

Students should start by creating an account and application on the UBC undergraduate admissions site. You can then simultaneously work on that application and the separate Science One application.  Admission to the Faculty of Science at UBC is a prerequisite for admission to the Science One Program.

How do I pick my courses for Science One?

Science One is on a standard time table (STT). Each STT included all Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math lectures; Physics and Chemistry Labs; and Science One Tutorials for both Term 1 and Term 2. If you’ve accepted a spot in Science One, you’ll be allowed to register for one of 3 standard time tables. When it’s your time to register, simply register for the Standard Time Table that you prefer. You’ll also want to pick your electives at this time as well, as courses tend to fill up.

What is expected of students admitted to Science One?

Science One is an intense program. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and are encouraged to take advantage of the strong support system the program provides. Science One is not a soft option, but it prepares students well.

I’ve heard that Science One is really hard and I'm worried about my grades. 

Science One can be difficult, but so is the transition from high school to university in general. We’ve spoken directly to UBC Medical School admissions and they’ve said there’s no way that taking Science One can hurt your chances of getting into Medical School. They want the type of people who challenge themselves by enrolling in programs like Science One. It tells everyone that you’re serious about learning, and not just in it for the grades.

That said, Science One has a much higher average than the mainstream first year courses, and, controlling for incoming grades, Science One students do much better in 2rd and 3rd year courses than students who go through mainstream Science. The idea is that you learn how to study and work hard in first year, when it doesn’t really matter that much, rather than 3rd year when people are looking at your grades.

Musqueam First Nation land acknowledegement

UBC Science acknowledges that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

Learn more: Musqueam First Nation

Science One

Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
361-1961 East Mall

Faculty of Science

Office of the Dean, Earth Sciences Building
2178–2207 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada
V6T 1Z4
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