Why Science One

Community and Learning Environment

Science One is built around community, a place where you can immerse yourself in science. Being a small, cohort based program, Science One is a place to meet people who want more out of their science education.

Science One is an immersive, 28 credit program that spans two terms in which Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics/Calculus, and Physics are presented in a unified, integrated format. There are about 80 students and 8 instructors in Science One—a better student to teacher ratio than your high school. Professors attend each other’s classes so they know what you know, and their offices open to the study spaces. This is where Science One shines. You’re all sharing the exact same experience, so you know exact what help each other need. 

All your classes are in one classroom, which means you won't be scrambling to make it to your next class. Like to study in a group? There is a dedicated study space for that. Like to study alone quietly? There is a dedicated study space for that too. No matter what, Science One has the right place for you, and you’ll never be battling for a study spot in the library or studying in a cafeteria.

Working together in groups helped a lot in understanding some of the concepts--other students can explain concepts in a way that's easier to understand.

An Enriched Experience

Science One is the highest level of first-year science offered at UBC. Not only are you taught at a high level, but the program offers you experiences that are hard to come by, if not impossible, in mainstream science classes.

Term Research Projects

An integral part of Science One is the major independent research projects that take place in each term. The Science One term projects are an opportunity for you to be mentored by one of the faculty in the program. You’ll learn what it’s like to do real science and prepare for research positions later in your undergraduate career. Exceptional Science One projects get placed in the UBC cIRcle database. These are searchable papers that have attracted the attention of worldwide researchers.

The term project was an excellent chance to practise my science communication skills and really humanized science as the passionate, explorative endeavour it should be. Though it was very difficult getting it off the ground, the final paper was something that I had a personal stake in. I got a feeling for the difficulties encountered in the scientific method.

Guest Lecturers

Science One brings in cutting edge speakers, from Neil Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute, to Jennifer Gardy, host of the Daily Planet and The Nature of things, to Mark Halpern from the WMAP and CHIME collaborations.

The guest lectures were always an event to look forward to and an opportunity to see science in action, whether in research, business or communication.

Support from Dedicated Mentors and Scholarships

Science One has a very active alumni community, aptly called the Science One Survivors. Upon entering the program you’ll have the opportunity to connect with the Science One Survivors and depending on availability, the alumni may offer you to be matched with a senior student mentor. Student mentors can help you navigate your first year, and after Science One they may even help you navigate the rest of your undergrad. The alumni are always planning BBQs or organizing study sessions. Also check out the Science One dedicated scholarships.

Proven Results Beyond First Year

Science One gives you a proven advantage when it comes to doing well in later courses. As showed in a published study (Dryden, N., et al., 2012), Science One students do better in later courses than other students who entered UBC with comparable high school grades but took mainstream first-year science courses. In Science One we teach our subjects at the honours level. The program’s final project gives you scientific research experience, which opens up research opportunities right out of first year. Science One offers a community that can support you in many different ways, not only academically. On top of it, you have the opportunity to get strong reference letters from your professors because they actually get to know you as a person. 

Worried your grades will suffer and you won't make it into graduate/professional school? 

Graduate and professional school admissions don't place a great deal of emphasis on first-year marks. They pay more attention to reference letters, research projects, and leadership roles drawn from across your entire four year degree. They see your commitment to learning in the fact that you chose a difficult first-year program. They see it in your marks in upper-level courses. Science One may be hard in first year, but that just makes you better prepared for third-year honours courses—when it actually counts.

Taking Science One cannot ever be a bad thing. We (UBC School of Medicine Admissions) would never discourage potential applicants from taking it.

Dryden, N.; Leander, C.; Louis-Martinez, D.; Nakahara, H.; MacLean, M.; and Waltham, C. (2012) "Are We Doing Any Good? A Value-Added Analysis of UBC’s Science One Program," The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 3 : Iss. 2 , Article 4.

A Tradition of Excellence

Science One was founded on the idea of giving first-year students an advantage by giving them access to the best teachers and researchers.

Members of the Science One faculty have won the 3M Teaching Fellowship, the CASE/CCAE Canadian University Professor of the Year, and Killiam Teaching Awards. Research awards include the 2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize, a NASA Group Achievement Award, the CAP-CRM Prize In Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, and many others. 

Ready to apply? Apply now!

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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