University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia | Vancouver, B.C. | Founded 1908


UBC Student in Library


An undergraduate could feel overwhelmed at a school as big as UBC, with its sprawling Point Grey campus and an international reputation for research and graduate programs. It’s an ongoing challenge that the university is addressing. In an effort to create a more intimate learning environment, UBC is adding more student-centric learning spaces and engaging neighbouring municipalities as community partners. This follows moves in recent years to revamp undergraduate science education and ramp up programs such as service learning. In an address to new students this year, interim president Martha Piper said: “Through your time here at UBC you will be equipped with all of the skills, experience, determination, and knowledge to tackle the biggest challenges we face as a society.” Piper was pressed into service as interim president after former president Arvind Gupta abruptly quit his post one year into the job.

The Okanagan campus has a smaller feel, with 7,500 undergraduates, but it continues to expand: enrolment has tripled since opening 11 years ago.

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Standout Programs

Distributed M.D.: The program aims to increase the low number of rural and Aboriginal students seeking medical careers; students complete their training in rural and underserved communities, where, as studies suggest, they are more likely to return to practise once their training is complete.

Arts One/Science One: Arts One is an interdisciplinary first-year program emphasizing English, history and philosophy; students study in groups no larger than 100. Science One, also interdisciplinary, focuses on biology, chemistry, physics and math.

• Biomedical Engineering: Taken through the electrical or mechanical engineering departments, this program trains students to solve problems and address the needs of the medical and health care industries using technology. It covers everything from cellular engineering to robotics.

Cool Courses

Introduction to Wine Science: Students learn the basics of the wine industry, including regional and global trends, chemistry of wine making and regulations in the industry.

• The Politics of Policymaking in the U.S.: This course analyzes the nature and performance of policymaking in the United States, and questions if those political systems are effective. Topics include the role of Congress and the influence of interest groups.

Minimum entering grades Tuition Average class size Undergraduate students Residence spaces Graduation and retention rates
Engineering: 85% (70% Okanagan)
Arts: 80% (70% Okanagan)
Science: 86% (70% Okanagan)
Commerce: 84%
$5,947 1st & 2nd year: 79.3
3rd & 4th year: 46.3
Full-time: 33,877
Part-time: 15,024
11,423 (5,273 reserved for first years) Graduation: 77.8%
Retention: 89.3%

More Schools: Simon Fraser UniversityMcGill UniversityUniversity of VictoriaLangara CollegeBritish Columbia Insititute of Technology


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