Degree Requirements

As an Arts student, you are required to fulfill the faculty-wide requirements for your degree, as well as the requirements for your specific program.

Overview of requirements

Degrees/RequirementsWriting & ResearchLanguage ScienceLiterature Outside Credits Upper-level CreditsArt Credit Minimum
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)1⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼
Bachelor of International Economics (BIE)22
Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS)3⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼
Bachelor of Music (BMus)4⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)5⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼
Second Degree (BA)6⎼⎼7
Second Degree (BFA)6⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼⎼7

1 students entering the BFA program in 2017 or later
2 this requirement is completed through BIE Cohort Required Courses
3 this requirement is completed with BMS Core Required Courses
4 the research component of this requirement is completed by the work in fourth-year performance lessons in BMus
5 requirements for the BSW program are completed prior to entering the program
6 Arts Academic Advising will work with Second BA/BFA students to determine if any Degree Requirements can be waived based on prior study
7 Arts Credit Minimum Requirement is 36 credits for second degree studies

Writing and research requirement

As an Arts student, you must fulfill six credits towards the writing and research requirement, comprised of three credits in a writing-focused course and three credits in a research-intensive course.

Writing component

Being able to read, write, and research at the university level is fundamental to your future academic success. Satisfying the writing component early in your university career will help you reach these goals.

You must attempt to complete three credits in a writing-focused course within your first 30 credits and complete them within your first 54 credits.

To satisfy the writing component, you must complete one of the following:

If you fail the writing component twice, but otherwise meet continuation requirements, you may continue your studies but are restricted to a reduced credit load of nine credits maximum per term (Winter session) and nine credits over the entire Summer session with no more than six credits per term. These credit restrictions remain until the writing component is successfully completed.

Research component

Your research component course is your opportunity to contribute to knowledge in your field and to engage with the scholarly community.

You must successfully complete three credits in a research-intensive course between 30 and 120 credits of your Arts degree. Typically, you will register in a research-intensive course specified for your program (major).

Research-intensive courses often have prerequisites and some will be restricted to majors in the discipline. Be sure to investigate your options early so you can ensure you will be prepared.

View approved research-intensive courses:

Qualifies as a research-intensive course:

  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 407 “North Korea in Historical Context”
  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 445 “Japanese Crime Fiction”
  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 447 “Korean Women’s Literature”
  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 490A 001 “Asian Classics: Partition of India in Film and Narrative” taught in 18W
  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 491 “India and the Persianate World”
  • Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENS) 303D “Representations of the Holocaust”, taken as part of the “Witnessing Auschwitz” Global Seminar (other sections of CENS 303 do not qualify)
  • Computer Science (CPSC) 436 “Topics in Computer Science – Video Game Programming” taught in 17W and 18W
  • German (GERM) 404 “Religion and German Literature (In English)”
  • Haida Gwaii Semesters (HGSE) 350 “Case Studies in Haida Gwaii”
  • MATH 344 "Mathematical Game Theory" taught in 2020W
  • NEST 401 (NEST) “Literature of Ancient Egypt or the Ancient Near East”

Does not qualify as a research-intensive course:

  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 478
  • Linguistics (LING) 447H “Topics in Linguistics – American Sign Language” taught in 17W and 18W
  • JAPN 452 taught in 16W
  • 400-level Political Science (POLI) courses taught as Student-Directed Seminars


Language requirement

As an Arts student, you are encouraged to fulfill the language requirement within your first 60 credits.

To fulfill the language requirement, you must complete one of the following:

Prior to admission, and while still in secondary school, you can complete a language course (excluding English) at a level equivalent to BC Grade 12.

  • This option is particularly recommended for students who have knowledge of a language but no secondary school or university transcript to prove competency.
  • If you are planning on completing a proficiency examination to meet the language requirement, plan well-ahead.
  • Arrangements for proficiency testing must be made through the department providing instruction in the language.
  • If a language is not taught at UBC (e.g. modern Arabic, Greek, or Hebrew) contact Arts Academic Advising in your first year of study to confirm the possibility of testing in your language.

  • View a list of UBC courses that fulfill the language requirement.
  • Most of these courses have prerequisites, so we strongly advise that you begin working towards this requirement in your first year.
  • Some courses have placement tests and may not be offered every session, so be sure to plan ahead and check the course schedule or contact the department.

Science requirement

In order to ensure the development of an understanding and appreciation of scientific methods, applications, and reasoning, you must complete six credits chosen from approved courses administered by the Arts, Science, Forestry, Land and Food Systems, Medicine, or Applied Science faculties.

You are not permitted to earn credit for two or more courses with significant overlap, so consult the credit exclusion list to see which courses overlap before registering.

Qualifies as a science requirement:

  • SPPH 381C, Environmental Impacts on Human Health, taught in 17W, 18W, 19W and 20W
  • ARCL 325, Paleoanthropology
  • ASIC 220, Introduction to Sustainability
  • APBI 100, Soil and the Global Environment

The following courses satisfy the science requirement and are well suited for students with little or no science background.

Anthropological Archaeology

  • ARCL 140: Bones: The Origins of Humanity
  • ARCL 203: Archaeological Methods
  • ARCL 228: Forensic Anthropology
  • ARCL 235: Controlling Nature: Plant and Animal Domestication
  • ARCL 326: Primatology
  • ARCL 345: Molecular Archaeology

Applied Science

  • APSC 366: The Art of the Possible: An Introduction to Engineering for Non-Engineers

Arts and Science Interdisciplinary

  • ASIC 200: Global Issues in the Arts and Sciences
  • ASIC 220: Introduction to Sustainability


  • ASTR 310: Exploring the Universe I: The Solar System
  • ASTR 311: Exploring the Universe II: Stars and Galaxies

Atmospheric Science

  • ATSC 113: Applied Meteorology


  • BIOL 343: Plants and Peoples
  • BIOL 344: Human Heredity and Evolution
  • BIOL 344: Human Heredity and Evolution
  • BIOL 345: Human Ecology
  • BIOL 346: Microbes and Society

Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences

  • CAPS 210: Exploring the Human Body: How does the body work?

Earth and Ocean Sciences

  • EOSC 310: The Earth and the Solar System
  • EOSC 311: The Earth and its Resources
  • EOSC 312: The Earth System and Environmental Evolution
  • EOSC 314: The Ocean Environment
  • EOSC 315: The Ocean Ecosystem

Food, Nutrition, and Health

  • FNH 200: Exploring Our Food


  • GEOB 102: Introduction to Geographical Biogeosciences: Climate and Vegetation
  • GEOB 103: Introduction to Geographical Biogeosciences: Water and Landscapes


  • MATH 335: Introduction to Mathematics

Natural Resource Conservation

  • CONS 127: Observing the Earth from Space


  • PHYS 340: Revolutions in Understanding the Universe
  • PHYS 341: Physics of Music
  • PHYS 343: Physical Science by Inquiry

Population and Public Health

  • SPPH 301: Understanding the Sociocultural Determinants of the Health of Populations

Literature requirement

As an Arts student, you must complete six credits in literature.

All incoming students who wish to take any Chinese, Japanese, Hindi-Urdu, or Korean literature courses are required to complete a placement test with the Department of Asian Studies to obtain placement approval for registration. Students without this approval should deregister before the first withdrawal deadline.

Qualifies as a literature requirement:

  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 336, 395, 412, 413, 431 and 461.
  • English (ENGL) 200
  • English (ENGL) 409K taught in 17W
  • German (GERM) 206
  • History (HIST) 403B taught in 17W or 18W
  • Near Eastern Studies (NEST) 401
  • Persian (PERS) 451
  • Scandinavian Studies (SCAN) 332B taught in 18S and 19S

Does not qualify as a literature requirement:

  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 444
  • Chinese (CHIN) 2nd transfer credit preclusions for CHIN 431 and 433
  • Chinese (CHIN) 3nd transfer credit preclusions for CHIN 481, 483, 491 and 493
  • English (ENGL) 112 and ENGL 229
  • Sanskrit (SANS) 300 taught in 16W

Credit requirements

In order to earn your degree, you must complete a set number of credits, including outside credits, upper-level credits, and the Arts credit minimum.

Appealing a degree requirement

If you believe you have already met a Faculty of Arts degree requirement (writing and research requirement, literature requirement, or science requirement), submit an appeal for exemption form in order to be assessed for an exemption based on your transfer credit or prior study.

Note: The language requirement cannot be appealed through this form. Please contact Arts Academic Advising to inquire about language requirement appeals.

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