Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree Requirements

In order to earn your degree, you must complete at least 120 BFA-eligible credits. Of these 120 credits, at least 72 credits must be taken within the Faculty of Arts.

Overview of BFA requirements

  • Degree credit minimum (120 credits)
  • Writing and Research (6 credits)
  • Major (42+ credits)
  • Outside the field of study (30* credits)
  • Upper-level credits (48* credits)
  • Arts credit minimum (72* credits)

Degree credit minimum

In order to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree, you must complete a minimum of 120 credits. A minimum of 50% of total degree credits, 50% of upper-level degree credits, and 50% of upper-level credits for each program (honours, major, or minor) must be completed while registered as a student in the Faculty of Arts at UBC.

If you entered your BFA program in 2016 Winter or earlier, please refer to the archived UBC calendar for your degree requirements.

In addition to your BFA program, you are permitted to complete any honours, major or minor programs available to BA students, including those outside of the Faculty of Arts. If the desired program is not available under the BFA in the SSC, contact Arts Academic Advising.

If you are majoring in both a BFA discipline and a BA discipline (double major), you may choose to graduate with either a BFA or BA degree provided that you have completed the overall degree requirements of your chosen degree.

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. Plan to take your writing course at the start of your studies, and your research-intensive course near the end.

Writing component

Being able to read, write, and research at the university level is fundamental to your future academic success. Your writing course will prepare you with skills you will need and use throughout the remainder of your degree, regardless of your academic focus. Take a course that fulfills the writing component in your first year at UBC, or within your first 30 credits.

If you do not complete a course that fulfills the writing component within either your first 54 credits or, for transfer students, your first year in the Faculty of Arts, your registration will be blocked. If this happens to you, you will receive an email notifying you that you will not be able to advance in your degree or register for more courses until Arts Academic Advising approves your plan to complete a writing course.

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

If you fail a writing component course, you’ll either need to repeat it or take a different writing course as you cannot graduate without satisfying this requirement. Before you register again reflect on why you struggled, and think about what you need to do to succeed in your second attempt. As part of this process, consider accessing UBC resources like Arts Academic Advising, the Learning Commons, or Arts Peer Academic Coaches for learning and planning support.

If you fail the writing component twice, but otherwise meet continuation requirements, you may continue your studies but will be 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. You will not be able to graduate if you do not satisfy the writing component.

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.

Qualifies as a research-intensive course:

Beginning Winter 2023-2024, all previously approved GERM course codes will be GERN (taught in German+) or GMST (taught in English+). Please refer to the GERM to GERN/GMST Course Equivalencies table for the corresponding new course codes and numbers.

  • Asian Studies (ASIA) 443 “National Narratives in Chinese Literature and Film”
  • 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) 490H 001 “Asian Classics: Representations of the Chinese Ghost” taught in 20W Term 2, 21W term 2 (section 002) and 23W Term 2
  • 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
  • Computer Science (CPSC) 455
  • Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice (GRSJ) 401 “Body, Gender, and Society”
  • Haida Gwaii Semesters (HGSE) 350 “Case Studies in Haida Gwaii”
  • MATH 344 taught in 2020W only
  • NEST400A "Interconnections in the Late Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean" (taught in 2020W)
  • Public Policy and Global Affairs, PPGA591I and PPGA591J, taught in 2021W
  • ASTU 401D "Special Topics in Arts Studies - DIRECTED STUDY" (taught in 2022W, 2023W)


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

Requirements for your major

Your major is the focus of your degree. Completion of a major requires at least 42 credits in one field of study. BFA programs permit admission only through a competitive application process. The number of credits required for admission and the admission process is determined by each department.

Outside requirement

If you are completing a single BFA Major or Honours program you must complete a minimum of 30 credits outside of your specialization. If you are a BFA student completing two Majors, two Honours or a Major/Honours combination of programs within your degree, you are not required to complete credits outside of your specializations.

Upper-level requirement

You must complete a minimum number of upper-level credits (courses numbered 300 and above). If you are enrolled in a single major, your upper-level requirement is 48 credits. Enrolment in honours, double major, major/honours or double honours programs will increase your upper-level credit requirement.

Arts credit minimum requirement

A minimum of 72 of the 120 credits required for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree must be Arts credits, except when the completion of your program requires more than 48 credits outside of Arts.

Arts credit courses are identified in the UBC Calendar course descriptions as those offered by the Faculty of Arts, or as transfer credit deemed to be Arts. See Degree Navigator or consult Arts Academic Advising if you are unsure about how your credits are classified.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) second degree studies

As a second degree student, you must complete a minimum of 60 UBC credits in order to earn your degree. These credits must include no fewer than 48 upper-level credits, all of which must be taken while registered in the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program. A minimum of 36 credits must be taken within the Faculty of Arts.

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