To apply, ALL applicants (including UBC graduates and current UBC students) fill out two applications:
- Online application for admission to UBC
- Application to the CS department. You must have applied and paid UBC's application fee first, or your application to the CS department will not be processed and the fee will not be refunded.
UBC's official admissions, promotion and program information is available in the BCS Calendar Entry. You must meet the requirements listed there, and we do not list them again here.
Instead, this section describes how the BCS program interprets the selection process and criteria listed there as part of our admissions process.
BCS Interpretation of Admissions Criteria
UBC evaluates applications to BCS for completion of the minimum requirements listed in the BCS Calendar Entry (e.g., a recognized, prior Bachelor's degree or the mathematics and English requirements). UBC also calculates a "30-credit GPA" (effective, UBC-equivalent GPA in the most recent 30 credits of undergraduate coursework) used by BCS admissions. The BCS leadership may also impose additional minima on applications based on recent history of competitiveness and applicant success in the program. If so, these will be listed on the BCS application page.
Beyond that, the BCS program reviews each complete application (including essays, resume, reference letters, and transcripts) according to four broad criteria that are roughly equally weigted:
- Suitability of academic background: Strengths of this applicant's academic background relative to the needs of the BCS program. By default, this is the applicant's 30-credit GPA. We may adjust this on the basis of factors including: grades in highly relevant coursework (especially any introductory computing course the applicant may have taken); graduate coursework (not normally counted in the 30-credit GPA); excessive computing background (where we generally consider strong work in the equivalent of UBC CPSC 110, 121, and 210 a positive; CPSC 213, 221, and 310 neutral; and additional coursework increasingly negative because it is too close to a computing degree); or unusually challenging or easy coursework (e.g., we might classify as unusually easy coursework an applicant with a Biological Engineering degree who retakes introductory biology as part of their last 30 credit GPA).
- Realistic plan for success: How well the applicant has set themselves up for success in the program. Grades and coursework (particularly in areas related to computing) also impact this criterion. Unlike the previous criterion, however, this one is impacted by factors like an applicant exploring computing on the job or via online coursework. Additionally, we look for evidence that the applicant can manage heavy workloads or transititioning into a new discipline. Here and in the subsequent criterion, applications are stronger where they build on a realistic understanding of the program (meaning they address the criteria within this realistic context, not that they re-describe to use what the program is).
- Motivation for program: How prepared the applicant is to enthusiastically engage with computing and keep doing so for the duration of a challenging 2-3 year program. Applicants should explain to us why BCS is such a good choice for them and why they're a good choice for BCS. (Applicants need not tell us how good BCS is; we think we're great, too! Instead, we want to understand applicants' excitement for and commitment to computing, BCS, and UBC founded in their own situation and background.) Ideally, applications should back up expressions of enthusiasm with evidence.
- Contribution to community: On the one hand, how much this applicant will contribute by their actions to the success of their BCS (and larger UBC and computing) communities; and on the other hand, how well this applicant contributes to creating a diverse and vibrant community of students in BCS. Of particular interest is evidence that this applicant has previously contributed strongly and positively to their colleagues and community. Additionally, we consider how the student fits into a program that draws ideas and perspectives from a diverse range of backgrounds across many dimensions (e.g., area of academic study, career experience, etc.).
Note that GPA has a significant impact on our evaluation of applications but is also far from the only factor in our evaluation.
You may be interested as you apply in:
Qualifications for UBC's English language requirement: https://you.ubc.ca/applying-ubc/requirements/english-language-competency/
Information about Advanced Placement (AP) high school credit: https://you.ubc.ca/applying-ubc/canadian-highschools/advanced-placement
The BC Transfer Guide (for fulfilling prerequisites to the program such as English, although be aware that for other coursework BCS exempts but does not transfer i.e., "transferred" courses generally require replacement during the degree). For English in particular, online options are available from Athabasca University (AU) and Thompson Rivers University (TRU). (To list all options, search by receiver for UBC ENGL 1*, selecting the most recent academic year.)
All students (UBC or otherwise) complete a two-part application for admission:
1) An online application for admission to UBC, due January 15, 2020. Current UBC students graduating in May should apply for a change of program for the next September through SSC (this will not affect graduation from your current program). Students graduating in the summer should apply by January 15, 2020. UBC graduates should apply for re-admission through SSC.
When completing the online application to UBC, select the Vancouver campus and the BCS - Bachelor of Computer Science - B.C.S. (ICS) program.
Note that you must submit official transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions attended to the Registrar's Office. Current UBC students and UBC graduates do not need to submit UBC transcripts, but they MUST nonetheless submit transcripts for all other post-secondary institutions they have attended.
2) The CS Department's BCS application, due January 15, 2020 including:
- a resume
- contact information (name, email and phone number for two references (referees will be contacted to submit references online by February 15, 2020)
- a $100, non-refundable, application fee (paid by Interac, Visa or Mastercard only)
- evidence of completion of BC Principles of Mathematics 12 (e.g. BC high school, pre-calculus Math 12, or equivalent)
- evidence of completion of a UBC-recognized/transferable first-year English course
The department application must be submitted online: CS Department's BCS application by end of the day (Vancouver time) on January 15, 2020. References must be submitted by the referees online by February 15, 2020.
Admissions proceeds in two phases. In Phase I, the BCS program reviews applications. Some candidates may be contacted for a face-to-face or remote interview (particularly strong candidates may not need to interview.) We will forward a list of successful applicants to the Registrar's Office for Phase II. During Phase II, the Registrar's Office verifies that candidates hold a recognized Bachelor's degree and that they have met all program prerequisites, including Math, English, and an appropriate GPA. Successful candidates who have met all requirements are then admitted to both UBC and the BCS (ICS) program by the Registrar's Office.
- January 15, 2020 - deadline to submit UBC online application for admission and online: CS Department's BCS application
- February 15, 2020 - deadline for referees to submit references online: CS Department's BCS application
- April 2020 - interviews (for some applicants), either in person or remote
- April 30, 2020 - deadline for admission requirements to be completed. Please complete this process early or you may miss your course registration date and therefore fail to register for courses you need!
If you require more information about the application process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.