What is BCS (ICS)?

BCS (ICS) in brief

Bachelor of Computer Science (Integrated Computer Science) BCS (ICS) is a 20-month full-time academically-oriented program that allows university graduates to make a career transition into information technology or to combine their area of interest or specialty with computer science. BCS (ICS) is for individuals who have:

  • completed at least a bachelor's degree in a field that does not overlap with Computer Science
  • demonstrated solid academic achievement in your previous degree (e.g. at least a B- average)
  • little or no current experience in programming

Why would I want to do this?

Information technology is one of today's most exciting and rapidly growing career areas. Canadian industry desperately needs talented people with knowledge and expertise in computer science and other areas such as biology, statistics, psychology, humanities, or arts. Even if you've never imagined becoming a computer professional, if you're bright, creative, articulate, logical, organized, determined, and like working with people, there's a good chance BCS (ICS) might help you discover a wonderful career in information technology. A career that lets you explore your passions while making a significant contribution to society. A career that offers unparalleled opportunities for advancement, learning, and self-development. A career with good pay and perhaps flexible working hours, helping you combine your work and personal goals.

Our program has been featured in the Vancouver Sun newspaper several times.  Here is a link to one of the articles.

Who should apply?

We expect that, for many participants, the first eight months of the BCS (ICS) program will be an intense and challenging experience, immersing students in new ways of thinking, creating, and communicating. Thus, in addition to the three requirements listed above under BCS (ICS) in brief, applicants should have a high level of motivation, should enjoy learning new things and exploring new environments and cultures, should be flexible in their job search, and should be prepared to work hard. Applicants are also required to have a computer literacy course (or equivalent knowledge), at least 3 credits of college or university level English (transferrable to UBC as one of ENGL 110, 111, 112, 120, 121 or ARTS 001), and BC Principles of Mathematics 12 (or an equivalent pre-calculus course) as prerequisites before starting the BCS (ICS) program. Note that it is not necessary for you to have completed all of these requirements prior to applying for admission to the program, however applicants need to provide proof that they are completing all the admission requirements. Please check our FAQs for more information. Acceptance to the BCS (ICS) program may be conditional on passing the computer literacy, English and/or math readiness course(s).

What kinds of backgrounds do BCS students have?

With respect to BCS demographics, we have many mature students (beyond their late-20s). Many of our students come from backgrounds outside of the sciences (e.g. various fields in Arts, Music, Commerce). Since the program's start in 1998, female students have made up about 37% of the accepted applicants, much higher than the average for Computer Science, and we aim to recruit 50% women and 50% men. Furthermore, about 20% of accepted applicants are from outside of North America. Many of our students, including international students, eagerly join our co-op work program to combine their degrees with real-world experience (for pay).

Here is a breakdown of the undergraduate degree programs that our BCS students have, prior to joining BCS. Note the broad variety of backgrounds:

Prior Degree Programs
Prior Field of StudyApproximate Percentage of BCS Students
Biology (Including Cell Biology and Genetics)
16%
Commerce, Business, or Economics
15%
Engineering
8%
Psychology
8%
Biochemistry
6%
English
5%
Mathematics
4%
Music
3%
Land & Food Systems
2%
Education
2%
History
2%
Other
29%

The broad "Other" category includes numerous fields such as: Law, Human Kinetics, Fine Arts, Spanish, Microbiology, Chemistry, and many other fields. Approximately 11% of our students have a master's degree before joining our program, and about 2% have a PhD, but all you need is a previous bachelor's degree!

How much does it cost?

Domestic students pay regular Faculty of Science tuition fees for the courses taken. Tuition costs for international students are higher; please refer to the International Students FAQ, or UBC's International Students website for more information. Students should plan for a minimum of five academic terms. In addition to paying tuition fees, there are other costs associated with applying to UBC and registering for courses. Please see the Finances section of the UBC Student Services website for details.

What academic credentials will I have at the end of the program?

BCS (ICS) students receive a Bachelor of Computer Science (Integrated Computer Science) degree from the University of British Columbia. BCS is a full CS degree. Compared to the "normal" BSc program, BCS includes all 8 core CS courses and two fewer required CS electives (4 rather than 6), although BCS students can usually include two additional CS electives in their "bridging module" requirement.

Who is involved in running BCS (ICS)?

BCS (ICS) is run through the Department of Computer Science at UBC. The department is among the world's leading Computer Science departments. Its faculty consist of internationally renowned senior researchers and educators, as well as promising young faculty. The expertise of the department lies in such diverse areas as theoretical computer science, computer graphics and animation, artificial intelligence, computational vision, databases, educational technology, hardware design and verification, operating systems, parallel computation, robotics, software engineering, numerical analysis, etc. See the department's website for more details on recent achievements.

BUCS/BTM Combined Business/CS Degrees

Elaine Chang
Elaine Chang has a passion for learning, growing from different experiences to another, and she’s equally excited about sharing what she knows with others. These traits make her uniquely suited to her work as a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, where she combines her love of technology with business applications to help create cutting-edge software products. Wearing multiple hats in this role, Elaine works with diverse groups, displaying a great deal of flexibility and willingness to adapt.
Minutes from her computer science lab, Leigh-Anne Mathieson takes a research break at UBC's treetop walkway
Part 6 of the “Made on Haida Gwaii” Series by April Diamond Dutheil. “Big complex problems don’t scare me anymore, they’re exciting,” tells computer scientist Leigh-Anne Mathieson.
Andy Warfield
UBC Assistant Professor of Computer Science Andy Warfield has won awards that range from the UBC Terrific TA Award to an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Studentship, a Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship, and most recently, the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowship. He laughs outright, though, at the suggestion that somehow he was destined from a young age to academic greatness. “Oh no, I was pretty disorganized as a high school student. When I applied to colleges it was under a kind of ‘total chance and random decision’ method.‘”
Anoop Shankar
In her popular book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck describes her notion of two basic states of mind that inform how we learn and succeed. The first is the “fixed mindset,” where a person might believe himself to possess genetically immutable traits. Such a person might think, for example, that he is a strong athlete, or is bad in math, or good with people. The second is the “growth mindset,” where someone believes she can work to develop traits, strengthening areas of ability and making improvements in weaker areas.
Amy Kwok
When you ask Amy Kwok about the kinds of hobbies she enjoys, she pauses to gather her thoughts and then launches into a list of favourites: “I like to play the piano and guitar and to paint, I try to travel, I love playing badminton, I really like hiking, and I like to do the Grouse Grind with friends—slowly!” Such a mix of the active and more reflective, the artistic and the sporting, the solo adventure and the group activity are pretty illustrative of Amy’s diverse talents and they showcase her love of learning in numerous settings.