4 Main Degree Pathways to Major in Computer Science at UBC
When I first applied to UBC, I found the process on majoring in Computer Science to be a little complicated. It turns out there are more than one way to do so and as such, there were also a lot of information to untangle and sift through.
This post outlines the 4 main degree pathways to major in CompSci at UBC. Hopefully, it could serve as a good starting point for you to research further into what you need to get into the major.
The majority of undergraduate students intending to major in Computer Science belong to either the Bachelor of Science (BSc) or the Bachelor of Arts (BA) program. If you are in either of these two programs, you cannot major in Computer Science directly when you begin your studies at UBC.
After you begin your studies at UBC, you have to apply separately into the major after a year or two by meeting certain requirements.
The exception would be if you are admitted to the Bachelor of Computer Science (Second Degree) program, where you would be in the CompSci major directly when you begin your program. The catch is that this program is only for students who already has another degree.
Another exception is if you are admitted to the Bachelor of Commerce program intending to double major in Business and Computer Science (also known as BUCS). It is possible to apply directly into this major, but preferences would given to those who have completed certain courses at UBC.
All information in this post are based on what I personally know as an UBC alumni, and I cannot guarantee that the information in this post will always be up to date. Please cross-reference as much as you can with the latest official sources so you can make the most well-informed decision for yourself.
When should you apply to the Computer Science major?
Typically, students would apply after their first year, and in some cases, after their second year of studying at UBC.
Your course grades in the first and/or second years are important in determining whether you would end up in the Computer Science major.
Why aren’t students accepted directly into the CompSci major?
Every year, there are only a certain number of seats available for the Computer Science Major offered by UBC. The information on the number of seats available is not publicly available, but for the sake of illustration, let’s say only X spots are available every year.
These limited number of spots are designated as such because there is a cap on the resources that can be allocated to the number of students in the major. In other words, the existing number of staff and faculty, teaching assistants, computer labs, etc. can only accommodate X new students in the major every year.
Since Computer Science has become such a popular major in recent years, there tend to be a lot more applicants than there are seats available.
- Let’s say there are 3X applicants to the major every year.
- Now, since the number of applicants exceed the number of seats, only X number of students can get into the major.
- The remaining 2X applicants will not get into the major, although they can try reapplying the year after.
The requirements to apply into the UBC CompSci major will differ slightly depending on which degree program you are already admitted into. Whichever program you are in, your first- and/or second-year grades is an important factor.
Here are 4 main degree pathways in which you can major in Computer Science in UBC.
1. Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Computer Science
The classic Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Computer Science. To get into this designation, first of all, you have to be admitted into the BSc degree, do well in your first and/or second year, apply and get admitted into the Computer Science major.
Typically for the BSc degree, you would have to rank 3 of your preferred majors after your first year. You will be placed into your 1st choice if there are still seats available. If there are no more seats available, you will be considered on your 2nd choice, and so on. How early you get considered will depend on your grades.
2. Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Computer Science
Yes, at UBC, you can major in Computer Science in a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Essentially, you need two main things:
- A minimum average of 70% across CPSC 110, CPSC 121, and CPSC 210. The higher your averages across these 3 courses, the better your chances will be.
- A decent average across all courses attempted at UBC to make the cut-off into the program. This cut-off changes every year depending on the number of seats and applicants.
3. Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Business and Computer Science (BUCS)
If you are admitted to UBC in the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree, you can double major in Business and Computer Science—this is known as the BUCS program.
It appears that you can apply to BUCS at any year level, but preference will given to those who have completed CPSC 110, CPSC 121, CPSC 210, MATH 101/105 or equivalent at the time of application.
- Combined Major in Business and Computer Science
4. Bachelor of Computer Science (Integrated Computer Science) – Second Degree Program
The Bachelor of Computer Science (Integrated Computer Science) – Second Degree Program is intended only for those who have previously completed a degree in another discipline, so if you are fresh out of high school, you cannot apply for this program. Note that this is not a Masters program, but a second undergraduate degree.
The BCS (ICS) program carries the least amount of risk in that once you are admitted, you are a student in the Computer Science Department, and you do not have to apply for a seat like in the other degree programs.
This official webpage by UBC: Computer Science Majors lists two other options to major in very closely-related fields to Computer Science:
- Software Engineering
- Cognitive Systems: Computational Intelligence and Design