Curriculum Requirements


Requirement Summary

The following table contains a rough overview of IntSci curriculum requirements. It is not complete; read below for clarification and additional requirements.

Requirement Major Stream Honours Stream
Integration 2 or 3 disciplines
ISCI Requirement 7 credits 7 ISCI credits +
6 credit honours thesis
Upper-Level Science 40 credits1) 49 credits2)
Life Sciences BIOL 200 and one of BIOL 201, BIOC 202, BIOC 203, or BIOC 3003)
Discipline 33 credits 42 credits
400-Level Discipline (Depth) 12 credits4) 18 credits5)
Fundamental Sciences No more than 9 credits
Breadth 9 credits 0 credits

Faculty Requirement

Integrated Sciences students are responsible for ensuring they satisfy all Faculty/Bachelor of Science degree requirements.

In addition, IntSci curricula must satisfy the requirements listed below.

Integration Requirement

Students develop their own curriculum based on an overarching theme of integrating scientific disciplines of their choice. The chosen curriculum must clearly integrate two or three disciplines. In particular, the curriculum must not substantially mirror any existing degree program.

ISCI Requirement

At least 7 credits must be in ISCI core courses including the 1-credit ISCI 300 seminar course, which is mandatory for all IntSci students. Directed Studies (ISCI 448) does not count towards the ISCI requirement.

ISCI courses may be used toward discipline credits (if relevant), but only in addition to the 7 credit ISCI requirement (ie. no double counting).

In addition, the first 3-credit ISCI core course must be taken in the student's first year upon admission to Integrated Sciences and promotion to 3rd year standing. (That is, the first ISCI course should be complete within 12 months after both conditions have been satisfied.) It is recommended that ISCI 300 also be taken in a student's 3rd year.

Students in the Honours stream should take 7 ISCI credits plus 6 honours thesis credits, totalling 13 credits.

Discipline Requirement

Students must integrate between two or three scientific disciplines. Only upper-level courses (numbered 300 and above) may count towards a discipline.

In the major stream 33 credits must be in discipline courses. Each discipline must contain at least 9 credits (12 are recommended).

In the honours stream 42 credits must be in discipline courses. Each discipline must contain at least 12 credits (15 are recommended).

For both streams at most 6 discipline credits may come from Directed Studies courses (such as ISCI 448).

Students may consider incorporating ISCI credits into their discipline(s), but only in addition to their 7 credits of ISCI core.

Courses described as “not for credit in [Science or a particular program]” may not be included in a discipline. Some examples include:

400-Level Discipline (Depth) Requirement

major stream program must include at least 12 credits of discipline courses numbered 400 or above6).

An honours stream program must include at least 18 credits of discipline courses numbered 400 or above7).

Each program must have at least one course numbered 400 or above in every discipline.

Directed Studies courses (often numbered 448) are not counted as 400-level for the purpose of these requirements.

Including Non-Science courses within a discipline

Under special circumstances, IntSci may allow a student to count non-Science credits towards their discipline credits. For example, several courses satisfy the IntSci Science requirement beyond those accepted by the Faculty of Science (Honorary Science Courses). The curriculum must satisfy both IntSci program and Faculty of Science requirements. It may be necessary to take additional Science courses (possibly outside of your disciplines) to satisfy the upper level Science requirements. Integrating beyond Science may also present some challenges:

  • The application may be less convincing as an Integrated Sciences program.
  • IntSci students have lower priority access to restricted courses in other faculties. Contingency plans may be required.
  • Science students cannot earn credit for more than 18 credits of courses outside of Science or Arts.

In addition to being outside of the Faculty of Science, SPPH and SOWK courses are often too broad to include within a discipline. If you plan to include an SPPH or SOWK course you will need to present a very strong argument for why it is integral to your degree in your curriculum rationale.

Please note the following courses are recognized by the Faculty of Science as Science credit:

Faculty of ArtsIn addition to PSYC 348 and 448, all undergraduate psychology courses numbered 60 or above in the last two digits have science credit; All GEOB courses.

Faculty of Land and Food Systems: FNH 350, 351, 450, and 451. 

Faculty of Medicine: CAPS 301, 302, 303, 390, 391, 398, 399, 421, 422, 423, 424, 426, 430, 448, 449, 498, 499; all BIOC, PCTH; MEDG 419, 420, 421.

Upper Level Science Requirement

Upper-level courses are numbered 300 and above. Each major stream program must contain at least 30 credits of upper-level Science courses (required by the Faculty of Science) plus 10 additional credits (required by Integrated Sciences) of upper-level science or science-related (listed below) courses, for a total of 40. (For a complete description of all upper-level BSc degree requirements consult,215,410,1466.)

Each honours stream program must contain at least 42 credits of upper-level Science courses plus 7 additional credits (required by Integrated Sciences) of upper-level Science or science-related courses, for a total of 49 credits.

Life Sciences Requirement

Programs integrating exclusively within the life sciences must include BIOL 200 and one of BIOL 201BIOC 202BIOC 203, or BIOC 300. By “life sciences” we mean all fields that study or are related to living organisms including, for example, Biochemistry and Psychology. See Wikipedia for more examples. The boundary is fuzzy so err on the side of caution and plan to take these courses if you have doubts.

IntSci's Honorary Science Courses

In addition to those courses designated by the Faculty of Science to have Science credit, Integrated Sciences also accepts the following science-related courses towards your Integrated Sciences upper-level requirement (therefore, as part of the additional 10 credits required for the major stream, or 7 credits required for honours):

  • CONS 355-359 Haida Gwaii Semester in Natural Resource Studies
  • KIN 375 Exercise Physiology II (previously HKIN 463)
  • KIN 389 Neuromuscular Integration of Human Movement
  • KIN 462 Skeletal Muscle Physiology: From Generation to Regeneration
  • KIN 473 Neuroanatomy of Human Movement
  • KIN 475 Pulmonary Physiology of Exercise
  • PATH 417 Human Bacterial Infections
  • PATH 437 Viral Infections in Humans
  • PSYC 301 Brain Dysfunction and Recovery
  • PSYC 304 Brain and Behaviour

Many upper level KIN courses have restricted enrolment. We will try our best to register IntSci students in KIN courses but we cannot guarantee enrolment in any KIN course. Students must have a backup plan for each KIN course included in an IntSci degree proposal.

Note that the Faculty of Science does not recognize the above courses as Science credit courses. Students intending to minor outside of Science or Arts (eg. Land & Food Systems, Commerce, or Kinesiology) should be careful they don't exceed a maximum of 18 credits not in Science or Arts.

ISCI courses are upper-level Science courses and may be counted towards all upper-level Science requirements (for both the Faculty of Science and Integrated Sciences).

Integrated Sciences students need to satisfy both the Faculty of Science BSc degree requirements and the Integrated Sciences specialization requirements.

Fundamental Sciences Restriction

The following courses are defined as Fundamental sciences courses for IntSci purposes:

Fundamentals in the Life Sciences8)

Fundamentals in the Computational Sciences9)

Fundamentals in the Physical Sciences

  • (List empty)

Fundamentals in the Environmental Sciences

  • (List empty)

No more than 9 credits from the above fundamental sciences courses may be included in any of the disciplines in a student's program. (These courses may be included in programs under the “other courses” category.)

To be clear, you may take as many of these courses as you like, but only 9 credits from any of these lists will count towards your discipline requirements. The intent is not to prevent you from taking these courses but to ensure that if you're integrating in these areas you also take more advanced classes in the subjects. We want you to explore these fields in sufficient depth.

Honours Thesis and Defense

IntSci Honours students are expected to complete a piece of original research under supervision. The exact nature of each project will be decided between each student and his/her supervisor. It is not essential that the project produce positive results leading to clear, definitive conclusions. Many projects will produce negative results or no clear results at all. Many will conclude that the question under investigation cannot be answered with the techniques used. This is the nature of scientific research. It is expected, however, that each project will address a clearly defined hypothesis and that students will learn much about the scientific method in the process of completing the project. It is anticipated that students will emerge from the program with basic skills in formulating and testing hypotheses, experimental design, data analysis and presentation, critical evaluation of published work and scientific writing; all of the skills required to produce a good graduate student. The actual project serves only as a specific focus on which to develop these skills. The mark in this course will be assigned based on the Final Thesis Examination.

For the Final Examination, students will be required to submit a written thesis to the IntSci Office (LSK 464). This must be submitted at least one week prior to the Final Examination. The Final Examination will consist of a short (15 to 20 minute) presentation by the student of the major findings of his/her work, followed by a round of questioning by the Committee members. The Examining Committee for each student will consist of the Thesis Supervisor, one Nominee chosen by the Student and Supervisor (with an in depth knowledge of the student's research area), and one or two Members chosen from the Integrated Sciences Program (usually the student's IntSci advisor and an IntSci administrator). The members chosen to sit on any given committee will not necessarily work in the student's research field, but will be chosen simply to assess the overall scientific ability of the student). Usually the IntSci administrator will serve as the Chair of the Examining Committee.

If a student has a co-supervisor they may also be on the committee, but they may not act as the Nominee chosen by the student and supervisor, because the Nominee must be impartial to the thesis.

The Committee Chair will not normally ask questions and the Supervisor will be allowed to ask questions last. The exam should not exceed 60 to 90 minutes in length. All final examinations will be held between April 2nd and 30th. The actual date of the examination will be negotiated between the student and the committee members.

Based on 1) the written thesis, 2) the oral presentation, and 3) the defense, Committee members will assign a number grade to the Thesis. The Chair will not normally assign a grade but will simply run the examination and compile the final grade.

The Honours Thesis and Defense attempts to assess not only the ability of the student to master technical skills and perform the mechanical work of data collection but also the extent to which the student has mastered the basic skills required of a good scientist.

Thus, all Honours students should be prepared to

  1. submit a well written thesis in the proper scientific format,
  2. present a well delivered research talk, and
  3. answer questions of both a general and specific nature pertaining to their research project.

Exceptions to the above requirements

  • BIOC 449 - Students registered in BIOC 449 must follow the procedure outlined by the Department of Biochemistry. In addition the student must invite their mentor and an IntSci Admin to the defense. A copy of the thesis must be emailed to: approximately 1 week prior to the defense.

Additional Honours Stream Requirements

In addition to the above requirements the honours stream also requires the following:

  • The completion of a 6-credit honours thesis (449 course number) in a subject related to one or more disciplines. The thesis course shall not be counted towards the Discipline requirements. (A Directed Studies, 448, is different from a 449 Honours Thesis and not sufficient to satisfy this Honours requirement.)
  • No courses may be failed.
  • The student must successfully complete 30 credits per Winter session from the start of their first year at UBC.10)
  • The student must have achieved an average grade per session of at least 68% before third year standing.
  • The student must maintain an average grade per session of at least 75% since third year standing.

If any of these requirements are not met the student will be dropped from the honours stream into the major stream.

Breadth Requirement

Each major program must include a broad range of experience in Science and Arts. Of the electives available in the program after the Lower-level requirements, Arts requirement, and program requirements have been met, at least 9 credits must be in Science courses unrelated to the disciplines or in additional Arts courses (or in a combination of Science and Arts courses). These credits may be Upper or Lower-level. Please refer to the Calendar table for definitions of the field of the major. Integrated Sciences (ISCI) core courses and courses in other faculties (Commerce, Land & Food Systems, Human Kinetics, etc.) do not count as breadth electives for Integrated Sciences students.

Honours programs are exempt from the Breadth requirement.


UBC allows students to take a limited number of elective courses which are normally graded on a percentage basis, for either "credit" (a grade of 55% or higher), "D" (at least 50 but less than 55%), or "Fail" (less than 50%). When a student chooses this option the instructor will not know.

For Integrated Sciences students, courses that fulfill the Lower-level Requirements (communication, computational sciences, physical sciences, biology, and laboratory sciences) and requirements of their specialization (ISCI + Discipline courses) are not electives in this regard.

Courses not used to fulfill the previous requirements and taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis may be used to satisfy in part the Science, Arts, Breadth, or Upper-Level Requirements. Note that "specialization(s)" includes all specializations a student might qualify for including minors and second majors.

Students are cautioned when choosing courses to take for credit/D/fail to ensure that they are truly elective and are not or will not become a requirement for their degree, specialization(s), professional accreditation, or future professional program. For example, students contemplating a future application to medical, dental, and other professional programs should check those programs' websites for advice.

Changes to approved IntSci programs

During students' tenure in the Integrated Sciences Program, changes to their program may be necessary for various reasons, e.g. because students can't get into some of the courses in their program, or because some courses are not offered anymore, or because students' interests change.

Changes are possible, but they have to be discussed with and approved by the mentor. In case a student makes substantial changes to their IntSci curriculum as a consequence of a change of interest, the mentor may require the student to justify the suggested changes by rewriting the essays.

Contract Deadline

IMPORTANT: ALL CHANGES TO INTSCI PROGRAMS MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF THE LAST TERM OF A STUDENT'S INTSCI PROGRAM. If changes are made after that time, or without the approval of the mentor, students may fail to be approved for graduation.

Be aware that the degree proposal may take months of revisions and review. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the degree proposal is approved before the start of the last term of study. Degree Proposals not submitted or still under review at this time will be rejected. Therefore it is recommended that Degree Proposals be submitted (for the first time) at least 4 months before the deadline.


1) Replaces 30 credits required by Faculty of Science.

2) Replaces 42 credits required by Faculty of Science.

3) Applies to programs integrating exclusively within the life sciences.

4) , 5) , 6) , 7) 6 fewer credits may be allowed for exceptionally strong programs.

8) , 9) Currently the list contains only Life Sciences and Computational Sciences courses because we have seen weak curricula in these areas. We anticipate adding courses in other areas as need arises. In any case, you will only ever be restricted by the list that was in place when your program was approved.

10) In their last Winter Session honours students may attempt fewer than 30 credits if all academic degree requirements are completed during this last session. See the Academic Calendar.