Student Directed Seminars

Course Description

IntSci students can propose to create and lead a course currently not offered at UBC. To apply students must find a faculty sponsor for their proposed seminar, develop a course outline and submit it as well as an application to UBC's SDS Advisory Committee for approval.

The Student Directed Seminars (SDS) program is a student-driven experience that allows undergraduate students to create, organize and lead their own course. The SDS program provides upper-year undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in an enriched educational experience by initiating, coordinating, and leading small, collaborative, group learning experiences for their peers on a topic of their choosing. SDS courses are particularly relevant to IntSci students who have their own unique programs. A course, for example, could be designed around the theme of an IntSci student's integration.

Applications open in late 2020 for 2020/2021 course offerings. Please visit the SDS Application website for more details. Please also feel free to contact the IntSci main office with questions relating to SDS courses.

Current ISCI 490 course offerings

ISCI 490-201 Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health

Although we know what we eat plays an important role in insulin resistance, research also suggests when we eat is just as important. This is the basic premise of intermittent fasting (IF), and there is a growing body of scientific evidence of its therapeutic potential. However, IF is often dismissed as a mere “fad”, and there are currently no courses at UBC that examine this exciting area of research. 
This course will explore intermittent fasting’s rationale in improving insulin sensitivity and its therapeutic role in various health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and more. The course is designed for upper-level students with an interest in nutrition, physiology, and medicine. To apply, please send a statement of interest and academic background to **Disclaimer: this course is not designed to promote/give any specific medical advice. 
Tentative class-schedule: Tues/Thursday: 4-5:30. Term 2 2020W

ISCI 490-202  Making Smart Choices Post-COVID-19: Implications for Future Careers in Science and Medicine

Since the enforcement of widespread emergency response measures to control its outbreak in Spring 2020, COVID-19 has had an undeniably massive impact on society, and thus is an extremely, topical focus of study. The main goal of this course is to educate students on the systematic impact of scientific literature and its importance for making informed decisions within the context of COVID-19. 

This course will be an outlet for students to practice science communication with weekly presentations, explore the scientific basis behind infamous COVID-19 phenomena along with the mastery of these concepts, which are becoming a favoured commodity in various aspects of science and medical careers such as academic research, coursework, future job and graduate school interviews and/or current occupational work. 

A statement of interest is required, please send an email to to register in the course Tuesday 2-5. Term 2 2020W


Past ISCI 490 course offerings

  • Placental Origins of Human Health and Disease (Coordinator; Elizabeth Wong, Faculty Sponsor: Wendy Robinson)
  • Human Bio-Psycho-Social Development (Coordinator: Saman Fouladirad Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Catherine Ann Cameron)
  • Biological Embedding: How Epigenetics, Neurodevelopment + Sociocultural Context Intersect to Shape Lifetime Health + Development (Coordinator: Sunny Chen Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Steven Barnes)
  • Modern Methods in Neuroscience (Coordinator: Jasmyne Kassam Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Jason Snyder)
  • Addiction: A Comprehensive View of Substance and Behavioural Dependency (Coordinators: Farah Kassam and Richard Rigby; Faculty Sponsor:  Dr. Michael Souza)
  • The Politicization of Science (Coordinator:Elizabeth Hendren, Faculty Sponsor:Dr. Sunita Chowrira)
  • Science and Civilization in Islam (Coordinators: Aalia Sachedina and Raheem Noormohammed, Faculty Sponsor:Dr. Shafik Dharamsi)
  • Globalization and the Environment (Coordinators: Ashley Good and Shelby Tay, Faculty Sponsor: Dr. George Spiegelman)
  • A Scientific and Experiential Exploration of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (Coordinator: Muneera Hussain, Faculty Sponsor:Dr. Lyren Chiu)
  • Community Ecology & Communicable Diseases (Coordinators: Rehana Nanjijuma and Shazia Karmali, Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Shafiq Dharamsi)
  • Medical Innovation and Healthcare Politics (Coordinator: Pouya Rezazadeh-Azar, Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Ian Scott)
  • An Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Marine Protected Areas (Coordinator: Becky Freedman, Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Lee Gass)

Registration Details

2020W T2