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.

RequirementMajor StreamHonours StreamComments
Integration2 or 3 disciplines 
ISCI Requirement7 credits7 ISCI credits +
6 credit honours thesis
Discipline Requirement33 credits42 creditsonly 300- and 400-level courses
400-Level Discipline (Depth)12 credits3)18 credits4)(within the 33/42 discipline credits 12/18 credits must be 400-level)
Upper-Level Science40 credits1)49 credits2) 
Fundamental Sciencesno more than 9 credits 

Faculty Requirement

Integrated Sciences students are responsible for ensuring they satisfy all Faculty/Bachelor of Science degree requirements. Students can confirm they are meeting faculty requirements by making an appointment with Science Advising

To graduate students must meet both Faculty requirements and Specialization requirements. 

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. The curriculum must not substantially replicate any existing degree program.

ISCI Requirement

At least 7 credits must be in ISCI core courses including the 1-credit ISCI 300 seminar course or ISCI 400. Directed Studies (ISCI 448), Student-directed Seminar (ISCI 490), and co-op courses (ISCI 398, 399, 498, 499) do 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, students are encouraged to take the first 3-credit ISCI core course in the student's first year upon admission to Integrated Sciences and progression to 3rd year class standing.

Registration in ISCI courses is based on class standing and registration time. If you are not able to obtain a spot in the ISCI course listed in your degree proposal you will need to select a different ISCI course.

In addition to the above requirements, students in Honours must complete a 6-credit Honours thesis. The thesis is conducted in the department of the research supervisor. In most cases the course code would be BIOL 449. Students should ensure they have pre-requisites to honours thesis courses. 

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.

Please be aware of courses described as “not for credit in [Science or a particular program]”. If the discipline is focused on a similar topic as the course, the course may not be included in the discipline. Some examples include:

  • ASTR 310, 311,
  • BIOL 345, 346,
  • CHEM 430,
  • EOSC 310, 311, 312, 314, 315, 324, 326,
  • FRST 304,
  • KIN 300
  • MATH 335, 336, 337, and
  • PHYS 340, 341, 343.

400-Level Discipline (Depth) Requirement

major stream program must include at least 12 credits of discipline courses numbered 400 or above5). These 400-level credits should be Science credit courses. If no 400-level Science courses are available that fit your timetable and are related to your integration, non-Science 400-level courses can be used.

An honours stream program must include at least 18 credits of discipline courses numbered 400 or above6).

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

Credit Exclusion List

Before submitting your degree proposal please check that the courses you are planning to take are not on the credit exclusion list
A common mistake is to include PSYC 367 and BIOL 372. Students will only get credit for one of these courses.

Including Non-Science courses within a discipline

The discipline requirement should contain at least 27 Science credits (students may include up to 9 honorary Science credits in this total). Under special circumstances, Integrated Sciences may allow a student to count non-Science credits towards their discipline credits. For example, several courses satisfy the Integrated Sciences' Science requirement beyond those accepted by the Faculty of Science (Honorary Science Courses). The curriculum must satisfy both Integrated Sciences 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.
  • Integrated Sciences students have lower priority access to restricted courses in other faculties. Contingency plans may be required.
  • Science students cannot earn credit for more than 24 credits of courses outside of Science or Arts (the limit increased from 18 to 24 in 2020W).

In addition to being outside of the Faculty of Science, SPPH, EPSE, CNPS 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 Arts: In addition to PSYC 348 and 448, all undergraduate psychology courses numbered 60-89 in the last two digits have science credit; All GEOS courses.

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

Faculty of Medicine: all CAPS, all BIOC, PCTH; MEDG 410-421.

Including ISCI courses within a discipline

The interdisciplinary nature of ISCI courses makes it challenging to classify them within a single discipline. ISCI courses should be used to meet the ISCI core requirement and not the discipline requirement. Students must have an exceptionally strong rationale for including an ISCI course within a discipline.

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 Recommendation

It is recommended that programs integrating exclusively within the life sciences include BIOL 200 and one of BIOL 201BIOC 202, or BIOC 203

Integrated Sciences' 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). Partial honorary science credit for courses is not permitted (for example, If a student has included 4, 3-credit honorary science courses that student will only be able to count 9 credits of honorary science):

  • FNH 313 Food Microbiology
  • HGSE 355-359, Haida Gwaii Semester in Natural Resource Studies
  • KIN 313 Neuromuscular Integration of Human Movement (previously KIN 389)
  • KIN 316 Biomechanical Properties of Tissues
  • KIN 335 Advanced Applications of Exercise Physiology (previously KIN 375)
  • KIN 411 Neuroanatomy of Human Movement (previously KIN 473)
  • KIN 424 Medical Aspects of Sport and Exercise
  • KIN 435 Pulmonary Physiology of Exercise (previously KIN 475)
  • KIN 438 Skeletal Muscle Physiology: From Generation to Regeneration (previously KIN 462)
  • KIN 459 Psychobiology of Physical Activity
  • KIN 482 Advanced Seminar in Neuromechanics 
  • PATH 375 Introduction to Pathology
  • PATH 417 Human Bacterial Infections
  • PATH 437 Viral Infections in Humans (PATH 437 is currently not available to Integrated Sciences students)
  • PSYC 301 Brain Dysfunction and Recovery
  • PSYC 304 Brain and Behaviour
  • RADS 301 Exploring Imaging in the Twenty-First Century

Many upper level KIN courses have restricted enrolment. We will try our best to register Integrated Sciences 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 Integrated Sciences 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 24 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

No more than 9 credits from the fundamental sciences courses listed below may be included in a student's degree proposal. The intent of this restriction is 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.

The following courses are Fundamental sciences courses:

  • BIOC 302
  • BIOL 334
  • CAPS 301, 390, 391
  • MICB 302
  • BIOL 300
  • CPSC 301
  • ECON 325
  • EPSE 482, 483
  • GEOG 374
  • POLI 380
  • PSYC 366
  • SOCI 328

You may take as many of these courses as you like, but only 9 credits from this list will count towards your discipline requirements. If you include more than 9 the additional courses should be listed under the “other courses” category).

Honours Thesis and Defense

Integrated Sciences 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 Integrated Sciences Office (LSK 466). 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 Integrated Sciences advisor and an Integrated Sciences 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 Integrated Sciences 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 Integrated Sciences Admin to the defense. A copy of the thesis must be emailed to: approximately 1 week prior to the defense.

Honours Thesis Courses

Potential honours thesis courses to conduct research under are: BIOC 449, BIOL 449 (pre-requisite BIOL 447, BIOL 347 recommended), CPSC 449 (pre-requisite CPSC 347), ENVR 449 (pre-requisite ENVR 300), EOSC 449.

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. In most cases Integrated Sciences conduct their thesis through BIOL 447, 449.  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.9)
  • 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.


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, 40-credits of upper-level science) 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 requirements. Please consult Science Advising for more details. 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 Integrated Sciences 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 Integrated Sciences 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 INTEGRATED SCIENCES PROGRAMS MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF THE LAST TERM OF A STUDENT'S INTEGRATED SCIENCES 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), 4) , 5) ,6) 6 fewer credits may be allowed for exceptionally strong programs.

9) 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.

Musqueam First Nation land acknowledegement

UBC Science acknowledges that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

Learn more: Musqueam First Nation

Integrated Sciences

Leonard S. Klinck Building
464-6356 Agricultural Road V6T 1Z2

Faculty of Science

Office of the Dean, Earth Sciences Building
2178–2207 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada
V6T 1Z4
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