Degree Proposal Guidelines

Degree Proposal Deadlines for 2nd Year Students

July 31, 2024: All Integrated Sciences students must create a degree proposal account.

January 15, 2025: All Integrated Sciences students must have a mentor by this date. The mentor must sign on to your degree proposal to indicate that he or she is your mentor.

February 10, 2025: All Integrated Sciences students must have completed and submitted their Degree Proposal to their mentor for approval by this date.

March 14, 2025: All Degree Proposals must be approved by the faculty mentor and submitted to the IS office for final approval by this date.

To be promoted to third year your Degree Proposal must be approved.

Degree Proposal Overview

Once you've thought about your educational goals, the areas you would like to integrate, and the courses you might want to take, you will need to formulate your plan in a Degree Proposal. Your Degree Proposal will consist of two essays (a Vision Statement and a Curriculum Rationale) which will help you plan your specific course of study. You should use these essays to help finalize your course selection, and as a starting point for discussions with an advisor.

Vision Statement

Your Vision Statement should clarify the importance of integration in your education, identify two or three areas of study that you intend to integrate into a single program, and show why integration is required to achieve your major educational goals. Students should provide a detailed example to help demonstrate how the proposed program pulls together multiple areas of Science. Students should also include a paragraph justifying the uniqueness of their proposed specialization. 

In summary the following arguments should be included in the vision statement:

WHAT The student should be able to categorize their intended disciplines and explain what they entail. 

HOW The student should be able to show how something original and interesting can be explored by putting these disciplines together. Care should be made to discuss specific and concrete topics of interest to the student. The student's argument should demonstrate that the knowledge gained will be novel and valuable.

WHY It should be made clear how this integration will help prepare the student for their long term academic/career aspirations.

Why NOT Finally, the student should be able to defend their choice to build a custom curriculum rather than enroll in a standard program. Integrated Sciences is not intended to duplicate the offerings of other programs. The argument should consist of more than not wanting to take specific courses.

Curriculum Rationale

Your Curriculum Rationale should include short paragraphs discussing each course listed in the discipline requirement. Please explain what each course is about in your own words and how each course relates to the learning objectives presented in the Vision Statement.

Naturally, you can't develop your essays without thinking about the courses you want to take. But you also can't make your course selection without thinking about your vision for your education. So draft both your vision and your course selection simultaneously. 

Course List

Please ensure your course list meets specialization requirements. The total at the bottom of the page should be met. See below for an example.

Total ISCI credits7 / 7
Total Discipline credits33 / 33
Total Upper-level Sci credits (IntSci)40* / 40
Total Upper-level Sci credits (Faculty)39 / 30
Total Upper-level credits51 / 48

An example of the correct listing of credits for Science, Arts/Other, and Honorary Science:

(SPPH, EPSE, PATH, KIN courses are non science credit courses so should be listed as A/O)

Degree Proposal Process/Stages

Stage 1: Student submits degree proposal

Student submits degree proposal through the portal, indicating s/he agrees to the degree proposal contract. The Mentor receives an e-mail notification that the degree proposal has been submitted. More Information are some specific details on how to submit your proposal to your mentor.

More Information

Stage 2: Mentor review

After reading the degree proposal the Mentor may then submit it for review or return it to the student.

Stage 3a: Returned to student

If the proposal is returned to the student, the student can make revisions and resubmit it (stage 1).

Stage 3b: Submit for Review

A second Mentor is randomly chosen to review the degree proposal. The reviewer should carefully inspect the degree proposal and add comments. The reviewer's comments will be visible to faculty only; they will not be seen by the student. The reviewer then sends the degree proposal back to the Mentor.

Stage 4: Mentor reviews comments

The Mentor should consider the reviewer's comments and decide how to act on them. They may:

  • Add comments to address the comments and then sign-off the degree proposal (5);
  • Modify the contract to incorporate suggestions, and send it back to the student for confirmation (3a);
  • or Add notes instructing the student to make changes and send it back (3a).
Stage 5: Final Approval

After the Mentor signs off on the degree proposal the Integrated Sciences office reviews the degree proposal as well as the Mentor's and reviewer's comments. The following actions may be taken:

  • Approve the degree proposal without revision or with minor (commented) corrections. 
  • Add comments and send the degree proposal back to the student for revision (3a).

Selecting Courses

As an Integrated Sciences student you have the flexibility to choose your own upper-level courses. We have no set course lists for certain integrations. Your mentor and Integrated Sciences administration will help ensure that the courses you have chosen will meet the overall goals of your program. To help plan your course of study, please refer to our Curriculum Requirements for a complete list of requirements. Don’t hesitate to ask your mentor or an Integrated Sciences administrator if you have any questions.

Workday Student Registration

Students are responsible for ensuring registration in the courses specified in their degree proposal. 

Students may need to connect with department advisors for assistance in registering for courses.

Integrated Sciences advisors cannot register students in courses (other than ISCI courses).

Science departments are aware that Integrated Sciences students have required course in their curriculums and will do what they can to assist in registration.

If you are having trouble registering in a course due to a restriction that you feel you meet please contact the department offering the course . They will be able to help resolve the issue. If they are not able to help, please contact

Restricted Courses

When constructing your curriculum you should consider the possibility that you won't be able to get into all the courses you want.

Here are some courses that restrict enrolment. You should have a backup plan if you intend to take these courses:

  • BIOC 301, 421 restricted to Biochemistry students.
  • BIOC 303, 410 students may take these courses with permission of the course instructors and with the required pre-requisites.
  • BIOL 341 342 - take ISCI 448 (directed study) instead.
  • BIOL 351, 352, 363 - restricted to Biology students.
  • CHEM 203 - take CHEM 233, 235 instead.
  • CHEM 325 - take CHEM 315 instead (consult Chemistry enrolment coordinator for registration in CHEM 315).
  • CPSC 310, 313, 320 (consult with CS department whether space will be available).
  • ENVR 300 - limited enrolment.
  • EPSE 300/400 level courses - Integrated Sciences students will be able to register in restricted seats on July 11 2023.
  • FNH 451, 470, 475 - limited enrolment.
  • KIN courses*
  • MICB 322, 323 - restricted to Microbiology/Immunology students.
  • MICB 406, 407 - Restricted and not available to Integrated Sciences students. Degree proposals will not be approved with these courses included in the course list.
  • NSCI 200, 201
  • PATH 375, 427, 438, 467 - limited space. Consult instructor for possible admission. PATH 437 is not available to Integrated Sciences students.
  • PCTH 301, 303 - students should have >75% academic average in each year. Both courses require a minimum grade average in previous courses, and permission of the course director, Catherine Pang.  If you are interested in enrolling in PCTH 301 and/or PCTH 303, please email Dr. Pang at, or Dr. Horne at
  • PCTH 400 - Students scoring at least 75% in PCTH 301 and PCTH 303 may be permitted to take PCTH 400.
  • PSYC 260, 360, 370, 371 - consult instructor for possible admission or take PSYC 304 instead. (But be aware that PSYC 304 is not recognized as a science course by the Faculty of Science.) Please consult Science Credit exclusion list.
  • Various lab courses - lab courses have been particularly difficult for IS students to register in, as a substitution we recommend a Directed Studies course.

It may happen that you are unable to register for one of the courses in your contract. (For example, an upper-level Chemistry lab.) If this happens you should first check the list above for specific instructions. If the course is not listed above, contact the course instructor or the advisor for the department offering the course. Explain your situation and provide them with contact information for your Integrated Sciences mentor. You will need to justify why you should be admitted to the course.

If you still aren't admitted contact your Integrated Sciences mentor promptly. You may need to revise your contract and take another course.

*KIN courses

Many upper-level KIN courses have restricted enrolment. We cannot guarantee enrolment in any KIN course. A prioritized list for KIN registration is created during the first week of June and is sent to the School of Kinesiology. Students may not make changes regarding requests for KIN courses after this time. The Integrated Sciences office is likewise unable to provide updates on the status of student registration in KIN courses once the list has been sent to the School of Kinesiology.

Meeting some/all of the following requirements will improve the chances of getting into a KIN course:

  • Have an approved Integrated Sciences contract (degree proposal must be approved before June)
  • Have a competitive GPA in the Winter session prior to the KIN course request
  • The KIN course be approved as part of a student's discipline requirement
  • Students in their final year will receive priority

Students must have a backup plan for each KIN course included in the degree proposal.

A possible back-up for restricted courses

Consider creating your own student directed seminar (ISCI 490) on a Science topic of your choosing. ISCI 490 will not count towards specialization requirements, the course will count as upper-level science credit. Visit the Student Services website to learn more.

Creating Disciplines

After you have created your list of courses, organize them into two or three areas of science based on topic or theme. Don't restrict yourself by organizing courses by department. Be creative and come up with your own discipline titles! Look for groupings of courses that include 400-level courses in order to gain a deeper understanding of a few selected disciplines, rather than taking only a spectrum of 300-level credits.

Once you have created disciplines start prioritizing courses. Check the current timetable and try to make sure the courses you have selected are offered in the term you selected them, and that none conflict with one another (remember the timetable might change somewhat, although large changes are unlikely).

Finding a Faculty Mentor

Finding a faculty mentor can be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

  1. Here is a link to a list of some of the research on campus. If you find something related to your integration please consider contacting a faculty member associated with that lab. 
  2. Ask your peer mentor to introduce you to their faculty mentor either in person on zoom or in an e-mail introduction.
  3. There are a few faculty mentors listed on our website. There are currently about 90 additional faculty mentors who are not advertised on this site so we encourage you to try to look beyond this list.
  4. Consider contacting one of your current instructors.

The faculty mentor does not need to be from the faculty of science. We have had mentors from Land and Food Systems, Medicine, Arts, the School of Population and Public Health, and the school of Kinesiology.

If you are sending an e-mail to a prospective mentor say a bit about your proposed integration, why you chose that prospective mentor, and how you think they can help you. Show that you know a bit about their research area. Ask to set up a meeting either in person or on zoom. If they say no or they’re too busy, thank the faculty member and ask them if they can recommend someone else in that area.

If the faculty mentor has never mentored in Integrated Sciences before please direct them to the prospective faculty mentor page.

Meeting with an Integrated Sciences Faculty Mentor

Once you have a mentor, your mentor will comment on your essays and help you develop your curriculum by assisting you with questions such as selecting courses that suit your goals, organizing Directed Studies Projects (448s) or resolving issues with co-op, prerequisites, courses with science credits in other faculties, etc.

Your proposal will evolve through discussions that you have with your mentor.

Program Options

Specialization options: Majors or Honours
Additional options: Co-op, Exchange, Minor

Finalizing your degree proposal

Once you have drawn up your curriculum, re-examine your whole program. Does it still appeal to you? Check all pre-requisites. There is no single model for your program, because you are creating it. The discipline credits should contain courses that relate to each other, but they might be drawn from different departments. However, it should be clear why you chose them. The remaining courses might cluster around one separate but equally represented topic, or they might represent several topics. Have you used your essays as a planning tool? Your second essay should help you clarify why you want to take the courses you are proposing.

Once your mentor is satisfied with your essays and has agreed to your proposed curriculum you can submit your proposal to your mentor for approval. Once you have submitted your proposal, your mentor can sign off, which means that the proposal will be reviewed by another Integrated Sciences mentor. The reviewer comments will be sent to you and you may need to address the comments and resubmit your proposal to your mentor for approval. Your mentor will then forward your proposal for final approval to an Integrated Sciences administrator. The administration may accept your proposal, return it to you for revision, or reject it. If you are asked for changes, these should again be made in consultation with your mentor. Your mentor can then resubmit your proposal after you have made any necessary changes. Once your proposal is approved it is referred to as a program contract.

Course Registration

Students should register for courses during the registration period at the time allocated to them by the Faculty of Science. The Integrated Sciences office cannot help students gain entry into full or restricted courses who registered after this time.

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.

Procedure for Degree Proposal changes: E-mail your Faculty Mentor with the course changes and rationale. Please include a rationale for each course you are adding. The Faculty Mentor can then make the change directly to your Degree Proposal or e-mail to make the changes. If you don't receive a response from your Faculty Mentor please contact the Integrated Sciences office with your course change request.

Download the course change request form for a template to request Degree Proposal updates.

Course Change Request Form

Contract Deadline

IMPORTANT: ALL CHANGES TO INTEGRATED SCIENCES DEGREE PROPOSALS 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 process may take months of revisions and review. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the 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 are submitted (for the first time) at least 4 months before the deadline.


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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

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Faculty of Science

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