Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ's

Economics offers a rigorous framework to explore important questions about the world: What makes countries develop and improve their standard of living? Can technical progress increase income inequality? Why do countries trade with each other? Why are oceans over-fished? What policies would promote ecological prudence? Why did the Asian crisis occur? How can we understand Chinese development over the last two decades?

Yes. A curriculum in economics is designed to help you to think about broad questions of social importance and not to teach you special skills such as accounting and marketing.

A B.A. degree in Economics gives you useful skills such as problem-solving ability, effective writing, basic empirical skills, and knowledge of Canadian and international economic institutions. A background in economics is a good stepping stone for careers in management, law, civil service, journalism and finance. However, a B.A. in Economics is not a professional degree. An M.A. degree qualifies you to work as an economist in the private or public sector.

The Vancouver School of Economics at UBC is ranked in the top 20 worldwide with expertise in a wide variety of fields such as industrial organization, labour, economic measurement, economic history, macro-economics, public policy, international trade and finance, resource economics, development, health economics and transitional economics. The Vancouver School of Economics has many high profile researchers and they bring up-to-date knowledge to the classroom. Faculty members are also actively engaged in public debates that help shape economic policy at the provincial and national level.

Application

Admission to the Honours/Majors/Combined Majors program in Economics is not automatic. To be admitted students must submit a formal application online. Because there are a limited number of places some students who satisfy the minimum prerequisites may not be admitted.

The application will be available on the Vancouver School of Economics website March 15 and the deadline is May 20.

An online application for admission to the Honours/Majors/Combined Majors program should be submitted by May 20, prior to registering for the final 60 credits, to ensure that the student will be considered for admission. Click here to go to the application form.

There is no fee to apply to any of the Economics Undergraduate Programs.

Official transcripts of the student's record from all post-secondary educational institutions attended, other than UBC, must be submitted to be considered for admission.

No, resumes and reference letters are not required.

The honours, majors and combined majors code can only be entered by the Vancouver School of Economics if you are accepted into the programs. The minor code can be entered by you (Faculty of Arts Students only) on the Student Services Centre as long as you have a major. The Minor code for Economics is: 3006.

You can come to the Vancouver School of Economics Office located in the Iona Building (6000 Iona Drive) call the undergraduate program at (604) 822-4931 or send an email to: Tina.Marandola@ubc.ca and the specialization code will be re-entered.

Majors Program

  • Registration in a Majors Program in Economics is restricted and subject to quota. Candidates for admission are required to submit online an application. See the application form online for majors programs. Not all candidates will be accepted.
  • Prerequisites: A minimum of 54 credits towards the BA degree at UBC. These credits must include
    (i) 6 credits of Principles of Economics (equivalent to UBC Econ 101 and Econ 102);
    (ii) 6 credits of University-level Calculus (equivalent to UBC Math 104 and Math 105);
    (iii) 3 credits that satisfy the Writing component of the Faculty of Arts Writing and Research Requirement (ASTU 150, WRDS 150, CAP, Arts One, English 100 or an approved equivalent);
    (iv) 6 credits of second-year or third year Economics (courses in this category are not acceptable unless they require Principles of Economics as a prerequisite);
    Courses required under (i)-(iv) cannot be taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis.
  • Applicants missing any of these course requirements at the time of application (May 20) must make them up before August 31. Please see below for further information on provisional admission.
  • Applicants must have completed all requirements of the Faculty of Arts for First and Second Year (see the current UBC Calendar, 'Faculty of Arts' section, B.A. Degree Faculty Requirements.).
  • No application will be considered from a student who has 75 or more credits towards a BA degree unless that student is enrolled in a major (other than Economics) on the Student Services Center.

To be admitted students must submit a formal application online. The requirements for application/admission include the following:

  1. The student must be registered at UBC.
  2. The student must be registered in the Faculty of Arts.
  3. The student must have completed at least 54 credits of coursework that counts towards a BA degree.
  4. The student must have completed:
    (i) 6 credits of Principles of Economics (equivalent to UBC Econ 101 and Econ 102);
    (ii) 6 credits of University-level Calculus (equivalent to UBC Math 104 and Math 105);
    (iii) 3 credits that satisfy the Writing component of the Faculty of Arts Writing and Research Requirement (ASTU 150, WRDS 150, CAP, Arts One, English 100 or an approved equivalent);
    (iv) 6 credits of second-year or third year Economics (courses in this category are not acceptable unless they require Principles of Economics as a prerequisite);Courses required under (i)-(iv) cannot be taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis.

Because there are a limited number of places about 35% or more of students who satisfy the requirements are not admitted each year.

Timing is very important. The online application is due by May 20. It must be submitted on time. We do not reserve places for late applicants. If you do not have all the requirements listed above by May 20, but you expect to have completed them all by August 31, then apply on May 20, and include on your online form a statement of what requirements you are missing and how you plan to make them up. If you show a clear plan to complete the missing requirement(s) by August 31 then your application will be considered on a provisional basis. It is your responsibility to inform us when you have completed missing requirements.

For example, most College transfer students will not have been accepted to UBC by May 20. If you have applied to come to UBC in Winter 2017/2018 then apply to Economics by May 20, and tell us on the application form that you are waiting to hear about UBC admission. We will then deal with your application on a provisional basis, until you inform us that you have been admitted to UBC. Likewise if you do not have the required courses you must make them up in Summer, either in College or at UBC.

Many College transfers study Commerce (in the Sauder Business School) courses and then try to switch to Economics when they are denied admission to UBC Sauder Business School. Be aware that we do not accept COMM courses for any purpose in Economics. They do not count as Econ Principles or as Econ second-year and third-year courses for application purposes. If you wish to study Economics in UBC then prepare yourself by studying Econ and Math courses, rather than COMM courses, in College. In particular, courses that transfer to UBC as Math 1st are not acceptable as satisfying the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC Math 104 and UBC Math 105 requirements.

Your application must be accompanied by official transcripts covering all post-secondary courses taken other than UBC, must be submitted to be considered for admission.
If you are not accepted to Economics on first application then you will likely not be accepted ever. Please move on to another major immediately. Many more students are intent on majoring in Economics than the Vancouver School of Economics can possibly accommodate. Our programs are heavily oversubscribed and, unfortunately, each year we are forced to turn away about 35% or more of all applicants because we do not have sufficient spaces to accommodate all demand. If you are not in the top 250 applicants in one year, it is highly unlikely that you would be in the top 250 in any other year, when there is a whole new panel of applicants to be considered.

Please see the other question/answers in this FAQ file for further information on these topics.

Yes, the Vancouver School of Economics will use IB, AP and A-Levels transfer-credit courses granted by UBCV admissions in the GPA computation for the Economic Combined Majors/Majors/Honours Application.

Registration in the Majors Program in Economics is restricted and subject to quota. All students who apply are ranked by GPA (and admission requirements) and students are admitted by the highest GPA until the quota is filled. The GPA for the last student admitted varies widely from year to year. The only thing we can predict with a high degree of accuracy is if your GPA average is B+ or above you are guaranteed admission. If your GPA average is in the range of B- to B+ range we cannot predict whether or not you will be admitted until all applications are submitted and reviewed. If your GPA average is C+ or below you should plan on majoring in another field and consult your Faculty Advising Office (i.e. Faculty of Arts Advising 604-822-4028).

Yes you do! Economics requires UBC Math 104 and UBC Math 105 (or equivalents) as prerequisites for the Economics application process and as course prerequisites (i.e. Econ 301, 302, 325, 326, 490 etc.).

Equivalents to Math 104 are: Math 100, 102, 110, 111, 120, 180, 184, SCIE 001
Equivalents to Math 105 are: Math 101, 103, 121, SCIE 001

An application will be accepted, under certain conditions, from a student who has not met all requirements, providing that the student indicates on their application online that there is a firm plan for these missing requirements to be met by August 31. It is the student's responsibility to inform the Vancouver School of Economics, in writing and by the deadline, that the missing requirements have been completed -- the School will not seek this information independently. If otherwise eligible, such students will be admitted provisionally.

If the course was failed the course is not counted in any way. If the course was passed (CR or D) then the course credits count towards the total needed to apply to Economics (a minimum of 54 credits is required). However, Credit/D/Fail credits cannot be included in the grade-average calculation for the student, and for that reason they cannot count towards the minimum 48 credits that must be included in the grade-average calculation. This may present an issue for some students with a particular academic record. For example, a student with 54 credits, nine of which are Credit/D/Fail, cannot apply to Economics, since, even though they have a total of 54 credits, they have only 45 credits (54-9) on which to calculate their grade-average. They need a minimum of 48. This student would need to take another 3 credits of non-Credit/D/Fail coursework to ensure that they had at least 48 credits that could be included in the grade-average calculation.

We regret to inform you that no applications can be accepted from students who wish to graduate within the next academic year (May/November 2018). All Economics programs are two-year programs. Enrollment in Economics Majors/Combined Majors programs is limited by the Vancouver School of Economics’ capacity to offer the required final year research-seminar course Econ 490. All spaces in Econ 490 for Winter 2017/2018 Term 1: Sept-Dec 2017 and Term 2: Jan-Apr 2018 have already been allocated to students who applied to our two-year programs, on schedule, in May 2016. There is no possibility for students who apply to Economics Programs in May 2017 to take Econ 490 before Winter 2018/2019 even if they have completed all the prerequisites. This is not negotiable -- all places in Econ 490 have already been allocated. Students who wish to graduate from UBC in May/November 2018 must do so with a Major other than Economics.

In principle you may apply more than once, as long as you satisfy all the requirements for application. A student who applies to the Economic Majors or a Combined Economics program and who has 75 or more credits on their academic record requires, in addition to the standard prerequisites, that the student have a Major Specialization (other than Economics) declared on the Student Services Center. It is a Faculty of Arts requirement that every student have a declared major at the beginning of Third year. No application to Economics will even be considered from a student who has 75 or more credits and who does not satisfy this requirement.

While it is possible to apply more than once, however, please think very carefully about pursuing this possibility. Many more students are intent on majoring in Economics than the Vancouver School of Economics can possibly accommodate. Every year we are forced to turn down applicants because we do not have sufficient spaces to accommodate all demand. If you are not in the top 250 in one year, it is highly unlikely that you would be in the top 250 in any other year, when there is a whole new panel of applicants to be considered. In addition, no applications are being accepted to Fourth-year -- that is, from applicants wishing to graduate within 12 months of application. All spaces in the graduating course - Econ 490 - were already allocated to students in the previous year, in which you applied and were unsuccessful. All applicants must wait 18 months before taking this course, whether or not they have the prerequisites; this is because all spaces in this course have already been allocated two years in advance.

Each year a number of third-year students (some who have applied and not been accepted, others who have chosen not to apply) make the unfortunate mistake of overloading on Economics courses and then applying with the hope that they will be accepted since Economics is the only major they have prepared for (or that they are interested in, or that they are sincere about, etc.). This hope, and its associated poor choice of study plan, will lead only to disappointment. The UBC Senate requires that every applicant to Economics be admitted or not admitted based on a single selection criterion which depends on their GPA rank and on the availability of spaces in the program. This criterion is applied equally to all applicants -- zero weight or favour is given to applications based on the number of Economics courses they have completed. Further, to reward this kind of behaviour would be grossly unfair to the many students who have submitted applications and who have accepted the results. The Vancouver School of Economics insists on keeping faith with the many who have submitted to the standard process.

In short, if you apply to Economics and are turned down, your first concern and priority must be to select an alternative major with which to graduate. This prepares you for graduation in time with your cohort. Graduation on time with a BA is the most important objective; choice of major is very much secondary to this and please remember that no application to the Economic Major or a Combined Economics program will be accepted from a student who has 75 or more credits on their academic record, and who does not have a Major Specialization (other than Economics) declared on the Student Services Center.

All applicants to the combined majors programs and to the majors program will be ranked according to their average calculated in the following manner. In the case of applicants who have successfully completed 60 or more credits, the average is based on all post-secondary courses attempted (including any failing grades), except for 12 credits of work in which grades were lowest; and in the case of applicants who have completed fewer than 60 credits of work, the average is based on the grades obtained in the best 48 credits of work completed. The average in both cases must include all passing and failing grades pertaining to (i) 6 credits of Principles of Economics (equivalent to UBC Econ 101 and Econ 102); (ii) 6 credits of University-level Calculus (equivalent to UBC Math 104 and Math 105); (iii) 3 credits that satisfy the Writing component of the Faculty of Arts Writing and Research Requirement (ASTU 150, WRDS 150, CAP, Arts One, English 100 or an approved equivalent); (iv) 6 credits of second-year or third year Economics (courses in this category are not acceptable unless they require Principles of Economics as a prerequisite); Courses required under (i)-(iv) cannot be taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis.

Yes. You must see an economics advisor and submit your request in writing. Since students in all of our major programs were originally selected into a single pool at the time of admissions (based on GPA and other admission requirements) they have all satisfied the same admission criteria. It is up to the student then to decide which is their preferred major.

Yes, students wishing to pursue a Major in Economics and another subject will take at least 42 credits and no more than 48 credits in Economics, and at least 42 and no more than 48 credits in their other discipline. (Students pursuing a double major in Economics and International Relations should note that some Economics courses can count towards both majors. They must check with the Faculty of Arts Advising office to make sure they satisfy these ceiling restrictions.) At least 30 credits in each discipline/field of specialization must be in courses numbered 300 or above. (See the current UBC Calendar, 'Faculty of Arts' section 'B.A. Degree Program Requirements').

Students who are unable to major in Economics or in one of the combined majors of which it forms a part may, of course, retain a secondary focus on Economics in their 300- and 400-level coursework by adding the declarable Minor in Economics to a major in another subject in which they also have a strong interest; and most are well served by this alternative.

For the few for whom this option is not attractive, however, either because they have no strong interest in any other specific subject or because they need to preserve Economics as the principal focus of their studies, the Arts Faculty’s individually planned Interdisciplinary Studies Programme - usually shortened to IDST - might be of some interest.

The structure of IDST allows students to create a broadly based specialization of their own, involving coursework in two out of four categories of learning: the Social Sciences, the Humanities, the Physical and Life Sciences, and the Creating and Performing Arts. Such a specialization comprises 42 upper-level credits’ worth of courses, 30 in one category, 12 in another; and typically it will include courses in four or five different subjects.

At its core, however there will always be six thematically-related courses in a single subject (called the primary discipline), chosen from within the larger category in light of each student’s particular interests. In an ideal IDST programme, moreover, the other courses in the larger category, and sometimes even those in the smaller category as well, will look at those same individual interests, but from the point of view and with the goals and methods characteristic of other academic disciplines. And the result can be a 42-credit package in which almost every component is focused, directly or indirectly, on the primary discipline.

No interdisciplinary programme, of course, can include as many courses actually coded ECON  or cross-listed with such courses as does the Major, and a specific rule, enforced by a block on Degree Navigator, prevents IDST students from earning more than 18 countable credits from upper-level courses in the subject chosen as their primary discipline.  Nor can it provide as extensive or as thorough a training in Economics.   But it is not impossible - in fact, not even very difficult - for IDST students who choose Economics as their primary discipline and who make a careful selection of supporting courses related to their individual interests in it to retain Economics as the primary influence on their undergraduate education, even though it is not their major. And this is especially true because the School of Economics, alone in the Faculty of Arts, regularly offers a research-intensive course in Economics designed - and reserved - for IDST students.

Although IDST has no content of its own - its students find all fourteen of their courses among the offerings of other programmes and departments - it does have a fixed structure, as well as a few quite strict rules, so any student considering it should look carefully at its web site before deciding whether or not to apply.

 

http://www.interdisciplinary.arts.ubc.ca

It is essential for students to plan their program of studies over their final two years to ensure that they complete (i) all requirements for their Major program; and (ii) all Faculty of Arts/Faculty of Science/Faculty of Applied Science requirements for graduation. The student may consult with a school advisor in formulating their program of studies if they have any difficulty. The student must independently seek verification from the Faculty of Arts Advising Services Office/Faculty of Science Advising Office/Faculty of Applied Science Advising Office as to whether their program satisfies Faculty requirements for graduation.

Combined Majors Program

Admission to the program is subject to the same admission restrictions and application process that pertain currently to the Major in Economics. Specific requirements may be different for students in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science.

Admission to the program is subject to the same admission restrictions and application process that pertain currently to the Majors in Economics, and is also subject to admission procedures in Political Science. Students completing the Foundations program will be exempted from the requirement of POLI 100.

Admission to the program is subject to the same admission restrictions and application process that pertain currently to the Major in Economics and may also be subject to admission procedures in Philosophy. In addition to Faculty requirements, the program has Economics and Philosophy requirements.

Admission to the program is subject to the same admission restrictions and application process that pertain currently to the Major in Economics. Specific requirements may be different for students in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science.

Absolutely not. From the list of applicants to Economics in any one year the Vancouver School of Economics selects a single pool of students based on GPA and admission requirements. Once the overall pool has been selected students are then allocated to the program of their choice, whether it is the straight Economic Major or a Combined Major Program. In other words, students selected to any Economics Program in a given year have all satisfied exactly the same admission criteria.

A double major is two majors one in each subject. This requires approximately 42 credits in each of the fields of specialization, for a total credit requirement of 84. A combined major in two fields is a single major that requires core material from each of the fields. It requires approximately 30 credits in each core for a total of 60 credits for the combined major.

It is essential for students to plan their program of studies over their final two years to ensure that they complete (i) all requirements for their Combined Major program; and (ii) all Faculty of Arts/Faculty of Science requirements for graduation. Students may also be required to obtain approval from the other associated Departments. The student must independently seek verification from the Faculty of Arts Advising Office/Faculty of Science as to whether her/his program satisfies Faculty requirements for graduation.

Courses

If Econ 325, Econ 326 or Econ 490 are full, and you are a Combined Major/Major/Honours student in Economics come to the Vancouver School of Economics Office located in Iona Building (6000 Iona Drive) to speak to the undergraduate program assistant, call (604) 822-4931 or send an email to: Tina.Marandola@ubc.ca

Students must have the specified prerequisite for the course in which they wish to enroll. The school does not allow students to be registered in courses for which they do not have the required prerequisite(s) as outlined in the current UBC calendar. Please consult the UBC current calendar for prerequisite listings.

No. IB Econ 1st 6.0 credits is not equivalent to UBCV Econ 101 and Econ 102 and cannot be used to satisfy prerequisites for economic courses.

Students in the Faculty of Arts who wish to interrupt their U.B.C. studies and take courses in other institutions for credit towards a U.B.C. degree must obtain, in advance, a Letter of Permission from the Faculty of Arts Advising, located in Buchanan D110.

This information can be obtained from the Summer Session Calendar: go to UBC Academic Calendar

Economics 490 is not offered during Summer Session.

No. Econ 326 and Econ 490 can never be taken concurrently, for any reason. Also Econ 325 must be taken before Econ 326, so students must take the three-term sequence Econ 325-Econ326-Econ490 into account in all their course planning.

STAT 200 can substitute for ECON 325 (Please note: that Econ 325 is a better preparation for Econ 326.). If STAT 200 is selected an additional ECON elective at the 3xx or 4xx level is required to ensure that the total number of ECON credits is at least 42. Please see the Vancouver School of Economics Undergraduate website for further information on Economic Major Requirements.

You can apply to the Vancouver School of Economics Undergraduate Coordinator to be exempted from Econ 325 if you have passed any of these courses. However, these courses do not count as ECON credits towards any Economics program requirements.

Please consult the current UBC calendar under the Credit Exclusion Lists – Probability and Statistics (Faculty of Science) for information.

Comm 291 may be used to satisfy the prerequisite for Econ 326, with the permission of the Vancouver School of Economics. However, note that Comm 291 does not substitute for Econ 325 for the Economics Major Requirement.

While you cannot obtain credit for both, Econ 301 (Econ 201) is still a requirement for the Economics Major Program. If you have obtained a letter grade of B or above in Comm 295 please consult the Vancouver School of Economics Undergraduate Coordinator to discuss options.

Go Global (Exchange) Program

Yes, UBC provides opportunities for undergraduate students with other universities. Please consult the Go Global Office and the current UBC calendar (under Alternative Study Options) for further information. However, if you are an Economics Majors student you must have your program of study approved by the Economics Undergraduate Advisor. You must ensure that your academic plans take into account the need to schedule courses prerequisites in a way that allows you to graduate in a timely manner. In particular, no student is permitted to take Econ 490 before they have completed the prerequisites for this course (Econ 301, Econ 302, Econ 325, Econ 326, Fourth-year standing). Econ 326 and Econ 490 can never be taken concurrently, for any reason. Also Econ 325 must be taken before Econ 326, so Economics students must take the three-term sequence Econ 325-Econ326-Econ490 into account in all their Exchange arrangements. It is essential for Economics students on Exchange to have full School advice on their academic programs to make sure the requirements of the Vancouver School of Economics are taken fully into account. Please call 604-822-2876 to book an Undergraduate Program Advising Appointment.

See the current UBC Calendar under “Alternative Study Options”- Go Global.

Graduation

4th Year students registered in their last degree required courses must apply for graduation through the Student Service Centre. Students who are not registered in the Winter Session must contact Enrolment Services for assistance with their graduation applications.

More graduation information can be found on-line at http://www.students.ubc.ca/

Please call the Vancouver School of Economics (604) 822-2876 to book an advising appointment to see if the economic program requirements for graduation have been satisfied.

The Faculty of Arts has a ruling that to graduate with a Major, a student must include in the 120 credits required for the degree at least 42 credits but no more than 60 credits in one subject (discipline) or field of specialization. You may take more than 60 Economic credits but they won’t be used in the 120 total credits required to graduate.

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