Take your first step towards a career in Economics, apply for admission to the different major programs at the end of your second year. Admission to the economics major, combined majors, or honours programs is by application only.
The VSE’s admission to the economics major is a competitive process, which takes into consideration both a student’s academic performance and the types of courses they have taken. Per the UBC Calendar, “selection for admission is based on a weighted average calculated on the grades from all credits of post-secondary coursework attempted, with the exception of [up to] 12 credits that may be excluded from the calculation.”
In particular, our process heavily weights courses in economics and related fields, while placing a lower weight on courses in other areas. We strongly encourage students who are considering economics as their major to select courses which will have a higher weight in their application. Admission is also contingent on meeting the following minimum standards for application.
An important note for first year students: Economics has recently added ECON 325 to the required courses list. Students interested in applying for economics after their second year should ensure they complete calculus (e.g. MATH 100 and 101) prior to their second year, as they are pre-requisites for ECON 325 (or equivalent). Students who take MATH 100/101 in their second year will need to take ECON 325 during summer and will only be eligible to apply for provisional admission status.
In order to be considered for admission, you must have completed at least 54 credits of course work; including the following required courses:
- 6 credits of Principles of Economics (ECON 101 and 102 or approved substitute);
- 6 credits of university-level calculus (MATH 100 and 101 or approved substitute);
- 3 credits which satisfy the Writing Component of the Bachelor of Arts Writing and Research Requirement (such as WRDS 150, ENGL 100, Arts One, ASTU 150, or an approved substitute)
- 3 credits of Introductory Econometrics (ECON 325 or approved substitute; see note below)
- 3 credits of second or third year level courses in Economics which require Principles of Economics as a pre-requisite.
If you meet these requirements, we will consider your application for admission by computing your weighted GPA (wGPA). We rank students according to their weighted GPA, and offer admission to the top students based on the number of seats available in our program – this usually means we admit the top 280 to 300 applicants.
If you meet most of these requirements, and are planning to complete the remainder prior to term 1 of next year, you may be eligible for provisional admission; see below for more information.
A Note about Cr/D/F Grading: courses taken on a Cr/D/F basis count towards the total number of credits required for admission to the major, but cannot meet specific application requirements (such as ECON 101 or MATH 100). Since these credits are not given a specific grade, they are not counted in the wGPA calculation (outlined below). In the unlikely event this leaves you without any credits in the non-priority areas, we will place 100% of the wGPA weight on the priority and required areas instead.
The one exception to this rule is that credit obtained during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019W2 (Spring) on a Cr/D/F basis can be used towards all application and degree requirements.
In our calculation, we prioritize courses which are in economics and related fields; we call these priority areas. All other fields are considered non-priority areas. For 2023, our priority areas are:
- Economics (ECON)
- Political Science (POLI)
- Philosophy (PHIL)
- Mathematics (MATH)
- Statistics (STAT)
- Data Science (DSCI)
- Computer Science (CPSC)
We drop your lowest 6 credits from the priority areas (but not including required courses), conditional on meeting the minimum credit requirements and required courses totals, then we compute your wGPA based on a weight of 80% on the priority and required areas, and 20% on the non-priority areas. Courses are weighted relative to a standard 3 credit course; for example, a course which is worth 6 credits counts twice as much, while a 1 credit course is only valued at a third.
- This calculation includes transfer credit, IP, AP, and A-levels provided they are reflected on your UBC transcript as appropriate credit. See our support page for more information.
We periodically re-evaluate the required, priority, and non-priority lists and their weighting, in order to ensure that they are current and reflect the VSE’s priorities for attracting a diverse and academically strong cohort of majors students. Any changes will be posted on this page at least one year in advance of any changes.
For both privacy and practical reasons, we do not provide specific wGPA cut-offs in any given year; since admission is based on a ranking process, it depends strongly on the cohort of students applying and the composition of the priority/required lists in a given year – making comparisons difficult.
Admission to a combined majors program is based on meeting admission standards for both of the combined programs. This means you must meet the requirements for the economics major, in addition to:
- Economics and Political Science: the admission requirements for the Political Science Major
- Economics and Mathematics: the admission requirements for the Mathematics Major
- Economics and Philosophy: check department website for other requirements
- Economics and Statistics: check department website for other requirements
If you apply for a combined major, you are automatically also considered for the regular economics major as well; if your application for a combined major is denied, you may still be offered admission to the regular major instead.
The honours program is highly competitive, accepting roughly 10-15 students per year. You can find information on the application process on the Honours Admission Page.
If you apply for honours you are also automatically considered for the regular economics major as well, and may be offered admission even if you are not selected for the honours program in economics.
While students normally apply to the economics major in their second year of study, you may also apply to join the economics major after your third year. However, there are several important points that you must keep in mind when considering this:
- If you are applying to an economics major with 75 credits or more, you must have already declared another major before applying.
- You must complete all of the core pre-requisites (ECON 301/302/325/326) for ECON 490 before you can enroll in this course, which is not offered during the summer.
- Applicants to the economics major after their third year cannot graduate in the year of admission: all economics majors programs take at least 2 years (two summers) to complete.
- You cannot be admitted to the final 30 credits of any economics major program.
If you do not meet the required courses requirement, or have less than 54 credits, you may apply for provisional admission as long as you have a plan to complete the outstanding requirement(s) by August 31 of the year of application – for instance, by taking courses during the summer session. Provisional applications are evaluated using the same weighted GPA process as regular admissions – there is no advantage or disadvantage to applying provisionally.
If you are granted provisional admission you will be informed of the required courses or credits outstanding, and after completing them your GPA must remain above the cutoff to be granted full admission. It is your sole responsibility to meet these conditions by the deadline – there are no exceptions or waivers considered, and failure to meet the stated conditions will result in the offer being revoked.
The VSE recognizes a number of non-economics courses as substitutable for certain requirements including admission, graduation, and credit. It is very important to pay attention to which requirements these courses fulfill, as they are not usually exact replacements.
- For example, STAT 200 is substitutable for the graduation and admission requirement of ECON 325, but not the credit requirement; specifically, neither your total economics or upper-level requirements for graduation. You will need to take an additional 300 or 400-level economics course instead to completely replace ECON 325.
We strongly recommend students to take the economics version of a course instead of a substitute if possible. You can find out more information on our approved substitutes page.