The Bachelor of International Economics (BIE) is the Vancouver School of Economics’ flagship program, transforming some of the world’s best undergraduate students into the next generation of global economic leaders.

BIE is a distinct four-year, cohort-based degree program that admits students directly from high school. Students graduate with a deep understanding of the global economy’s workings and vital technical training and practical skills that will allow them to enter careers in business, government, and academia.


BIE Advantages

  • Focus on international trade, finance, and development, environmental economics, data sciences and economics in general
  • A curriculum that combines economic theories & business skills
  • Direct-entry from high school into year one of a four-year economics degree program
  • Cohort-based program with small class sizes (app. 100 students per year accepted)
  • The global & diverse community the program fosters — half of the BIE cohort are international students, who hail from more than 35 countries
  • Opportunities for internships, exchange programs, research mentorships, academic, track, and co-op placements
  • Dedicated Academic Advising Services
  • Personal and professional development services, unlike any offered in other Canadian economic programs — among them are a BIE-internal advising office and a dedicated Career Centre, which connects students with leading companies, governmental institutions, and non-profit organizations worldwide
  • Networking events with top employers and distinguished alumni
  • Dedicated classrooms, computer lab, and student lounge space

BIE Outcomes

Our graduating students have exceptional outcomes in the labour market or in academia. They work as truly global players in the private, public, and non-profit sector, and enter some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the world.

Cohort Model

The cohort model is central to the BIE learning experience. As a cohort member, you will develop a supportive peer-based learning community through collaborative work on class projects and social interactions. Plus, you will graduate with a strong international professional network already established.

The BIE curriculum is structured to combine a group of required courses taught in a standardized timetable solely to each cohort, with the possibility of a wide range of electives to individualize your BIE program. Classes are taught using a range of different content delivery methods, primarily delivered on campus.

 BIE cohort required coursesOther BIE required coursesRecommended elective credits
Term 1Term 2Term 1Term 2
Year 1ECON 101, WRDS 150, MATH 100ECON 102, COEC 293, MATH 10112 credit electives
Year 2ECON 315, ECON 327, ECON 317ECON 316, ECON 309, ECON 328, ECON 2559 credit electives
Year 3COEC 371, ECON 370Business fundamentals: three courses from COEC 294, 365, 370, 377, 387, 437, 491, 497, 498

Advanced economics: three courses from ECON 441, 442, 455, 456, COEC 475

One ECON or COEC course at 400-level or approved equivalent (ECON 323)
27 credit electives
Year 4ECON 493ECON 494

Summer courses are NOT acceptable for the BIE Advanced Economics Requirement. BIE students must take all Advanced Economics course options during the Winter Session in the section restricted to BIE students.


Program Requirements

BIE cohort-specific required courses

  • ECON 101 - Principles of Microeconomics
  • ECON 102 - Principles of Macroeconomic
  • COEC 293 - Financial Accounting
  • WRDS 150A - Arts Studies in Writing
  • MATH 100 or equivalent - Differential Calculus
  • MATH 101 or equivalent - Integral Calculus

Recommended elective credits

  • 12 elective credits

BIE cohort-specific required courses

  • ECON 315 - Intermediate Microeconomics I
  • ECON 316 - Intermediate Microeconomics II
  • ECON 309 - Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • ECON 327 - Introduction to Empirical Economics
  • ECON 328 - Methods of Empirical Research in Economics
  • ECON 255 - Understanding Globalization
  • ECON 317 - Poverty and Inequality

Recommended elective credits

  • 9 elective credits
  • COEC 371 - Investment Theory
  • ECON 370 - Benefit-Cost Analysis and Economics of Project Evaluation

  • ECON 493 - Quantitative Methods for Economics
  • ECON 494 - Seminar in Applied International Economics (Four topic areas to complete independent empirical research project are: Trade, Finance, Development and Environment.)
    • Prerequisite is required for each area:
      • Trade: ECON455
      • Finance: One of COEC370, COEC387
      • Development: One of ECON441, ECON442
      • Environment: One of COEC475, ECON471, ECON472

*Students must complete the required prerequisite prior to taking ECON494 in the relevant area.

Three Courses from Business Fundamentals

  • COEC 294 - Managerial Accounting
  • COEC 365 - Market Research
  • COEC 370 - Corporate Finance
  • COEC 377 - International Financial Markets and Institutions
  • COEC 387 - Entrepreneurial Finance
  • COEC 437 - Database Technology
  • COEC 491 - Strategic Management
  • COEC 497 - New Enterprise Development
  • COEC 498 - International Business Management

Three courses from Advanced Economics

  • ECON 441 - Process of Economic Development
  • ECON 442 - Issues in Economic Development
  • ECON 455 - International Trade
  • ECON 456 - International Macroeconomics and Finance
  • COEC 475 - The Economics and Policy of the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources

*Summer courses are not acceptable for the BIE Advanced Economics Requirement. BIE students must take all Advanced Economics course options during the Winter Session in the section restricted to BIE students.

One additional Advanced ECON or COEC

  • Any ECON or COEC course at 400-level or approved equivalent (ECON 323)

Recommended elective credits

  • 27 elective credits

  1. AP, A-Level or IB Economics cannot be substituted for ECON 101 and 102 in the BIE program.
  2. BIE students are allowed a maximum of 27 credits of COEC courses towards completing their BIE degree but cannot take any other credits in the Sauder School of Business.
  3. Only students in the BIE+MM program are allowed to use the COMM courses required by the MM curriculum as BIE electives. The maximum of 27 credits of business (COEC and COMM) courses applies to B+MM students. If a student drops out of the B+MM program, they are no longer allowed to use the required B+MM courses (i.e. COMM120, 220, 321, and 420) as electives.
  4. A small number of students are selected to complete the Academic Track. Admission to the Academic Track is by application only.

**Starting 2017W Session, BIE Program is no longer participating in the B+MM dual degree program. BIE students will have a commerce background comparable to that offered by business undergraduate programs.

Year one

  • Overall average of at least 60%
  • Core average of at least 65% (STT courses)
  • A passing grade in all core required MATH and ECON courses.

Year two

  • Overall average of at least 60%
  • Core average of at least 65% (STT courses)

Year three and four

  • Overall average of at least 60%

Students may not earn credit for two courses with significant and pre-defined content overlap. Students are fully responsible for their registration and are advised to check the course schedule for course equivalencies and review the science credit exclusion lists to avoid unnecessary registration.

Note that credit exclusion does not imply that courses are interchangeable, and meeting specialization requirements may necessitate completing a specific course. Students registering in courses dealing with probability and statistics should exercise particular caution.

Examples of BIE course exclusions

  • STAT 200, 203, BIOL 300, COMM 291, ECON 325, 327, EPSE 482, 483, FRST 231, GEOG 374, KIN 371, POLI 380, PSYC 218, 278, 366, SOCI 328
  • STAT 306, ECON 326, 328
  • STAT 241, 251, ECON 325, 327, PSYC 366, COMM 290
  • COMM377, COEC 377 and ECON456
  • COEC475, COMM487 and ECON371

Individual Learning Plans

The individual learning plan is your guide to your educational experience, enabling you to develop a theme or focus area for your studies.

For example, you may wish to take electives focusing on a particular geographical region or pursue a minor in a non-economics discipline; developing an individual learning plan will help you outline and take the necessary actions to achieve those goals.

Students may take elective courses for the Bachelor of International Economics from the Faculty of Arts or other faculties at UBC (except for commerce courses).

You are encouraged but not required to take 6 credits of additional upper-level economics courses as electives to gain a more profound knowledge of a particular area of economics.

If you are a new BIE student, you can contact the BIE academic advisor during your first term of study for assistance to start developing your individual learning plan.

BIE Research Internship

Top performing BIE students will have an opportunity to work with UBC research faculty members and gain hands-on experiences in conducting academic research. Many students go on to be hired as paid research assistants after completing the unpaid research internship.

  • Match top Year 3 students to research faculty.
  • Applications are invited after students complete Year 2.
  • 40 hours of unpaid work and at least 5 hours of mentorship from the professor.
  • Students will now have taken intermediate micro and macro, statistics, econometrics in Year 2, and will have a working knowledge of Stata.

Academic Track

This stream aims to allow students who would like to pursue graduate studies in economics to tailor their undergraduate curriculum to be more competitive in the graduate school application process.

First Requirement:

Students in the regular track are required to take three courses among Business Fundamentals. In the Academic Track, this requirement is substituted by:

  • ECON 306 - Honours Microeconomics
  • ECON 307 - Honours Macroeconomics
  • ECON 425 - Introduction to Econometrics

If ECON 425 is not offered in any given year, the program director shall designate an equivalent course to satisfy the academic track requirement.

Second Requirement:

Students in the BIE academic track are required to complete two courses among MATH 200, MATH 220, and MATH 221 (you shall determine the specific choice of courses in consultation with your program director and the academic advisor).

Third Requirement (same as in the regular track):

Students in the academic track are still required to take COEC 371 and three courses from the Advanced Economics requirement.

  • Students that have completed the second year of the BIE program are eligible to apply to the BIE academic track.
  • Admission to the Academic Track is by application only and subject to minimum academic performance standards and capacity constraints. It is expected that Academic Track enrollees will be among the top students in their cohort. Enrollment in the Academic Track will be limited to a maximum of five students per cohort.

  • What happens if I do not complete the academic track requirements?

If you do not complete the academic track requirements after having been admitted, you will need to meet the regular BIE program requirements to graduate.

  • Will my participation in the academic track be reflected in my transcript?

There will be no specific Academic Track designation on your transcript. Your transcript will reflect any courses you take.

  • Do I need to enroll in the academic track to pursue graduate studies in economics?

No. If you do not enroll in the academic track, you may still apply to graduate programs, just as BIE students have done until now. You will continue to receive the full support of the program's faculty and staff towards this end.