First year classes for UBC Life Science majors

First year schedule at top,

Click “Continue Reading” for asnwers to Frequently asked questions about First year course scheduling below

You should choose your first year classes based on what majors you’re interested in. You only have to take certain classes if you’re interested in a particular major, e.g. two semesters of physics if you’re interested in the Physiology (CAPS) major. That said, most first years in the Faculty of Science have roughly the same schedule to meet the Lower Level requirements set by the Faculty of science.  I knew I was interested in a life science major such as Pharmacology, Microbiology, Biology, Physiology etc so I choose my first year classes so that I fulfilled the course requirements to apply for these majors. If you’re interested in more about choosing a major particularly a life science major, I intend to write a post on Choosing a Major in the future.

Click on the name of the course to read tips to do well in that specific course

First Year First term:

First Year Second Term


Frequently asked questions:

Should I take BIOL 112 or BIOL 121 first?

BIOL 112 in my personal opinion. Absolutely BIOL 112 if you’re claiming AP Bio credit and want to take a second year biology class term 2. If you’re not claiming bio credit, it doesn’t matter but I personally think the content of biol 112 (cell biology, metabolism etc) is a good foundation to build on for further studies in biology.

Should I take ENG 112 or ENG 110 first?

ENG 112.  ENG 112 taught me how to write academic papers which I wasn’t familiar with before. I used what I learned in ENG 112 to write papers in ENG 110. I think it might have been difficult to dive right into writing papers with Eng 110 without prior training from Eng 112.

Should I claim my AP Bio credit?

Yes, I’m very glad I did because I loved taking second year class a lot. Taking upper level classes during first year also was helped me gauge which major I’m interested in.

What classes should I take instead of BIOL 121? 

MICB 202 and BIOL 260 were biology related and I was able to understand them as a first year. Other courses that other people enjoyed are first year year astronomy, first year psychology and first year sociology.

Should I take my AP Chem credit?

No, there was content in CHEM 121 that I did not learn in AP CHEM. A couple friends and I who took AP CHEM did very well in CHEM 121 so not claiming credit can get you a great grade.

Should I take PHYS 117 or 101?

PHYS 117.   The Undergraduate Physics Advisor said that PHYS 117 allows you to apply for the Honours Biophysics major (more options is always good) and he believes that PHYS 117 content is more relevant to the MCAT. I personally enjoyed the content of PHYS 117 a lot (see post on PHYS 117). What is especially important is that many students in PHYS 117 were excited and interested in physics which it really fun to be in class! I did attend a PHYS 101 lecture when I was deciding which physics course to choose.

Which Math should I take: 100/101, 102/103, 104/105?

102/103. I strongly suggest taking two in the same series rather than one from each because your second semester calculus builds on what you learned in first semester. 102/103 uses examples relating to life sciences such as cell growth and population size which is connects math to your other classes.


Best of luck with first year!


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