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First Year Program Options

The Faculty of Arts offers three enrolment options for students entering the first year of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program at UBC:

  1. Arts One: An 18-credit, integrated, team-taught program focused on a general theme of concern within the humanities, social sciences, and the creative and performing arts. Themes vary by year. Further details follow below.
  2. Coordinated Arts Program (CAP): An 18-credit coordinated academic program focusing on core topics in the humanities, social sciences, and the creative and performing arts. Streams vary by year. Further details follow below.
  3. Custom Timetable: Individually selected courses chosen by students to meet the degree requirements while also permitting broad exploration of Arts disciplines.

Arts One

Arts One is an 18-credit interdisciplinary, team-taught cohort program, taken across both terms of the Winter Session. This program engages students in academic discussion through the analysis of classic and critical texts from within the literature of the humanities and social sciences. Students take up these discussions in a series of essays, writing 12 essays over the two semesters.

Arts One is organized in two streams, each consisting of a maximum of 100 students along with five faculty members from various Faculty of Arts departments, who undertake readings that engage a high-level theme (past themes include such topics as “Explorations and Encounters,” “The Human Condition,” and “The Monster in the Mirror”). The theme is approached through the study of major works in their historical context, and delivered through weekly lectures; twice-weekly seminars of 20 students; and weekly tutorials, with a ratio of one faculty member for every four students, that focus on student writing and peer review.

Arts One’s intimate learning environment supports students in a stimulating and rigorous introduction to university and critical thought, and offers peer as well as academic engagement, support and community. The sense of membership in a community of learners is further enhanced through use of dedicated space in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Arts One satisfies the Writing Component while also providing 100-level credit in English, History, and Philosophy. In addition to Arts One, students may take up to 12 more credits.

Students who enrol in Arts One are expected to remain in the program for the complete session, but may drop it without penalty during the period officially allowed for course changes in September. Students considering this option are strongly encouraged to speak with an Academic Advisor. Arts One may not be taken as Credit/D/Fail.

For detailed information, visit Arts One, or contact the Arts One Office, 604.822.3430.

Coordinated Arts Program (CAP)

CAP is an 18-credit cohort program that offers first-year students an introduction to core disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and creative and performing arts. In groups of no more than 125, students study together in one of five multidisciplinary streams that group linked-but-separate courses connected by a broad research topic. Stream options are announced annually, and have included “Global Citizens,” “Law and Society,” and “Media Studies.”

Working with concepts and issues in conversation across their courses, students learn to think with breadth and flexibility about complex questions and ideas. Instructors in each stream work to ensure that learning material, course assignments, and examinations are coordinated to support student learning, and collaborate throughout the year on one or more team-taught activity. At the end of the year, students can showcase their research at the CAP Student Conference, an event for students, faculty, and the university community.

Students in all streams take either ASTU 100 or ASTU 101, Arts Studies seminars of no more than 25 that introduce them to academic writing and research. ASTU 100, offered in four of the five stream options, also introduces the study of literature. The small setting is ideal to help students develop the academic writing and research skills they will need as members of the university community. ASTU 100 and 101 instructors introduce students to the UBC Library system and train them how to do effective research for assignments and projects.

CAP’s learning community model—small groups of students who take the same courses—helps students transition from high school to university, and offers peer as well as academic engagement, support and community. Students have access to the dedicated Gateway study space. The program works closely with Arts Academic Advising to help students succeed in first year and beyond.

Students receive academic credit and individual grades for the courses comprising their CAP stream. All ASTU 100 and 101 courses fulfill the Writing Component of the Writing and Research Requirement. In addition to their CAP courses, students may take up to 12 more credits.

Participation in the Coordinated Arts Program is a full Winter Session commitment as the program extends across both terms, for a total of 18 credits. Students wishing to drop CAP may do so without penalty during the period officially allowed for course changes at the beginning of September. See Registration. They may not drop individual CAP courses, however. With the exception of ASTU 100 and 101, CAP courses may be taken as Credit/D/Fail; however, because of the strict limits on how courses completed for Credit/D/Fail grading may be applied to the degree, students considering this option are strongly encouraged to speak with an Academic Advisor. See Credit Requirements and Regulations.

For detailed information, visit CAP, or contact the CAP Office, 604.822.0217.

Custom Timetable

First Year Arts students may choose to design their own program of study. A custom timetable allows maximum flexibility for the exploration and pairing of disciplines, as well as the selection of scheduled meeting times. Students have the opportunity to experience a variety of classroom settings and sizes, ranging from 25 students in an intimate interactive environment to 300 or more students in a lecture hall, and to learn from a wide variety of professors and alongside undergraduates from other Faculties and year levels. Students creating a custom timetable are encouraged to explore the breadth of disciplines taught in the Faculty of Arts, and to pursue studies that align with their interests.

Students who customize their own timetable must include a course in their program of study that introduces them to academic research and writing. Both WRDS 150 and ENGL 100 meet this requirement and satisfy the 3-credit Writing Component of the Writing and Research Requirement. First Year students may enrol in part-time or full-time study, up to a maximum of 32 credits in their first year of studies in Arts. A full course load usually consists of 10 courses, with 5 taken each term, all of which are individually selected by the student. Most, if not all, courses should be taken at the 100-level. See Registration.

A Custom Timetable may result in an overlap of coursework due dates, and final exams being scheduled back-to-back, as there is no coordination of assignments or exams provided by professors as they would be in the Arts One Program or the Coordinated Arts Program. Grades and credit are awarded on a course-by-course basis. Students are permitted to drop or withdraw from individual courses according to course change regulations.

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