Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Major

The Sustainable Agriculture and Environment major focuses on the application of soil, plant and agro-ecological sciences to enhance the sustainable production of food, and other agricultural products, while simultaneously conserving land and enhancing ecological services. Students can tailor their learning experiences to specific interests in agricultural production, integrated agro-ecosystem management, plant science, or soil science. A core resource of the program is the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at the UBC Farm where students gain hands-on experience within a diverse managed landscape.

Degree Requirements


First Year
LFS 100 1
LFS 150 or WRDS 1501 3
BIOL 112 & 121 6
BIOL 180 2
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 4
CHEM 123 4
MATH 100 or equivalent3 3
PHYS 131, 101, 106, 107 or 1174 3
Restricted electives5 3
Unrestricted elective 3
Total Credits 32
Second Year
LFS 250 6
LFS 252 (or FRST 231 or BIOL 300 or STAT 200) 3
APBI 200 3
APBI 210 4
APBI 244 3
APBI 260 6
BIOL 200 3
Restricted electives5 3
Total Credits 31
Third Year
LFS 350 3
APBI 314 3
APBI 327 or APBI 328 3 or 4
APBI 351 3
APBI 360 3
ECON 3106 3
Restricted electives5 9
Unrestricted elective 3
Total Credits 30 or 31
Fourth Year
APBI 402 3
APBI 460 or LFS 450 3
Restricted electives5 18
Unrestricted elective 6
Total Credits 30
Overall four-year total7,8 123 or 124
1 Or equivalent course to fulfill Communication Requirement.  
2 Note CHEM 111 is not for students with Chemistry 12.  
3 MATH 102 can also fulfill first year Math requirement. Students who have not completed Calculus 12 must take MATH 180 or 184 to fulfill their first year Math requirement.  
4 Students without credit for Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before taking other 100-level PHYS courses.  
5 To be selected from Restricted Electives list in consultation with a program advisor.  
6 Credit will be given for only one of ECON 310, LFS 101, or ECON 101.  
7 A minimum of 45 credits of the 123 or 124 credits required for the Major must be for courses numbered 300 or higher.  
8 Students may present more than the required total credits depending on electives selected.  

Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Honours Option

The Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Honours option is intended for exceptional students with an interest in research. Students interested in careers in research–intensive areas or future graduate studies will benefit from this opportunity.


This option will only accept students with both a strong academic record during their first and second years of study, and an interest in research. A minimum cumulative average of 75% is required for admission to the Honours option.


The applicant must write a letter explaining why they wish to enrol, their career goals, and any past or current research experience they may have. The applicant’s request and Letter of Intent must be submitted to LFS Student Services by March 31 of their second year of study.

Successful applications admitted into the Honours Option must complete a minimum of 132 credits rather than the 123 credits required to graduate with a Sustainable Agriculture and Environment major. Of these 132 credits, 48 must be chosen from the Sustainable Agriculture and Environment restricted electives list in consultation with a program advisor. Students must complete their degree within a maximum of 5 calendar years. During the third and fourth years, Honours students must not fail any attempted courses, must complete a minimum of 30 credits per Academic year (May 1 – Apr 30), and maintain a minimum of 70% in every 300 and 400 level course completed. Students who do not meet these requirements will move to the Sustainable Agriculture and Environment Major, and will no longer be eligible to stay in the Honours option. Any student experiencing extenuating circumstances and unable to fulfill the credit load requirements for this program may be permitted to continue in the Honours program with permission from the Program Director, Applied Biology.

Required courses:

  • APBI 398 (3 credits) – Research Methods in Applied Biology
  • APB 499 (6 credits) – Thesis

APBI 499 Thesis Course

During the third year of study, students must contact a prospective supervisor for the APBI 499 thesis course to discuss possible thesis topics. A thesis application/proposal form must be filled out by the student and approved by the prospective supervisor before the end of the fall semester of the year prior to the year in which the thesis is to be completed.

Completion of the 6-credit thesis course (APBI 499) will occur during the entire fourth year of study. Students will complete a research project and write up a thesis. At the end of the year, each student will present their work to other third and fourth year Honours students

Benefits of a Thesis

The APBI 499 thesis course gives students an opportunity to work closely with a supervisor or faculty member and work with material at an advanced level. This experience will give students an idea of what it is like to work at the graduate level, working on a single topic over many months. The thesis will also provide experience in academic writing and communications.

Benefits of the Honours Option

Graduates of the option will have:

1. demonstrated their ability to succeed in a challenging program of study, 2. gained exposure to a wide variety of topics in sustainable agriculture and environment, 3. in-depth experience in one or more areas of research, 4. worked closely with faculty members and other researchers, 5. gained skills in independent research and oral and written communication useful for a wide range of professional careers.


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