Cellular and Physiological Sciences

The Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences offers opportunities for study leading to doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degrees. For information on advanced degrees, see graduate Cell and Developmental Biology. For further information on other courses within the Department, see the Faculty of Medicine.

Completion of first year specialization requirements and the second year organic chemistry requirement are prerequisites to all CAPS courses.

Admission to the Honours Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences B.Sc. Specialization

Students may apply to enter the specialization at the end of first year through the common application which is administered by the Office of the Dean of Science. If admitted for second year, students must follow the program of study and meet the academic standards below.

Students must apply in person to the Department for admission into the specialization no later than March 31 prior to the third year in their B.Sc. program. Application forms are available on the Cellular and Physiological Sciences website.

The academic standards for Year 2 CAPS students to continue to Year 3 are:

(1) complete all required first and second year courses;
(2) achieve a cumulative 80% average;
(3) a minimum grade of 80% in the required biology and chemistry courses;
(4) a minimum of 70% in Communications courses; and,
(5) complete at least 33 credits in winter session of second year.

Other students who have met these requirements may also apply for entry in third year.

Students should note that required courses must be taken in the year in which they appear in the program (e.g., BIOC 301 and 302 will be taken in the third year of a student's program, MICB 202 in the second year, etc.).

Permission of the Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences is required to alter the progression throughout the specialization.

Students wishing to undertake directed studies at the undergraduate (CAPS 448) level must seek departmental approval prior to registration.

Cooperative Education Option

The Department offers a five-year Co-operative Education Option for undergraduate students in the Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences specialization. In addition to the traditional laboratory-based university instruction, the students will receive 12 or 16 months of work placement (i.e., three or four work terms) supervised by scientists in industrial, academic or governmental positions. Work placements typically start in May or September after the completion of third year and continue to the beginning of fourth year. Selection of students will be based on academic performance and general suitability to the work environment as determined by resume and interview. The total enrolment will be subject to the availability of appropriate work placements. The work placements are arranged by mutual agreement between students and employing organizations. Students in the Cooperative Education Option register in CAPS 398, 399, 498 and pay the Cooperative Education Option fee per course and Co-op Workshop fees. See Cooperative Education Fees.

Graduation in the Cooperative Education Option requires a student to complete CAPS 398, 399, and 498 in addition to the normal academic requirements. CAPS 499 is optional for students who wish to have four work placements.

Detailed information on the option can be obtained from the Cooperative Education Program.

Honours Specialization

Honours (3221): Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences (CAPS)


First Year
Communication Requirement1 6
BIOL 1122, 1212 6
BIOL 180 (or 140)2 2
CHEM 1213 (or 111 or 141) 4
CHEM 123 4
MATH 100 or 102 or 1044 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1055 3
PHYS 100-level6 6
Total Credits 34
Second Year
BIOL 200, 201 (or BIOC 202) 6
BIOL 300 (or STAT 200) 3
CHEM 205 3
CHEM 211 4
CHEM 2337, 235 4
MICB 202 3
Electives8 12
Total Credits 35
Third Year
BIOC 301, 302 6
CAPS 301 6
CAPS 303 3
CAPS 390 3
Electives8 15
Total Credits 33
Fourth Year
CAPS 421 3
CAPS 422, 423, 424, 426 12
CAPS 4319,10 3
CAPS 4499 6
Electives8,10 6
Total Credits 30
Credits for Degree 132
1 A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. For a full list of acceptable courses see the Communication Requirement.
2 Students without one of Biology 11 or Biology 12 must take BIOL 111 before taking BIOL 112, 121 or 180. Students without Chemistry 12 must take CHEM 100 or CHEM 111 before taking BIOL 112.
3 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100.
4 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may be substituted for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 3 credits.
5 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives by 1 credit.
6 Students require 6 credits of 100-level physics beyond PHYS 100. Students lacking Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before any other PHYS courses. Students with Physics 12 should complete their first year requirement with PHYS 108 or 118.
7 CHEM 203 is accepted as a substitute for CHEM 233.  
8 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.
Note that any extra elective credit taken in the first, second or third years can be applied to later elective credit requirements.
9 Students will normally be required to take CAPS 449 and one of CAPS 430 or CAPS 431 in the same Winter Session.
10 Students may take CAPS 430 (6) in lieu of CAPS 431 (3). Students taking CAPS 430 (6) are only required to take 3 credits of electives in 4th year.  

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