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Forensic Science

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia and the Forensics Science and Technology department at the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) offer a four-year joint degree program that integrates academic study at both institutions. Enrolment is limited. Entry into the specialization is at the second-year level and requires completion of the first-year prerequisites listed below with at least the minimum admission average set by the UBC Faculty of Science for transfer into second year Honours specializations.

Students normally apply for this specialization through the UBC science online second year specialization selection process. Students transferring from other specializations, year levels, or other institutions should see a UBC biochemistry advisor. Applicants should also be aware that most careers in Forensic Science require criminal background checks.

The first year of the specialization is completed at UBC. Transfer students who have completed their first year at another institution may also apply to the program. All subsequent years will be taken at both UBC and BCIT, requiring students to commute between the two campuses (scheduling will reflect travel time). Students must meet the Faculty of Science requirement to continue in this Honours specialization (see Honours Specialization requirements). Students will need to maintain a winter sessional average of 70% or higher to remain in the specialization.

Completion of the requirements for the entire four- year specialization earns a Bachelor of Science (Combined Honours) in Biochemistry and Forensic Science. The credential is awarded jointly by UBC and BCIT. Students who fail to maintain the Faculty of Science requirements for continuing in honours specializations, or who elect not to complete the joint program, but who wish to enrol in a different specialization within the Faculty of Science must apply to receive transfer credit for completed BCIT credits to have the BCIT credits counted towards a new specialization.

Co-operative (Co-op) Education Option

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department offers an optional Co-op Education Option for the Biochemistry and Forensic Science Honours Program. The program is open to interested and qualified students and is intended to provide additional practical and technical biochemical and molecular biological, and forensic science experience in academic, public, and industrial research laboratories or law enforcement agencies. This is normally achieved through a period of 12 to 15 months of approved work placement under the supervision of practising professionals. Acceptance into the Co-op Option is based upon academic standing and general suitability to perform in a technical research environment.

In order to graduate with the Co-op option students must complete a minimum of three work terms (a work term being a minimum of 14 weeks) in an academic research, public, or industrial laboratory or law enforcement agency (either at UBC or at an off-campus site). Placements are arranged by mutual agreement of the student, employer, and faculty advisor through the Office of Co-operative Education. Students participating in the Co-op Option must register for off-site placements by using FSCT 398, 399, 498 and, where appropriate, 499, and pay the co-op education program fee for each course. After completion of the work terms, students return to the University for completion of the normal fourth-year academic requirements.

This option requires five years and is not a requirement for admission to the graduate program in biochemistry and molecular biology. Enrolment in the Co-op Education Option is limited; continuation in the option is contingent on the availability of suitable work placements. For more information contact the Co-operative Education Program.

Combined Honours (3508): Biochemistry and Forensic Science


First Year
Communications Requirement1 6
BIOL 1212 3
BIOL 180 (or 140)2 2
CHEM 121 (or 111 or 141)3 4
CHEM 1234 4
MATH 100 or 102 or 1045 3
MATH 101 or 103 or 1056 3
PHYS 100-level7 3
Electives8 6
Total Credits 34
Second Year at UBC campus
BIOC 2039 3
BIOL 200 3
BIOL 23410 3
CHEM 20311 4
CHEM 213, 245 4
CHEM 21112 4
STAT 200 3
Total Credits 24
Second Year at BCIT campus
FSCT 280, 290 9
Total Credits 9
Third Year at UBC campus13
BIOC 303 6
BIOC 30113 3
BIOL 335 3
Electives8 3
Total Credits 15
Third year at BCIT campus
FSCT 380, 390 18
Total Credits 18
Fourth Year at UBC campus
BIOC 402, 410 6
One of BIOC 403, 440, 450, 460, 470 3
BIOC research option14 6
BIOL 336 3
Electives8 3
Total Credits 21
Fourth Year at BCIT campus
FSCT 480, 490 11
Total Credits 11
Total 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 Communication Requirement.
2 Students without one of Biology 11 or Biology 12 must take BIOL 111 before taking BIOL 121 or BIOL 180.
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. CHEM 110 and 115 may substitute for CHEM 111. CHEM 120 and CHEM 115 may substitute for CHEM 121.
4 CHEM 130 and CHEM 135 may substitute for CHEM 123.  
5 MATH 180 or 184 or 120 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives in a later year by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for any of the specified differential calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives in a later year by 3 credits.
6 MATH 121 may substitute for any of the specified integral calculus courses listed by decreasing the electives in a later year by 1 credit.
7 Students require 3 credits of 100-level physics beyond PHYS 100. Students lacking Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 before taking any other 100-level PHYS course, using PHYS 100 as an elective. Students are encouraged to complete this specialization requirement in their first year.

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.

Any extra elective credit taken in the first, second, or third years can be applied to later elective credit requirements. See Faculty of Science Honours requirements.

For this specialization, BCIT’s COMM 7200 and LIBS 7002 count as arts electives.  Please see FSCT 280 and 290.

9 Students with a mark of 76% or higher in BIOL 201 or BIOC 202 may apply for admission to the Biochemistry specialization and will be allowed to use these courses in place of BIOC 203. However, BIOC 203 is the preferred route into biochemistry specializations.
10 Students with a mark of 70% or higher in BIOL 233 may use BIOL 233 in place of BIOL 234.
11 CHEM 223 and 225 may substitute for CHEM 203. Students with CHEM 235 and a score of 76% or higher in CHEM 233 may apply for admission to this specialization and will be allowed to use CHEM 233 and 235 in place of CHEM 203.
12 CHEM 210 and 215 may substitute for CHEM 211.  
13 All students in the Biochemistry Combined Honours specialization are required to register for the laboratory course BIOC 301 in the third year of their specialization. Space is limited in this laboratory course. Students who cannot take BIOC 301 in their third year must switch to another specialization. They are not eligible to continue with a biochemistry specialization.
14 Students may choose from either a) BIOC 449 or b) BIOC420 and ONE of BIOC 403, 440, 450, 460, or 470. Please note that BIOC 403, 440, 450, 460, or 470 cannot be double counted. If a student uses one of these courses to complete their specialization requirements, they cannot use the same course to fulfill their biochemistry research option.


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