About me


My Background
List of courses




The purpose of the blog is to chronicle my life through my undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  If you have any questions about the Microbiology & Immunology program (MBIM), Science, or UBC in general, please do not hesitate to contact me (e-mail me or comment below).  You can also e-mail me if you seek advice/mentorship from a Science grad.

E-mail: idm04wordpress (at) gmail (dot) com
Skype: idm04wordpress



My Background and the Blog

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science from UBC in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology in May 2014.

I started blogging shortly after finishing my first year, after realizing that there weren’t many good blogs out there for UBC Science students and after being inspired by two blogs written by UBC students at the time.  Unfortunately, as useful as the information on this blog may be, it will eventually become outdated.  I hope this blog inspires other UBC students to share their experiences, knowledge, and wisdom through blogging.

My Academic Journey

When I was in my last year of high school, I was thinking of majoring in Chemistry, and possibly teaching Chemistry at some high school as a career. I applied to the Sciences programs at a few universities/colleges — UBC, SFU, Kwantlen, UT, McGill. I was accepted by all those schools save McGill, because apparently my grades were too low. After receiving 40 as my final IB Diploma grade, I entered UBC Sciences.

Once I entered university, I became interested in biology — particularly evolution and molecular biology, although I thought of them in separate contexts. Frankly, I was less interested in biochemistry or chemistry than before, finding them difficult. Another thing I didn’t like studying at this point was genetics. I didn’t bother applying to Physiology nor Pharmacology after first year because I did not know much about the programs; I felt like it was too difficult to get accepted; and I didn’t like the chemistry part of Pharmacology nor the human anatomy part of Physiology. These were naive thoughts of someone who didn’t know much about either program, and I wish I had tried applying to at least one of them, because I later came to dislike large classes, which existed even in third/fourth year MBIM.

I was interested in microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria, especially in the context of human health, and chose to go into Microbiology & Immunology. My second and third choices were Biology and Mathematics, respectively. After taking MICB 201 and 202, I didn’t find bacterial metabolism (or metabolism itself) to be my forte (MICB 201); however, I really enjoyed the Immunology part of MICB 202. This soon changed after taking MICB 302. Bacterial physiology seemed somewhat interesting (MICB 301), as did virology (MICB 306), although I did not particularly enjoy rote memorizing all the different viruses. During third year, my GPA dropped 10% to my disappointment.

Before third year, I had the chance to start working in a lab. The learning curve was steep, but I learned many skills and overall I enjoyed the lab work. Furthermore, the research topic grew on me. It was during this time that I was accepted into the co-op program.

In the middle of third year, I applied for a variety of co-op positions, including several biomedical research positions at VGH and BC Children’s. Despite getting many interviews due to my previous lab experience, it was difficult to secure an offer, but eventually I decided to work for a local pharmaceutical company. I was initially supposed to work in their Genetics/Molecular biology department. However, after meeting with various people in the company, I was able to get into the Dept of Electrophysiology (which I didn’t know anything about). The research there was somewhat tedious (high throughput screening 24/7), but pharmacological research didn’t seem too bad, and at this point I thought to myself that I could have applied to Pharmacology and probably have found it interesting. During the second half of my co-op term, I found myself becoming more and more interested in molecular biology and even genetics. Electrophysiology didn’t bore me, and I happened to be pretty good at manual patch clamp, but my physics background was weak (relative to my biology). Routine screening was also very repetitive and tedious.

It was around this time that I started to wish I had gone into computer science, due to what my CPSC friend was telling me and due to the better job market. Even a Combined Major in MBIM and CPSC would have been fine. This sentiment was later further ingrained in me when the same friend started making 7K/month in a programming co-op position; and when I tried programming (CPSC 301), finding it quite fun.

After that co-op position, I went back to school, deciding to take BIOL 334, a genetics course, as an elective. As it turns out, it was one of my favourite courses of that semester (and I got an A+) and I told myself that I would look for a genetics-related lab position as my next co-op. l also highly enjoyed MICB 325, which was about gene regulation in bacteria. I find it fascinating how bacteria regulate the expression of genes depending on the environmental conditions.

A few months later, I found my second co-op placement in an epigenomics lab on campus.  I worked on creating and modifying software protocols for an automated liquid handling system for applications in next generation sequencing. (read: I played with a robot to make it do lab work for us).

Potential career paths I have considered include the life sciences industry (e.g. acting as product specialist for a life sciences company), bioinformatics, higher education, medicine, and law.

I am currently pursuing a second degree in the two-year UBC Bachelor of Computer Science (BCS) program.

Outside of school

A bit about myself outside of academia — in my spare time, I enjoy playing badminton/ping pong, watching YouTube videos, engrossing myself in anime and manga, being a foodie wannabe, blogging, volunteering, and baking/cooking. And programming (sometimes), (and abusing the use of parentheses).

See Involvement & Extracurriculars for a description of my non-academic campus activities.



Please do not hesitate to leave questions/comments on any of my posts.  I read every comment and all new comments are moderated. If I don’t reply to your question within 48 hours it probably means I read it and decided to reply later but forgot and you should either send an e-mail or post another comment. I appreciate when people put a name with their comment because everyone’s name seems to be “ubc first year student” or something like that and it gets a bit more difficult to track conversations! Even a nickname or fake name would be preferred. I am also open to suggestions about what you think I should cover on my blog.

If you are a blogger who covers UBC topics, feel free to comment too! If I like your content I’ll add it into my blogroll on the side of my blog.





BSc in Microbiology & Immunology:

IB Transfer Credits

FREN 122
FREN 123
HIST 1st
PHIL 1st
CHEM 121 (chose not to use transfer credit)

Transfer credits – 18 credits

Year 1 – Winter 2009 – Term 1

CHEM 121
PHYS 100
ENGL 112
BIOL 112
MATH 102

Year 1 – Winter 2009 – Term 2

CHEM 123
PHYS 101
ENGL 110
BIOL 121
BIOL 140
MATH 103

Credits in 2009W – 34 credits

Year 1 – Summer 2010

MATH 200
MICB 202

Credits in 2010S – 6 credits

Year 2 – Winter 2010 – Term 1

BIOL 200
CHEM 233
MATH 220
MATH 223

Year 2 – Winter 2010 – Term 2

BIOL 201
CHEM 205
CHEM 235
MICB 201
EOSC 112
MUSC 103

Credits in 2010W – 31 credits

Year 3 – Winter 2011 – Term 1

MICB 301
MICB 302
MICB 306
MICB 322
STAT 200

Year 3 – Winter 2011 – Term 2

MICB 398 (Co-op term)

Credits in 2011W – 15 credits

Year 3 – Summer 2012

MICB 399 (Co-op term)

Year 4 – Winter 2012 – Term 1

ANAT 390
BIOL 334
MICB 401

Year 4- Winter 2012 – Term 2

BIOC 302
MICB 325
MICB 308
MICB 323
CPSC 301

Credits in 2012W – 27 credits

Year 4 – Summer 2013

MICB 498 (Co-op term)

Year 5 – Winter 2013 – Term 1

MICB 405
MICB 499 (Co-op term)

Year 5 – Winter 2013 – Term 2

MICB 421

Credits in 2014W – 9 credits

Total number of credits: 140/120

Courses chosen based on the UBC Calendar – Microbiology and Immunology page.


Bachelor’s of Computer Science (BCS) second degree program

BCS Course Exemptions

ENGL 112
STAT 203
MATH 180

Year 1 – Winter 2014 – Term 1

CPSC 110
CPSC 121
SCIE 300
MATH 307

Year 1 – Winter 2014 – Term 2

CPSC 210
MICB 425
MEDG 421
STAT 302

Credits in 2014W – 27 credits

Year 1 – Summer 2015

CPSC 221
CPSC 304
CPSC 213

Credits in 2015S – 11 credits

Year 2 – Winter 2015 – Term 1

CPSC 298 (co-op)

Year 2 – Winter 2015 – Term 2

CPSC 313
CPSC 317
CPSC 320

Year 3 – Winter 2016 (tentative — this is more like a shortlist of courses I’m considering taking)

CPSC 310 (required)
CPSC 404
CPSC 430
CPSC 445
CPSC 340
JAPN 100
JAPN 101



My biggest regrets:

-not being involved more in high school and in first year
-not applying for the Orientations Leader position in first year
-not joining a club earlier
-not going to more professors’ office hours
-not putting more effort into my work
-not doing UBC Engineering or UBC Computer Science
-not getting a Combined Major in Microbiology & Immunology and Computer Science
-taking MATH 223
-missing out on optional events (workshops/conferences for self development and further learning) for whatever reason
-not working more on personal projects
-not taking CPSC 110 previous to starting the BCS program

My biggest achievements:

-setting up a pipetting robot largely independently and providing proof of principle by constructing a genomic DNA library from 0.6 pg of DNA
-having a decent-ish average (87%) and getting 100% in CPSC 110 :P



This post was last updated in June 2015.



“Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”




  1. I’m SO glad I found your site. I’m going in the exact same path as you (I’m going into second year at UBC in September). I have a dilemma though, I didn’t take BIOL 112 first year, because I had a course overload and failed to realize how important it is. Do you think it is possible for me to take BIOL 200 and 201 in third year…? I’m going to have to declare my major in Microbiology in 2nd year, and I’m worried it will ruin my chances of getting accepted if I don’t have BIOL 200 and such. Heeeelppp!!


    • Hey Samantha,

      You will notice on the prerequisites page for applying to MBIM (see Second Year Specialization Admission Requirements) that you need either BIOL 112 or 7 credits of first-year Biology among other requirements. This requirement may pose difficulty for entry into MBIM by second-year, but you could always apply before third-year. In fact, the official application to MBIM takes place right after second-year anyway.

      I would have recommended taking BIOL 112 this summer but unfortunately I think it is too late to do so. The reason being is that many second-year courses required for the Microbiology & Immunology program (MBIM) have BIOL 112 as either a mandatory prerequisite or at least the usual prerequisite. BIOL 112 is the usual prerequisite for BIOL 200 as you already pointed out, but you could also take BIOL 200 if you have 7 credits of any first-year Biology (see SSC – Course Schedule to see the prerequisites for each course).

      Other second-year courses with BIOL 112 as the usual or mandatory prerequisite include MICB 201 and MICB 202 which are prerequisites for officially entering third-year MBIM. The problem with taking BIOL 200 and BIOL 201 in third-year is that third-year MICB courses like MICB 301 and MICB 322 (which are both mandatory) have either BIOL 200 or 201 (or both) as prerequisites. See the UBC Calendar MBIM entry for information about which courses you need to take. Also see the SSC – Course Schedule for prerequisites for each course.

      I am not sure how possible it is to defer MICB 301 and 322 if you were to take BIOL 200 and 201 in third-year. The MBIM departmental website says that MICB 301 should be taken in third-year (see Important Advising Information) which seems to imply that if you wanted you could defer it. This is something you will need to ask the MBIM advisor about (MICB 301 and 322). I am not sure if I would want to defer them anyway because it could cause problems in terms of undesirable schedules/workloads in fourth-year. Plus, you would probably need to take a fifth year at UBC to complete your degree in MBIM (assuming a regular major, without co-op).

      edit: I read on the MBIM site, specifically the Application Process page that students who did not get space in MICB 322 after second-year can apply again after their third-year. If they just only finished the MICB 322 prerequisites then they would use the same second-year application but if they took some third-year MICB courses then they may be granted automatic entry, given a specific minimum grade in these courses (see the link I gave above for details).

      The requirements for the official application into MBIM after second-year include the courses MICB 201, MICB 202, BIOL 200, BIOL 201, CHEM 233 (or 203) and another second-year core Science course (see same link for details). Students that do not meet ALL the requirements can still apply but yes, unfortunately you would be at a disadvantage. If you take BIOL 112 in first term of second-year, you can take BIOL 200 in second term (unfortunately distance education only), and you would also be able to take MICB 201 and MICB 202 in second term too. In this case, the only course you would be missing is BIOL 201 which is sometimes? (not sure about this) offered in the summer (it is offered in Summer 2011). Therefore, if you were only missing BIOL 201, you could still have a decent chance of getting into MBIM before third-year, depending on your grades in the required courses aside from BIOL 201. Also, if you read the Application Process (see same link), you could have your process re-evaluated near the end of the summer after you take BIOL 201 in the summer (assuming you choose to do so) and then you could get into third-year MBIM at that point.

      Summary (tl;dr) – The way I see it, you have the option of either taking BIOL 201 or both BIOL 200 and 201 in the summer after second-year and then have your official MBIM application re-evaluated near the end of summer after you receive the BIOL 201 grades. The other option is to finish all the required courses for MICB 322 (like BIOL 200 and 201) in third-year, and then apply after third-year to MBIM as a second-year student. In this second option, you would probably need to do five years to finish your major before graduating.

      In any case, I strongly suggest e-mailing the departmental advisor (http://www.microbiology.ubc.ca/Program%20Advising) about your situation so that he can tell you what the possible/recommended choice(s) are which will hopefully confirm what I have said.

      Good luck! I hope this response helped.

  2. Hi again!

    Definitely helped!! Thanks so much.
    One last question, do you know of anyone that has done BIOL 200 by Distance Education that I could possible talk to.. it’s turning into my only option so I think I’m going to go for it.


    • Hey – unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who has done BIOL 200 by distance education. There is a course outline for distance ed. Biol 200 here; unfortunately it’s not very detailed though. I know that there are notes online on VISTA and I have read them before, they are a bit difficult to understand reading the first time around but it becomes a lot easier after a few times. A suggestion (and only a suggestion, NOT a recommendation) would be to attend BIOL 200 lectures in first term if you want to know what is covered and to what depth/difficulty. Sorry that I didn’t have much info this time ):

  3. Hey,
    I am choosing my 3rd year courses now too. Is there any reason you pick Micb235 but not Bio335? Also, do you know any easy Microbi courses that I can take?


    • There wasn’t really a reason why I chose to do MICB 325 over BIOL 335. Also the list of courses above is only tentative. I wouldn’t consider any 3XX or 4XX MICB courses to be easy… usually the “easy” courses are introductory/basic first or second-year courses from other departments like EOSC or some in Arts. Then again, I have not taken any higher-level MICB courses yet. Sorry I wasn’t of much help ):

  4. quick (dumb) question…

    Going in 2nd year… do my electives for 2nd year have to be 2nd year courses?


    • Nope, they do not have to be 2nd year courses.

  5. Hi idm04,

    I’m a ubc newbie who barely passed first year calculus and am dreading calc III. Do you have a habit of keeping old notes? Do you think I could purchase your math 200 notes to prepare myself for the course? I have the stewart book i just can’t seem to understand it. Please help me.

    A thousand thanks

    • Hi Jayson,

      I do keep my old notes, but I am not selling them unfortunately. However, my professor wrote out his notes on his touch screen computer and uploaded the PDF files which I have. I could send these to your e-mail – is it the same one as the one you provided when commenting? However, my professor’s writing was very messy and I am not sure if they are easy to understand.

      I find that Stewart’s books (either Early Transcendentals or Multivariable Calculus) are written in a way that is fairly easy to understand. The mathematical jargon used is kept at a low level. Usually, I find that reading material a few times carefully/slowly will help and I don’t see why anyone in UBC could not learn calculus by themselves through a textbook like Early Transcendentals if they wanted to. If you really feel that Stewart’s books are not for you, maybe you can borrow a textbook from the library? I have heard good things about Thomas’ Calculus by George B. Thomas. Or maybe you could try online videos like those from http://www.khanacademy.org and then do the practice problems from the textbook(s) as necessary.

      Out of curiosity, why are you planning to take MATH 200?

      • Hi idm04,

        You still have the files? Yes, it’s the same email.That would be really helpful! I really appreciate it. You wouldn’t happen to have your notes in pdf would you haha.

        I find the stewart sometimes doesn’t really suit my learning style. I like to learn about the concepts but it just blasts me with proofs and convoluted examples. Might be just me. So right now i’m looking for different sources to find the one with the best explanations.

        I’m planning on taking it because i’m thinking i might need it someday and it would be better to get it out of the way now while i still remember some basic calculus then later when i can’t remember a thing. It’s funny you should ask this because i found out today that biology doesn’t require math 200 how come you took math 200?


        • Hi Jayson,

          Yes I still have the files and I will e-mail them to you. I understand what you mean about the proofs and I usually skim over those. Basically, I read enough just so that I am able to do the problems in the back. I’m not sure if these notes that I have from my prof are much easier to understand though, in which case you could consult the video website I linked previously because those videos don’t go into detail but give a general idea of the material which makes it easier to learn.

          I was just taking MATH 200 as an elective, nothing more really. Same with MATH 220 and 223. I guess if you don’t actually need MATH 200 you could choose to drop it partway through the course before the deadline.

          Good luck~

  6. Hey,

    I’m an IB’er too (@ Churchill Grad 2012), and I just realized that I have nearly EXACTLY THE SAME EE TOPIC AS YOU. As such, in addition to some UBC questions, I have some IB and EE questions as well.

    First, when did you start your EE, and how long did it take you? It is mid-August now almost, so should I be panicking? Second, do you think my topic (To what extent did Mikhail Gorbachev’s domestic policy during his period as the general secretary of the USSR affect the collapse and dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?) is a bit too broad? I have just looked at the title of your EE (and refrained from reading the body as I’m afraid of accidental plagarism :D) and it appears that your topic is much more specific than mine. Finally, concerning UBC, should I take Bio, Chem, and Eng HL? And if so, should I ask for credit? I’m currently between Year 1 and 2, so luckily I still have time to change between HL and SL.

    Thanks so much. =)

    • Hey,

      I started my essay in January 2009 and finished in February LOL (not the greatest idea). Wrote my exams May 2009. I didn’t even have a thesis until January. I highly, highly recommend that you finalize your topic and thesis right now, or at least make a few possible theses so that you can present them to your advisor and he/she can help you narrow things down. You should also start thinking about what points you can discuss and finding the main books you will use.

      Your topic sounds a bit broad because you simply mention domestic policy, but I really can’t say for sure whether it’s TOO broad. My EE wasn’t that good so I wouldn’t use it as a reference anyway :) I think your advisor would be the best person to ask, or maybe read some information to see how much there is and whether there’s too many events/subjects to cover within your topic. Also, you probably? shouldn’t use “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” AFTER you use USSR :)

      Concerning your UBC questions, please read my post https://idm04.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/international-baccalaureate/ which may answer some of them; and if you still have questions, feel free to comment again.

      Good luck~

  7. Hi I’m in 1st year science and also in music; currently working towards a dual degree.

    This is the most useful site I have discovered in a long time. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Hi!

    I’m a 1st year science student, hoping to go into physiology specialization starting in Y2, and noticed that their requirements, as similar as they are to MICB, are much more demanding. Apparently one must take 33 credits worth of courses in Y2 to move onto Y3, even if you have more than enough transfer credits. Also, physiology students can’t take summer school to lighten their load… which would be okay if it weren’t for the insane amount of electives they demand (5 elective courses in the Y2 winter session)

    Do you think it’s okay if 4 of my 5 Y2 electives are at the 1st year level? LOL

    • Hello —

      I don’t see why not. It doesn’t appear to me from the PHYL website that they take into account your grades in electives when admitting students, although you could always e-mail them to make sure. They also have a list on the same page of recommended electives to take, although I don’t know what they mean by recommended.

      And it also appears that the minimum number of 300+ courses to graduate with a BSc is already covered by the PHYL program, which is nice.

      Sorry, I know I didn’t say much on this subject other than repeat what the site says LOL


  9. Hi
    I am a second year student in Mircobiology.
    I have noticed from the program website that
    only about 80 second year students from microbiology and two other combined majors can be promoted into third year every year.
    That sounds scary.
    I know that the evaluation is based on the seven core courses
    and we are getting points for being the top 80 of these courses.
    But i don’t know how challenging that gonna be?
    Do u know how many students are acutally competing for the 80 spaces?
    Also, what’s the average score required to be promoted from the previous years?
    I just want to see how i am doing so far.
    Thank you so much!


    • Hello,

      Yes that is correct, about 80 students get admitted into MBIM third year. If you keep up your average, it shouldn’t be much of a problem getting into third year MBIM but indeed, it is not guaranteed. As you say, the details are on the program website http://www.microbiology.ubc.ca.

      In the first round of offers, MBIM runs out of space around 10 points. However, approximately 15-20 students will take up offers for Pharmacy in July, and that space is then filled by going further down the list. In this second round, MBIM runs out of space around 8 points.

      Each course is worth 2, 1.5, 1, 0.5 or 0 points. To get 2 points, it was above 80 for MICB 201, 86 for MICB 202, 84 for BIOL 200, 85 for BIOL 201, 83 for CHEM 233, 93 for CHEM 205 and 84 for the overall average. To get 1 point was 70, 77, 78, 77, 73, 84, and 79 respectively. Zero was about 5% lower. This information is from Dr. Ramey from 2 years ago. These grades may vary from year to year but nonetheless should give you a general idea of how you are doing. I am not sure how many students apply each year, you could e-mail Dr. Ramey to find out.

      Please e-mail me regarding this if you have further questions or if you want me to assess how you’re doing…

    • Hi
      I am so sorry for the delay cause I focused on my second ochem midterm exam.
      Thank you for the information. You are perfessional!
      I think i’m doing fine so far.


  10. idm04!!! Who are you!? Tim Jayme here, prez of MISA… I enjoy your blog and think its awesome that you provide your perspective on things. It definitely gives those following your footsteps a chance to be enlightened and a chance to be armed for the future! email me please! I’m curious to know who you are in my 401 classes!! Keep it up man!

    • Hey Tim!! Thanks for your comment, yes I hope I can keep this blog updated until I graduate. As much as I want to stay anonymous (for now), there is no doubt in my mind that you will find out who I am on your own. Keep up the good work at MISA!

  11. Lol, I see you didn’t take anymore math classes after Math 220 and 223. they were probably 2 of the hardest math classes though.

    I know you didnt take math 221, but if you were to guess would you say math 200 or math 221 is harder?

    Also, do you know if math 200 or 221 have common midterms?

    • MATH 220 is quite easy compared to MATH 223. I am considering taking MATH 302 or 215 next year, but I am uncertain.

      MATH 221 is easier than MATH 200.

      The material is not related, and they do not have common midterms.

  12. Many thanks for your site!
    I echo what you said about Chem233; I had taken that class, and subsequently been handed my backside on a platter. I returned to raise my mark, enjoyed my prof and emerged alive but charred.
    That was 5 years ago. I took an attractive exit strategy and am now re-entering, on the path of a Physician Assistant program.
    I’ll be taking MICB 202 – thanks for your helpful notes on that. I look forward to an enjoyable class, because I’m a bit rusty and things are feeling rather new; clicker questions are new to me (although I love the tech!) and I hope this will be decently gentle way to get back into UBC life.

    More later. Thanks for your contributions!

  13. Hello! I’m a student in ISCI integrating physiology and microbiology. I’m a little hesitant about taking MICB 308. How difficult is the class? Thanks!

    • Hi, I know several ISCI students who took MICB 308 and found it to be fine in terms of difficulty. Since ISCI students typically don’t have upper-level lab courses, the techniques section of the course would probably be the most challenging part. Overall, I think it was okay though. As many MICB courses go, 308 is memorization heavy.

      As a side note, MICB 325 is a lot of fun (and not very heavy in terms of workload) if you need another MICB course :) I know a few ISCI students who have taken that too. Let me know if you have further questions.

      • Thanks so much for replying. Would you say that taking MICB 302 would be useful for MICB 306 and MICB 308?

        • It would be useful (ie. there would be overlap), but definitely not necessary. There is a section on immunology in both 306 and 308 that will give you the prerequisite knowledge for the course. 308 (and 306) were a breeze compared to 302, in my opinion.

  14. Hi there! Thank you so much for writing this post! I am a Science student at UBC currently in first year General Sciences and I’m thinking about having a combined major or major in Computer Science instead. So I was just wondering if first year computer science courses are offered in the summer, since I’m not taking any of those right now. Also, would it be possible to declare that major in second year?

    • Hi Lucy,

      I personally think having a Computer Science (CS) degree, or a Combined Major with Computer Science and something else is a good idea.

      You actually don’t need any prerequisite courses to get into second-year Computer Science. The prereqs to get into second-year Combined Major: Computer Science and something else depend on what the something else is, see Second Year Application Requirements. However, none of the prereqs are CS courses.

      If you want to go into something related to Computer Science, you could take some courses in the summer to “catch up,” although this is not necessary. However, if you don’t, you might graduate a term or year later. Fortunately, some CS courses are offered in the summer, including CS110, CS121, CS210 and others.

      Please let me know if you have further questions.

  15. Hi!!!! I am so happy I found this! Finally a useful honest resource I can use!

    I am currently faced with a dilemma. I am admitted to UBC and UofT and I am unsure which one to choose. I am planning on doing Environmental Sciences, however I am frightened by UBC Physics because I absolutely despise physics in general.

    I am unsure if I can move out far from my home and whether it would be hard to commute every day to UBC.

    Any advice will be appreciated :) THANKS!

    • For UBC, if you have taken Physics 12 or equivalent, you only need to take one Physics course, which is PHYS 101. Furthermore, PHYS 101 can be deferred to second year.

      If you don’t have Physics 12 or equivalent, you need to take Phys 100 before taking Phys 101.

      Both of these courses are introductory. If you review and ask for help from instructors regularly, it shouldn’t be overwhelmingly difficult in my opinion, but everyone has their own experiences. Why do you hate physics so much? If it’s because of the way you’ve been taught physics, hopefully you’ll change your mind when you take these courses… but otherwise it’s only going to be two Physics courses you’ll have to take. Of course, since physics is such an important part of environmental sciences, you’ll probably see a few physics concepts throughout your degree, regardless of which school you decide to go to. Both UT and UBC are good schools. Given the information you’ve provided me, there’s no reason to pick one school over the other.

      Hope this helps!

  16. Hey!
    thanks so much for writing this blog, it’s super helpful!
    I just got in to the Microbiology Major, and I have a couple questions about Micb 201 and Micb 202. They offer spots in both semesters, and I was wondering which one you found more interesting/easier?

    • Congrats on getting into Microbiology & Immunology!

      Is there a reason why you want to know which is easier? You have to take both :P

      I think people generally find MICB 202 more interesting. MICB 202 has more applications to human health and disease. I found MICB 202 to be easier, but it has been a while since I took these courses, and I did take MICB 202 in the summer. However, MICB 201 wasn’t too bad. The exam style is similar for both — heavy on multiple choice questions. Let me know if you have further questions.

      • Sorry I forgot to reply!!
        I ended up taking MICB 202, and you’re right – it is very interesting!
        I find Bio 200 to be extremely tedious though in terms of memorizing all the cell info and etc. It is also quite similar to Bio 112 so far (which I didn’t do very well on), do you have any suggestions as to how/what to study? The things we cover in class/tutorial are all really basic and I feel like the exams are going to be extremely difficult.

        • Yeah there’s a lot of material to cover in BIOL 200. Studying for the BIOL 200 exam for me was essentially just memorizing concepts and processes as well as understanding how to answer the types of questions on the exam. If the exams are still similar to when I took the course, it is important to use the correct key words in all of your written answers.

          If you would like more personalized advice, I recommend meeting with someone from the Science Peer Academic Coaches — well-trained and accomplished students who provide free one-on-one coaching to help other students achieve their academic goals.


  17. Hey!
    You said one of your biggest regrets was not taking Microbiology & Immunology & Computer science. I was wondering why? Thanks so much!

    • Hi,

      There’s a couple of reasons — firstly, in my last co-op term in a genomics/bioinformatics lab, I realized how useful computer science (CS) knowledge was for analyzing data in the life sciences. With the development of technologies/methods for whole genome sequencing, we are now able to generate tons of sequence data in a very short timeframe. To make sense of such large datasets, it is necessary to have people who are trained in Computer Science, and my supervisor at the time told me that there are many opportunities in bioinformatics. The fact that assays are becoming more high throughput and more automated means that we need less personnel doing bench work and more doing data analysis or developing tools for data analysis than previously.

      Secondly, I took a few CS courses, starting with CPSC 301 as an elective, then the standard 110/121 etc, and am currently finding it fun/interesting. I find the ability to create a tool or app that can be used by others to be very rewarding.

      Last but not least, the fact that computers are an integral part of modern society, including almost all businesses, means that the job market is good. I am going on a co-op term this September and although the pay isn’t much for a co-op student, it is nearly twice as much as I was getting during my previous co-op term in the lab.

      Although I am enthusiastic about CS, I do not think it is a field in which one can do well without some genuine interest. I know some people who tried or even started in CS before leaving for good.

  18. HI thank you so much for your posts! I’m a food science student at UBC but taking a lot of micb courses right now. I was reading the syllabus for MICB 308, it seemed a lot like MICB 202. Are these two courses alike? P.s. I was actually thinking about getting into ubc med school. (I know it’s quite a big jump here).

    • Hi there,

      There is a section on immunology in MICB 308, but it is more like a review. Otherwise, the courses are fairly different in terms of content as well as exam style. 308 goes much further in depth into bacterial pathogenesis, and you’ll learn about what happens during infection at the molecular level. You’ll also cover the concepts of techniques used to study bacterial pathogenesis.

      In terms of exams, exams in 308 are written and are application/problem-solving type questions, although memorization is also necessary to answer the questions.

      Hope this helps.

      • Wow thank you so much for your response! It helped a lot!

  19. 100% in CPSC 110?!?!?!??! Are you God I’m literally borderlining on a 50% lol wtf

  20. Hi there, I wanted to ask about the labs for Bio 112, chem 121 and physics 101. I was really concerned because I want to apply for UBC Science but I’m worried if the labs are really difficult. I heard you have to memorize the labs and do your labs without partners. I’m not very good at labs because I’m not exactly an auditory learner and so it’s hard for me to follow instructions on the spot.

    • Hi there,

      There are no labs for BIOL 112 as far as I’m aware. For PHYS 101, CHEM 121, and in fact in general for lab courses, you will have a lab coursebook of some sort that will have all the labs you will be doing. Therefore, you will be able to plan (to some extent) in advance and you can access your coursebook and whatever other materials you have during the labs.

      You will not need to learn everything about how to do the lab on the spot, although sometimes changes to the procedures in the coursebook may be mentioned at the beginning of the lab in Chemistry, and you will have to deal with those. You will likely get better at handling labs with practice. Unfortunately, everyone is pretty bad at Chem labs when they first start out, and there’s nothing really wrong or unusual about that.

      Feel free to comment again or e-mail me if you have more questions.

      • Thank you for answering my questions! I was so worried because of this but now I’m a bit relieved. I also wanted to ask you how hard is English 112 and English 110? I know you mentioned I think maybe one of them in one of your previous posts… but are the in class stuff really hard for someone who isn’t good at english? I tend to struggle with writing a lot in terms of coming up with ideas and good points. Also.. what kind of math course is best to take in first year? And how many courses are best to take each term?
        Sorry if this is too long! I really love reading your blog.. it provided me so much info and knowledge.

        • I wouldn’t call it very hard, but I could see people struggling with English courses if they are not fluent in English. Some UBC students who learned English as a second or subsequent language may find English courses more difficult.

          If you’re still in high school, you shouldn’t worry about the content of courses at UBC.. it’s far too early for that!

          Both of your questions about what courses to take and how many to take are answered in my post Transition: High school to First Year. To briefly answer your questions though, check this UBC Science chart for what courses are recommended. People typically take 30 credits each year, which is five standard courses per Winter term.

  21. Hello! Wondering what your time-line was like when you were applying to the BCS program. *Time-line meaning how long did UBC take to process your application.

    I read some instructions wrong and have paid the BCS fee today (end of January). I may have lost out on my chances, as I got my acceptance letter 2 weeks ago for my *second choice* only. Was hoping you can shed some light.

    Please & thank you kindly :)

    • Hello there. When I applied to the BCS program in 2014, I did not hear anything by March so I e-mailed the BCS office in early March to ask when I could expect to hear back. I was told I’d hear back in April, but it turned out I only got my acceptance in early/mid May.

      • Gracias my friend! I really appreciate it. You have a great day :)

  22. Hello Wise Blogger,

    I am commenting as a prospective student at UBC. I have submitted my application for the 2016/2017 Winter Session. I have been doing research on UBC admission averages and stumbled across your blog.

    I have read one of your entries on Second Year courses and I must say that it was a true masterpiece! I had a thorough understanding of the class, it’s content, expectations, and tips on how to suceed. It was very helpful and extremely informative. I appreciate the time you put in to allow fellow students to suceed. This upcoming spring break, I plan on reading all of your entries. They are a very valuable resource.

    I should have stumbled across your blog a few months ago. I would have been motivated earlier on and would not stress over whether I will get accepted into UBC or not. This brings me to a favour that I would like to ask. May I please share my current term 2 marks with you? I would love a realistic response on whether I have a chance in getting into the faculty of Land and Food Systems. Through your blog, I have found the previous admission average but I am confused to how the average is calculated. Will the average be calculated based on my highest marks out of my approved courses or will it be calculated based on academic importance. My current term 2 grades are:
    English 12: 88%
    French 12: 89%
    Literature 12: 87%
    Biology 12: 77%
    Chemistry 12: 73%
    Pre-Calculus 12: 80%

    Thank you very much for your informative posts and I look forward in hearing back from you,


    • Hi Winnie,

      Thanks for reading the blog.

      I don’t think it is clear how exactly UBC calculates admission averages, and it varies by Faculty as well. This link may shed some light but is by no means comprehensive: http://you.ubc.ca/admissions/how-to-apply/admissions-decisions/

      You might be able to find more specific information on the UBC subreddit (not officially affiliated with UBC).

      Based on the link I shared, certain courses may have more weight in determining the admission average. I believe only Grade 12 courses on this page http://you.ubc.ca/admissions/canadian-highschools/bc-yukon/ will be used, generally speaking.

      I’m afraid it’s difficult for me or anyone else to predict whether you’ll be accepted. Keep in mind UBC’s emphasis on the personal profile over grades, which also makes it difficult to say whether someone will get accepted, even with high grades.

      • Hello Wise Blogger,

        Thank you for getting back to me!

        I feel somewhat relieved that the personal profile is valued along with grades.

        Thank you for replying me,


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