Credit applicable towards an Arts degree

Once admitted to UBC, Arts students are expected to complete their degree requirements at UBC through on-campus or UBC distance education courses, or on Go Global exchange.

Applying transfer credit to your degree

The 50% rule

In order to receive a UBC degree, students must complete at least 50% of the credits required for that degree while registered as a student in the Faculty that will award the credential. Arts students completing their first undergraduate degree must, therefore, complete a minimum of 60 credits while registered as a student in the Faculty of Arts.

They must also complete at least half of the required upper-level credits for both their degree and their specialization(s) while registered under a UBC Arts eligibility. Please note that credits completed by Arts students while on a Go Global exchange are considered to be credits completed under an Arts eligibility for purposes of this rule.

Second degree students are not awarded transfer credit and must complete all requirements while registered as a student in the Faculty of Arts. Please see an Academic Advisor.

Using transfer credit to meet requirements

Credits that transfer directly to a UBC course may be used identically as if the course had been taken at UBC. For example, if you receive transfer credit for ENGL 222 you can apply this credit towards any requirement or specialization to which the UBC course ENGL 222 applies, such as the literature requirement or a Major in Canadian Studies. You should not register in a course for which you have already received transfer credit as you cannot receive credit twice for the same course.

Credits that transfer as generic credit (e.g. SOCI 1st) may not automatically apply towards a specific requirement. If you feel that the course you completed to earn the generic credit is similar to the required UBC course for a particular specialization, please take the syllabus from your completed course to the department to inquire if you may use this credit in place of the UBC course. If you feel that the generic credit should apply towards a specific Faculty requirement, please bring your course syllabus to Arts Academic Advising. Note that generic credit is already applicable to many degree requirements so please check your Degree Navigator report first.

If you were awarded credit along with a preclusion (PR) or an exemption (EX), and you believe that you need to earn specific credit for the precluded or exempt course, please speak with an Academic Advisor prior to registration.

See transfer credit definitions here.

Letters of Permission (LOP)

In rare circumstances students may appeal for a Letter of Permission to study elsewhere and transfer the credit to UBC to be applied to their degree in the Faculty of Arts. In order to obtain an LOP a student must be able to demonstrate via an articulate academic rationale and syllabus that the course at the other institution is a unique opportunity which will enhance their UBC Arts degree.

Explore French-language bursary program

Students admitted to the Explore program may submit a Domestic/Canadian LOP form to Arts Advising. No academic rationale or syllabus is required, and credit earned may be applied towards an Arts degree.


Students admitted to the CityStudio program may submit a Domestic/Canadian LOP form to Arts Advising. No academic rationale or syllabus is required, and credit earned may be applied towards an Arts degree.

Field Schools Endorsed by Department

Students planning to participate in a field school already endorsed by their department may submit a Domestic or International LOP form to Arts Advising. No academic rationale or syllabus is required, and credit earned may be applied towards an Arts degree. Departments note endorsed field schools on the department website.

Appealing for a Letter of Permission (LOP)

An appeal for a Letter of Permission will be considered for Arts courses only, except when a non-Arts course is required for an Arts specialization or is specifically recommended by your department as enriched study in or in support of your discipline. Your appeal must include a fully-completed Request Form, the syllabus and a one-page (maximum) coherent academic rationale for including non-UBC courses in your Arts degree. These should be submitted to Arts Academic Advising (Buchanan D111 or fax 604.822.4923).

Letter of Permission Request Forms for domestic and international study can be downloaded here:

Explore/Summer Language Bursary program Request Form
Domestic/Canadian LOP Request Form
International LOP Request Form

If the syllabus is not available, please provide a detailed course description including:

  • Institution name
  • Course number and title
  • Instructor name and contact information
  • Brief course description
  • Weekly lecture topics and required readings
  • Detailed course reading list
  • Assignment/grading structure
  • Prerequisites

An academic rationale is a mindful, informed, and responsible perspective on how this course will deepen your engagement with an aspect of your discipline.

Wishing to take courses for your breadth requirement is not a sufficient rationale because you have access to elective courses at UBC. However, if one of the following circumstances fits your situation, you may wish to discuss it in your rationale:

  • You are requesting to study a unique Arts program or course that is only offered at the host institution.
  • Prior to admission to UBC, you completed a 3 credit Arts course which would transfer to UBC as a specific 6 credit course if you obtained the second component, and UBC does not offer the equivalent.
  • The course you want to take is full or not offered at UBC during the session and is a requirement for your program in that session.
  • You have an extenuating circumstance. Extenuating circumstances must be discussed with an Academic Advisor.

Please note the following:

  • Students appealing for an LOP must be in good academic standing (eligible to take courses in the following Winter session).
  • LOPs are considered only for transferable, accredited post-secondary institutions.
  • A Letter of Permission does not guarantee that credit earned will meet specific degree or program requirements.
  • If you receive an LOP, it does not guarantee your admission to another institution.  You need to meet all entry requirements as a visiting student at the host institution.
  • All students studying outside Canada must register with the UBC Safety Abroad Travel Registry. If you wish to study in a region with a Travel Advisory Risk Level “AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL” or “AVOID ALL TRAVEL” you must seek Safety Abroad authorization, which must be submitted with your Letter of Permission Request.

When you don’t need an LOP

You do not need a Letter of Permission if you are taking courses at a partner university through Go Global, are leaving UBC to complete your degree elsewhere, or do not intend to apply credit completed towards your Arts degree.