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 learning courses, or on Go Global exchange.

Applying transfer credit to your degree

The 50% rule

A minimum of 50% of total degree credits, 50% of upper-level degree credits, and 50% of upper-level specialization credits for each specialization (Honours, Major or Minor) must be completed while registered as a student in the Faculty of Arts. Go Global exchange credits earned by students in the Faculty of Arts are eligible to apply towards these minimums.

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

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. 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.

Use the UBC transfer credit search tool to search courses from your institution and how they transfer to UBC.

Some Advanced Placement, British-patterned education, and International Baccalaureate courses are eligible for first-year credit at UBC. Find eligible courses.

Unassigned credits 

Credits that transfer as unassigned (general) credit may not automatically apply towards a specific requirement. If you feel that the course you completed to earn the unassigned credit is similar to the required UBC course for a particular program (major, minor, honours), take the syllabus from your completed course to the department to inquire if you can use the credit in place of the UBC course.

If you feel that the unassigned credit should apply towards a specific degree requirement, bring your course syllabus to Arts Academic Advising for review.

Precluded or exempt courses

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.

Learn more about transfer credit terms

Letters of Permission (LOP) to study at other institutions

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.

Appealing for a Letter 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.

With the exception of the Explore program, to be considered for a Letter of Permission a student must:

  • have an average of at least 70% on their most recently completed Winter Session; and
  • have declared or been accepted to a Major prior to appealing for the LOP.

In order to obtain an LOP you must be able to demonstrate, via an articulate academic rationale and syllabus, that the course at the other institution is an exceptional opportunity that will enhance your UBC Arts Major program.

Appeals will be considered for Arts courses only, except when a non-Arts course is required for an Arts specialization and is specifically recommended by your department as enriched study in or in support of your discipline. Note that, for both Arts and non-Arts courses, the recommendation of your department by itself does not guarantee that an LOP appeal will be approved.

1. Pre-approved Programs

The following programs require a Letter of Permission request but do not require an academic rationale or syllabus as they have already been assessed by the Faculty of Arts. Interested students must complete a Letter of Permission Request Form (see below):

 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.

 Students admitted to the Semester in Dialogue 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 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.

2. Appeals for Other Courses or Programs

Your appeal must include a fully-completed Request Form, the syllabus and a one-page (maximum) coherent academic rationale. These should be submitted to Arts Academic Advising (Buchanan D111 or contact us via email).

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 provides an exceptional opportunity that will deepen your engagement with an aspect of your Major program. Wishing to take courses for breadth is not sufficient. However, if one of the following circumstances fits your situation, you may wish to discuss it:

  • 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.

Letter of Permission Request Forms

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

Please note the following:

  • Concurrent registration at both UBC and other post-secondary institutions is not permitted.
  • 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.