The basics

UBC’s academic system is fairly straightforward, but it might be quite different from the systems of other schools you’ve attended. This guide will get you up to speed!

Dates and deadlines

The two most significant dates that affect all students at UBC are the add/drop and withdrawal deadlines. Before the first few weeks of term have passed you can withdraw from classes and get a tuition refund or transfer into courses with space for students. Before the withdrawal deadline, which is about six weeks into the term, you can withdraw from courses with a W standing, which just means that you withdrew from a course. This will appear on your transcript, but one or two W’s are unlikely to affect your long-term academic success.

You can add and drop courses through the Student Service Centre before the add/drop deadline, but withdrawing from a course after this date should be discussed carefully with an advisor to work out how it will affect you.

Other dates worth recording include the midterm breaks, exam periods and deadlines or exams associated with your courses. Knowing what comes next is the best way to stay on top of things at UBC!

The grading scale

UBC courses assign students a percentage grade based on their work. Professors are required to provide students with written guidelines explain- ing how the course’s final grade will be calculated before the course begins; this is done through the course syllabus. Read it carefully!

Letter grades at UBC correspond to percentage ranges: 90 to 100 per cent is an A+, 85 to 89 is an A, 80 to 84 is an A-, 76 to 79 is a B+, 72 to 75 is a B, 68 to 71 is a B-, 64 to 67 is a C+, 60 to 63 is a C, 55 to 59 is a C-, 50 to 54 is a D, and anything below 50 is an F. Most faculties define failing grades as any grade below 50 per cent, but some specialized undergraduate faculties require a passing grade of 60 per cent.


In some undergraduate faculties, eligible elective courses can be taken for Credit/D/Fail standing instead of a percentage grade. This means that courses will appear on your transcript as either credit (55 per cent or higher), D (50 to 54 per cent) or F (50 per cent or lower).

Courses taken this way will not affect your GPA. If you’d like to take a difficult elective out- side your field of study, consider taking it through this system.

Academic probation

When students begin their studies, they are automatically classified as ‘in good standing.’ Even if you fail a course, this won’t always change, but students who fail multiple courses may be placed on ‘academic probation.’ This lowers the number of credits a student can take per semester. Students on probation can return to good standing by improving their academic results, and faculty advisors are happy to help.