BA Admissions

Take your first step towards a career in Economics, apply to one of our programs.

Admissions to the Majors, Combined Majors or Honours program in Economics is by application only.

Per the UBC Calendar, “selection for admission is based on a weighted average calculated on the grades from all credits of post-secondary coursework attempted, with the exception of 12 credits that may be excluded from the calculation. Grades from Economics and related courses are weighted more heavily in the calculation.

In particular, the admissions score heavily weights all admission requirements, as well as additional courses in Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Philosophy and Political Science. Conversely, courses outside these subjects will receive minimal weight. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to select courses that will have a higher weight in their admissions score.

Admission to the Major, Combined Major or the Honours program in Economics requires a student to have completed at least 54 credits.

The grades used for the computation of the Econ GPA must be from at least 54 credits, and the credits must include:

  • 6 credits of Principles of Economics (equivalent to UBC Econ 101 and 102)
  • 6 credits of first-year university calculus (equivalent to UBC MATH 104 and MATH 105)
  • 3 credits that satisfy the writing component of the Bachelor of Arts Writing and Research requirement (WRDS 150, ASTU 150, CAP, Arts One, ENGL 100 or an approved equivalent)
  • 6 credits of second- or third-year level courses in Economics (courses in this category are not acceptable unless they require Principles of Economics as a prerequisite).

Please see the UBC Calendar for further information. Admissions requirements are subject to revision in the future.

Information for degree requirements about 2019WT2 courses

Please note that you can use credits obtained from economics courses in 2019WT2 on Cr/D/F basis can be used toward the fulfillment of the requirements for a major/combined major/minor degree in economics.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application

Admission to the Honours/Majors/Combined Majors program in Economics is not automatic. To be admitted students must submit a formal application online. Because there are a limited number of places some students who satisfy the minimum prerequisites may not be admitted.

The application will be available on the Vancouver School of Economics website March 15 and the deadline is May 20.

The application form will be available on March 15. An online application for admission to the Honours/Majors/Combined Majors program should be submitted by May 20, prior to registering for the final 60 credits, to ensure that the student will be considered for admission. Note:  We will not accept LATE applications after this deadline. There are no exceptions.

There is no fee to apply to any of the economics undergraduate programs.

Sorry, we will not accept LATE applications after this deadline for any of the programs listed above.  There are no exceptions.

An application will be accepted, under certain conditions, from a student who has not met all requirements, providing that the student indicates on their application online that there is a firm plan for these missing requirements to be met by August 31. It is the student's responsibility to inform the Vancouver School of Economics, in writing and by the deadline, that the missing requirements have been completed -- the School will not seek this information independently. If otherwise eligible, such students will be admitted provisionally.

Official transcripts of the student's record from all post-secondary educational institutions attended, other than UBC, must be submitted to be considered for admission.

No, resumes and reference letters are not required.

To be admitted students must submit a formal application online. The requirements for application/admission include the following:

  1. The student must be registered at UBC.
  2. The student must be registered in the Faculty of Arts.
  3. The student must have completed at least 54 credits of coursework that counts towards a BA degree.
  4. The student must have completed:
    (i) 6 credits of Principles of Economics (equivalent to UBC Econ 101 and Econ 102);
    (ii) 6 credits of University-level Calculus (equivalent to UBC Math 104 and Math 105);
    (iii) 3 credits that satisfy the Writing component of the Faculty of Arts Writing and Research Requirement (ASTU 150, WRDS 150, CAP, Arts One, English 100 or an approved equivalent);
    (iv) 6 credits of second-year or third year Economics (courses in this category are not acceptable unless they require Principles of Economics as a prerequisite);Courses required under (i)-(iv) cannot be taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis.

Because there are a limited number of places, about 35% or more of students who satisfy the requirements are not admitted each year.

Timing is very important. The online application is due by May 20. It must be submitted on time. We do not reserve places for late applicants. If you do not have all the requirements listed above by May 20, but you expect to have completed them all by August 31, then apply on May 20, and include on your online form a statement of what requirements you are missing and how you plan to make them up. If you show a clear plan to complete the missing requirement(s) by August 31 then your application will be considered on a provisional basis. It is your responsibility to inform us when you have completed missing requirements.

For example, most College transfer students will not have been accepted to UBC by May 20. If you have applied to come to UBC in Winter 2022/2023 then apply to Economics by May 20, and tell us on the application form that you are waiting to hear about UBC admission. We will then deal with your application on a provisional basis, until you inform us that you have been admitted to UBC. Likewise if you do not have the required courses you must make them up in Summer, either in College or at UBC.

Many College transfers study Commerce (in the Sauder Business School) courses and then try to switch to Economics when they are denied admission to UBC Sauder Business School. Be aware that we do not accept COMM courses for any purpose in Economics. They do not count as Econ Principles or as Econ second-year and third-year courses for application purposes. If you wish to study Economics in UBC then prepare yourself by studying Econ and Math courses, rather than COMM courses, in College. In particular, courses that transfer to UBC as Math 1st are not acceptable as satisfying the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC Math 104 and UBC Math 105 requirements.

Your application must be accompanied by official transcripts covering all post-secondary courses taken other than UBC, must be submitted to be considered for admission.
If you are not accepted to Economics on first application then you will likely not be accepted ever. Please move on to another major immediately. Many more students are intent on majoring in Economics than the Vancouver School of Economics can possibly accommodate. Our programs are heavily oversubscribed and, unfortunately, each year we are forced to turn away about 35% or more of all applicants because we do not have sufficient spaces to accommodate all demand. If you are not in the top 250 applicants in one year, it is highly unlikely that you would be in the top 250 in any other year, when there is a whole new panel of applicants to be considered.

Please see the other question/answers in this FAQ file for further information on these topics.

We regret to inform you that no applications can be accepted from students who wish to graduate within the next academic year (May/November 2023). All Economics programs are two-year programs. Enrolment in Economics Majors/Combined Majors programs is limited by the Vancouver School of Economics’ capacity to offer the required final year research-seminar course Econ 490. All spaces in Econ 490 for Winter 2022/2023 Term 1: Sept-Dec 2021 and Term 2: Jan-Apr 2023 have already been allocated to students who applied to our two-year programs, on schedule, in May 2021. There is no possibility for students who apply to Economics Programs in May 2022 to take Econ 490 before Winter 2023/2024 even if they have completed all the prerequisites. This is not negotiable -- all places in Econ 490 have already been allocated. Students who wish to graduate from UBC in May/November 2023 must do so with a Major other than Economics.

In principle you may apply more than once, as long as you satisfy all the requirements for application. A student who applies to the Economic Majors or a Combined Economics program and who has 75 or more credits on their academic record requires, in addition to the standard prerequisites, that the student have a Major Specialization (other than Economics) declared on the Student Services Center. It is a Faculty of Arts requirement that every student have a declared major at the beginning of Third year. No application to Economics will even be considered from a student who has 75 or more credits and who does not satisfy this requirement.

While it is possible to apply more than once, however, please think very carefully about pursuing this possibility. Many more students are intent on majoring in Economics than the Vancouver School of Economics can possibly accommodate. Every year we are forced to turn down applicants because we do not have sufficient spaces to accommodate all demand. If you are not in the top 250 in one year, it is highly unlikely that you would be in the top 250 in any other year, when there is a whole new panel of applicants to be considered. In addition, no applications are being accepted to Fourth-year -- that is, from applicants wishing to graduate within 12 months of application. All spaces in the graduating course - Econ 490 - were already allocated to students in the previous year, in which you applied and were unsuccessful. All applicants must wait 18 months before taking this course, whether or not they have the prerequisites; this is because all spaces in this course have already been allocated two years in advance.

Each year a number of third-year students (some who have applied and not been accepted, others who have chosen not to apply) make the unfortunate mistake of overloading on Economics courses and then applying with the hope that they will be accepted since Economics is the only major they have prepared for (or that they are interested in, or that they are sincere about, etc.). This hope, and its associated poor choice of study plan, will lead only to disappointment. The UBC Senate requires that every applicant to Economics be admitted or not admitted based on a single selection criterion which depends on their GPA rank and on the availability of spaces in the program. This criterion is applied equally to all applicants -- zero weight or favour is given to applications based on the number of Economics courses they have completed. Further, to reward this kind of behaviour would be grossly unfair to the many students who have submitted applications and who have accepted the results. The Vancouver School of Economics insists on keeping faith with the many who have submitted to the standard process.

In short, if you apply to Economics and are turned down, your first concern and priority must be to select an alternative major with which to graduate. This prepares you for graduation in time with your cohort. Graduation on time with a BA is the most important objective; choice of major is very much secondary to this and please remember that no application to the Economic Major or a Combined Economics program will be accepted from a student who has 75 or more credits on their academic record, and who does not have a Major Specialization (other than Economics) declared on the Student Services Center.

Credits & Courses Info

Yes, the Vancouver School of Economics will use IB, AP and A-Levels transfer-credit courses granted by UBCV admissions in the GPA computation for the Economic Combined Majors/Majors/Honours Application.

Yes. Economics requires UBC Math 104 and UBC Math 105 (or equivalents) as prerequisites for the Economics application process and as course prerequisites (i.e. Econ 301, 302, 325, 326, 490 etc.).

Equivalents to Math 104 are: Math 100, 102, 110, 111, 120, 180, 184, SCIE 001
Equivalents to Math 105 are: Math 101, 103, 121, SCIE 001

Interdisciplinary Studies - IDST

Students who are unable to major in Economics or in one of the combined majors of which it forms a part may, of course, retain a secondary focus on Economics in their 300- and 400-level coursework by adding the declarable Minor in Economics to a Major in another subject in which they also have a strong interest; and most are well served by this alternative.

For the few for whom this option is not attractive, however, either because they have no strong interest in any other specific subject or because they need to preserve Economics as the principal focus of their studies, the Arts Faculty’s individually planned Interdisciplinary Studies Programme - usually shortened to IDST - might be of some interest.

The Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (IDST) program allows students to build a unique BA program in an area unavailable through an existing major or minor. An Interdisciplinary Studies program may not be combined with any major, honours, minor, or other specialization should your application be successful though.

No interdisciplinary programme can include as many courses coded ECON or cross-listed with such courses as does the Major, and a specific rule, enforced by a block on Degree Navigator, prevents IDST students from earning more than 18 countable credits from upper-level courses in the subject chosen as their primary discipline.  Nor can it provide as extensive or as thorough a training in Economics. But it is not impossible for IDST students who choose Economics as their primary discipline and who make a careful selection of supporting courses related to their individual interests in it to retain Economics as the primary influence on their undergraduate education, even though it is not their major. And this is especially true because the School of Economics, alone in the Faculty of Arts, regularly offers a research-intensive course in Economics designed - and reserved - for IDST students.

On this page
    Back to toparrow_upward