Integrated First-Year Science University of British Columbia

Science One is a first-year integrated science sequence that presents biology, chemistry, math, and physics in a unified format. This 25-credit course includes lectures, laboratories, and tutorials. Students who complete Science One satisfy requirements for entry into all second-year courses in UBC’s Faculty of Science. The program emphasizes critical, independent thought as the basis of scientific inquiry. Students are encouraged to ask focused questions, suggest solutions, communicate, discuss, and defend their findings, ideas, and visions.

Scientific coursework covers topics from multiple different angles. For example, waves are presented as physical and mathematical descriptions of classical phenomena and then related to the quantum nature of matter. Each year a field trip to a marine research station provides field and laboratory exposure to shore-line ecology, marine biology, physical oceanography, and chemical ecology.

Lou Gass, a Science One faculty member, has also created “Science First,” a series of informal lunchtime seminars in which faculty talk about their research, why they became scientists, and what science means to them. He says, “Students come boiling out of Science One and are causing a ruckus in their other classes because they hear something and their hand goes up. Once students get their curiosity tweaked and start making connections they take off like a rocket” (University of British Columbia, 1996).

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Making Biology Attractive and Accessible to Majors in Other Sciences

Undergraduates majoring in the physical sciences, mathematics, and computer science will constitute an even larger proportion of the research community in the life sciences in the years ahead because of the heightened importance of these disciplines for biological research and the reach of many aspects of the life sciences into these other disciplines. The committee recommends that these students be given a sense of the excitement of biology

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