If you’re ready for an interdisciplinary, community-based first-year arts experience at the University of British Columbia, you’re ready to “Reserve Your Spot” in the Arts One program.

Start by creating an account and application to UBC on the UBC undergraduate admissions site. You can then simultaneously work on the separate UBC application and the Arts One “Reserve Your Spot” form HERE. Admission to the Faculty of Arts at UBC (Vancouver Campus only) is a prerequisite for admission to the Arts One Program.

You are not required to apply to Arts One. However, the program can fill up fast and so we will reserve seats for students who qualify after they have been admitted to UBC. After you have provided the information below and we confirm that you qualify, we will contact you about registering for Arts One. We will begin reviewing complete applications after February 14, 2020 and continue until the summer registration period (or spaces fill up). We look forward to hearing from you!

Reserving Your Spot in the UBC Arts One Program is easy!

  • Fill in the online Reserve Your Spot form (right now, before registration even opens).
  • The Program Chairs and/or professors will assess your submission.
  • You will be advised on your Arts One admission status.
  • If you are accepted, we will hold a seat in your preferred seminar, meaning you can rest assured that you are accepted to and will have a seat in 18 credits of Arts One. Now you can go and figure out your other 12 credits of electives.

Admission Requirements

Arts One is open to any student accepted into the first year in the Faculty of Arts. Registration is first-come first-served, but we can reserve seats early for students who qualify. Arts One is a writing intensive course and prospective students should meet the criteria by submitting:

  • A writing sample that shows your best work.
    • We are looking for academic writing that involves textual analysis and critical argument. Personal essays and forms of creative writing will not suffice.
    • Writing Sample can be a revision of any academic essay that you have written for a class, such as English, English Literature, World Literature, History, Philosophy, etc.
    • There is no page limit, but typically the length is within 4-10 pages, double-spaced.
  • A record of your high school grades supplied by your school or relevant government agency. We would like to see on your transcript:
    • a minimum of 80% in English 12 or English Lit 12. (International students’ grades will be translated into British Columbia equivalents to determine eligibility. For US students this typically means a minimum of B+ is needed in senior year English.)
    • or a minimum score of 4 in AP English.
    • or a minimum score of 5 in IB Higher Level English Lit.


Please note: Students who have not achieved one of these minimum marks (or whose final marks are not yet available) are still encouraged to fill out the form to reserve your seat in Arts One. If you have questions about fulfilling any of these requirements, please contact our Arts One office at arts.fyp@ubc.ca


The “Reserve Your Spot” option will cease on Friday June 12, 2020.

Unreserved/general seats will be available for general First-Year registration on the SSC (Student Service Centre) when first-year registration begins on Tuesday June 30.

As with all UBC courses, students are able to drop/add any courses until the UBC add/drop dates. There is typically movement in most courses throughout the summer, so keep watch on the system for a seat and – if/when a seat in your chosen course becomes available – make a change.

2020 Theme: Appearance and Reality

How do we distinguish the virtual from the actual, or the factual from the fictitious–and how secure is the boundary between them? The attempt to frame a distinction between appearance and reality has always been a major preoccupation in social, political, philosophical, and literary works, leaving some to question whether ultimate reality is fated to lie beyond our grasp, others to wonder whether there is some way to access reality through appearance, and others to question or reject the distinction entirely. This course explores the nature and challenges of the appearance—reality distinction via a diverse literature of ancient, modern, and postmodern works. While the idea that “things are not always as they seem” is a very old notion, it has never been more timely, as social media has greatly amplified the power to disseminate views tainted by personal values, and opinions packaged as irrefutable fact. In a world permeated by allegations of “fake news,” allusions to “virtual reality,” and where once venerable grand theories can look like little more than competing and self-serving stories, sustained reflection on the validity, salience, and evolving forms of the appearance—reality distinction beckons.