When you’re accepted to the UBC Faculty of Arts, you will receive a Registration Date and a UBC Student Number. If you’re considering the Faculty of Arts you have three choices when registering:

  • Arts One: An 18-credit, integrated, team-taught program focused on a general theme of concern within the humanities and social sciences. Themes vary by year.
  • Co-ordinated Arts Program (CAP): An 18-credit coordinated academic program focusing on core topics in the humanities, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. Students choose one of five streams of courses.
  • Custom Timetable: Individually designed timetables chosen by students. Courses are not linked by common themes or assignments. Class sizes are typically large and 100-level courses are open to first, second, third, and fourth year students.

Both CAP and Arts One allow for an additional 12 credits of electives (a full course load for a year in the Faculty of Arts is 30 credits).

The registration method is the same for all UBC courses. On your given registration date, you will select and add your course choices in your Student Service Centre (SSC).

Both programs run from September to April, and they both provide 18 credits. See below for the credits Arts One fulfills, and see the CAP website for information on credits CAP fulfills. Students taking either program can take up to 12 other credits in their first year.

Arts One is a single, integrated course that is team-taught by four or five instructors who work together to create the theme, the reading list, and the assignments. The group of instructors take turns giving the weekly lectures, and students mostly interact with one instructor who facilitates their twice-weekly seminar discussions (20 students) and once-weekly tutorials (with four students doing peer review on each others’ essays). Most of students’ time in Arts One is spent in the small seminars and tutorials, with lectures of up to 100 students only being once a week. There are no Teaching Assistants in Arts One; students work closely with their professors.

In the Coordinated Arts Program, all students in a stream move together as a cohort to their different CAP classes (three classes each semester). For example, 100 students in a stream may take a philosophy course, an economics course, and a political science course together, but the courses are taught by individual instructors who are specialists in their field. The classes are coordinated in the sense that the professors work together to make sure there aren’t overlapping due dates for assignments and, in most streams, the professors work together to incorporate similar themes into their curricula and participate in a joint learning activity during the semester. CAP courses are restricted to CAP students, and the larger classes may have Teaching Assistants who run weekly smaller-group discussions like in some other first-year courses in the Faculty of Arts. In most of the streams, CAP students also take a core two-term 25-student maximum course focused on academic writing and literary studies (the PPE stream has a one-semester course that focuses only on academic writing).

Please see the table below for a comparison of Arts One, CAP, and custom timetable options.

Coordinated Arts Program (CAP)  Arts One Program
 Custom Timetable
Humanities and Social Sciences Humanities and Social Sciences Humanities and/or Social Sciences
18 required credits. Each stream is comprised of a specific group of courses to make up these credits. 18 required credits. 6 credits each of first-year English, History, and Philosophy. 30 credits is considered a full course load. The only first-year requirement is enrollment in an English or ASTU course that fulfills the Faculty of Arts’ Writing Requirement.
Fulfills Faculty of Arts’ Writing Requirement and 3 credits toward the Literature Requirement. Note: PPE does not fill the Faculty of Arts’ Literature Requirement. Fulfills Faculty of Arts’ Writing Requirement and 3 credits toward the Literature Requirement Students are responsible for ensuring they take courses that fulfill the Faculty of Arts’ degree requirements.
Restricted to First-Year students. Restricted to First-Year students. Open to students in any year and any program.
Maximum enrolment of 100 students per stream (except PPE and Individual & Society, at 125); seminars of approx. 25 students. Maximum enrolment of 100 students; seminars of 20; tutorials of 4. Class size varies.
Faculty design courses to engage a similar topic and discuss shared issues within and across their disciplines. Reading list & assignments developed by a team of professors based on a chosen theme. Team-taught lectures, while students have the same professor all year for seminars and tutorials. No intentional cohesion or linking between courses.
Students are organized into cohort groups, and take courses together reflective of a chosen theme. Arts One is a single course worth 18 credits; students spend most of their time in a small seminar group of 20 students, and attend a weekly lecture with up to 100 students. Students are not organized into cohorts.
Only offered at UBC Vancouver campus. Only offered at UBC Vancouver campus. Available at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.


First year students only

Arts One and the Coordinated Arts Program (CAP) are small-class, full-year programs designed for first-year Faculty of Arts students. They are restricted to first-year students—either those who are arriving from high school who have no university experience, or transfer students who still have a first-year designation upon entering UBC. There is a major advantage in new students taking Arts One or CAP: fellow classmates are first-year students as well. Unlike cohort programs (such as Arts One), students can take regular 100-level courses in any year, from their first to their final year.

Excellent support

In both Arts One and CAP, students have exclusive access to Academic Advisors who are dedicated to these two programs, as well as specialized information sessions about majors they can pursue after their first year, and also about programs like Arts Co-Op (which allows you to get work experience at the same time as you are completing your degree) and Go Global (which offers study abroad opportunities). Students in Arts One work closely with their peers and professors, as there are no Teaching Assistants, and they meet with peers and their individual professors directly three times a week.

A small community

Many first year courses in the Faculty of Arts are quite large; in Arts One students have a lecture once a week of up to 100 students, but spend most of their time in a seminar group of 20 students and a tutorial group of 4 plus their professor. This means that not only do you get individual attention and support, you are also likely to make good friends in your small Arts One community—and having a social group to spend time with and study with is important as you start off on your university studies!

Arts One has a student council that plans social and academic events each year, so you can connect with other students in the program. Past events have included movie nights, debates, holiday socials, pumpkin carving for Halloween, 'open mic' nights where students and faculty show off their multiple talents, and more.

Finally, Arts One, CAP, and two first-year programs in the Faculty of Science enjoy exclusive access to a beautiful and quiet Gateway Programs study space in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (a coveted space because it’s sometimes hard to find quiet places to study in this part of campus!).

A single course

Arts One provides a unified course experience for 18 of the 30 credits normally taken in the first year at UBC, which means your work is more focused, you don’t have competing deadlines for assignments, and there is only one final exam for all those credits, at the end of the year (in April). Students in their later years at UBC sometimes tell us that they found Arts One to be less difficult than taking six separate classes during an academic year.

An interdisciplinary approach

Arts One is team-taught by professors from multiple disciplines in the Faculty of Arts. Current and past professors have come from Anthropology, Asian Studies, English, Classics, Film, German, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology and Spanish. This means you will experience studying works from different disciplinary perspectives.

Improving your writing

Arts One is a writing-intensive course: students write essays approximately every two weeks, and each one is peer reviewed by a tutorial group of four students plus their professor. Most students who successfully complete Arts One, pay attention to feedback from peers and their professor, and work to improve, do improve their writing by the end of the year.

You can see some of the excellent writing students are able to produce by the end of the year in our student journal, called ONE. Students in Arts One submit essays for the journal, and we choose the best ones to be published each year.

Successful completion of Arts One provides students with 18 credits: 6 each in first-year English, History and Philosophy. It also fulfills the Faculty of Arts’ writing requirement, and 3 credits of the literature requirement (the Faculty of Arts requires 6 credits of literature for a B.A.).


Students who wish to enrol in Arts One must meet the University Admission Requirements. You can reserve your spot in Arts One by filling out a simple form here. Students accepted into the Faculty of Arts can register in Arts One so long as they have a minimum mark in a high school English course, or, if they don’t meet that minimum, they can submit a writing sample. The vast majority of students who submit writing samples are accepted into the program, so please don’t let that deter you!

All students must register for courses using UBC’s Student Service Centre. Once you have been accepted to the Faculty of Arts, you can register in Arts One by going to the course code ARTS and the standard timetable listed there. Please see the themes page for information on the themes offered.

Register in a lecture section (the same for all Arts One students) and a seminar section (20 students in each seminar, led by one professor for the whole year). You can then add other courses of your choice, up to an additional maximum of 12 credits for the year. Registration for Arts One is on a first-come, first-served basis, so register as soon as you can. Your four-student weekly tutorial meeting will be scheduled in the first week or so of classes in September, with your seminar professor.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process. For more information on registration, visit the UBC Registration page. Or, you may contact the Arts One office at arts.one@ubc.ca for help.


No. Arts One is designed to help you fulfill some of your degree requirements without adding additional time to the length of your degree. If you continue to take a full course-load in the Faculty of Arts for the remaining years of your degree, you will be able to graduate on time.

The workload in Arts One is comparable to six, 3-credit courses over the year (remember, it’s 18 credits!). Students read, write and discuss quite a bit in Arts One, but instead of doing so for three different courses each term, they are focusing their work on one course. Students are in class for fewer hours per week in Arts One compared to three separate courses per term (6 hours/week versus 9 hours/week), and they use that extra time to complete readings and essays.

Each of the two groups has its own reading list, and a list of the specific book editions to purchase is on the page for each group (see the themes page for this information).

The teaching teams are careful to choose the most cost effective, quality editions. Different editions have different page numbers, which makes it difficult to keep up with discussions in lectures and seminars. In class, students and professors literally need to be on the same page – if dealing with any text of any length, we need to be able as a group to “turn to page ‘x’ to see what character ‘y’ is saying”, or carefully examine “how argument ‘z’ is being developed.” In addition, other additions may have different translations of works that were originally published in languages other than English. This can lead to significant differences in interpretations at times, which can be problematic. The teaching teams have chosen specific translations of such works because they believe they are the best available at a reasonable cost.

Students who have purchased the wrong editions frequently find themselves scrambling at the last minute to try to find the correct one in the library (which is usually checked out) or online (and the books often can’t arrive in time). Sometimes they end up purchasing two editions of the same book. It is better to purchase the correct editions to begin with.

If you want to buy the books somewhere other than the UBC Bookstore, use the ISBN numbers to make sure you’re getting the correct editions!

Finally, we realize that the cost for books for Arts One can seem high, and as noted above, professors do consider cost as part of their calculation when choosing texts. It is important also to remember that Arts One is 18 credits, so consider that you’re buying books for six courses rather than one, and the cost of your books will likely seem more understandable.

Though Arts One students earn credit for first-year English, History and Philosophy, they are not limited to majoring in those fields later. Arts One students go onto many majors in the Faculty of Arts, and some decide to pursue majors in other Faculties, such as Commerce, Kinesiology, Computer Science, and majors in the sciences.

Please see “What’s After Arts One?” for more information.

Arts One has instructors from many disciplines in Arts, including social sciences like Political Science (one of our permanent faculty members teaches courses in International Relations) and Sociology. Some of our instructors change every two years, so check the themes page for who is teaching in any particular year.

Sometimes students think that if they want to major in the social sciences they must take the Coordinated Arts Program. But the fact is, Arts One students go on to choose many different kinds of majors, and are not restricted to those in the Humanities. The most common majors for Arts One students in the last 10 years or so are: English, Psychology, History, Political Science, International Relations, Sociology, Art History, Philosophy and Geography.

So we suggest that students take the first-year program that suits their interests the most, as both Arts One and CAP (as well as a custom timetable) are excellent foundations for multiple majors.

We have students in Arts One from many parts of the world—please see this page for a map of where students from the past 10 years or so have attended secondary schools.

Arts One is a reading and writing-intensive program, so in order to ensure that students are able to succeed we just ask that they earn a certain mark in a high school English course, or that they provide us with a writing sample before attending classes. See here for more information. The vast majority of students for whom English is an additional language and who want to take Arts One are allowed in the program!


Please contact us! We’re happy to try and help. Our email address is arts.one@ubc.ca. You can also join us on our media feeds for social and academic updates:

Arts One on Facebook: @ubcarts1
Arts One on Twitter: @UBCArtsOne
Arts One on Instagram: @ubc_artsone
Arts One on YouTube: Arts One Open