When you’re accepted to the UBC Faculty of Arts, you 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 Arts One and CAP 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 registration date you select your course on the  Student Service Centre (SSC).

Both programs run two-terms of the winter session, September to April. Both are restricted to first-year students, and both provide 18 credits, allowing an additional 12 other credits of electives.

Arts One is a single, integrated course led by a dynamic teaching team of professors from various disciplines and organized around a guiding theme. The theme unifies the texts, films, and other works studied that year. Each week one of the professors on the teaching team gives a lecture on a book, film, or other work that is being studied that week. While students have access to all professors on the teaching team, they interact mostly with one professor who facilitates their twice-weekly discussions (20 students) and once-weekly tutorials (4 students). Most of a students' time in Arts One is spent in the small seminar and tutorials (the focus of tutorials is devoted to peer feedback on the students' written work). There are no teaching assistants in Arts One; students work closely with their professors and student colleagues. Students continue on into 2nd year with all other second year students, and are not limited when choosing their degree program.

In the Coordinated Arts Program, all students in a stream move together as a cohort to their different CAP classes (three classes each term). 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-term 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
Restricted to First-Year students. Restricted to First-Year students. 100-level courses are 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 students; tutorials of 4 students. Class size varies.
CAP 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 tutorials of 4 students (one weekly lecture of 100 students). Students are not organized into cohorts.
18 required credits. Each stream is comprised of a specific group of courses to make up these credits. Proceed to any degree program; not limited. 18 required credits. 6 credits each of first-year English, History, and Philosophy. Proceed to any degree program; not limited. 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.
Faculty design courses to engage a similar topic and discuss shared issues within and across their disciplines. Faculty from various disciplines, organized around a guiding theme and reading list. Team-taught lectures, while students have the same professor all year for seminars and tutorials. No intentional cohesion or linking between courses.
Only offered at UBC Vancouver campus. Only offered at UBC Vancouver campus. Available at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan.



A fun, positive transition to university for first year students

Arts One is a small-class, full-year program (September to April) designed for first-year students admitted to the UBC Faculty of Arts or Faculty of Science. It is restricted to first-year students— either those arriving from high school with no university experience, or transfer students who still have a first-year designation upon entering UBC. While that is a major advantage for new students taking Arts One -- that your fellow classmates are first-year students as well -- Arts One students are by no means isolated because they will have a 'mainstream' experience in their other 12 credits of electives which are chosen from courses available to all first-year Arts students.

Excellent support

Aside from direct communication with your professors, and student colleagues who you already have something in common with (you all chose the same course!), students in both Arts One and CAP also 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 while completing your degree) and Go Global (which offers study abroad opportunities). Students in Arts One work closely with their peers and professors who they meet with three times a week; there are no teaching assistants in Arts One.

A small community

Arts One students have a lecture once a week of approximately 100 first-year students, and 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 have the opportunity 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 who plan social and academic events each year, so you can connect with other students in the program. Past events include 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 (Science One and CSP) are housed in the IBLC Gateway Suite. Your home base for your first year at UBC.  Students enjoy exclusive access to a beautiful and quiet study area in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (a coveted space because it’s sometimes hard to find a quiet place on campus), along with close proximity to your professors' offices and the main office. So we're nearby when you have questions 🙂

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. Students write a Capstone essay in April and one final exam.  Arts One alumni have said that they found Arts One to be less difficult than taking six separate classes during an academic year.

An interdisciplinary approach

Arts One streams are led by a dynamic team of professors from various disciplines and organized around a guiding theme and reading list. Students enjoy an integrated approach to the humanities and social sciences that focuses on critical thinking, writing skills, and class participation. Instead of going from History class to English class to Philosophy class - with each class completely unconnected to the others - you'll study great works from a variety of perspectives. Current and former professors come from a variety of UBC departments including 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

Many students find the Arts One Program an attractive and rewarding introduction to university studies.  It is a demanding program and is likely to appeal especially to students with a sense of intellectual curiosity and commitment. Its organization in small groups allows students to get to know each other and their professors in an atmosphere conducive to the exchange of ideas and considerable discussion.  Arts One is a writing-intensive course: students write essays approximately every two weeks, and each receives peer feedback from their tutorial group of four students plus their professor.

You can see some of the excellent writing that students produce by the end of their first year by visiting the online Arts One student journal, ONE , where select papers are published each year.

Successful completion of Arts One provides students with 18 credits: 6 each in first-year English, History and Philosophy. It 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 BA.; the additional 3 credits are achieved in upper level courses). Students continue on into their 2nd year with all other second year students and are not limited when choosing their degree program (Major, Minor, Honors).


UBC students register for courses using the SSC (Student Service Centre).  This includes registering for Arts One. The course code for Arts One is 'ARTS'.  Students will register in a lecture and one seminar. The small 4-person tutorial will be arranged around your timetable, with your student colleagues and professor during your first Arts One seminar in September.  Visit our 'How To Register' page for details, including a step-by-step guide.


No, not at all. Arts One is 18 credits of your first year; students generally take 30 credits per year.  So by taking a full course-load in the Faculty of Arts for the remaining years of your degree (30 credits x 4 years = 120 credits), you can graduate in four years. As well, Arts One students achieve the mandatory first-year Writing Requirement, as well as 3 credits of the Literature Requirement (so don't take those as electives).

In Arts One you'll enjoy an integrated approach to 18 credits (the equivalent of six separate 3-credit courses).  Instead of going from History class to English class to Philosophy class - with each class completely unconnected to the others - you'll study great works from a variety of perspectives;  each week is one lecture, two seminars, and a tutorial. So students in Arts One have fewer class time hours per week compared to taking several individual courses.

Is it a heavy work load?  Only you can answer that because that's subjective. Each student has different interests and approaches. You cannot -- nor would you want to -- base your decision upon someone else's opinion.  When it comes to workload it's impossible to determine how difficult or easy a student would find Arts One (or CAP or any course for that matter) because it is of course up to the individual student.  After all, it is the student who is ultimately responsible for applying the continuous effort and diligence required to maintain success at university.


We asked the teaching team this question and here's what they said:

“The teaching teams are careful to choose the most cost effective, quality editions. When they [students] just go with what is available to them, they end up with completely different translations, the wrong edition entirely (e.g., students who ‘already had’ Frankenstein invariably had the revised edition, whereas we specifically wanted to work with Shelley’s original novel and the accompanying secondary texts of contemporary science that Shelly drew from – and, no, they couldn’t get this from our library because the few copies were long gone in the hands of the couple students who used the strategy ahead of them, followed by much pointless complaining about why the library doesn’t have scores of copies of our editions, etc. etc.). Finally, for discussions in seminar or tutorial, we 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” – and it had better be using the same wording.”


Which is why students considering purchasing books from former students must ensure that the ISBN/edition is the same as the one on the current reading list (and that it has not changed). Many departments, including Arts One, submit their order to the UBC Bookstore to ensure that there’s a supply of the required books on campus for students to purchase, if they wish.  Check out the UBC Bookstore website for the final order list, as well as Used Books, Book Rentals, eBooks, and Buybacks.  That said, students are welcome to purchase (borrow, rent) their books anywhere they like – that’s why we include the ISBN’s; to ensure that students use the proper edition no matter where they obtain their books.


Arts One students move to second year with all other 2nd year students. They are not limited in their choice of degree program. Though Arts One students earn credit for first-year English, History and Philosophy, they are not limited to majoring in those fields. Arts One students go on to various majors in the Faculty of Arts, and some decide to pursue majors in other faculties or institutions.  Please see “What’s After Arts One?” for more information.

Arts One students can choose to major in any area available to all mainstream students, or transfer to other faculties, schools, or institutions.  While students receive credit for English, History, and Philosophy they are not limited to these subjects as majors, and are just as likely to pursue degrees in Political Science, Psychology, Music, Sociology, and other fields. Arts One has instructors from many disciplines including social sciences like Political Science (for example, one of our permanent faculty members teaches courses in International Relations).  Check the themes page to find out who is teaching in a particular year because the theme/team changes every two years.

Arts One provides an excellent foundation for study across a range of disciplines, degrees, faculties, schools, and institutions.

Absolutely!  UBC Arts One students come from around the world!  That's one of the reasons Arts One celebrates 50 years (since 1967) of enthusiastic, thought-provoking, well-rounded discussions and points of view:  because of the diversity of students and professors!

“You begin to understand why some of your classmates see things in a different way than you, and how amazing that is. You must have an open mind to people and their ideas. I grew so much by realizing that not everyone will see things the way that I do. There was several times when I would mention something that I saw as so apparent, yet not many others saw it. Every class, I learnt something new by my peers. The tutorials were extremely helpful, as well. Arts One made me a better student, a better friend, and a better person.”

Caitlin F., Arts One 2010 W, 'Dangerous Questions, Forbidden Knowledge'

For more reasons and information, check out the 'Why Choose Arts One' page!


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

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