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BSc second year specialization

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Hello there,

I recently transferred to UBC second-year, and I'm faced with the task of choosing my top three specializations. I'm feeling a bit confused between Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Microbiology and Immunology, Cellular and Physiological Sciences, and Biology.

Since I'm new to UBC and don't know anyone here, I would greatly appreciate any information or advice you can offer regarding these programs. Specifically, I'm curious about the level of difficulty, the course offerings, and how hard it is to maintain a high GPA within these specializations.

I'm open to any comments or insights you may have. Thank you so much!

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  • 5 months later...

I cant speak to the other specializations but I did do 3rd year of CAPS. Overall I would say that the classes were pretty difficult and I often regretted my decision to take CAPS knowing that I would have gotten higher grades/had more time for ECs if I had taken an easier major. From what I have heard, pharmacology is similar, and my friends who are doing fourth year CAPS now have told me its quite difficult. Also remember that some of these majors are honours only, meaning you have to do a honours thesis which is a lot of work and really not that useful (in my opinion) unless you love research. My best advice would be to pick something that is easier to get a good GPA in and that you are reasonably interested in. I would recommend going on UBCs academic calendar where you can see the required courses for each specialization. Then you can go on UBCgrades.com and look at historical averages and grade distributions for those required courses. Do keep in mind that the grade distributions can be misleading for smaller classes - it may appear to have a high average but the students could just all be very smart. UBCgrades is a great way to pick electives as well. 

At the end of the day, any major is fine to get into med school provided you can get a good GPA and have time to work on stuff outside of academics as well. Personally, I did end up doing all right GPA wise, but found that it was an incredible amount of work to keep up. Sometimes some of these programs have "prestige" because they are hard to get into, but trust me that doesn't mean anything in the long run. If you are in second year now just think about what classes you are generally good at/enjoy, take a look at UBCgrades and pick accordingly. You may also want to consider integrated sciences where you will probably have more flexibility around which classes you get to take. You may have already picked a second year specialization, but in most cases a lot of these majors have the same/similar required courses until 3rd year, and you may still be able to transfer out if you think you made the wrong decision. It is very difficult to transfer out once you are in third year though. 

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