Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About CAP

Each CAP stream combines distinct scholarly perspectives from different disciplines to consider a broad research topic. You might choose a CAP stream based on the courses it offers, or based on the kinds of questions you might get to consider with your cohort. You might also want to think about what majors you are considering, and what pre-requisites you might need to satisfy.  For more information on the different streams open to you, visit the streams page. In all of the CAP streams, regardless of the core courses, you will have the opportunity to engage with faculty and peers in a more in-depth manner than in the Custom Timetable. The relationships you build can contribute to a more dynamic and supportive first-year experience at UBC.

For additional assistance on choosing a stream, please contact the Academic Advising Office at (604) 822-4028 or (Domestic students), (International students), or (Aboriginal students).

No. All of the courses in a particular stream contribute to the CAP's multidisciplinary learning community; to participate in the program, students must enroll in a stream and take all required core courses for that stream. Each learning community, or stream, focuses on a broad research topic (e.g., People & Planet), and the linked courses are designed to engage this topic across the disciplines. Students can take up to 12 additional credits outside of CAP as electives in their first year of study.

Every year since 2005, on average, one-quarter of CAP students have come from outside Canada. In comparison to Arts One and the Custom Timetable, the percentage of incoming international Arts students is significantly higher in CAP, which suggests that CAP is the program of choice for international students.The diversity of students in CAP classrooms contributes to an environment of dynamic cultural knowledge and perspectives. Both international and domestic students gain exposure to a variety of skill sets and learning styles, and by interacting closely with their peers, students have the opportunity to share views on global experiences and issues. The cohort experience of CAP prepares our students to deal with the complexities of increasingly globalized societies.For more information and resources for international students, visit the International Students website.

One: you don't need to choose your major in your first year, you still have time to decide! Two: yes. Though it is not required to choose your major in your first year, CAP can help you decide which major is right for you in the future. By introducing you to multiple disciplines and highlighting the differences and similarities between scholarly practices in each, CAP can give you greater insight into which subject area is a good fit for you. For more information on the CAP streams, visit Our Streams.

Yes. If you have chosen to major in a discipline in the Faculty of Arts, CAP can help you get started in that discipline. Moreover, you can begin to fulfill your degree requirements right away. If you know which subject you would like to major in, be sure to examine the different stream options and choose one that fits your academic plans. For more information on the CAP streams, visit Our Streams.

Each of the first-year options in the Faculty of Arts requires a commitment to rigorous and in-depth study. CAP requires the same number of classroom hours as the Custom Timetable option. In general, the amount of work – in terms of readings, study time, and assignments – is similar across all three programs. Though the content of your CAP courses may be linked, this does not mean less work is required of you.

In ASTU 100 and ASTU 101, students will learn to orchestrate scholarly voices and produce research papers at a university level. Our alumni often report that ASTU has helped improve their academic writing skills. Students are also encouraged to meet with their instructors during office hours if they have any concerns or questions. If you need additional assistance, UBC's Writing Centre is a great resource to gain feedback on your writing.

CAP is designed to introduce you to a variety of disciplinary perspectives and help you develop abilities that will benefit you in future academic and professional endeavours. Additionally, many students who complete CAP go on to achieve higher GPAs in subsequent years than students who chose the Custom Timetable for their first year of study. Significantly, CAP alumni consistently report that they would recommend the program to high school students. Read some of the testimonials from our former students to learn how CAP helped them beyond first year.

No. CAP 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.

For questions related to your personal health and well-being, visit the Live Well, Learn Well: Counselling, Health, & Wellness centre on campus.

Contact Counselling Services at 604-822-3811 or drop-by Room 1040 Brock Hall, 1874 East Mall. Contact Health Services at 604-822-7011 or drop-by the Main Floor of the UBC Hospital/Koerner Pavillion at M334-2211 Wesbrook Mall.

For questions related to your academic studies (ie. exam conflicts, transfer credits, grade disputes, etc.), contact the Arts Academic Advising Office at 604-822-4028. If you would like to email them, please include your student number and select the appropriate email address from the list below:

Newly Admitted Students (Domestic) –
Continuing Students (Domestic) –
International Students –
Aboriginal Students –
For more information on the resources available to you at UBC, check out the student resources and services on the New to UBC page.

You can also check out the Arts Learning Plan First Year Plan to find out how to make the most of your first year at UBC.


About CAP and Online Learning

Obviously, the big difference is that classes aren't held in person. We build our community in the online environment. That’s something that CAP faculty and staff have been working a lot towards. Our social events take place virtually and there have been changes to some of the community-engaged learning opportunities we typically offer.

But most of what makes CAP special stays the same!

  • You will get to know a small group of peers, all of them in first-year like you.
  • Your classes will be smaller than many at UBC. There is a maximum of 100-125 students per cohort and a maximum of 25 students per discussion group.
  • Taking linked but separate multi-disciplinary courses will give you the opportunity to try a range of Arts courses while thinking about the unique ways they approach a shared topic.
  • You will work with professors who are experienced with, and extra committed to, helping students navigate first-year.
  • In CAP, instructors coordinate their assignment deadlines to help students manage their workload.
  • Many of the resources, supports, and opportunities that are unique to CAP will still be available, including access to our dedicated Arts Academic Advisors!

CAP is designed to foster connections among students new to UBC – and the online version of CAP will be designed that way too. So, even though stream cohorts are not able to meet in person, you will still have the benefit of the cohort experience in lots of ways. Your classes will be smaller than many classes at UBC (our lecture classes have ~100 students and our discussion groups enroll 25). This means that you will be sharing the online experience with a small group of peers. With 3 shared classes per term, you will meet in many virtual classrooms and discussion groups and will get to know each other well online.

CAP professors are committed to helping you navigate the transition to university – and that won’t change. Each professor will set up their course differently, but all will be available to you through a combination of email, Canvas messages and discussions, phone calls and/or video calls. Many professors will be holding “virtual office hours”: this means that you can have regular video conferences with them either by appointment or during “drop in” hours.

No, CAP is a full year program, for first-year only, and students cannot join in Term 2.

We are happy to answer any questions you have about CAP. Send us an email at If you have general questions about online learning, you may also want to check out the UBC Keep Learning site.



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:

Coordinated 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.
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.
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).

The term Custom Timetable refers to the mainstream choice for First-Year Arts. This program does not group students into cohorts, there are no core courses, and students are responsible for choosing their own courses and timetables. A Standard Timetable is what is offered to students who enrol in CAP. There are fixed sets of courses that are linked together, and all courses in a set must be taken.


What is a cohort program?
Arts One
Coordinated Arts Program

All of the UBC Gateway Programs are housed in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, where there is a dedicated study space for all Gateway students.

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

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 major 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).

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.

Please see the table below for a comparison of CAP, Arts One, 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 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 enrollment of 100 students per stream (except PPE and Individual & Society); seminars of approx. 25 students.
Maximum enrollment 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.
Team-taught lectures, seminars, and tutorials.
No intentional cohesion or linking between course
Students are organized into cohort groups, and take courses together.
Students are organized into cohort groups, and take courses together.
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.
Visit Faculty of Arts First-Year Study Options for more details. For a complete listing of the specializations offered in the Faculty of Arts, visit the UBC Calendar or the Faculty of Arts website.

All first-year students accepted to UBC can register in the Coordinated Arts Program (CAP). There is no separate application for CAP. Once admitted to UBC’s Faculty of Arts, students have the opportunity to register for CAP on a first-come, first-served basis.

No. CAP is only for first-year students. If you have more than 27 completed credits at UBC, you are not in first-year standing and cannot register for CAP.

CAP is available to students with first-year standing.

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 CAP by selecting the Standard Timetable (STT) for your chosen stream. Remember to click on each course in the STT and find out if you need to sign up for the discussion groups as well.

Once you have selected your CAP STT and all the discussion groups included in your stream, you can then choose to add elective courses up to 12 credits. Registration for CAP is on a first-come, first-served basis, so register as soon as you can. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process. For more information on registration, visit the UBC Registration Guide 

CAP registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis. If your preferred stream STT is full, you can check back to Student Service Centre (SSC) and see if more seats become available. Seats tend to fluctuate before the Course Add/Drop deadlines:

Ideally, everyone will be able to register in their preferred stream and/or courses. However, if your first choice is full at your assigned registration time, be sure to have additional options in mind. It is important that you register for courses early, even if you do not get your first choice. In many cases, space will become available over the summer and during the first week of September before the Add/Drop deadline. You can check the status of a course/stream by viewing it in your Student Service Centre (SSC).

The required courses in each CAP stream will earn you 18 credits. Of the 18 core credits in CAP, the two-semester course, ASTU 100, fulfills 3 credits of the Faculty of Arts’ Writing Requirement, and 3 credits of the Faculty of Arts’ Literature Requirement. However, in the PPE stream, students take ASTU 101, a one-semester course which fulfills the Writing Requirement but not the Literature Requirement.

A full credit load is 30 credits per Winter Session:,197,282,1573. Since CAP is worth 18 credits, you can take up to 12 credits of elective courses outside of CAP. We have no restrictions of what courses you take as long as they are available to first-year students and are not in schedule conflicts with CAP.

For advice on general degree planning and elective courses selection, please speak to Arts Academic Advisors:

CAP is a full-year, 18 credits commitment. Therefore, students are not able to drop or change courses within their CAP stream. However, you can add/drop elective courses outside of the program up until the Add/Drop deadlines:

No. You need to be registered in the stream timetable in order to take courses in that specific stream. You can take the courses in the subject areas of other CAP streams, but you will not be able to register in the specific classes included in the CAP stand timetables.

For example, if you are not registered in the Media Studies stream, you will not be able to take JRNL 100 (Journalism). However, you can take other JRNL courses from the custom timetable as your electives.

You can switch to a different stream or drop CAP entirely by the Course Add/Drop deadlines. See

CAP is a full-year program. You will not be able to change your registration in the programs mid-way through the Winter Session. However, you can make changes to the elective courses outside of the program up until the Add/Drop deadlines:

No. CAP is a full-year program. You will not be able to join the program mid-way through the Winter Session.

Because of its multi-disciplinary approach, CAP will help you explore and prepare for various degree options after your first year. For more information about degree planning, please visit: or speak to Arts Academic Advisors.

Students can choose to major in any area available to all mainstream students, or transfer to other faculties, schools, or institutions after completing CAP. If you know which subject you would like to major in, be sure to examine the different stream options and choose one that fits your academic plans. Please see our stream overview.

Please note that on top of CAP, you can take up to 12 credits of elective courses. Students often use these credits to explore other subject areas or prepare for their degree plans. For more information about degree planning, please visit:

Credits for a course can only be received once. If you received transfer credits that match courses offered in CAP, you will not be able to use the credits in your degree, as it will be considered a duplicate course. In other words, if you have credits for some of the courses within the CAP program, you will still be required to take the CAP courses.

If you choose the custom timetable, you may be able to apply the transfer credits to your degree:

Credits for a course can only be received once. If you received first-year credits from AP/IB that match courses offered in CAP, you will not be able to use the credits in your degree as it will be considered a duplicate course. In other words, if you have credits for some of the courses within the CAP program, you will still be required to take the CAP courses.

All courses will require a number of assessments to fully engage students to ensure they will achieve the learning outcomes of the courses. CAP is not less work and it is not more work, though it helps you manage your workload by avoiding overlap in the due dates of the major assignments of your 3 CAP courses.


About Gateway Space

Those who enrol in CAP are able to use the beautiful and spacious IBLC 380 Gateway space, a comfortable quiet study area for use only by First-Year Gateway Students. This space is designated as such in order to foster the kind of student community that is unique to the gateway programs.

Gateway is the term used to refer to the four First-Year programs that share this space: Arts One, Science One, Coordinated Arts Program (CAP), Co-ordinated Science Program (CSP)

The Gateway study area is where you’ll find the Arts One main office and your Arts One professors’ offices. It is in the south wing of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (1961 East Mall), Rm 380. This is part of a modern addition to the historic Main Library; the original 1925 building remains at the core of the Learning Centre. The study space is open from 8-5:30pm

The space is open from 8am - 5:30pm and is not locked, however students in the Gateway programs are required to visit the office in the gateway space (IBLC 379) a staff member will confirm you are registered in the program and provide a sticker on your UBC card.

When you are studying, place your UBC card next to you on your desk. The area will be monitored and staff will check UBC cards. Those that are not part of the gateway program will be asked to leave.


If you have a CAP-related question that is not mentioned on this page, please contact us at