Degree & Graduation Requirements

Degree & Graduation Requirements

Getting to where you want to go requires a solid roadmap. On this page, we’ve provided you with more information about the things you need to keep in mind as you progress through your LFS degree toward graduation. You also have a dedicated guide for the whole journey in your enrolment services professional (ESP), so be sure to make use of their support.

The UBC Academic Calendar: What is it and why do people keep referring to it?

The UBC Academic Calendar is essentially the University’s playbook: it’s where all the rules, policies, course and program information is maintained. You will hear academic advisors, your instructors and your ESPs refer to the calendar, so it’s important that you familiarize yourself with what and where it is. You’ll see links throughout this website to the calendar entries that will further explain or define things for you. This might be a campus-wide policy or regulation that the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and you as the student are bound by, confirmation of a deadline you need to be mindful of, or specific content related to Land and Food Systems and your program of study.

Take some time to explore the UBC Academic Calendar web pages. Feel free to chat with an LFS academic advisor if you have any questions — we’re here to help!

Your Responsibilities as a UBC Student

As a member of the UBC community, you are responsible for contributing your ideas and academic output in a shared experience of knowledge exchange, and conducting yourself in a way that upholds the University’s values of respect, civility, diversity and inclusion. When you accepted your offer of admission to UBC, you agreed to the student declaration that commits you to abide by the rules and regulations of the University and affords you the rights bestowed upon students. As you have rights and responsibilities, so too does the University; it is important for you to understand what this means, and to conduct yourself accordingly — academically, ethically, morally and personally.

The Faculty of Land and Food Systems and the University take allegations of both academic and non-academic misconduct very seriously, and trust that you will familiarize yourself with the actions or behaviours that would be considered in violation of your academic integrity or in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. The Faculty of Land and Food Systems follows the guidelines and processes set out by the University as follows:

Academic honesty and integrity

We only grow — as individuals and as a community — when we give our best. That means doing the work you set out to do as well as you can, by means that are honest and industrious. You’re at the University of British Columbia, a world-class institution of higher learning and research. We are all here to expand knowledge, understanding and discourse, and we rely on each other to do it in a way that positively advances the human experience. Read more about UBC’s expectations around academic honesty and standards here.

Plagiarism: What is it, and how do I avoid it?

You likely learned in high school to avoid copying information that you didn’t come up with yourself. In university, we take it a few steps further. As you add to a given body of knowledge through your own research and thinking, you are now required to give credit to other people’s ideas — not just their words — in a thorough manner. It’s part of acknowledging that we’re all in this together: you are sharing your own ideas, arguments and evaluations, and in so doing, you are building on the work that others have done before you. You are deepening the web of knowledge, recognizing the strands that have already been built while highlighting the little pieces that you’re developing. On this page, you’ll find more information about plagiarism, plus videos and tips on how to avoid it. We’ve also provided some specific examples for you on the LFS Wiki.

If you have any questions or concerns about academic or non-academic misconduct policies, get in touch with LFS Student Services. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re facing an allegation of misconduct, you may also wish to consider reaching out to the Office of the Ombudsperson for Students for impartial and confidential guidance.

What’s Required for Your Continuation and Promotion

You are not automatically permitted to stay in LFS and at UBC year to year; you have to work for it! In order to continue in LFS from one year to the next, you must maintain a minimum academic average at the end of each Winter Session, meet a minimum overall credit load and have completed specific courses.

The information posted here is to provide guidance and summarize the process for you; you should be consulting the Faculty’s Year Promotion and Academic Standing section of the UBC Academic Calendar for the official rules and details.

Sessional evaluation

The annual evaluation of your academic performance takes place in May, after your Term 2 grades are posted. This is called a sessional evaluation. During a sessional evaluation, LFS Student Services will review your academic performance (your GPA) and the courses you registered in to confirm you are following your LFS program appropriately, and assign you the appropriate academic standing for the Winter Session that has just concluded and, if eligible to continue, assign your year level for the next academic year.

Academic standing

There are three categories of academic standing at UBC: Good Standing, Academic Probation and Failed Year Standing.

  • Good Standing: This is what you should be aiming for year after year. If you follow the degree requirements of your program as listed and maintain an average of 60% or higher, you will normally be assigned Good Standing, and will most likely be promoted to the next year level of your program.
  • Academic Probation or Failed Year Standing: If you are missing degree requirements, if your average falls below 60%, or if you’ve failed credits, you may end the year on Academic Probation or Failed Year Standing, and might not be eligible to continue or be promoted to the next year level of your program.

Notification of standing

Following the sessional evaluations, LFS Student Services will send you an email to notify you of your results. It is important that you read this email carefully and contact us with any questions. We know this process can cause anxiety for some of you, so please reach out if there is something you are unsure of.

Year level

When we refer to year level we are referring to the academic year level within your program, which, depending on the number of courses you complete year to year, may or may not line up with the number of years you’ve been at UBC. In LFS, your program will either be a four- or five-year program, and if you follow the degree requirements of your program as they’re listed in the UBC Academic Calendar (and pass them all!), you should be promoted from one year to the next for each academic Winter Session.

You need to pass a minimum number of credits AND complete specific degree requirements within those credits in order to be promoted from one year level to the next. It is important to be mindful of these requirements because it becomes increasingly difficult to course-plan and register in required courses if your year level is out of sync. For example, some courses are restricted to students in a certain year level and without them, you can’t access other required courses.

Again, all official details are provided in the UBC Academic Calendar. We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with what is required from year to year to avoid running into problems.

Answers to your top three burning questions

  • Summer courses do not count toward your sessional evaluation.
  • If you are required to discontinue your LFS program or withdraw from UBC, LFS Student Services will notify you of this via email. You can, however, appeal this decision and explain why you feel you should be permitted to continue in the following academic year; details of the appeal process and timelines will be provided to you in the notification email. If you think you want to appeal, read these instructions carefully so you can assess if your circumstances warrant consideration, and so you don’t miss the deadline.
  • Year level adjustments after a sessional evaluation or after summer courses are complete may be possible in rare cases. You will need to contact LFS Student Services to discuss the options available to you based on your unique set of circumstances.

During sessional evaluations, check the LFS FAQs for answers to additional timely questions.

It’s Never Too Early to Ask for Help!

University-level academics are meant to inspire and excite you, and to challenge you intellectually. But it can sometimes be a tough transition to university. You’re being exposed to a lot of new material, new ways of learning and expectations that you may not be used to. It can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. Everyone defines success differently, so it’s important to know what your academic goals are and to understand when you may need to reach out for help in achieving them. The strategies that worked for you in high school may not always work for you at university; the pace and rigour of post-secondary academics are quite different, and not everyone settles in at the same rate. The great thing is you don’t have to go through this on your own.

LFS Student Services is here to support you throughout the year and help keep you on track. For example, after Term 1, we will reach out to all students who appear to be at risk of ending the year on Academic Probation or Failing Year and invite you in to meet with an academic advisor to explore options for support. But we don’t want you to wait until things fall off the rails before seeking help! And you don’t have to wait for us to reach out to you to visit our office, or to make use of any other UBC resource that exists to support students. From the first day of classes, whether you need tutoring to brush up on course content or help with skill development to improve your approaches to your studies, we encourage you to meet with an academic advisor to learn about the different resources available on campus (many of them free of charge) that are available to help you succeed.

We’ve compiled a list of helpful resources on the Top 5: UBC Quicklinks section of our website. Check those out — and always feel free to contact us for guidance.

Taking an Academic Leave

Sometimes, you may need to take a break from school for personal, financial or other reasons. While you do not officially require permission to take a leave of absence from your studies, we recommended that you discuss this decision with an academic advisor in LFS Student Services. We can work together with our campus colleagues to help navigate the process and ensure you’re set up for a smooth return in the future. Depending on your circumstances, we will also be able to connect you with appropriate resources for support or map out an alternate plan that may better meet your needs. Read more about academic leave in the UBC Academic Calendar, and feel free to contact us at any time to discuss taking time away from your studies. Any conversations you have about your leave are held in confidence with your academic advisor.

Graduation

Graduation is the most celebrated time of your UBC career and we look forward to celebrating with you, your family and friends. But graduation isn’t a given: it is your responsibility to ensure you are following your degree requirements and meeting deadlines.

Monitor your progress

You can monitor your progress using the Degree Navigator tool in your Student Service Centre (SSC), as well as following the program requirements listed in the UBC Academic Calendar (FNH, GRS or APBI).

Ensure you meet your upper-level credit requirement

You are required to present at least 45 upper-level (300- and/or 400-level) credits to meet graduation requirements in LFS. You can count them up yourself and confirm how they are mapping on your Degree Navigator. If you are short, you will not be eligible to graduate, so be sure you’re making smart course registration choices, and contact LFS Student Services if you see any discrepancies or have questions.

Apply to graduate

You will need to submit a formal application to graduate, even if you don’t plan on attending the ceremony. UBC has two convocation ceremonies each year: Fall (November) and Spring (May/June). You can find details about graduation eligibility, application timelines and next steps here.

Grad photos

The weekly Newslettuce will notify you about when and where you need to take your photos. You’ll also see posters pop up around the MCML and FNH buildings. If you’re approaching graduation, be sure to watch for any grad-related updates so you don’t miss out!

Grad checks

If you are in fourth year and you’ve finalized your registration for your final year, you are welcome to contact our office to request a grad check. Please email us with your request.

Contact LFS Student Services

As graduation approaches, check the LFS FAQs for answers to additional timely questions, or contact an academic advisor in LFS Student Services for help with your graduation and program-related questions.

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