Since this program is new, we want to be able to provide you as much information as we can about studying Biochemistry and Forensics at UBC & BCIT!
WHAT IS FORENSIC SCIENCE?
Forensic Science is defined as the application of science to the law and is primarily used to solve crimes. Disciplines include fingerprinting, blood spatter analysis, toxicology, pathology, odontology, entomology, anthropology, and firearm and tool mark analysis.
WHAT IS BIOCHEMISTRY?
Simply put, biochemistry is the study of physical properties in order to understand biological systems.
WHAT IS THE BIOCHEMISTRY/FORENSIC SCIENCE SPECIALIZATION?
A joint program between the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), the Combined Honours in Biochemistry and Forensic Science aims to equip students with both biochemical fundamentals and forensic applications- providing a truly unique undergraduate science degree experience. Co-op is optional in this program. The program takes place at both UBC and BCIT each semester (from year of entry until graduation), meaning you will be active on both campuses at any one time.
WHAT ARE THE COOLEST THINGS ABOUT THIS SPECIALIZATION?
1. No more math after first year (seriously!)
2. Small program size = more opportunities
In the past year, we have witnessed autopsies in the VGH morgue, handled ammunition and (non-functional) firearms, and been taken through a CSI-themed choose your own adventure with a VPD analyst!
3. Focus on your career, not just your academics
We have taken courses to map out what we want to do in our future, have received feedback on our cover letters and resumes, and got a jump start at creating LinkedIn profiles. If you are looking to broaden your science degree with technical writing, ethics, and business management strategies; this is the specialization for you!
4. Maybe the biggest one of all: community. Being a smaller group, having to commute together to different campuses, and grinding through difficult courses together has really brought the cohort of the 14 of us close. From tutoring each other to volunteering together in research labs, you will get opportunities to bond with your peers unlike any other major.
DO I HAVE TO TRANSFER FROM UBC TO BCIT?
While you do take courses at BCIT, you will always be taking them simultaneously with UBC courses. You will not transfer completely to BCIT at any time during this program. In fact, most of us students live on or near the UBC campus! (Note: this distinguishes this UBC-BCIT joint degree from the previously established Biotechnology Specialization where students complete Year 2-3 at BCIT and Year 1&4 at UBC.)
HOW DOES COMMUTING BETWEEN UBC AND BCIT CAMPUSES WORK?
The commute is not as daunting as it seems. First reason; the majority of the BCIT courses are online-based, making the only commutes being for final examinations. As for the in-class BCIT courses, these are usually only once a week in the evening. Second; since the program is so small, there is a large chance you will find someone to carpool with. By the end of this past year, we all had the best of times doing some karaoke or last-minute cramming during our carpools to the BCIT campus! Finally, our program advisor tries to have classes take place at the BCIT Downtown campus (vs. the further away Burnaby campus) as much as possible so the drive really isn't too bad.
HOW COMPETITIVE IS THE ADMISSION?
It's tough to say at the moment since we were the inaugural class. According to the UBC website, the program accepts 15-20 students per year. We have 14. The averages of our class ranged from 72% to 98% (a HUGE range!), so we really just recommend if you meet all the requirements and are interested in this program- APPLY!
WHAT IS THE WORKLOAD LIKE?
We won't sugarcoat it for you: the workload is rough. But working alongside your peers to hold each other accountable makes it doable. You will be taking at least five courses and two laboratory courses a semester (more, if you are missing certain prerequisites). The silver lining in having a heavy workload (it is a Combined Honours, after all) is that you really learn the value of friendship and time management.
WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO HAVE A SOCIAL LIFE/WORK PART TIME/INSERT HERE WHILE DOING THIS PROGRAM?
Our current students are so hardworking not only in our program but outside as well! Again, it is truly the dedicated people who make this degree experience. Among our class of 14, we have:
3 NSERC Award Recipients
6 Lab Assistants
2 Sorority/Fraternity Members
3 UBC REC Active Members
3 Students with Part Time Jobs