Program Information

The University Transition Program, often called the Transition Program, as initiated in 1993 by the Vancouver School Board Vancouver School Board in partnership with The University of British Columbia and funded by the BC Ministry of Education as a Provincial Resource Program for academically gifted students in 1995. The Program is located on the campus of The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Each year, the program accepts a maximum of 20 new students, between the ages 13 to 15, out of about 100 applicants. Half of the students are from outside of the Vancouver School District and selection encourages gender balance and support for diversity. The identification is comprehensive, rigorous, and unbiased using a variety of sources of data. Over the course of two years, students complete requirements for BC Dogwood as well as UBC requirements for the Faculties to which students choose to apply. While in the program students experience a variety of senior secondary and university level coursework. Transition students typically achieve early entrance to UBC and commence university studies at the age of 15 although the range extends from 14 to 16, two to three years earlier. As part of their enrollment University Transition Students receive UBC student cards that give them access to most UBC facilities and services. Courses

In the first year of the program, known as Year One, students take Biology 12, English 10 & 11, Math 10, 11 and in some cases, Mathematics 12; Physics 11, Chemistry 11, Social Studies/Humanities 10, Recreation 10, Self and Society 11 and Civics 11. Teachers support courses by filling gaps where needed or providing advanced level learning in accordance with student readiness and interest.

In Year Two, the students take Calculus AB, Chemistry 12, History 12, English 12, Literature 12, Mathematics 12, Physics 12, Self and Society 12, and Civics 11. Civics is initiated in Year I, the lessons integrated with Self and Society, and the Civics 11 provincial is written in January of Year II.

Transition students currently engage with two UBC professors: Dr. Michael Griffin, Philosophy and Classics, and Dr. Lauchie MacDonald, Calculus/Mathematics. Dr. Griffin is a graduate of the University Transition Program. Students have the opportunity to explore problems in Mathematics with Young Jin Shin, a graduate of Transition who is currently completing his third year of studies at UBC.

Students in both years are required to complete 30 hours of community service cumulative over both years, and present updates on their Individual Educational Plans to meetings with parents and staff.

Extracurricular Activities

Transition students participate in various extra-curricular activities in groups as well as individually. Transition students have typically engage with teams from other schools in Reach for the Top and Model United Nations as well as district and regional Science Fairs. The multi-talented students in Transition have supported the development of performance groups for choir, dance, band and other ensenble groups sharing their talents with parents and peers. Involvement in extra-curricular activities is supported by staff who promote the pursuit of passions and talents. The program has many student-led organized activities including Debate Club, Robotics Club, dance, and fund-raising for charities. Many Transition students compete at local and provincial events in swimming, dance, and other activities and areas of interest.

The University Transition Program is also known for its outstanding performances at Mathematics andPphysics and Science competitions. Students annually compete in nation-wide competitions such as Cayley, Fermat, and Euclid, and North America wide competitions such as the AMC and the Physics Bowl. Students also participate in local and provincial contests, such as MathChallengers and the junior and senior Physics Olympics. In 2014 Transition students achieved recognition in the National Michael Smith Science Challenge with awards including 3rd in Canada, 1st in BC, and with 8 Transition students in the top 25 among almost 1800 participating students across Canada.


Transition student work load encompasses skills, knowledge and understandings of the learning outcomes prescribed ty the BC Ministry of Education for core academic courses that lead to the completion of high school graduation over the two years of the program. Teachers use differentiated curriculum and instruction to address the learning needs and styles of high ability students who are motivated to achieve early entrance to university. Staff with students and parents create a community dedicated to scholastic excellence supported by mutual respect and caring. Students choose to work hard and take responsibility for their learning outcomes while collaborating with peers to sustain positive relationships within an encouraging and supportive learning environment.