UBC Acceptance Rate, Ranking, & Tuition (2024)

April 17, 2024

university of British Columbia acceptance rate UBC tuition ranking

Opened in 1915, the University of British Columbia has become a global center of teaching, learning, and research. UBC is frequently ranked as one of the world’s top universities, and it is always near the top of the list of the best universities in Canada. With two different campuses—Vancouver and Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley—UBC boasts a diverse student population with alumni in more than 160 different countries worldwide (Scroll down for the UBC acceptance rate as well as the University of British Columbia tuition cost, rankings, etc.).

The university is sizable, with more than 59,000 students overall, the population breaks down like this:

  • 48,149 undergraduate students
  • 11,139 graduate students

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The university also touts the following stats about research:

  • $747.3 million in research funding for more than 9,600 research projects
  • 84 percent of undergraduate students participate in Enriched Learning Experiences by the time they graduate

When it comes to international reach, UBC sends alums and brings in new students from all over the world:

  • More than 400,000 alumni reside in 160 countries
  • 21.6 percent of Okanagan students are international
  • 27.9 percent of Vancouver students are international

We’ll break down what you need to know to successfully apply to UBC in the following sections, including the acceptance rate, tuition, and how to apply.

University of British Columbia – First-Year Students

First-year students at UBC boast high retention rates across the campuses. Take a look at these numbers that show how many students stay at UBC from their first year in an undergraduate program to their second year of studies:

  • Overall, 92 percent of students stayed at UBC from their first to their second year of studies
  • That includes 92 percent of domestic students,
  • 81 percent of Indigenous students, and
  • 91 percent of international students.

There are also 2,385 Indigenous students on UBC campuses across the board, and 19,601 international students. These numbers represent a part of UBC’s enrollment objectives to enroll a “diverse community of students from British Columbia, the rest of Canada, and around the world,” and to “increase the enrollment of indigenous students.”

University of British Columbia Mission Statement

The University of British Columbia’s mission is based on a high level of respect for the value of education at a global university. The school’s vision, purpose, and values read directly as follows:

Vision: Inspiring people, ideas and actions for a better world.

Purpose: Pursuing excellence in research, learning and engagement to foster global citizenship
and advance a sustainable and just society across British Columbia, Canada and the world.

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  • Excellence
    • A profound and aspirational value: the quality of striving to be, and being, outstanding.
  • Integrity
    • A moral value: the quality of being honest, ethical and truthful.
  • Respect
    • An essential and learned value: regard felt or shown towards different people, ideas and actions
  • Academic freedom
    • A unique value of the academy: a scholar’s freedom to express ideas through respectful discourse and the pursuit of open discussion, without risk of censure.
  • Accountability
    • A personal and public value: being responsible for our conduct and actions and delivering upon our respective and reciprocal commitments.

University of British Columbia Acceptance Rate

For the 2023–2024 academic year, UBC received 52,275 undergraduate applications, and accepted 25,760 students into their first choice programs. That’s a 49 percent acceptance rate into first-choice programs across both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, from both domestic and international pools.

However, because applicants must choose a campus and a program when they apply, UBC tends to break its data down into campus-specific pools. That data is likely more helpful to applicants in the long run.

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First, take a look at this table of the Admit Rate and Yield Rate from the last several years at both the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses provided within the UBC enrollment report for the 2023–24 academic year.. The Admit Rate is the ratio of admitted students to completed applicants. The Yield Rate is the ratio of registered students to admitted students. You can see that anywhere from one-half to three-fourths of applicants are getting in, and about half of those students who are admitted to each campus are accepting their admission.

More campus-specific data might be helpful for you to see just how many students you could be up against when applying to either the Okanagan or Vancouver campuses.

This is how the campus specifics shake out for the 2023–2024 academic year:

Okanagan Domestic Students Okanagan International Students Vancouver Domestic Students Vancouver International Students
Submitted Applications 5,214 1,526 27,097 18,438
Admitted: First-Choice Program 3,475 926 12,327 9,032
Enrolled: First-Choice Program 2,016 244 6,951 2,736
Enrolled: Second-Choice Program 588 313 726 345

What are the acceptance rates for first-choice programs at each campus? 

  • Okanagan: 62 percent
  • Vancouver: 47 percent

Note: These acceptance rate percentages are the combined rates for domestic and international students.

Also, the campuses have seen a slight downtick in applicants. 

The domestic undergraduate applicant pool at Okanagan decreased by 8 percent from the 2022–23 academic year to the 2023–2024 academic year. The international applicant numbers stayed consistent, however.

At Vancouver, the domestic applicant pool decreased by 6 percent from 2022–23 to 2023–24, and the international applicant pool decreased by 7 percent in that same time.

University of British Columbia – Admissions Overview


How do admissions work at the University of British Columbia?

“Personal profiles are read over by at least two readers and judged using a ‘holistic evaluation’ to ensure UBC graduating classes are full of ‘focused, bright leaders who work collaboratively and who engage meaningfully with their communities,’ according to UBC official student-run newspaper, The Ubyssey

The Ubyssey was also able to obtain a PDF of the grading process for personal profiles of student applicants in 2019. The newspaper states that the “grading process is somewhat secretive,” however, the PDF of the 2016 Broad Based Admission rubric obtained by the student newspaper is available here.

The holistic evaluation model is the key for many students who are hoping to gain admission at UBC. In fact, “12 percent of admitted applicants would not have been admitted with a grades-only admission model,” according to the UBC admissions report for the 2023–2024 school year. “This is the same percentage as the 2012/13 academic year, when the system was implemented,” according to The Ubyssey.

University of British Columbia Ranking

Among global universities, US News and World Report has ranked UBC as:

  • #35 in Best Global Universities overall
  • #2 in Best Global Universities in Canada
  • #8 in Plant and Animal Science
  • #13 in Social Sciences and Public Health
  • #14 in Environment/Ecology, and
  • #22 in Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology

University of British Columbia Acceptance Rate (Continued)

The university itself is also proud to note that many national ranking systems continually place UBC at the top part of their lists.

“The most established and influential global rankings all consistently place UBC in the top five percent of universities in the world.

Universities are judged across multiple performance areas, including research productivity, excellence in teaching, international collaborations, collaboration with businesses and the public sector, and academic and employer reputation,” according to UBC.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THE) 2024 ranked UBC as:

  • 41st globally
  • 2nd in Canada

The Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2023 ranked UBC as:

  • 44th globally
  • 2nd in Canada

The QS World University Ranking (QS) 2024 ranked UBC as:

  • 34th globally
  • 3rd in Canada

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UBC is also proud to state that it is making strides in its efforts toward a positive global impact.

The school has been listed highly on the THE Impact Rankings, which “assess universities’ social and economic contributions through their success in delivering on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs address global challenges related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity and peace and justice.”

Based on the THE Impact Rankings, UBC is:

  • 1st in Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 6th in Reduced Inequalities
  • 7th in Climate Action
  • 11th in Life Below Water

You can read more about what these rankings mean here.

With all of these rankings and acclaim, it’s easy to see why UBC is a competitive, in-demand university.

University of British Columbia Tuition

UBC has an intricate system of tuition and fees based on your chosen field of study and whether or not you are an international or domestic student. The difference between domestic and international student tuition prices at UBC is rather stark.

If you are a domestic student (meaning you are a resident of Canada), costs for a full, first-year program will look something like this:

  • Fine Arts: $5,960.10
  • Environmental Design: $5,960.10
  • International Economics: $9,536.40
  • Architecture: $9,604.80

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If you are an international student, however, those same program costs will look like this:

  • Fine Arts: $47,189.40
  • Environmental Design: $47,278.80
  • International Economics: $57,085.80
  • Architecture: $47,079.60

So, you can see the vast difference in price not only between the programs themselves but also for those who choose to study at UBC from abroad. This price differential likely helps to assist UBC in its goal of providing education to Canadian and Indigenous students first.

Note: These are just a handful of examples and in no way represent the full depth of programs and costs available at UBC. Your total tuition cost will depend on your residency status and the program you decide to pursue.

The full cost breakdown is available here.

University of British Columbia – How to Apply

Applying to UBC is a competitive, intense process. The requirements for each applicant change “depending on your degree and campus of choice,” according to UBC. You have to meet the general UBC admission requirements first, your degree requirements, and also, the language requirement.

The language of instruction at UBC is English, so you have to demonstrate fluency in one of nine ways in order to be accepted and attend.

Get started on your application, read the UBC application blog, take virtual campus tours, and find out more about how to demonstrate your English language fluency (for those who are not native English speakers) on the UBC admissions website.

University of British Columbia Acceptance Rate – In Review

At the end of the day, applying to and being accepted by the University of British Columbia will rank you among some of the best and brightest students in the world. You’ll have access to global partners, a high level of academic rigor, and a diverse community of peers and faculty who will help you discover your passion and your path.

We hope you enjoyed our UBC Acceptance Rate blog. You may also wish to check out the following relevant blogs: