We often receive inquiries from students who are interested in an area of further study that might require linguistics or speech science as a background, but who have not yet met the pre-requisites for their goal program, such as a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, Linguistics, TESOL, or other field. There are five basic options for such students, based on prior educational status (i.e., whether or not you have already earned a bachelor’s degree), all of which you can learn more about on this page.


The information on this page is intended only as guidance for students looking to fulfill pre-requisite courses in linguistics and speech sciences. We make no guarantees about being admitted to further programs simply by virtue of completing the pre-requisites through our department. Admittance to most further programs is quite competitive and is entirely outside of our control.

Note that students who wish to be language teachers in the BC school system must complete a program of Initial Teacher Education for elementary or secondary teaching, including teaching methodology courses appropriate to the languages to be taught.

Similarly, note that students who wish to practice as speech-language pathologists or audiologists in Canada or the U.S. must complete an appropriate master’s program. Also, please note that UBC’s School of Audiology and Speech Sciences currently accepts Master’s applications only from individuals who have Canadian citizenship or permanent residency status. (This is not true of all programs in Canada, but it is important for those interested in attending UBC!)


Program Options:

If you do NOT have a bachelor’s degree already:

  1. Apply to UBC as regular student

If you have been involved in full-time education (high school or higher) within the past four years, you can simply apply to UBC as a regular student! See more here: https://you.ubc.ca/applying-ubc/ or here if you would be transferring from another institution of higher education: https://you.ubc.ca/applying-ubc/requirements/university-college-transfer/. Once you are admitted, you can think about enrolling in one of our undergraduate programs.


  1. Apply to UBC as a mature student

If you have been out of full-time education for at least four years, you can apply to UBC as a mature student.Once you are admitted, you can think about enrolling in one of our undergraduate programs.


If you DO already have a bachelor’s degree:

  1. Enrol as an “unclassified” student

This option allows a student to enrol in courses at UBC and earn credits directly. It is a very flexible option, and students can pick and choose exactly which courses they want to take (e.g. as pre-requisites for a further degree program).

Note that one downside is that unclassified students register last for courses, though in practice, we are usually able to accommodate everyone in the courses they need.

Learn more about unclassified status here. Note that there are different procedures depending on whether you have previously earned a degree at UBC or not.


  1. Enrol in the “Diploma in Linguistics” program

The Diploma in Linguistics is a 30-credit program that can be completed in 1 year of full-time study (once the three pre-requisite courses have been met), but may be taken part-time and extended over a maximum of five years.

The three pre-requisite courses for the Diploma (which are NOT included in the 30-credit requirement) are:

  • Ling 200
  • Ling 201
  • Ling 222

The 30 credits of required coursework for the Diploma are:

  • 6 credits from LING 300, 311, 313, and 327
  • An additional 24 credits of courses numbered 300 or higher. These must all be LING courses, except for a maximum of 6 credits which can be taken from senior-level courses in related areas.

Students in the Diploma program can use the 24 ‘flexible’ credits to fulfill any pre-requisites for future degree programs. Note that it is up to each student to make sure they fulfill both the Diploma requirements and their future pre-requisite requirements, through careful planning.

Note that one advantage of being officially in the Diploma Program is that a student can qualify for student loans. Diploma students also have a slightly earlier registration date than unclassified students. The tuition is the same as for an unclassified student.

The procedure for enrolling in the Diploma Program is quite straightforward. A student first has to register as an unclassified student (as above). Once they have completed the prerequisite courses (LING 200, 201, and 222), they should contact the undergraduate advisors, and we will send an e-mail to enrolment services, and they transfer the student to the Diploma Program. Students cannot do this themselves through the student portal.


  1. Apply to UBC to earn a second bachelor’s degree

Students who have a first bachelor’s degree can apply for Bachelor of Arts as a second degree. They enter the second degree with third-year standing and can then complete all the usual requirements for that degree program. Again, note that it is up to each student to make sure they fulfill both the degree requirements and their future pre-requisite requirements, through careful planning.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I’m planning to apply for a degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Will completing the Diploma program help me?

The Diploma program does give you a ‘certificate’ that you have completed the courses required for the program. However, it does not guarantee that you have completed the pre-requisite courses for applying to SLP (or any other program). It is up to you to make sure that you have completed the right courses for the program you are applying to.


For most SLP programs that we are aware of, it really doesn’t matter what specific program / degree / certificate you have, as long as you have earned a Bachelor’s degree of some kind and have taken the pre-requisite courses.


The pre-requisite courses for UBC’s SLP and Audiology programs are listed here. Note in particular Appendix 4(B), the “green chart”, which lists courses at Canadian universities (including both SFU and UBC) that can be used to fulfill UBC’s SASS admission requirements for the MSc in SLP.


Hence, completing the courses as an unclassified student (which allows somewhat more flexibility in terms of the set of courses you take) can be just as effective as completing the Diploma program.


  1. I’ve taken courses similar to Ling 200 / 201 / 222 at another institution. Do I need to take them at UBC before enrolling in upper-year courses?


Our 200-level courses are the cornerstones of our program and prerequisites for the 300-level courses that most SLP programs require. Our 300-level courses do really presuppose the detailed technical content taught in the 200-level courses. Our courses are designed as a structured, coherent program, and you can’t simply take out one building block and replace it with another.


Students often struggle in the 300-level courses if they haven’t taken the UBC 200-level courses and done so recently. If you are planning to take your 300-level courses at UBC, we would STRONGLY advise you to go ahead and take the 200-level courses here as well, especially if you took them a while ago, even if you could get them waived. Otherwise, you may regret this later, as this can seriously impact your performance in the 300-level courses, which in turn may affect your chances at getting into the graduate program of your choice.


That said, if you believe you have taken courses that are similar enough to our pre-requisites to adequately prepare you for upper-year courses, you can send a copy of the syllabus for each course you have taken elsewhere to our undergrad advisors at ling.undergrad@ubc.ca and ask to have them evaluated by our team, who will determine whether they meet the content requirement.


  1. How long will it take me to complete the courses I need?


The answer to this question depends on how many courses you need and how much time you can devote to your studies. 5 courses in a single term is considered a “full” course load, and is only recommended if you can in fact devote most of your time to your studies.


The Diploma program requires 30 credits; each one-term course at UBC is typically worth 3 credits, so this would be 10 courses beyond the 3 pre-requisite courses required for entry.


The three pre-requisite courses (Ling 200, Ling 201, and Ling 222) are typically offered in the summer term in addition to the winter terms, meaning that with careful advance planning and an ability to study full time, a student could complete all the pre-requisites and the Diploma program in one calendar year, starting in May and ending the following April. This is the minimum amount of time required to complete the program.


  1. Once I’m in a program, when do I register?


The answer to this question will depend on which program you are in. In general, though, the dates for registration are viewable here. Note that it’s not simply the case that once you are admitted, you can immediately register – there are specific windows of time at which registration for a particular term is available.


  1. What happens if a course I want to take is full?


Because of the staggered registration dates, it is possible for a course to be full by the time you are able to register. If this happens, you can contact  an advisor to request to be put on a waitlist for the course and/or discuss other options. Registration does usually fluctuate naturally as the semester draws near, and we are usually able to accommodate students in one way or another.



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