About the Vancouver Summer Program

The Vancouver Summer Program provides students from partner universities with a cross-cultural learning experience.

Participants will learn about forestry and resource management issues in Canada, while also exploring Canadian society and culture through interactive lectures and various social activities.

The program will offer two packages, each consisting of two courses. Each course will have 39 hours of class time, taught by UBC instructors. Classes are interactive and may include group work, class discussions, guest lecturers, and field trips.

Students will choose and register in one package.

Course credit may be granted by the participating universities.

Package A – Forest Management and the Effects of Carbon

An Introduction to the Ecology, Economics, and Politics of Carbon

Humans use carbon-based molecules in almost all aspects of daily life – food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and power generation are but a few examples. Unfortunately, deforestation, land degradation, and fossil fuel emissions are responsible for the build-up of carbon in the atmosphere. This is causing the atmosphere to heat up which, in turn, is changing the global climate. To understand why this is a problem and what we might do about it, students will be provided with an introduction to the ecology of carbon (where it is, how it cycles through the living and non-living world). We will then discuss how carbon can be managed to maximize benefits and limit emissions. This is not just an ecological problem. It also involves the intersection of economics and politics, both national and international. The course is a mix of lectures, group discussions, and field trips.

Sustainable Forest Management

This course represents an attempt to integrate knowledge and processes relating to forest management across a wide array of disciplines, but it is centrally concerned with bringing the underlying ecological and management science together. It involves a mix of lectures, group discussions, and field visits to increase the understanding of students about problems involved with managing forest ecosystems for a variety of societal goals and objectives. The course is heavily geared towards the ecological, economic, and policy context of British Columbia; however, international implications and issues of forest management are also covered. The objectives of the course are to familiarize the students with a variety of forest ecosystem values and their management issues, and to enable meaningful analysis of the current issues in forest sustainability.

Lectures are interactive and students are encouraged to participate in the discussion on topics raised in class. Moreover, past field trips of this Package have included a tour of environmentally sustainable buildings at UBC, a walk through Pacific Spirit Park as well as a tour of the UBC Botanical Gardens.


Package B – Urban Forestry

An Introduction to Urban Forestry

This course will provide a general introduction to the concept of Urban Forestry and why this is an important topic in today’s rapidly urbanizing society. There is a growing need to adapt to multiple impacts of climate change; and increasing demand from the public for the recreational, psychological, and health benefits that green-space networks provide. With increased urban populations, global warming, urban heat islands, flooding and pollution, cities may become unlivable or demand massive energy-use for cooling, unless we can establish large scale, healthy urban forest systems.

Urban Forestry and Well-being

Urban forestry is about planning and managing urban green-spaces and ecosystems for human welfare, ecological health, and protection of our cities’ support systems. Urban forest networks, parks, wetlands, and other green infrastructures are vital in moderating heat waves and cooling demands, maintaining biodiversity and carbon sinks, controlling forest fires, storm-water flood mitigation, bio-energy production, etc. Urban Forests improve and protect our health, property values, local jobs and businesses, outdoor recreation opportunities, and community character. This course will give the students an introduction to the importance of understanding urban forestry in the face of today’s rapid urbanization as forests and green systems compete for space among buildings, roads/transit, storage facilities, and energy infrastructure.

Students will be able to experience the concepts learned in class through field trips and class activities. Past participants have been taken on field trips to various locations around the Greater Vancouver area including the City of Surrey, City of North Vancouver, and Stanley Park. There was also a tour of the UBC Botanical Gardens as well as other guided walks through the UBC campus designed to demonstrate the many facets of urban forestry.

Vancouver Summer Program students on a field trip in Coal Harbour in Downtown Vancouver
On a field trip in Coal Harbour in Downtown Vancouver
Students kayaking in Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Students kayaking in Deep Cove, North Vancouver
Exploring downtown Vancouver
Exploring downtown Vancouver

Program Size

The minimum enrollment is generally 20 students, although some packages may have higher minimums. Packages with low enrollment may be canceled. Students will be informed if their first choice package is full or has been canceled and will be given the option to choose another package.

Academic pre-requisites

Typical participants are undergraduate students who have completed, at minimum, first-year science courses at their home universities. All classes are taught in English so at least basic proficiency in the English language will be necessary.

Accommodation and Support

Accommodation is provided on the university campus with easy access to classes, libraries, sports facilities, and transportation.

Students are supported by the Faculty of Forestry Undergraduate Program staff and volunteers.

Program Fee and Application

The program fee is $5,450 and includes:

  • Tuition
  • Course materials
  • Shared accommodation on UBC campus
  • Medical insurance
  • Group airport transfers (during peak hours)
  • Vancouver city tour
  • Orientation and farewell events
  • Select social activities

Students are responsible for the cost of food, transportation around the city as well as any other personal expenses they may incur.

Application and selection are made through the participating students’ home university. Please contact your university’s International Office for more information.

To learn more about the Vancouver Summer program with the Faculty of Forestry, please contact:

General Program Information

Ms Ana Curcin
Student Advisor, Faculty of Forestry
University of British Columbia
E-mail: vsp.forestry@ubc.ca
Tel: (604) 827-5195

Applications / Registration

Vancouver Summer Program Central Office
University of British Columbia
Email: vsp.ubc@ubc.ca
Tel: (604) 827-2957

Mr Faisal Beg
South Asia and the Middle East
UBC India Liaison Office
New Delhi, India
Email: faisal.beg@ubc.ca
Phone: 91 11 4606 1905