Frequently Asked Questions: Writing Programs

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What are the requirements/restrictions for taking UBC Continuing Studies writing courses?
Our writing courses are non-credit and open to students ages 18 and above. We also offer courses for high school students ages 15-18. There are no prerequisites unless specified in the course description.
What is the expected workload in various writing courses? How many hours per week should I expect to devote to the course, including homework and assignments?
While this does depend on the course and the length of time it takes you to complete assignments, you should set aside approximately 4-5 hours a week for classes and related course work.
If I am away for the first week of a course (either in-class or online), how will this affect my participation/experience in the course? What about other absences during the course?
Missing classes is not recommended, but missing the first class would be the least detrimental to your learning outcomes in the course. If you know you will miss a class once the course has started, please contact your instructor and let them know the date and reason that you won’t be attending. We do not offer drop-in or replacement classes.
Can I register for a course that has already started?
Registration should be complete before the course begins; however, with the permission of the instructor, we can sometimes make exceptions to this rule. Online courses are generally (but not always) kept open for registration until the Friday after the course begins.
Do you have a certificate or diploma program?
We offer a UBC Certificate in Professional Communication and a UBC Award of Achievement in Tutoring. We are also working on developing more certificates. Keep checking our website or sign up for our email subscription list for updates.
In what order should I take the academic writing courses?
We would recommend that most students take Writing 098 before Writing 099. If you are not a native English speaker, you may want to take both of these classes before taking Writing for Graduate Students. Getting Ahead with Grammar is generally taken before Writing with Style, but it is not a requirement. View more Writing 098 Frequently Asked Questions.
Are all the materials included in the price of the course?
There are required textbooks for some of our classes, but others include the materials in the price of the course. You can request the most current list of textbooks by emailing
Can I audit a course or attend one class to see if I like the course before registering?
We require registration and payment in advance for all of our courses. All of our courses are non-credit and auditing is not an option.
Do you have writing courses for teenagers?
We have special course offerings for high school students ages 15-18, which can be found on our Courses page (look for courses with “for High School Students” in the title). In the fall, winter, and spring these are primarily offered in an online format. In the summer we have a number of courses for high school students which are offered in a one-week summer institute format at the UBC Point Grey campus. All of our other writing courses are open to students ages 18 and up. Writing 098: Preparation for University Writing and the LPI is one exception to this rule; because part of this course is geared towards improving LPI scores, students in Grade 12 can receive special permission to register for the summer sections of the course even if they are under 18.
Do I get anything, i.e. a certificate, at the end of a course? How do I request a Letter of Completion?
As our courses are non-credit you do not receive a certificate at the end of a course. However, you can request a letter of completion if you attended at least 80% of the classes and completed the assignments. To request a letter of completion for a course, you can email us or call 604.822.9564. We also offer a UBC Certificate in Professional Communication and a UBC Award of Achievement in Tutoring - please view the webpages for those programs for more details.
For the online courses, will I need to log on at a set time? Do all of the students need to be online at the same time? Can I design my own schedule for accessing the Moodle site? Do online courses include video and audio lectures?
Our online courses can be accessed at your convenience. You can log in and access the materials at any time. However, there are assignment deadlines, so you will need to log in regularly to participate in the class. Sometimes an instructor will ask all of the students to log on at the same time in order to have a live chat, but for the most part, you can design your own schedule. Most of the materials in our online courses are print materials. There are no special computer requirements, but you will likely need to be able to access the internet and download documents in PDF format.
What are your refund and withdrawal policies?
If you have questions about our withdrawal and refund policies, detailed information can be found here.