Vancouver Summer Program

The Vancouver Summer Program (VSP) is a four-week academic program for international undergraduate students from cooperating universities. The program provides the opportunity to take two academic courses while learning about Canadian practices and culture.

Applications for this year’s IRES Vancouver Summer Program (VSP) courses are now open until Friday, March 29, 2019.

Program Overview

The 2019 program fee is CAD $5,250 and includes:

  • Two academic courses
  • Medical insurance
  • Group airport pickup and drop-off
  • Vancouver city tour and UBC campus tour
  • Social and cultural activities
  • Shared on-campus accommodation
  • Orientation and farewell events
  • Optional trips (may require an additional fees)

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


Program dates: July 13th – August 13th, 2019


Program Schedule:

Schedules vary depending on the package selected. Typically, classes are held 4-5 days a week with one day or one afternoon of free time per week. A typical schedule would include:

9:00am – 12:00pm | Morning class

12:00pm – 1:30pm | Lunch break

1:00pm - 4:00pm | Afternoon class


Accommodation details can be found on the UBC Vancouver Summer Program website.

Take a virtual tour of the UBC residences.

Social and Cultural Activities

The IRES VSP includes organized social and cultural activities, which are a great opportunity to make friends with other VSP students from around the world as well as local UBC students! Additionally, these activities are opportunity to learn more about Vancouver and Canadian culture.

Example activities include:

  • Welcome event and Orientation
  • UBC campus tour
  • Vancouver city tour
  • Sports day
  • Movie night
  • Pizza night
  • Board game night
  • Museums
  • Farewell event

Optional field trips to the following locations may also be organized:
*additional fees may be required

2019 IRES VSP Course Packages

The IRES VSP includes approximately 39 hours of class time. Courses are directed and taught by UBC faculty members. Classes are interactive and may include group discussions, guest lecturers, research projects, laboratory experimentation, and short fieldtrips.

Courses do not received UBC credit but course credit may be granted by the student’s home university (at its discretion).

Many course packages have a minimum and maximum class size, so we encourage you to register your students early. Course packages that do not have the minimum number of students will not be offered, but students may transfer to other packages.

Package A: Climate Change, Energy and Society (IRES A July)

Climate Change: Causes, Consequences and Adaptation

Climate change resulting from the use of fossil fuels in the global energy system is perhaps the single greatest collective challenge facing society in the 21st century. This course will explain the science behind human induced climate change, and examine possible consequences and impacts across the world. We will study how experts make predictions of future climate change and its impacts, and how societies will need to re-organize their economies and institutions to adapt to new climate realities. This course will include field trips and presentations by industry guest speakers, as well as speakers from non-governmental organizations and the public sector.

Energy for Sustainable Development

Climate change is only one of many challenges we face, and large-scale innovation in energy systems will be needed to meet multiple objectives including reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Technological and business innovations have begun to transform the global energy system. From the development of renewables such as solar and wind, to the deployment of complex networked technologies (such as Electric vehicles), or the diffusion of novel 'mundane' technologies (such as improved cook stoves in the developing world), techological innovation holds the key to our energy future. This course will examine what is driving these innovations, how might their promise be reached and their benefits be maximized, and what social and policy efforts are needed to sustain them. This course will include field trips and presentations by industry guest speakers, as well as speakers from non-governmental organizations and the public sector.

Package B: Sustainable Futures (IRES B July)

Nature Matters - Ecology, the Environment and You

Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people lie at the heart of many sustainability issues (such as food security, energy production, corporate environmental responsibility, and resource management), in ways not often reflected by management and policy approaches. This course will explore human impacts on ecosystems, the processes by which ecosystems render benefits for people (ecosystem services), methods for analyzing impacts and benefits, and the ways that individuals and organizations incorporate such information into their decision-making. Through field trips to a range of ecosystem types, lectures, and exposure to innovative organizations in the public and private sector, this course will consider the opportunity for innovative progress towards sustainability from stronger and deeper ecological grounding, and how students can support this type of progress in their careers and day-to-day lives.

Oceans in the 21st Century

This course provides an overview into ocean conservation issues, including the integrated and often conflicting role of oceans in economic development, food provisioning, climate change, transport, and recreation. The course includes lectures and field trips that highlight diversity of ocean issues, as well as guest lectures and visits to organizations that are tackling components of the above challenges in a variety of ways. Simulations and workshops will help students consider the variety of stakeholders involved in decision making. Content, discussion, and exposure to experts and innovative research and strategies will equip and empower students to better understand and become more engaged in ocean issues, no matter how close they are to a coast.


Participants must be undergraduate students (typically in their first 2 years of study) at international institutions who are proficient in English (all classes will be taught in English) and have a strong academic background.

Course packages have a minimum and maximum class size, so institutions are encouraged to register their students as early as possible. Course packages that do not meet the minimum number of students will not be offered. 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

Registration and Payment

For information on registration, please click here.

For information on payment, please click here.

Contact Information


Ms. Winty Cheung
Executive Director
UBC Asia Pacific Regional Office
Room 1207, 12/F., FWD Financial Centre
308 Des Voeux Road Central
Hong Kong SAR PRC
t: 852 2111 4401


South Asia and the Middle East

Mr. Stephen Kumar
Executive Associate
UBC India Liaison Office
New Delhi, India
t: 91 11 4606 1905


All Other Regions

Ms. Marg Toronchuk
Program Coordinator
University of British Columbia
t: 1 604 822 0158


Ms. Mina Phaisaltantiwongs
IRES Special Projects Coordinator
University of British Columbia
t: 1 604 822 2165