University of British Columbia Okanagan
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University of British Columbia Okanagan
University of British Columbia Okanagan
TypeSatellite campus
PresidentSanta J. Ono
ProvostAnanya Mukherjee Reed
PrincipalLesley Cormack
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Colours    Blue and Gold[1]

The University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus (commonly referred to as UBCO) is a campus of the University of British Columbia, located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. It is home to over 10,755 undergraduate and graduate students. The 209-hectare (516-acre) campus is the research and innovation hub in the southern interior of the province, in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. UBCO has 62 undergraduate programs and 19 graduate programs. The University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus also resides on the traditional unceded Syilx territory.


Okanagan University College

The current site of UBC Okanagan was originally used by Okanagan University College, which had been founded in 1989 (in principle) as a part of a plan by the government to improve access to post-secondary education in the Southern Interior British Columbia. Originally, degrees were awarded in partnership with other universities, but by 1995, the university college began granting degrees in its own name. In the late 1990s, Okanagan University College began lobbying efforts to gain full university status.

University of British Columbia

In December 2002 the British Columbia Progress Board submitted a report to the provincial government, recognising the need to expand post-secondary education in the Okanagan.[2] The board, chaired by then University of British Columbia president Martha Piper, recommended that the province extend "the mandate of an existing provincial University to Kelowna...."

In March 2004, BC Premier Gordon Campbell and the UBC President Martha Piper held a press conference, announcing that OUC would be dissolved. Okanagan University College's university operations would be consolidated at its North Kelowna Campus and would come under the control of the University of British Columbia. The other programs and campuses of Okanagan University College would form a new community college, which would later take on the name Okanagan College. The OUC Board was reportedly not invited to the press conference and had not been told in advance of the imminent demise of OUC Board and removal or the termination or the majority of the OUC board members.[3]

According to the Ministry backgrounder released at the time, the affiliation between UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan would be "based on the highly successful University of California model" and that "UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver will each have an independent senate to set academic priorities for their respective institutions, based regional needs and priorities. At the same time, they will share a common board of governors, with strong representation from each region." [4]

As of December 2019, UBC's Okanagan campus is represented on the UBC Board of Governors by Dr. John Klironomos and Nicole Udzenija.[5]

Since the establishment of UBC Okanagan, the campus has undergone rapid growth and is continuing the trend as one of Canada's fastest growing university campuses. The number of students increased 3 fold from approximately 3,000 to more than 10,000 in 2019. The university is playing a leading role in the region's research and development, and a 12-hectare (30-acre) Innovation Precinct is being developed to make the university an innovation hub.


UBC's Okanagan campus offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate (PhD & Masters) programs. There are more than 63 undergraduate programs[6] in Arts, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Human Kinetics, Management, Media, Medicine, Nursing, and Sciences.[7] The university also offers graduate programs in the following areas: Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Education, Engineering, English, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Fine Arts, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, Management, Mathematics, Medical Physics, Nursing, Psychology, and Social Work.[8]


Since established in 2005, the research capability and researcher profiles has increased rapidly. Tri council funding increased from $1.1M/year to $5.9M/year from 2005-2015. The total research funding reached $14.7M/year with 714 projects in 2015. Research at UBC Okanagan is highly collaborative with an emphasis on direct student involvement to advance discoveries in fields of importance globally and locally. The Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR) initiative exemplifies this spirit of innovation with cutting-edge projects, including control software for unmanned aerial vehicles. STAR creates a bridge between UBC Okanagan and industry, specializing in technologies for human protection and performance in extreme, remote, or rural conditions. There are currently 15 research centres and 505 faculty members on the Okanagan campus.[9]


Charles Fipke Centre for Innovative Research
University Centre
University Centre
Engineering, Management and Education (EME) Complex

By 2011, UBC's Okanagan campus had undergone what became a rapid CA$450million expansion.

The University Centre was completed in 2009. The 75,000 sq. ft. facility features several UBC Okanagan departments, UBC Students' Union Okanagan offices, meeting rooms, student club space, cafeteria and restaurants, cinema, multi-faith space, a medical clinic, learning centers, and Collegia.

The $31.5million Charles E. Fipke Centre for Innovative Research is a multi-purpose academic and research facility. It provided 6,500 square metres (70,000 sq ft) of space for teaching and research, including research labs, classrooms and teaching labs, offices, student commons, lecture theatre, and an animal care facility. The building also achieved Five Green Globes and LEED Platinum standards for sustainability using geo-exchange technology.

The Arts and Sciences II Building and Engineering and Management Building were completed in 2011 as well. The most recently completed building is the medical school building which was completed by end of the year 2011. The second Arts and Science building includes a new live animal testing facility. In addition, there are various student residences in various stages of construction.

The expansion of UBC Faculty of Medicine created a new distributed medical site, the Southern Medical Program at UBC Okanagan, in a purpose-designed building named for benefactors Klaus and Lydia Reichwald. Part of the program is located in a new building adjacent to the Kelowna General Hospital. The Southern Medical Program opened 32 seats for its first cohort of medical students at UBC Okanagan on August 29, 2011.

In 2012, the Health Science Centre was opened, providing 47,000 sq. ft. of academic and research space for high-tech classrooms, research and teaching laboratories, problem-based learning rooms and faculty and administrative offices.

Along with the physical expansion of the campus, the campus' Collegia program has gained national attention as a home-away-from-home for its large commuter population.[10]

According to the UBC Okanagan Campus Plan in Sept. 2015,[11] the next 20 years will see drastic expansion in research, teaching, student residence, and commercial spaces. A proposed 85,292-square-metre (918,080 sq ft) increase in academic space would more than double the current capacity. Student residence is proposed to increase by approximately 2,200 beds to a total of approximately 3,900 beds. Commercial space would increase from 2,411 square metres (25,950 sq ft) to 4,561 square metres (49,090 sq ft). The additional space will remain within the main Okanagan campus, rather than expanding into the West Campus. Sustainability upgrades to 11 of the existing buildings are also underway.

A new, $40-million Commons Building opened in late 2018.[12] This is adjacent to a redesigned main thoroughfare, University Way, making it a pedestrian only area that is expected to facilitate greater student interactions and festivals. The recent opening of an alternate route onto campus from the west, John Hindle Way, has significantly altered traffic patterns over much of the campus.[13]

Current projects include a significant new administrative building adjacent to the UNC Building, additional residences, an engineering design building, a retrofit of a nearby commercial building billed as an innovation precinct, and various other, more minor projects.[14]

Student life

The university maintains a Student Experience Office that organizes orientation programs, commuter Collegia spaces, volunteer opportunities, and mentorship options.

Student residences
A view looking down through the residences.
UBC Okanagan Library
UBC Okanagan Library

Greek life

The Okanagan campus currently has two sororities and two fraternities. The sororities are Kappa Beta Gamma and Alpha Omega Epsilon. The fraternities are Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Phi Delta. Alpha Omega Epsilon and Sigma Phi Delta are both International Organizations and have membership restrictions based upon faculty (Engineering students for Sigma Phi Delta,[15] Engineering and Technical Science[16] students for Alpha Omega Epsilon). Theta Phi is a local sorority open to all faculties.[17] Phi Delta Theta is an international fraternity open to students in all faculties.[18] The Okanagan campus does not allow Greek housing, so none of these organisations have an official house or room on campus.

Campus media

The Phoenix

The Phoenix is the bi-weekly student newspaper at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus. It was established in 1989 at former Okanagan College.[19]


The UBCO.TV creates videos about research, teaching, current events and campus life at the Okanagan campus.

Faculties and Schools

  • College of Graduate Studies
  • Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (The Provost announced in December 2019 that the Barber School would officially be split into separate faculties of science and arts and humanities within the calendar year.)
  • Irving K. Barber Faculty of Science (The Provost announced in December 2019 that the Barber School would officially be split into separate faculties of science and arts and humanities within the calendar year.)
  • Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Applied Sciences
    • School of Engineering
  • Faculty of Health and Social Development
    • School of Nursing
    • School of Health and Exercise Sciences
    • School of Social Work
  • Faculty of Medicine, Southern Medical Program
  • Faculty of Management


  1. ^ "UBC's Colours: Blue & Gold". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ British Columbia Progress Board report (pdf) December 2002
  3. ^ Kelly Hayes, "UBC Taking Over OUC,"
  4. ^ Office of the Premier Ministry of Advanced Education (March 17, 2004). "Backgrounder: UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College". Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "UBC Okanagan Academic Experience".
  7. ^ "UBCO undergraduate programs".
  8. ^ "UBCO graduate programs".
  9. ^ "UBC Okanagan Facts" (PDF).
  10. ^ Applying knowledge - Macleans OnCampus
  11. ^ "UBC Okanagan campus plan 2015".
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "About Sigma Phi Delta". About Us. Retrieved 2011.[dead link]
  16. ^ "Alpha Omega Epsilon History". History. Retrieved 2011.[dead link]
  17. ^ {{cite web |title=Theta Phi Sorority General Information |url= |work=Theta Phi Sorority General Information |accessdate=June 6, 2011}[dead link]
  18. ^ "Phi Delta Theta Establishes British Columbia Gamma at the University of British Columbia Okanagan". Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. 2020-02-05. Retrieved .
  19. ^ The Phoenix - About us

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 49°56?23?N 119°23?47?W / 49.9396°N 119.3963°W / 49.9396; -119.3963

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