Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for admission?

Hum courses are for people who live with low incomes, reside in the Downtown Eastside/South (DTES/South) areas, are passionate about learning and want to experience post-secondary education. There are no educational pre-requisites for these university-level courses.


Who takes Hum courses?

Participants are part of diverse backgrounds and knowledge, and are working to overcome significant obstacles and roadblocks – financial, institutional, educational, governmental, health and social.


What do students study in these courses?

Hum101 and Hum201: We delve into a vast array of interesting subjects. On average, 22 academic disciplines are covered over the year — these courses are wildly interdisciplinary and include art, First Nations Studies, history, politics, Cultural Studies, sociology, gender studies, linguistics, architecture, philosophy, economics and more. The courses are tied together through a theme, and many connections run through the different classes. Past course themes have included “where there’s walls, there’s holes,” “no carrots no sticks,” and last year’s theme, “find freedom in the context you inherit.”

 Writing101 and Writing201: Each week we study and write in a new genre of writing, taught by different teachers. These include memoir writing, poetry, screenplays, creative non-fiction, life writing, blogging, short stories, academic essays, manifestos and more.


How much work is involved?

Hum101 and Hum201: Each week in class we study a different subject and/or academic discipline with a different teacher, all focused on relevant, interdisciplinary critical and creative practices

To support the lecture content, students do readings and discuss the readings in small groups during the first 30-minutes of each class. Four assignments are set throughout the course. The assignment questions help to make links between the sections of the course, and are no longer than 2 pages. Lots of support is available to help people with their studies and assignments.

Writing101 and Writing201: Writing exercises are given during each class. Three pieces are required to graduate the course, but students can submit work each week and receive written feedback. The first 30-minutes of class is set aside for students to read their writing aloud and receive feedback from classmates and staff.


Are there any tests?

Hum has a “no carrots no sticks” approach to education: no tests, no grades and no red pen.


How difficult are these courses?

Anyone with basic English literacy skills will be able to participate in and enjoy Hum courses. Students come with varying levels of education and lived experiences. This is strength of the Programme, and courses are designed to accommodate the different experiences and desires of the participants.


What if I do not live in the DTES/South?

Gentrification of the Downtown Eastside and Downtown South has led to the displacement of many community members. If you do not live in these areas now, but are a low income ‘natural community member’ — you used to live there, you’re an organizer, volunteer, educator or activist — you’re welcome to apply for Hum courses.


How do I apply?

Hum101 and Hum201: In August each year, intake sessions are held at community centres in the Downtown Eastside/South. Application forms are only available at these intake sessions. There is no way to apply online. To find out where and when to apply, check back here closer to the time.

Writing101 and Writing 201: Intake sessions are held twice a year: In August for the courses starting in September; and in November for the courses starting in January. Application forms are only available at these intake sessions. There is no way to apply online. To find out where and when to apply, check back here closer to the time.

Hum’s free Public Programmes at Carnegie Centre and the Gathering Place: No application is necessary. All Public Programmes are open to the general public.


How long are the courses?

Hum101 and Hum201 are 26 weeks in length and go from September to April. Classes are twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30 – 9 p.m. With the exception of field trips, all classes take place at the UBC West Point Grey campus.

 Writing101 and Writing201 are 13 weeks in length and go from September to December, and again with a new group of students from January to April. With the exception of field trips, all classes take place at the UBC West Point Grey campus.


Can I take more than one course at one time?

Only one course can be taken at a time.


What monetary costs are involved?

Courses are absolutely free.


 How else is my education supported?

Students receive all necessary school supplies, bus tickets to get to and from the class, meal tickets to use at the student union building’s food vendors, and childcare if required. Everyone receives a UBC student card, which gives access to libraries, aquatic centre, museums, and all other campus amenities.


What if I’ve never been to university before?

These courses are for people who have experienced barriers to post-secondary education. People are accepted based on their desire to participate, not on previous academic accomplishments.


What if I already have university education?

Applicants who have had no prior university education are a priority. However, if your credential was earned a long time ago, or you enrolled in courses and never completed the degree, we encourage you to apply.


Are there any age restrictions?

Hum students span multiple generations. Students are as young as 18 years old, and our oldest graduate was 87 years old.


What if I decide the course isn’t for me?

If you are curious but uncertain whether these courses are for you, come to an intake session to find out more information, or contact the Hum office and speak to a staff member.


Can I get credit for these courses?

Hum courses are non-credit (they are tuition-free and credit-free).


Will these courses help me get into university credit courses?

Hum is not a gateway into the mainstream university. Participating in Hum courses can be a good way for people to figure out where their main interests lie and what subjects they want to study further, but these courses are not a bridge into university.


And after taking Hum courses?

All graduates are members of Hum’s Steering Committee that meets regularly at Carnegie Centre and guides the Programme. There are opportunities for graduates to remain involved in Hum courses and Public Programmes for many years.


Are there more courses and Programmes like this?

Science 101 is a sister programme at UBC that was started by Hum 16 years ago. It offers courses in the summer only, and many people move between Programmes ( Hum plays an active part in communities of local DTES/South educators including the Downtown Eastside Literacy Roundtable ( that offers many options, and with Hum-inspired programmes across Canada.


Where can I find out more?

For more information, contact the Hum office:

Tel: 604-822-0028