Frequently asked questions

What kind of support is available for graduate students in Computer Science?

Adequate financial support of graduate students is a crucial factor in contributing to their overall success. The support may come from four main sources: fellowships, research grants, teaching assistantships, and salaries paid by employers of part-time or co-op students.

What happens after I apply?

After you apply, your file will be reviewed by the Graduate Admissions & Records' Office and if it meets minimum requirements, your application will be forwarded to the department for review by faculty members.

When should I apply and how long does it take to get an answer?

You should apply and upload all supporting required documents well in advance of the application deadlines.

My undergraduate degree isn't in Computer Science. Can I still apply?

Interdisciplinary students with varied backgrounds are encouraged as many of our research programs involve a variety of other disciplines including psychology, geography, visual arts, music, biology and biochemistry. To apply for an Interdisciplinary (INTD) master's program, see the Graduate Studies website

Normally applicants for the Master's program have a major or honors undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering or a degree in mathematics with an emphasis in computer science.

Can my employer write a reference?

References from professors or other academic authorities who are familiar with your academic work are preferred. Letters of reference may however be supplied in lieu of assessment.

Do you require GRE and/or TOEFL?

GRE is recommended; it is not mandatory at the present time. TOEFL, however, is a requirement of admission for applicants whose first language is not English.  The Institute Code for the University of Victoria is 0989.

What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL scores?

For the GRE test, there is no minimum score required. The test is recommended to assist a potential applicant's verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.

TOEFL scores are a mandatory requirement at the University of Victoria for applicants whose first language is not English. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 575 for the paper-based test. The minimum acceptable Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) score is 90 with at least 20 in each category. The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each academic component. Scores two years or older are not acceptable.

What if I have a low TOEFL/ GRE score?

If you do not have the minimum acceptable TOEFL score, your application will be refused. If you have a low GRE score, your application may still be forwarded for further consideration if you meet the other admission requirements for the Department of Computer Science.

Which GRE test does the Department recommend - the General test or the Subject test?

The Department of Computer Science recommends the General GRE test.

What is the institute code for the University of Victoria?

The Institute Code for the University of Victoria is 0989.

Can I apply before getting TOEFL or GRE scores?

You can apply before getting the TOEFL test results. The results will however be required by the time your file has been evaluated and forwarded to the Department for consideration. If your score results are lower than the requirement, you need to arrange to take the test again to improve your score.

How can I apply for a teaching or research assistantship?

Once admitted, students may apply for Teaching Assistant positions as indicated in their department offer letter. The job postings are available apprx. 12 weeks prior to each term. Research Assistantships may be offered directly by the student's supervisor.

Information on all types of financial support in the Department of Computer Science can be found on our Financial support page.

How can I check my application status?

Once an application has reached Graduate Admissions and Records, check MyStatus here. If the online status indicates that an application has been forwarded to the department, its status remains unchanged until a positive or negative admission decision has been made. At this point, inquiries about its status may be directed to the graduate secretary of computer science. If admission is denied, formal notification is issued from Graduate Admissions and Records.

Can I apply before finishing my undergraduate degree?

You can apply before your undergraduate or graduate degree has been granted as long as you have done the majority of your degree and will be finished your degree before the entry point for which you are applying.

Graduate Admissions and Records requires an in-progress transcript in order to do a preliminary grade point evaluation. If you meet the minimum requirements, your file will be forwarded to the department. You may be provisionally accepted to the Department's program, with full acceptance taking place only after any outstanding official documentation is received and reviewed by Graduate Admissions and Records.

For international students, you may need to apply for your student visa several months before the program starts.

Can I take graduate courses as a non-degree student?

Students who wish to improve their academic background may be admitted as non-degree students. Applicants must meet the same entrance requirements and follow the same application procedure as degree-seeking applicants. Note that fees may be considerably higher.

How can I improve my chances of being accepted?

The most important consideration in an admission decision made by potential supervisors is whether the faculty member is looking for new students and if there is a good match of research interests and background. A complete resume would be extremely helpful if you are unable to meet personally with faculty.

You may wish to contact faculty who are involved in research that you wish to pursue in your graduate studies after your application has been forwarded to the Department. This will allow a potential supervisor to familiarize themselves with your application prior to any meeting. Most professors will not interview a potential application until the full application has been assessed.

It is recommended that you indicate whether you are able to support your own studies, or have a scholarship. Faculty have limited funding for research assistantships and may be willing to supervise additional students if no support is required.

How to prepare a good application

View your application to Graduate Studies similarly to an application for a job. Highlight in your personal resume your strengths and your experience, summarize your GPA as it relates to CSC and Math courses (as opposed to the more general cumulative value), explain briefly what your goals are and why you prefer certain areas of research, including stating your flexibility and focus.

A good application, conducive to a clear evaluation, would contain:

  1. submission of transcripts as outlined Submission of Documents.
  2. a one-page statement of intent summarizing one's research interests and plans;
  3. a complete professional resume (2-3 pages);
  4. two references;
  5. any additional documentation which is relevant to your application.

Additional Note on [2]. Many applicants write long essays, and others ignore this step as they believe that only their technical abilities are on the table. What are the common expectations for this statement of intent? Here are a few suggestions of items you should consider including.

  • What research areas are you most interested in and why?
  • Why would you like to attend UVic?
  • What is your background? Do you bring experience from areas outside CSc?
  • Are you already in contact with any faculty members here?
  • What are your career plans?