Undergraduate programs

Biology students on a night field trip to nearby Clover Point. UVic's proximity to the ocean means lots of opportunities for marine studies.

Chadi Saad-Roy (Honours: combined Mathematics & Statistics, Minor: Biology) applied mathematical models to determine how a tick-borne disease spreads in cattle.

“Lab work confirmed how passionate I am about chemistry. I gained an awareness of the difference between interest and passion,” says Landon MacGillivray, a student that recently graduated in Chemistry.

An Earth and Ocean Sciences student, Saskia Kowallik, completed a research placement with the Fukshima inFORM project.

University of Victoria's Faculty of Science offers nearly 30 programs in a wide variety of fields. This means you can mix and match the subjects that you are passionate about to fit your interests and goals. 

Major, honour, general and minor programs, as well as a variety of cross-disciplinary combined programs are offered through UVic's Faculty of Science departments.

While descriptions of programs are provided below, visit the University Calendar for the definitive source for all program and course information. 

Astronomy

Astronomy is the study of celestial objects and processes, from planets, solar systems and galaxies, to dark matter, black holes and neutron stars. Courses include 'Introduction to Observational Astronomy' and 'Introductory Extragalactic Astronomy.'

With the largest teaching telescope in North America, a concentration of world-renowned astronomers, as well as strong connections to the Herzberg Institute, UVic is an ideal place to explore the cosmos. 

Programs:

  • Honours, Major and Minor

Combined Program:

  • Major and Honours with Physics

Program Information

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Biochemistry

Biochemists seek explanations for the molecular basis of life. Biochemistry merges biology and chemistry and covers some of the most exciting areas of the life sciences. They are primarily interested in the relationship of molecular structure with function, but the field also covers a broad range of approaches to fundamental questions and practical problems.

Modern biochemical research includes structural biology, proteomics, genomics, epigenetics, signal transduction, gene expression and development, metabolic diseases, bioinformatics, and molecular evolution. 

Programs:

  • Honours, Major, General and Minor

Combined Programs:

  • Major with Chemistry
  • Honours and Major with Physics

Specializations:

  • Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Cancer & Immunology
  • Proteomics
  • Molecular structure & Function

Program Information

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Biology

Biology is the scientific study of all living things—a truly vast and rapidly evolving field that touches all aspects of our lives. UVic Biology teaching and research ranges from the scale of genes and molecules to that of the biosphere. Our extraordinary situation next to forest and ocean provides students with a dynamic learning environment.

A degree in Biology will prepare you for a wide range of careers, including work in marine biology, genetics and genomics, forest biology, neuroscience, conservation biology, medicine, agriculture and more.

Programs:

  • Honours, Major, General and Minor
  • Bachelor of Arts

Combined Programs: 

  • Honours and Major with Earth & Ocean Sciences
  • Honours and Major with Psychology

Concentrations in:

  • Forest Biology
  • Marine Biology
  • Neurobiology

Program Information

Concentrations Information

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Chemistry

Chemistry is the science of the structures and the transformations of the material world. It's "the central science" that links fundamental ideas of math and physics to chemical systems which range in complexity from interstellar atoms and gases, to biomolecules in cells, to the substances of the global environment. In addition to studying chemicals from nature, chemists create the molecules and materials that we use in everyday life.

Undergraduate students in chemistry learn the practical skills and theoretical concepts needed to explore the reactions and properties of known and new chemical materials. They discover what happens at the molecular and subatomic levels and learn how things in nature really work.

Chemistry students get a head start on their careers with hands-on experience in modern laboratories, and can contribute to the creation of new chemical knowledge through research experience courses. As an additional bonus, study of chemistry teaches important skills useful in a wide number of careers – how to think critically, how to analyze data, and how to communicate findings.

Programs:

  • Honours, Major, General and Minor
  • Chemistry for the Medical Sciences

Combined Programs:

  • Major with Biochemistry
  • Major with Microbiology
  • Honours and Major with Earth & Ocean Sciences
  • Honours and Major with Mathematics

Program Information

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Chemistry for the Medical Sciences

Chemistry for the Medical Sciences is a program designed for students who have a strong interest in chemistry, but who ultimately plan on entering professional programs in the medical sciences, such as pharmacy, medical school, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. This program includes a selection of chemistry courses balanced with additional courses from Biology, Physics, Medical Sciences and others that are useful preparation for medically-oriented professional programs. As well as providing a solid grounding in Chemistry, this program allows students to take all the required or recommended courses for entry to the professional program of their choice.

Programs:

  • Major

Program Information

Chemistry Website

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Earth and Ocean Sciences

Earth & Ocean Sciences is a cross-disciplinary program that deals with pressing issues such as global climate change, earthquake hazard, natural resource planning, greenhouse gas/ozone-level monitoring, marine pollution and groundwater contamination. 

On the south end of Vancouver Island, the University of Victoria is perfectly situated for offering a complete education in Earth System Science. Canada constitutes one of the largest land masses on Earth, has the longest coast line of any country, and faces numerous challenges associated with ongoing global warming.

We have close ties with government agencies involved in the investigation of Canadian climate, coast lines, marine life, geology, and natural hazards. Our students have opportunities to participate in scientific ocean cruises and to investigate the geology of the Cordilleran mountains of British Columbia.

Graduates from these programs enter into careers as Professional or Environmental Geoscientists, and in sectors such as hydrocarbon exploration, mining, environmental studies, and research. 

Programs:

  • Honours, Major, General, and Minor, Earth Sciences
  • Minor, Ocean Sciences 

Combined Programs:

  • Honours and Major, Physics and Ocean Sciences (Physical Oceanography)
  • Honours and Major, Physics and Earth Sciences (Geophysics)
  • Honours and Major, Chemistry and Earth & Ocean Sciences
  • Honours and Major, Physical Geography and Earth & Ocean Sciences
  • Honours and Major, Biology and Earth & Ocean Sciences

Program Information

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Forest Biology

Forest Biology studies everything from the mechanisms and adaptations of trees to their interactions with environmental factors such as pests and fires. This concentration takes advantage of the proximity of diverse ecosystems ranging from wet coastal forest to Garry oak parkland. 

Students who choose to take Directed Studies courses or an Honours program will conduct their own research under the supervision of UVic faculty on projects including conifer embryogenesis, plant stress physiology, plant and fungal molecular biology, functional genomics of plant natural products, plant biochemistry and biotechnology, and microbial ecology and carbon sequestration by forests. Studies in forest biology can lead to careers in forest or plant science, forest management, environmental assessment and education.

Programs:

  • Honours and Major, Biology with a Concentration in Forest Biology 

Concentration Information

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Marine Biology

If ocean organisms are your passion, a Marine Biology concentration at UVic is a great option. UVic is located within walking distance of beaches and the rocky shores of southern Vancouver Island, and is home to OCEAN Network Canada, which operates NEPTUNE and VENUS, large-scale remote ocean sensing observatories that allow researchers to receive scientific data on complex earth and ocean processes.

Students may take part in labs investigating the biological, chemical, geological and physical components of the ocean and learning practical analytical techniques and theory. They can also spend a semester at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, where they study the physiology and ecology of ocean life.

Those who choose to take Directed Studies courses or an Honours program will do their own research under the supervision of UVic faculty on projects ranging from the impact of climate change to underwater soundscapes.

Programs:

  • Honours and Major, Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology

Concentration Information

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Also consider:

Mathematics

Mathematics is vital training for sharp reasoning and can bring you a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Since the beginning of human civilization, it has captivated people with its distinct beauty formed from elegant proofs and striking results. As an abstract thinker in mathematics, you may also find yourself comparing your work to literature or music.

Because mathematics describes and reveals underlying patterns, no matter what the context, it has applications to almost any field. Mathematics is the fundamental language of science and has illuminated the way towards the modern industrial world and into the heart of the digital era. It will allow you to understand social, biological, and physical phenomena in an effective and powerful way. It opens doors in science, computing, data, economics and environmental science. Mathematical ideas are an essential part of internet search, data encryption, communications technology, climate modelling, disease prevention, and much more.

Programs:

  • Honours, Major, General and Minor

Combined Programs:

  • Honours and Major with Statistics
  • Honours and Major with Chemistry
  • Honours and Major with Computer Science
  • Honours with Physics 
  • Major in Financial Mathematics and Economics 

Program Information

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Microbiology

Microbiology is the study of life that is too small to see without a microscope. Bacteria, archaea, viruses, and unicellular eukaryotes occupy every conceivable habitat; from arctic ice to hydrothermal vents, from gastrointestinal tracts to deep rock formations, from pristine lakes to polluted bogs.

Microbiology spans all of biology and provides the foundation for molecular biology and biotechnology. Microorganisms are the cause of many human diseases. A Microbiology program is a popular choice for students with interests in molecular biology, drug discovery, medicine, or biotechnology.

Programs:

  • Honours, Major and General

Combined Program:

  • Major with Chemistry

Specializations:

  • Pathogenesis
  • Bioinformatics
  • Environmental
  • Synthetic biology

Program Information

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Neurobiology

Neurobiology studies the nervous system functions and structures of humans and animals, focusing on the cells and tissues of the nervous system and how they function individually and within circuits (pathways) that sense the environment and control thoughts and actions. A suite of courses are offered allowing the student to obtain a Concentration in Neurobiology within a Biology Major. Students who choose to take Directed Studies courses or an Honours program will conduct their own research under the supervision of UVic faculty on projects ranging from development of the retina to the molecular changes leading to rewiring or functional alterations of brain circuits in response to addictive substances or genetic disease. Studies in neurobiology are an excellent path to careers in research, education, biotechnology and healthcare related professions.

Programs:

  • Major and Honours, Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology

Concentration Information

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Physics

Physics allows us to understand the world, from the invisible particles that make up the matter around us, through our sensory experiences, to the unimaginably vast reaches of the universe. Physics underlies the technology that has become an integral part of human evolution, while it also informs our philosophy.

Physics provides an excellent education for many varied careers by training its students in problem solving, logic, mathematics, computer skills and technical writing.Students with a physics degree continue on to a wide variety of careers including medicine, environmental, earth and ocean sciences, management and technical consulting, engineering, accounting, software and computer modelling.

Programs:

  • Honours, Major, General and Minor

Combined Programs:

  • Honours with Mathematics
  • Honours and Major with Astronomy
  • Honours and Major with Earth Sciences (Geophysics)
  • Honours and Major with Ocean Sciences (Physical Oceanography)
  • Honours and Major with Computer Science
  • Honours and Major with Biochemistry

Program Information

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Statistics

Statistics is the science of collecting, analyzing, interpreting and presenting data. This fascinating field provides you with the tools to question, understand and react intelligently to information. Statistics informs decision-making in business, science, medicine, finance and public policy. It is integral to interpreting information in the lab, in the office or in the media.

Programs:

  • Honours, Major, General and Minor

Combined Programs:

  • Honours and Major with Mathematics
  • Honours and Major with Computer Science

Program Information

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