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Frequently Asked Questions

Please review some of the most frequently asked questions by applicants to our programs. 

If your question is not answered here, please contact our Graduate Program Assistant, Megan Nell, at . The Graduate Program Assistant can answer administrative questions (eg. GPA requirements, language proficiency, funding, etc).

For questions about academic or research matters, you may contact our Graduate Advisor, Dr. Sara Ellison, at .

Q. What documents do I need to submit in support of my graduate application? (International and Canadian)

All applicants must submit:

Please see the links above for specific submission instructions for each type of document.

Q. What is the English Language Competency requirement? (International Applicants)

A. Applicants whose first language is not English, and who have not resided in a designated English-speaking country for three years immediately prior to the entry-point applied for, must provide proof of English Language Competency by providing a TOEFL or IELTS score.  This requirement will not be waived.
Applicants who hold a recognized degree from a country where English is an official language of the country are exempted from the English Competency Requirement.  Please see the list of designated English-speaking countries, as determined by the Graduate Admissions and Records Office.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 575 on the paper based test. For the Internet based TOEFL (IBT), UVic requires a minimum of 90 with the following minimum section requirements: Listening 20; Speaking 20; Reading 20; Writing 20.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System): A minimum overall score of Band 6.5, with no score less than 6.0 on each individual IELTS component.

See the complete University of Victoria policy.

Q. What if I have already done the TOEFL or IELTS, and did not meet your minimum requirement? Can I apply anyways? (International Applicants)

A. Yes, you can still apply.  You will need to re-write the TOEFL or IELTS and submit your new score as soon as possible.  Your application will still be considered but it is not possible for you to register for courses and start your program until the English Language Competency Requirement has been fulfilled.

Q. I attended an English-speaking university in my country, even though my country is not a designated English-speaking country on your list of "Designated English-speaking Countries.” Do I still need to meet the English Language Competency Requirement? (International Applicants)

A. Yes, you still need to provide proof of English Language Competency through the TOEFL or IELTS even though your institution was an English-speaking institution.  Please see the list of designated English-speaking countries, as determined by the Graduate Admissions and Records Office.

Q. Can I get a conditional offer of admission, based on successful future completion of an English-language study program? (International Applicants)

A.  The Department of Physics and Astronomy does not give conditional offers of admission based on successful future completion of English-language study programs.  As stated above, you must provide proof of English Language Competency before you can be fully admitted to a program of study at UVic.

Q. Is the GRE a requirement? (Canadian and International Applicants)

A.  The GRE is not required for applicants from Canada and the United States.  This is because the Physics and Astronomy Department is generally familiar with Physics and Astronomy programs at North American universities.  The GRE, including both General and Physics exams, is highly recommended for applicants from international universities.  Program content, expectations, and structures vary internationally and not all international applicants have a similar physics background.  International students who submit a GRE score will have a more competitive application, because the GRE score helps our faculty gain a better understanding of a student’s general physics knowledge and ability.

Q. What is the ETS code for the University of Victoria? (for TOEFL and GRE results) (International Applicants)

A.  The ETS code for the University of Victoria for both TOEFL and GRE results is 0989.

Q. I do not have an Honours Physics or Honours Astronomy Undergraduate Degree. Can I still apply to the Master’s Program? (Canadian and International Applicants)

A. Applicants who have a regular Physics or Astronomy Bachelor's Degree (not honours) may still apply.  However, students admitted to the master’s program, but with backgrounds judged to be less than that of a UVic Honours degree are normally required to take additional undergraduate courses in Physics, Astronomy, or Mathematics to satisfy the prerequisites.

Applicants who have a different undergraduate degree (not Physics or Astronomy) usually require considerable upgrading (1 year or more) to meet the required level of 4th year Honours Physics knowledge that is expected for students entering our programs.  Please contact the Graduate Program Assistant for more information on your particular case.

Q. Do I need to find a supervisor before I apply to the program? (Canadian and International Applicants)



A.  No, you do not need to find a supervisor before you apply.  After you apply, your application will be reviewed by our faculty.  If an offer of admission is made to you, at that time you will be assigned a supervisor based on your research area and interests.

Q. I have already applied. When will I find out if I have received an offer of admission? (Canadian and International Applicants)

A. Offers of admission will start to be made in February, and will continue until all the program spaces are filled.  Usually all offers are made by June.  The Graduate Program Assistant will notify you via email as soon as the offer of admission is made.

Q. What is the University policy on Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy (Canadian and International)

A. The University of Victoria complies with the Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy legislation of the Province of British Columbia. Information collected on application forms is used in the normal course of University operations in accordance with this legislation. For details on how the information is used, please access our Universitiy policy. If you want to have information on the status of your application released to a friend or relative, you must provide written permission.

Please note that documents will not be returned - they become the property of the University of Victoria. Documentation from applicants who are rejected or do not do not take up an offer of admission will be kept on file for two years. All documents are routinely verified. Evidence of falsified documents will result in applicants being banned from the university. Information on falsified documents is shared with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Q. How much is tuition each term? (Canadian and International)

A. BASED ON FEES effective 1 MAY 2014

Canadian Students - Canadian students can expect to pay $1786.10 for full-time tuition each term.  In addition, there are various fees that are mandatory.  Some are charged on a per-term basis (Graduate Students' Society, Athletics/Recreation, U-Pass Bus Pass), and some are charged once per year in September (GSS Extended Health Care Plan and Dental Care Plan).

International Students - International students can expect to pay $2125.30 for full-time tuition each term.  In addition, there are various fees that are mandatory. Some are charged on a per-term basis (Graduate Students' Society, Athletics/Recreation, U-Pass Bus Pass), and some are charged once per year in September (GSS Extended Health Care Plan and Dental Care Plan). Most international students receive an addition award of $300 per term to make up for the increased international tuition rate.

Please review the Graduate Student Handbook for a more detailed breakdown of fees and estimated cost-of-living in Victoria to help you plan your finances.

Q. What kind of funding is available for me? (Canadian and International)

A.  All accepted students to the Physics and Astronomy Department are guaranteed funding.  The minimum guaranteed funding level for MSc students is $22,100 and the minimum guaranteed funding level for PhD students is $23,100.  The funding is composed of a combination of Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions, and Graduate Awards. This funding is guaranteed for the first 2 years for a student in an MSc program, up to 5 years beyond the BSc level for a student in a PhD program (including students who transfer from an MSc program at UVic), and for 4 years for a student who arrives at UVic with an MSc from another university.  Most international students can expect to receive an additional award of $300 per term to compensate for the international tuition fee.

Please visit our Financial Support webpage for a full description of the funding that is available to you.

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