How UVic courses work

Learn how to use the Academic Calendar, the official guide to all programs, services and regulations at UVic.

The academic year: two sessions, three terms

When you register for winter session courses, you will register for both Fall and Spring terms at the same time.

The UVic academic year is divided into a Winter session and a Summer session.

  • Winter session includes Term 1 (September-December) and Term 2 (January-April)
  • Summer session runs May-August and has multiple terms

Courses and units

Most courses at UVic that run for one term count for 1.5 units, and you will need 60 units of required and elective courses to graduate from most programs at UVic.

Some courses, such as year-long courses, can count for 3 units.

Tips to plan your schedule:

Required courses

A required course must be taken to meet the requirements of your program and will often be a pre-requisite for further study in a given area.

Elective courses

An elective is a course not specifically required for your program but which is counted towards the overall number of units required for a degree.

Most programs provide the flexibility to take a number of courses outside your program area, and electives can typically be chosen from any department or program as long as there are no restrictions on the particular course.

Corequisite courses

A corequisite is a course or other requirement that must be completed before or at the same time as the selected course.

Prerequisite courses

A prerequisite is a course or other requirement that must be completed before you're able to register in a particular course. For example, MATH 100 is a pre-requisite for MATH 101: you must complete MATH 100 before you can take MATH 101.

You're responsible for confirming that you have the necessary prerequisites or are registered in any corequisites required for the courses you plan to take - don't rely on the course registration system to manage this for you.

Tips for registering:

  • If you don't have a prerequisite or corequisite for a course, you'll be dropped from the course once the term has begun
  • If you lack a prerequisite or corequisite for a course, you can seek permission from the department that is offering it

Prerequisite help

Courses have different prerequisite combinations. For example, a course might have a single course prerequisite or it might require you to choose from a list of possible prerequisite combinations.

Below are examples of prerequisites you might encounter and how to interpret what you need.

One of a list


Sample prerequisites for BIOL 101

One of BIOL 215, 370, ES 240, 320.


In this case, students must have completed at least one of the above listed courses. This course may be either BIOL 215, BIOL 370, ES 240, ES 320.  Commas are used to separate each course.

Combinations and choices


Sample prerequisites for MATH 123.

103 and 104; and
245 or STAT 260 with a minimum grade of C+; and
MATH 100 or 102.


Even though there is no 4 letter course code before 103 and 104, we can assume those are MATH courses because that is the course type we are looking at.

In this case, students must have completed MATH 103 and MATH 104. Additionally, they will have to complete either MATH 245 or STAT 260 with a minimum grade of C+. Lastly, they must have either MATH 100 or MATH 102.

Requires permission of the department


Sample prerequisites for SOCW 411.

SOCW 313; and
310A or 310B with a minimum grade of B; or
permission of the department.


In this case, if students have SOCW 313 and either 310A or 310B with a minimum grade of B, they will be eligible to register. However, if you don’t have all of these, you may be able to get permission of the department to take the course and the department should be contacted directly.

General questions

Each faculty is responsible for the wording of their prerequisites. If you are concerned about a prerequisite, please contact the department.

If I can register for the course, does that mean I have the necessary prerequisites?

In some cases you may be able to register in the course without the necessary prerequisites. Please double-check to ensure you meet the prerequisites before you register, or you may be dropped from the class.

Quick links

Program help

Having trouble with program and degree planning? Contact your adviser for help.