Program list & descriptions

Graduate programs by special arrangement (SPARR) ( Masters, Doctorate )

In a special arrangement degree program, the courses and other requirements are established by the members of the supervisory committee in consultation with the student. The program must conform to all regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. The proposal consists of a completed special arrangement program proposal form and rationale for the program.

If you want to pursue research in an area that has not been formally approved as a graduate degree program at UVic, it's possible to get a unique proposal approved by "special arrangement."  See below for more information.

Approval process

It may be possible for academic units without established graduate programs to offer students doctoral and master’s degrees. Since these degree programs are created on an individual student basis, the Faculty of Graduate Studies requires that applicants and academic units satisfy a stringent approval process:

  • In order to be considered for approval to offer a doctoral degree by special arrangement, the academic unit must have a regular master’s program and have graduated students from that program during each of the last three years.
  • In order to be considered for approval to offer a master’s degree by special arrangement, the academic unit must have an active major or honours undergraduate program and have graduated students from that program in each of the last three years.

These types of programs are subject to the usual Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations. It is the agreement between the student and the faculty that guides the academic program including the coursework, candidacy regulations and timing and the research program.

Steps for arranging a graduate program by special arrangement

Steps for arranging a graduate program by special arrangement
  • Determine that you are admissible to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at UVic by reviewing the admission requirements.
  • Determine that your program could not be undertaken in any established graduate program by reviewing the UVic programs as outlined in the graduate calendar.
  • Write a two to three page description of the knowledge you wish to develop in your graduate program, the phenomena or area of research interest, your relevant background and future goals.
  • Identify the relevant academic unit in which the program could be housed.
  • Identify potential supervisors within that academic unit using the faculty lists in the graduate calendar.
  • Meet with the academic unit graduate adviser to discuss the possibility of a special arrangement program with their academic unit.
  • Arrange to meet with potential supervisors to discuss your proposal.

Forming your committee and program

  • Once you have the support of the academic unit and an academic supervisor, work with the supervisor to choose potential committee members.
  • Once your supervisor and committee members are established, the next step is to discuss and further outline your program. This will include:
    • establishing the required courses (The precise course list will vary depending on your background, including both education and experience. You may be required to complete preparatory courses in research methods, statistics, languages, etc. If any of the courses are in academic units other than those of your home unit, include written permission from those units to enrol in the courses. You may be able to select your courses from existing UVic courses, or may need to arrange directed studies courses. You may wish to consider courses at other universities, perhaps under the terms of the western deans' agreement.)
    • candidacy plan (for doctoral programs)
    • unit value of your thesis, dissertation or project
    • total number of credits for your program

Applying for admission

  • Start working on the SPARR program proposal work sheet.
  • Prepare the SPARR program proposal form and have it signed by the appropriate people.
  • Complete the online application for UVic graduate studies. Be sure to upload the SPARR program proposal form and supporting documents.
  • Admission will be reviewed and approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Admissions and Records Office, and the admission committee in your proposed home academic unit.

Program and course designation

Your official record will indicate the program as “special arrangement.” The degree program can consist of appropriate courses from within the academic unit as well as regular courses from other academic units. Academic units with no regular graduate courses are authorized to create the following courses for special arrangement degree students only:

Master's programs
DEPT 580 (1.5-3.0)2 Directed Studies
DEPT 596 (1.5-3.0)2 Team Graduating Report/Project (non-thesis option)
DEPT 597 (0)2 Comprehensive Examination (non-thesis option)
DEPT 598 (1.5-4.5)2 Individual Graduating Report/Project (non-thesis option)
DEPT 599 (6.0-12.0)2 Thesis
Doctoral programs
DEPT 680 (1.5-3.0)1 Directed Studies
DEPT 693 (3.0)2 Candidacy Examination
DEPT 699 (6.0-12.0)2 Dissertation

1. May be taken more than once for credit provided course content differs.

2. Grading is INP, COM, N, F.

Co-operative education opportunities

What is co-op?

Co-operative education (co-op) is a learning strategy that lets you:

  • alternate your academic studies with paid, relevant work experience in your field of study
  • enrich your academic studies by drawing on practical, real-world experience from your work terms
  • develop competencies to excel in the workplace
  • potentially pursue work terms related to your graduate research or project
Can you do co-op?

Graduate co-op may be available to students who are pursuing thesis and non-thesis (or professional) degrees. Participation is optional, and admission is determined after consultation with your graduate adviser and department. Contact the co-op program in your degree area for details, or email

Note: Co-op is not open to one-year graduate degrees, graduate certificates and diplomas, and non-degree graduate students.

What other career development support does UVic offer?

UVic Co-op and Career can support you through every stage of your career development, through:

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