group brainstorming session
Community Development students engage in a group brainstorming/ mind mapping activity during their residency on campus.

General FAQ

Which programs are on campus and which are online?

Our on campus programs are:

  • MPA On Campus, and
  • Minor in Public Administration (restricted to students enrolled in an undergraduate program at UVic; however, most courses are still completed online).

Our online programs are:

  • Diploma in Local Government Management, Diploma in Public Sector Management, and the Professional Specialization Certificates
  • MPA Online, and
  • Graduate Certificate and Diploma (Evaluation)

The Diploma in Indigenous Community Development program is an online program with some on campus sessions; click here for more information.

The Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD) program is an online program with residency components each summer.

Can I study part time?

Only the MPA Online program and the Undergraduate programs are offered on a part time study basis.

What is the minimum acceptable GPA for entry?

  • Graduate programs: applicants to our normally require a minimum B+ average (75-79  per cent) in the last two years of study. Please note that because of the number of applications received, possession of normal admission requirements doesn’t necessarily guarantee admission to the  program. See admission requirements for the individual programs at our applications page. See also the UVic Graduate calendar for admission as a Mature Student.
  • Undergraduate programs: Applicants to the Professional Specialization Certificates require work experience and a Bachelor’s degree. Applicants to the Diploma programs normally require work experience and two years of post-secondary education. While these programs are not capacity-limited (applicants who possess the requirements are normally granted admission), there are course capacity restrictions. Applicants are encouraged to apply early, and register as soon as they are able to do so. Within the undergraduate programs, there are additional applicant categories that may be applicable; see the Undergraduate calendar for details.

How are applications assessed?

For Graduate programs, an  Admissions Committee assesses your ability to successfully complete the  program. Admission decisions are based on your academic record, an evaluation of the Letter of Intent, the Academic Assessment forms (included with the application package) or non-academic letters of reference, applicable test scores, and relevant work experience (paid or voluntary).

For Diploma and Professional Specialization Certificate programs, if you meet the academic and work experience requirements, you are normally admissible. Please see the applications page to review the admission criteria related to the program of interest to you.

Are all programs eligible for co-ops?

No, at this time only the MPA On Campus program is eligible for co-op placements.

How much does it cost to complete the program?

A detailed section regarding fees is available through the Tuition and Fees Schedule.

How much work is involved?

Students should plan to spend 10 to 15 hours per week on each course you take; this is a sizeable time commitment and you'll need good time management skills to assure success.

Are scholarships offered?

Graduate students: A number of awards, scholarships, and bursaries are available to full-time students from the School of Public Administration and the University of Victoria. Read more about funding through the financial aid section of the Graduate Studies website. Applicants to the MPA On-Campus program with a first class (A minus) average over the last two years of their undergraduate and graduate coursework (as applicable) are automatically considered for Graduate Studies Fellowships.

Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD) students are evaluated after the first two terms and the three students with the highest GPAs receive scholarships.

Undergraduate students: as most study these programs on a part-time basis, they are  not eligible for scholarships. However, students who work in local governments should inquire with the Board of Examiners for scholarships or seek reimbursement for tuition from their employer.

Does the School of Public Administration offer any teaching or research assistant positions?

There are a occasional teaching and research positions open to graduate students, generally after the first term of core courses have been completed. Advertisements for positions are distributed to students via the School's listserv.

Will I have an academic supervisor for my studies?

The initial supervisor for graduate students will be the School's Graduate Advisor, and as you work through your courses you will consult with the Graduate Advisor or the Graduate Administrative Assistant regarding program requirements or proposed changes to your program. As you near the end of your coursework, you will seek out a supervisor to guide you in the completion of your Master's Project (or Thesis, as applicable).

Undergraduate students receive guidance on course planning through the Administrative Assistant or the Program Manager; no academic supervisor is assigned to undergraduate students.

MACD program

How long does it take to complete the program?

Students are able to complete the program within two and one quarter years.  All students must complete the program within five years.

How much work experience do I need to be considered for the program?

We ask that applicants have a minimum of four years of professional experience, paid or volunteer, within the larger community development sectors.

What is a residency?

For the MACD program, the three on campus sessions held in the summer terms are referred to as residencies. In other words, during a residency you will be on campus. At every other point throughout the program you will be completing online course work from any location. The residencies are the only in-class components of the MACD program. All other course work is to be completed online using CourseSpaces, a Moodle learning management system.  Students are expected to cover the cost of food, accommodation and travel for each residency.  Although you are not required to stay at UVic during your residencies, acommodation may be available on campus.

Are there any International exchange experiences available?

From time to time we may have the capacity to offer a field study course at an International location such as Delhi, India.  Please watch the website for future offerings or contact the program manager ()  for details.

MPA On Campus program

How long does it take to complete the MPA On Campus program?

As this is a full-time program, the majority of students are able to complete it in six terms (two years). During this period, you must complete two co-operative work terms and may choose to complete an optional third term. Typically, students require two-three semesters to complete their Master's Thesis.

Students must complete the MPA On Campus program within 5 years.

An explanation of program and other related fees for graduate students -and how fees relate to the length of program- is available through the following link to the Regulations Concerning Fees in the Graduate Studies calendar.

I have been admitted to the MPA On Campus program prior to/ during fall 2018, and I understand changes are being made to this program effective May 2019. How will these changes affect me?

The changes to the MPA Campus program in effect for May 1, 2019, will have no effect on your studies. Once you have completed the required courses required for the MPA On Campus, you will complete your program by producing and defending a Master's Project or Master's Thesis (if eligible), just as when you were admitted to the program.

I have been admitted to the MPA On Campus program prior to/ during fall 2018, and I understand changes are being made to the MPA Online program effective May 2019. How will these changes affect me?

The changes to the MPA Online will have no effect on you. The MPA On Campus and MPA Online serve different students with different academic needs. These differences are reflected both in the differing admission criteria and program requirements.

MPA Online program

How long does it take to complete the MPA Online program?

The part-time MPA Online program takes just over two years to complete if you register in two courses per term.

Students must complete the MPA Online program within 5 years.

I have been admitted to the MPA Online program prior to/ during fall 2018, and I understand changes are being made to the MPA Online program effective May 2019. How will these changes affect me?

There are a few different scenarios for such students. Please consult the following information:

  • for MPA Online students who are still taking courses: there may be a change to the sequence of courses in the program, but there is no change to the courses required for the program. When you have completed your course work, you will have the option of completing a final report, but you will not be required to complete either. You do not need to decide or declare your intention at this time.
  • for MPA Online students who are working only on the final report (ADMN 598 or 599): you have the option of completing your report. Please refer to the letter that was sent to active MPA Online students (available here). If you are currently registered for the report and plan to complete this work, continue as before. If you are currently registered for the project or thesis and elect to be governed by the new program, please contact Judy Selina (), as she will assist you with the next steps in the process.
  • for MPA Online students who are working both on courses and currently registered for the final report (ADMN 598 or 599): If you plan to complete the final report, continue as before. If you elect to be governed by the new program requirements, please contact Judy Selina (), as she will assist you with the next steps in the process.
  • For MPA Online students who have withdrawn: please contact Judy Selina to receive information pertaining to your situation. Be sure to provide her with your student number so that she can access your file.

    Please note that because of the effective date of the change, the earliest term in which a person who has completed all courses and who is opting to forego the report can graduate is fall 2019 (November convocation). If you are in this situation, please apply to graduate after May 1, 2019.

I am working and living on the other side of the country, is the MPA Online program best for me?

The MPA Online program is designed precisely for people like you. The MPA Online program is accessible, reasonably priced and flexible for students who are working and/or have a family. We have students located in BC, Newfoundland, and Nunavut, as well as those who travel locally or internationally and maintain internet access. Please also consult the applications page to ensure that you are eligible to apply to this program, as its admission criteria is different from the MPA On Campus program, which serves a different group of students and has different program requirements.

Co-op program

Are all programs eligible for co-op work terms?

No, only the MPA on campus program is eligible for co-op work terms.

How much are students paid while working on a co-operative work term?

While the rate of pay varies according to the position, our students generally earn between $2,500 and $3,000 per month during a co-operative work term.

Are all the co-operative work terms assigned in Victoria?

No, many of our students complete their work terms outside of Victoria. The availability of placements in a given geographic region is often tied to factors such as the economy and the hiring organization's institutional policies, so it is imperative that students are willing to relocate during the co-op term. This should not be seen as a disadvantage, but rather a tremendous opportunity to live and work in a location that you may not have been able to otherwise.  Many students complete at least one work term in Ottawa. We also place students in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto. We have also had placements in other locales, such as Ireland, New York City, and South Africa.

Living in Victoria

Can I afford to move to Victoria to complete a graduate degree?

While we can't answer this question for you, you may find the information below helpful, and we encourage you to visit the website of the City of Victoria for additional information.

What do I need to consider if I'm moving to Victoria?

For students planning to move to Victoria, it can be difficult to estimate living expenses. Beyond the initial move, you may wish to consider the expense of returning home for holidays or celebrations. Depending on the amount of things you wish to bring with you, there might be additional costs for shipping.

What are housing costs?

Housing costs in Victoria are comparable to many areas across the country. The biggest considerations are taste, expectations, and location. All of these factors will determine the price. An additional consideration is willingness to share accommodations, which will reduce costs.

It is can be difficult to negotiate a new rental on the phone or via internet, but not impossible. Among students that we consulted, the UVic Housing website was the most useful resource in searching for and finding a living space (and also a useful place to compare prices).

Is public transportation affordable?

Each student attending UVic is provided with a very reasonably priced bus pass (about $60 for the semester) included in tuition. Victoria’s bus system is very accessible and almost always on time. It is also very easy to get to and from the University from virtually anywhere in Victoria.

Studying online

How are the courses delivered?

We use CourseSpaces, a version of Moodle, to deliver our online courses. Using CourseSpaces, you will:

  • review your course notes
  • join discussion forums
  • submit your assignments
  • keep track of your grades
  • link to online readings

For some courses, you will meet fellow students online for a seminar or discussion.  Other course materials can include text notes, powerpoint presentations, streaming audio, video or audio podcasts, and online debate tools.

How will I ask questions?

All methods of communication are possible: email, text messaging or telephone. You can ask questions as part of the weekly online dialogue that shapes most online courses. If you would like to discuss an issue privately, you can e-mail or phone the instructor.

How are exams administered?

There are not many exams in the online programs. Grades in our program are mostly based on written assignments and online participation.

How long will I be online for each course?

It depends on the subject matter, course material, and your habits and preferences. Some courses might require 8-10 hours per week, while others may require 10-15 hours per week - which we understand is a substantial time commitment.

Some online courses have paper course packs which means that all reading is done offline and only assignment submissions and asynchronous participation in weekly discussions and team project interaction is done online, while other courses have readings available online as well as multimedia presentations to assist students in their understanding of the concepts.

Are there particular times that I will be expected to be online?

In most instances, courses are delivered asynchronously, meaning that you can do the work anytime you want as long as you meet submission deadlines. There are only a few courses that may require some online meetings (e.g., to present group projects); these are generally scheduled well in advance and to be at a time that will be reasonable for the majority of students.