Academic programming for the spring term (January-April 2021)

- University of Victoria

With the fall term approaching, we believe it is important to signal our direction for the spring term (January-April 2021) now so that our students, faculty and staff can better prepare for their entire academic year.

In consultation with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, and following the advice and guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, the University of Victoria is pleased to continue to offer a blend of face-to-face and online instruction for the spring term.

This fall, about 10 per cent of our undergraduate and 40 per cent of our graduate courses are face to face, and we are excited to welcome more than 3,500 students to campus in accordance with the latest recommendations from public health officials and our own safe operations plans. Although we don’t yet know exactly how the spring term will look, we do know that we will continue to look for ways to safely open up the campus more throughout the fall and spring terms.

The health and safety of our university community remains our top priority. For this reason, we will continue to offer online instruction in the spring term and expect to offer even more face-to-face courses and activities than we are in the fall. This blended and equitable approach helps to ensure that our students—no matter their location or health concerns—have options to stay on track with their academic programming and graduate on time. Faculty and instructors can teach safely, and those who need to access campus for their research, creative activities, teaching or learning can better physically distance.

We aim to update the academic timetable to clarify whether a spring term course is “online” or “face to face” by the end of September. As is currently the case for fall courses, any face-to-face courses offered in the spring term will also be ready to pivot to fully online delivery if necessary.

UVic remains committed to offering high quality academic programming to all of our students—locally and around the world—and we will continue to invest in resources to support students, faculty and instructors. Thank you for all that you are doing to help us create a vibrant and inclusive university community.


Valerie S. Kuehne
Vice-President Academic and Provost
University of Victoria

What academic programs and courses will be offered in the spring?

We plan to update the academic timetable to clarify whether a course is “online” or “face to face” by the end of September. Similar to the fall term, courses will be carefully reviewed for suitability before being approved for face-to-face instruction by the Dean and then Provost. To give you a sense how many courses might be offered, we are currently offering 650 face-to-face course sections this fall—the majority of which have significant hands-on experiential learning components like labs and studio work, and are in the faculties of science, fine arts and graduate studies. We hope to offer more face-to-face courses in the spring, especially as some programs deferred some experiential courses from the fall term to the spring term, although this will ultimately depend on our regional health situation. All face-to-face courses must be ready to pivot to fully online if necessary.

We will also try to indicate whether a course is fully synchronous or asynchronous or elements of both, in which case the timetable will indicate which hours students are required to be available for instruction. This ensures predictability for our students, and allows them to choose and access courses regardless of their current time zone, schedules or other commitments.

We do not yet know what international opportunities we will be able to offer for the spring term, as we will need to respond to external factors such as federal travel advisories. We do hope to offer some local field schools, but it will depend on the current provincial health situation and whether we can safely offer such opportunities while adhering to all recommended health and safety protocols.

What services will be available in the spring?

For both the fall and spring terms, the campus will continue to gradually reopen as much as possible given current health and safety recommendations. This includes student study spaces and computer labs, which we know are important to local students regardless of whether they are taking online or face-to-face courses. On-campus bookable study spaces will be available starting in September, and we are looking at ways to safely open the McPherson Library.

Many on-campus buildings and services—including the Bookstore, Mystic Market, CARSA and the SUB—have once again opened their doors, just in a modified way. Please call or visit a department’s website before visiting to confirm availability. Of course, all of our services remain available remotely.

In terms of on-campus housing, we are able to operate at approximately 40 per cent occupancy based on health and safety guidelines. Most students who have applied for on-campus housing have received responses by now. Please visit our student housing website for updates on availability throughout the fall and leading up to the spring term.

Where can I get help and support?

We have made several significant investments in ensuring the quality of the educational experience this year, including the Brightspace Learning Management System. We are also launching a 24/7 mental health support program and a new integrated health and wellness facility with both on-campus and remote access. Other student resources include:

See a full list of student resources. Although the physical spaces associated with some of these services may be temporarily closed or gradually reopening, staff remain available to help you regardless of where you are located.