General Information

Important People

(Department office hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 -4:30) 



Department Chair Alex Brolo Ell 303 721-7150 
Graduate Adviser David Harrington Ell 316 472-4946
Graduate Secretary Erin Hodgson Ell 301 721-7156
Department Secretary Sandra Carlson Ell 302 721-7150
Receptionist Hiromi Kurata Ell 301 721-7152
Administrative Officer Cathy Stacey Ell 304 721-7153
Safety Officer: Frank van Veggel Ell 234 721-7184
Graduate Student GSC Representative Adriaan Frencken
Graduate Student Society Representative Greg Gaube
Graduate Student CUPE Representative currently vacant: to apply, email your TA union!


Who Does What?

Your supervisor will be guiding you through your time here as a graduate student, and should be a first point of contact for information and advice. You will also have a supervisory committee, which includes your supervisor and whose other members are willing to help you. It will be a second point of contact for guidance and problem resolution. There is also a group of dedicated specialists in the department to help you navigate through the various rules and regulations:

The graduate secretary knows all the academic and financial rules about your graduate program and can be consulted about them. (Don’t accept the advice of fellow students on your academic program and regulations – please verify with the graduate secretary or check the Calendar for the year you started your program.) A file that contains all your evaluations and other documents is maintained within the department by the graduate secretary, who also makes sure that the information held by the university is up to date. At the university level, there are two units that deal exclusively with graduate students. The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) is the umbrella faculty for graduate students. It deals with all the academic aspects of the graduate program, for example approving new graduate courses, dealing with grade appeals or making official decisions about thesis oral exams. The Graduate Admissions and Records Office (GARO) provides much of the administrative support for the work of FGS. In particular, it handles all aspects of the admissions process, and maintains the official records of your degree. In general, graduate students do not have to deal directly with GARO because the Graduate Secretary passes on the required information to them.

The Graduate Advisor advises on academic matters and is a general problem solver for issues that cannot easily be easily solved by your supervisor or supervisory committee. The Graduate Advisor can be consulted on a confidential basis about any problems related to your graduate program, for example about conflicts with your supervisor. In general, problems are solved in increasing order of severity by your supervisor, your supervisory committee, the Graduate Advisor, the Department Chair, Associate Deans in FGS, the Dean of Graduate Studies, and the Senate Committee on Appeals. However, non-academic matters can involve other agencies on campus, such as the Ombudsperson or the Equity and Human Rights office. Although the Department Chair signs off on many graduate student matters and handles grade appeals and cases of plagiarism and academic misconduct, the Graduate Advisor deals with most of the academic and personnel issues involving graduate students.

This is just a brief summary of the roles of the supervisor, supervisory committee, graduate secretary and graduate advisor. The Graduate Supervision Policy has a lot more detail on the roles and responsibilities of these people. You should read every word in it and be familiar with it.

The department has other people not specifically associated with graduate students who you will likely interact with. In terms of graduate students, the secretary/receptionist issues keys, handles the mail and photocopiers, and processes petty cash requests, the department secretary deals with Teaching Assistant (TA) pay and immigration issues, and the administrative officer allocates desk space. The safety officer, together with the university's office of Occupational Safety, Health and Environment, ensures that chemistry labs are run safely.

There are several graduate students who represent you on departmental committees or other organizations. The graduate student GSC representative similarly repesents you on the graduate studies committee, which is a departmental committee that oversees graduate student admissions and programs. Your CUPE representative (CUPE 4163 is the union for TAs) will help you with issues and disputes involving your TA that you cannot resolve informally. You are also a member of the Graduate Student Society (GSS), which is a university-wide society advocating for and providing services for all graduate students.


Getting started 

Before You Arrive in Victoria

  • Get an overview of UVic and Victoria by exploring the FGS website for newly admitted students.
  • Internatonal students, get your student visa - read both the UVic guide and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.
  • Get a NetlinkID from here. You will need a valid existing email address and your V number (student ID number, something like V00123123, which you are given when your application to UVic is complete). Your NetlinkID becomes your UVic email address by appending, and it is also your login to many other UVic services, many of which you access through MyPage.
  • Course Registration. (You will receive registration instructions via email about six weeks before the start of term.)
    • Register online (through MyPage) in the following courses:
      1. Chem 599 (MSc) or Chem 699 (PhD) - this is a "course" for your research work that you register in each term.
      2. Chem 509 (seminar). You register in this every term and attend departmental seminars once or sometimes twice a week. You get an INP (in-progress) grade at the end of the term. Later in your degree you give a seminar to the department and then you get 1.0 units of credit for Chem 509
      3. Chem 693 (PhD Candidacy) for PhD students only. You register in this every term until you pass your candidacy exam.
    • Consult your supervisor about registering in other courses. There is no rush to register in these; it is possible to register in them after the term starts. Many supervisors would recommend completing coursework early in the program, which would mean registering in:
      1. Chem 680 (for physical/analytical chemists) or Chem 670 (for organic/inorganic chemists) - these are discussion courses in which you discuss papers from the literature. For an MSc. student, you only have to take this course once.
      2. Chem 505 This is a pass/fail module that all students must take that includes professional topics such as searching the literature/ethics and plagiarism/paper writing etc.
      3. Depending what is available, you may also register in a lecture course or some modules.
    • If you cannot register for courses, check your admission status against these definitions:
      • Provisional: You cannot register for courses, as some required admission documents are outstanding. Please check your MyApplication to see what is outstanding. Contact the graduate secretary if you aren’t sure what’s still needed or are unable to submit documents before the start of term. Example: Graduate Admissions and Records (GARO) may be waiting for official transcripts or a degree completion certificate; or perhaps you have to complete specific coursework before admission.
      • Conditional: You have been admitted but admission requirements are outstanding. You may register in courses in the first term of the program to which they have been admitted. A registration block on other terms will be removed when all outstanding requirements have been met. Example: GARO may be waiting for a final transcript indicating that a degree has been awarded.
      • Condition(s) Removed: Outstanding admission requirements have been met - you should be able to register in courses.
      • Provisional Removed: Outstanding admission requirements have been met - you should be able to register in courses.
  • Find some housing - perhaps through Used VictoriaKijiji, or Craigslist (in alleged order of preference). These online resources often have scammers - you should not give out any money until you have set foot in the property and checked out that it it legitimate. If you know someone at UVic, they may be able to look at a place for you, or you may have to wait until you are physically here. UVic also has sites for off-campus housing, and on-campus housing for families and others. There is also a Facebook UVic Housing Group.
  • Make sure you arrive before the Orientation Week (the week that term starts in), because there are important safety and other training sessions that you must take before you can work in the labs or be a teaching assistant.
  • If you don't find accommodation before you come, then you should arrive a week or more before term starts in order to do some house-hunting.
  • Health insurance. International students and students from other provinces must apply for the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP or "CareCard") within 10 days of arrival. MSP provides basic health care, e.g., emergency care and hospital and doctor visits. There is an approximately three month waiting period after you arrive before this becomes effective, so you need to acquire alternative medical insurance for this period. Effective September 2018, the University of Victoria will automatically enrol you in alternative coverage (Mandatory Temporary Medical Insurance) known as guardme@UVic - see for details. Additional Health and Dental coverage is available through the Graduate Students Society - it is important to note that this plan does not replace MSP.

After You Arrive in Victoria

  • When you first arrive in Victoria, find your supervisor and then visit the Chemistry office at Elliott 301 to get keys - you will get a key to your lab, your office space, the mailroom/photocopy room and a building door key. There is a $5 per key deposit (bring some cash!), which you will get back when you return the keys. (Building entry key fobs for students in the Bob Wright building require a $20 deposit.)
  • The receptionist will also give you a photocopy code, which enables you to use the departmental copy machines. These can also scan documents and send them to your email address.
  • You will be assigned a mail slot in the mailroom (Ell 320).
  • Go to the University Centre to get your ONECard - you will need to be registered and they will want your V-number and to see government-certified ID (passport for international students, driver's licence for Canadian residents). Your ONECard is your Student ID card, but is also used as a bus pass, to access the gym, and to store money on for food around campus.
  • Bus pass - For the first term, your ONECard should automatically work as a bus pass (U-pass). After that, use the U-pass machines in the University Centre to reactivate your ONECard.
  • Your ID for official Canadian Government services such as your tax form is called a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You can get it from Services Canada in person by visiting their Victoria office at 1401 Douglas Street.
  • Attend the orientation and training events. The Chemistry office will be tracking to make sure that you complete all the required training. The core safety and TA training is given in the orientation week at the beginning of term, but others such as laser safety, compressed gas training or NMR or mass spec training will be later.
  • You supervisor will give you the required New and Young Workers training, give you information about general safety issues, and discuss how standard operating procedures are applied in your research group.
  • Your supervisor will ask you to sign NSERC Form 100D, which gives permission for your supervisor to use your name on research grants.
  • Open a bank account as soon as possible, as most of the money you get from UVic will be directly deposited into a Canadian bank account. Without an account most banks or cheque cashing business will charge a fee to cash cheques. You may need to take proof you are a registered student – your unofficial transcript showing registration for the term, or your offer letter may help. There are two different forms you fill out to get payments directly deposited to your bank account, one for scholarship, awards and RA payments and one for TA payments. Bring the forms to the Chemistry office when complete.
  • You will be allocated some office space by the Administrative Officer.