Frequently Asked Questions

What calculator do I use for my physics and astronomy courses?

Unless otherwise specified by a course instructor, the only acceptable calculator for physics and astronomy courses is the SHARP EL-510RNB which is available for purchase at the UVic Bookstore.

Who do I contact to declare my major?

For advice on declaring your major, please contact either of our Undergraduate Advisors - Dr. Richard Keeler or Dr. Mark Laidlaw by emailing:

What are the deadlines for adding/dropping courses?

Students should note that the deadlines for adding and dropping courses are not the same as those for fee reductions.  Students are strongly advised to follow the posted deadlines in UVic calendar

What first year physics course(s) should I take?

This is a good question and you have to be careful to choose the right first year physics course for your program of study.  Please refer to our listing of First Year Physics courses for information.

If you have further questions about any of our first year physics courses, please contact our Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Mark Laidlaw by email: or by phone: 250-721-7701.

How are lectures, labs and tutorial sections idenfified in the registration system?

In the UVic registration system:

  • Lecture sections are identified by an "A" as in A01, A02, A03 etc.
  • Lab sections are identified by a "B" as in B01, B02, B03 etc.
  • Tutorial sections are identified by a "T" as in T01, T02, T03 etc.

I am getting a ‘pre-requisite error’ (or another type of block) when trying to register for a physics course. What should I do?

If you encounter a "Pre-requisite Error" message when you attempt to register, this means the registration system has detected that you do not have the required prequisite(s).  In this case, please follow the steps outlined on the Course Pre-requisite Waivers page of the Department of Physics & Astronomy website.

I failed a course but passed the lab portion of it. When I re-take the course, do I have to re-take the lab component as well?

Students who fail a course but successfully complete (pass) the laboratory component may be eligible for a lab exemption upon re-taking the course.  For lab exemption inquiries, please contact Senior Lab Instructor Doug McKenzie at  Be sure to include your name and student number.

I received an E grade. What does it mean?

The grade E is a failing grade.  If you have written the final exam and are assigned an E, you may be eligible for a supplemental exam. 

Please note that not all instructors allow supplemental exams in their courses. Students are advised to refer to the course syllabus. 

When supplemental examinations are permitted by a department, they are governed by the following regulations:

-Students taking 15 or more units in the Winter Session will be granted supplemental examinations only if they have passed at least 12 units of courses in that session. The maximum number of units of supplemental examinations allowed is normally 3. However, the Dean of the student's faculty may authorize supplemental examinations in an additional 3 units if the student will complete a degree by passing all the supplemental examinations granted.
-Any passing grade obtained on a supplemental examination will be shown in the student's academic record with a grade point value of 1, corresponding to a D, and will be taken into account in determining the student's graduating average and standing at graduation, but will not affect the student's sessional Grade Point Average.

I have a registration question. Who should I ask?

For registration inquiries, please contact our Administrative Officer, Susan Gnucci by email: or by phone 250-721-7699.

I need some help with my physics/astronomy course.

Our department offers a Physics Aid Service throughout the academic year.

If you prefer to hire a private tutor, you can either visit our General Office (Elliott 101) or email to request a tutor list.