Newly admitted students

Students starting at UVic in the fall can meet with an adviser beginning in May to work on their program plan and course selection. Prior to May (or if you haven't been admitted yet), get in touch with the recruiter for your area for questions related to your program or course registration.

Academic advisers can help you

  • review programs offered at UVic and work with you to narrow down your options,
  • assist with course selection for programs in Humanities, Science and Social Sciences,
  • help prepare you for transfer or application to other programs or faculties (e.g., Commerce), and
  • answer questions about university life and connect you to other services on campus.
Please note: advisers can’t register you in (or drop you from) courses—you'll have to do this yourself. For more information on our registration system, as well as guided tutorials, see UVic's course registration and course timetable pages.

Making an appointment with an adviser

Appointments for newly admitted students can be prebooked starting in May. Please call our front counter at 250-721-7567 (ext. 6) or email  to set up a time. If emailing, please make sure to include the following information:

  • your first and last name
  • your UVic student number
  • your faculty and/or program of interest
  • a few dates and time ranges you’d prefer for your appointment

Please note: depending on the time of year, it may take up to two weeks to see an adviser, so you're encouraged to get in touch with us early.

Preparing for your appointment

We strongly recommend that you review the new undergraduates page and the academic calendar page for your program(s) of interest and that you prepare questions for your appointment.

What programs does UVic offer?

More than 70 undergraduate programs are offered across UVic's 10 faculties. Browse the list of schools and departments to see what you can study and review the undergraduate academic calendar for the finer details of each major program we offer.

What courses do I need to take if I know what I want to study?

Every major includes a number of specific courses required to complete the program. Review the calendar entry for your program  for specifics. If you're studying in the Faculties of Humanities, Science or Social Sciences, you can access a program planning worksheet for an overview of the requirements.

In addition to satisfying the requirements for your program, you'll also need to meet the academic writing requirement (AWR) and make sure you've completed at least 21 units of upper-level coursework and 60 units of overall coursework. More information on the overall university requirements can be found in the academic calendar.

What courses should I take if I'm not sure what to study?

Many students are undecided about their program of study when they begin their undergraduate studies, while others end up graduating from a different program than the one in which they started. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • what am I interested in?
  • what are my values?
  • what are some future goals that I want to achieve?
  • how or what kind of classes will support these goals?
  • what classes did I like in high school?
  • what are the classes that I didn’t like as much?
  • what kind of classes could I take that may open my mind to new ideas?

If you are still having a hard time deciding on the program to pursue, you might want to take a selection of courses from different areas of study so that you can explore your options. If you’d like to speak with someone about making the right program choice for you, get in touch with an academic adviser. You can also browse the career exploration tools and workshops available through the Student Wellness Centre.

What are electives and how do they fit in to my degree?

You'll need to complete 60 units of coursework to be granted a degree—for a typical student this means 40 courses. However, it won't take you that many courses to satisfy the specific program requirements; you will be left with a number of additional courses to complete in order to make it to the 60 unit total.

These non-prescribed courses are called electives, as you "elect" which ones you'll take. Sometimes you'll choose electives based on prerequisites for other courses, but usually students select them based on personal interest.

Electives allow you to explore a new topic, to complement your primary area of study or to develop a specific competency. Electives can also be used to complete the requirements for a minor or second major.

Can I take courses at the 200-level (or above) in first year?

Students are eligible to take 200-level courses in their first year, provided they have met any stated prerequisites—though occasionally courses will be restricted to students with second year standing.

Keep in mind that professors in 200-level courses will expect you to read, write and participate at a second-year level; make sure that you read the syllabus thoroughly and build in extra time for studying and working on your assignments. We don’t recommend that you take a 200-level course in your first term if you're coming directly from high school.

If you're unsure about a specific course, connect with an adviser to discuss whether it's suitable for your level of study and how it will fit with your other academic requirements for the term.

Can I take courses from outside my department or faculty?

The requirements for your program will often include courses outside your specific department. You may select electives from any department or faculty, if you have the necessary prerequisites and if there are no restrictions on registration.

Most courses in Faculties of Humanities, Science and Social Sciences are open to students of any faculty; conversely, many courses in the Faculties of Engineering, Fine Arts and Human & Social Development as well as the School of Business are open only to students in their programs. However, most of these programs offer introductory courses for non-specialists who'd like to explore a particular area (e.g., COM 100 or WRIT 102).

Can I study in more than one area as part of my degree?

You'll likely take courses from a range of areas during your time at UVic, but if you want to formally include a second area of study you can add a minor—or even a second major— to your degree program. Some majors also allow for specialization within your coursework (e.g., a Biology major with a Marine Biology concentration, or an Economics major with a Finance option). Check the calendar entry for your major to see what options and combinations are available to you.

You can usually satisfy the coursework requirement for your second area of study within the overall 60 units that you'll have to complete for your degree. (Doing so will require that you replace some or all of the electives you would otherwise have taken). You'll need to plan carefully and early to fit these courses into your degree.

If you're considering a second area of study, we encourage you to meet with an adviser and review exactly how all the requirements will fit together.

What if I want to study in an area other than the one to which I was admitted?

The program to which you're originally admitted won't necessarily be the one in which you finish—it’s not uncommon to change your mind once you’ve had a chance to take a few courses. You might change to another program within your faculty, or you might decide to apply to a professional program like Business or Kinesiology.

If you're studying in the Faculties of Humanities, Science or Social Sciences, follow the requirements for whichever program you like; we'll make sure that you're enrolled in the correct department and faculty once you've declared your program. And after you've declared, you're still eligible to change your program.

For transfer or admission to a program in another faculty, the process varies. Some will require only that you complete the required prerequisite courses and remain in good academic standing, while others will include a supplemental application and selection process (e.g., the Bachelor of Commerce program). We recommend that you check the website of the department offering the program in which you're interested or speak with an adviser to review the requirements, process and timeline for transfer or application.

What is the academic writing requirement? Do I need to take any English courses?

To ensure that you have an opportunity to develop the advanced literacy skills expected at the university level, you're required to complete a 1.5 unit academic writing requirement (AWR) designated course. These courses include ATWP 135ENGL 146ENGL 147 and ENGR 110. You may be exempt from this requirement if you have already demonstrated competency by other means. See the calendar entry on the AWR for more information.

The AWR is separate from your program requirements, and you will need to complete it before you can receive your degree. If your program already requires one of the designated courses, it will count towards your program and satisfy the AWR. Conversely, you will not be exempt from taking any of these courses if they are specifically required by the program (e.g., Psychology), even if you have satisfied the AWR through other means.

When do I register for courses? How do I register?

Course registration takes place through Online tools, the UVic student portal. Visit UVic's course registration page for more information on how the system works, including guided tutorials.

Registration typically opens for the Winter Session in mid-June through July and for the Summer Session in mid-March. An email will be sent to the preferred address listed on your personal profile once your time has been assigned, so make sure it's set to an account you check regularly.

What is the difference between lectures, labs and tutorials?

In most cases, the main component for your courses will be a lecture section. Lectures are typically led by your professor (similar to high school), though many upper-level courses will have more of a focus on discussion and interaction.

Labs are generally more hands on, with a focus on practical application of the course material. Most labs will include a gradable component—lab reports or tests, for example.

Tutorials tend to focus more on discussion or review of the topics covered in your lecture sections. For a political science course this might mean exploring how your coursework relates to current events, while in a mathematics tutorial you'll work through sample problems to strengthen your grasp on the formulas and theories presented in class.

How do I know if a course has a lab or tutorial?

You can tell whether a course has a lab or tutorial either by looking at the associated academic calendar entry or through the course registration system.

Each academic calendar entry will list the number of hours per week under the course name. The first number indicates the hours of lecture and the second indicates the hours of lab work. The third number (if present) is the hours of tutorial for the course.

When you look up a course in the registration system, you'll be presented with a list of related sections. Lecture sections begin with an ‘A’, lab sections begin with a ‘B’ and tutorials begin with a ‘T’.

If a course has a lab or tutorial, you must register for it (along with the lecture). If there is more than one section of lecture, lab or tutorial, you can choose the one that best fits your timetable.

Can I add or drop courses once the term has begun?

Courses can be added or dropped once the term has begun, but you'll need to be mindful of the academic important dates, which include the deadline for adding or dropping courses. When adding courses, make sure to consider the amount of material that will have already been presented and whether you feel you'll be able to catch up. Make sure to get a copy of any missed notes from a classmate or speak with your professor.

In the fall and spring terms there are three deadlines for dropping courses: before the first deadline, you can withdraw and receive 100% of the course fee back; and before the second deadline, you'll receive a 50% refund upon withdrawing. The final deadline is the last day to drop courses without academic penalty (an "F" or an "N" showing up on your transcript).