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About the University of Victoria
The University of Victoria (UVic or Victoria) is a public research university located in Saanich and Oak Bay within Greater Victoria, British Columbia. The university was founded as Victoria College in 1903, as the affiliate branch of McGill University, and is also credited with the beginnings of the University of British Columbia. A non-denominational institution, it transitioned to its current status as the University of Victoria in 1963. The university's annual enrollment is around 20,000 students. UVic's campus is known for its innovative architecture, beautiful gardens, and mild climate.
UVic is British Columbia's third largest research university. Academically, the University of Victoria is noted for its programs in thePeter B. Gustavson School of Business, the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, Earth and Ocean Sciences, Fine and Performing Arts, and Engineering along with a strong focus on (mandatory) co-operative education. It is the nation's lead institution in theVENUS and NEPTUNE deep-water seafloor observatory projects. It is also home to several interdisciplinary research centres, such as the Pacific Institute of Mathematical Studies, Compute Canada, Canadian Oceans Research Universities, and WestGrid.
The Victoria Vikes (more commonly known as the UVic Vikes or simply the Vikes) represent the university in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) community in a number of competitive sports, as well as through a variety of intercollegiate leagues. The Vikes have especially long and eminent ties to competitive rowing, basketball and rugby.
UVic ranks well in global rankings. It has been the top-ranked comprehensive university in Canada since 2010. In this category,Maclean's magazine ranks UVic either first or second for eight consecutive years. It also ranked first nationwide and 20th internationally in the Times Higher Education’s ranking of schools under 50 years old. In global rankings, UVic is within the Top 200 list, thus, being amongst the top one per cent of universities around the world. It clocked in its highest ranking at 173 globally in 2010 and has since maintained a strong presence in global ranking charts. The university has also been home to more than 40 faculty members who are Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada since it was founded
Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
There is a business school built for those who see the need for a new way forward. A school that, while not right for everyone, is the perfect place for thinkers of thoughts, generators of ideas, and creators of change. It’s right here, on Canada’s stunning west coast, at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business. Here, you’ll find learning that throws out convention and sparks personal growth. Listen closely for the call of adventure. Seize opportunities to do great business today and tomorrow, near and far, in a completely different way.
Division of Continuing Studies
Continuing education has been an integral part of the University of Victoria since its inception in 1963. Today, the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) provides adult and continuing education programming in co-operation with UVic faculties and community partners. We offer a comprehensive portfolio of programs in a range of academic disciplines, using diploma, certificate, degree and other programming models to serve adult, part-time, international and geographically dispersed students.
We offer more than 200 credit and non-credit courses each term, in a wide breadth of subjects. Study for personal enrichment or professional development: the choice is up to you.Continuing Studies has a wide range of professional programs to suit your needs. You can start on a university degree, train for a new career, or earn a professional designation. All of our programs are expertly designed by coordinators and instructors who are leaders in their fields. These award-winning programs will enhance your skills, improve your career choices and help you gain a new perspective.
Faculty of Education
At UVic Education we equip future educators of all kinds to make a difference in the lives of people everywhere.
Our faculty offers dynamic programming, research opportunities with nationally and internationally renowned leaders in their fields, and experiences that connect the past, present and future in a myriad of educational places and spaces.
We offer choices: teacher education, Indigenous education, counseling psychology,kinesiology, recreation and health education, adult education, leadership and more. Ourgraduates are always in high demand and go on to shape the practice of education in almost every sector of society.
Faculty of Engineering
UVic Engineering graduates help invent the future. If you're excited by the thought of building a sustainable society or of working on nanotechnology, computer graphics, photonics or wireless networks, this could be the place for you.
Join us at one of Canada's top-ranked universities and start your high-paying career in Engineering or Computer Science. You'll experience inspired teaching and real-life learning in a spectacular location. You'll be surrounded by world-class research and life-changing opportunities, and you can look forward to amazing job prospects after graduation.
Faculty of Fine arts
Critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, collaboration and communication, research and writing skills, success through critical evaluation . . . Fine Arts offers all this and more. Whatever your career path, UVic's Faculty of Fine Arts prepares you for life and leadership in the 21st century.
Faculty of Graduate Studies
Enter a world of scholarship and learning unlike any other. This is a place where expert community and hands-on exploration intersect with a desire to drive change.
For more than 50 years, the University of Victoria has fostered innovation at home and abroad. We continue to earn a reputation for quality that is respected around the globe. Consistently ranked one of the top research universities in Canada, UVic has a tradition of teaching excellence and is home to more than 160 graduate programs designed to take your learning to the next level.
Faculty of Human and Social Development
The Faculty of Human and Social Development (HSD) is a vibrant place to learn and prepare to contribute to the health of society. Our students enter professions that support children, families, elders, communities and governments.
We are leaders in health, social well-being of children, families and communities and excellence in governance. We value community-based research, Indigenous partnership,distance education delivery, and innovative graduate programs. We bring UVic to your community and value our collaborative partnerships.
Faculty of Humanities
The Humanities have always been the foundation of a university. Our departments and programs provide the opportunity to study and expand expressions of the human spirit. Languages, narratives, philosophies, histories—we bring these all together in a critical context of analysis, interpretation, research, and communication. Humanities students ask—and answer!—questions about the place and value of the individual in the human community, the function of tradition in times of intense transformation, and how best to give guidance to humanity as it moves into an ever uncertain future.
What’s more, Humanities degrees offer students a range of valuable professional skills—not just critical thinking, analytical skills, research methods, writing and other communication skills but also a rich understanding of cultural and global contexts that will prepare you for life and work in the twenty-first century.
Faculty of Law
Our collegial atmosphere, commitment to social justice, and opportunities for hands-on learning are a few of the things that set the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law apart. Plus, with the mildest climate in Canada, our campus is just minutes from beaches and parks that you can enjoy year round.
We have an unparalleled selection of options that allow you to see the law in practice and, simultaneously, to serve your community: the Law Centre (our flagship legal clinic), Environmental Law Clinic, Business Law Clinic, a new Indigenous Law Clinic, and our extensive co-op programs. And these are paired with courses that convey critical insight across a wide range of subjects and perspectives, from feminist theory to taxation law, from theories of rights to the economic analysis of law. Practice and theory work together. You need both to understand law. You need both to be a good lawyer.
Division of Medical Sciences
The Division of Medical Sciences was established to promote scholarship and innovation in medical education at the University of Victoria and to support the university's ongoing commitment to an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to health research.
Our academic and research structure underpins the Island Medical Program, part of the UBC MD Undergraduate Program.
Partnering with other UVic departments and research centres, we're contributing to breakthroughs in medical sciences that will impact the prevention and treatment of cancer, neurological disorders and diseases, genetic disorders and other medical conditions.
Faculty of Science
From the atom to the universe, from the cell to the ecosystem, from the theoretical to the applied, UVic scientists and mathematicians explore the reaches of modern science.
The University of Victoria is one of Canada's leading research-intensive universities. The Faculty of Science is home to a diverse and outstanding group of faculty, staff, and students who are passionate about research, inspired teaching andcommunity engagement.
We are committed to passing on our excitement about science through award-winning teaching in our undergraduate andgraduate programs. At UVic Science we don't just teach and conduct research, we teach research.
Faculty of Social Sciences
We are pleased that you are interested in learning more about the faculty and the seven different social sciences disciplinesthat examine all aspects of our society and the world we live in.
- If you're curious about the world around you, there's a social science you can master.
- If sustainability strikes you as important, there's a research project you can create.
- If you like contributing to communities, there are opportunities to study and work in the most remote corners of the world.
Faculty of Engineering/Faculty of Fine Arts
Faculty of Fine Arts Programs
Human and Social Development
History of the University of Victoria
The University of Victoria was established on 1 July 1963 in Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria College, which had been established in 1903 as an affiliated college of McGill University, gained autonomy and full degree granting status on March 1, 1963.The non-denominational university had enjoyed 60 years of prior teaching tradition at the university level as Victoria College. This 60 years of history may be viewed conveniently in three distinct stages. Between the years 1903 and 1915, Victoria College was affiliated with McGill University, offering first- and second-year McGill courses in Arts and Science. Administered locally by the Victoria School Board, the College was an adjunct to Victoria High School and shared its facilities. Both institutions were under the direction of a single Principal: E.B. Paul, 1903–1908; and S.J. Willis, 1908–1915.
The opening in 1915 of the University of British Columbia, established by Act of Legislature in 1908, obliged the college to suspend operations in higher education in Victoria. University of British Columbia was created in 1908. A single, public provincial university, it was modeled on the American state university, with an emphasis on extension work and applied research. The governance was modeled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the two bodies and to perform institutional leadership.
In 1920, as a result of local demands, Victoria College began the second stage of its development, reborn in affiliation with the University of British Columbia. Though still administered by the Victoria School Board, the college was now completely separated from Victoria High School, moving in 1921 into the magnificent Dunsmuir mansion known as Craigdarroch Castle. Over the next two decades, under Principals E.B. Paul and P.H. Elliott, Victoria College built a reputation for thorough and scholarly instruction in first- and second-year arts and science. It was also during this period that future author Pierre Berton edited and served as principal cartoonist for the student newsletter, The Microscope.
Between the years 1921-1944, the enrolment at Victoria College did not very often reach above 250. However, in 1945, 128 servicemen returned from Wold War II. This pushed enrolment up to 400, and in 1946; 600.
The final stage, between the years 1945 and 1963, saw the transition from two year college to university, under Principals J.M. Ewing and W.H. Hickman. During this period, the college was governed by the Victoria College Council, representative of the parent University of British Columbia, the Greater Victoria School Board, and the provincial Department of Education. Physical changes were many. In 1946 the college was forced by postwar enrollment to move from Craigdarroch to the Lansdowne campus of the Provincial Normal School, the current location of Camosun College's Lansdowne Campus. The Normal School, itself an institution with a long and honourable history, joined Victoria College in 1956 as its Faculty of Education. Late in this transitional period (through the co-operation of the Department of National Defence and the Hudson's Bay Company) the 284-acre (1,1 km²)--now 385-acre (1.6 km²)--campus at Gordon Head was acquired. Academic expansion was rapid after 1956, until in 1961 the college, still in affiliation with UBC, awarded its first bachelor's degrees.
In the early part of this century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced.
The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society.
The university gained its autonomy in 1963 as the University of Victoria. The University Act of 1963 vested administrative authority in a chancellor elected by the convocation of the university, a board of governors, and a president appointed by the board; academic authority was given to the senate which was representative both of the faculties and of the convocation.
University of Victoria's Arms were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on April 3, 2001. The historical traditions of the university are reflected in the coat of arms, its academic regalia and its house flag. The BA hood is of solid red, a colour that recalls the early affiliation with McGill, as do the martlets in the coat of arms. The BSc hood, of gold, and the BEd hood, of blue, show the colours of the University of British Columbia. Blue and gold have been retained as the official colours of the University of Victoria. The motto at the top of the Arms of the University, in Hebrew characters, is "Let there be Light"; the motto at the bottom, in Latin, is "A Multitude of the Wise is the Health of the World."
Institutional Accreditation or Recognition - Ministry of Advanced Education, British Columbia
The University of Victoria is recognized annually as one of Canada's top universities by external surveys and UVic students alike.
Leiden University rankings
UVic is a major hub for global research—and the data proves it.
Every year since its inception in 2011, UVic has also been recognized in the Leiden University Rankings for the highest proportion of internationally co-authored research of any Canadian university. Globally, Leiden’s 2016 rankings put UVic in 148th place for all sciences. It ranks 58th for research impact in math and computer science, and 67th in physical sciences and engineering.
Those scores put UVic second in Canada for math and computer science and for physical sciences and engineering. UVic placed fourth in Canada for its proportionate research impact in all sciences—just behind the University of Toronto, UBC and McGill—and third for collaboration.
Additionally, UVic was the top Canadian university without a medical school in four of the ranking’s five categories—including biomedical and health sciences.
UVic retains its place in the top one per cent of universities in the world and among the top-ranked in Canada for scientific impact.
QS World University Rankings
The 2016 QS World University Rankings by Subject recognize UVic's leadership in a broad mix of academic fields. The QS rankings also suggest that UVic's rising international reputation stems from extraordinary programs across the institution.
UVic is identified in the top 200 institutions globally for research in five QS subject areas: English language and literature, earth and marine sciences, geography, law and philosophy.
Of those, earth and marine sciences and English language and literature were in the top 150. In addition, UVic programs in computer science, education, electrical engineering, environmental sciences, mathematics, and physics and astronomy placed in the top 300 for global subject leadership.
In total, the university is ranked for world-class performance in 35 of the 42 subject areas that QS measures. (Most of the rest—including dentistry, pharmacology and veterinary sciences—are fields where UVic doesn't have established programs.)
The QS subject ranking studied nearly 3,000 of the world's top universities—approximately 15 per cent of all institutions—and ranked fewer than 700 of them for statistically significant subject-specific leadership.
Times Higher Education
The 2016 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings place UVic among the top 250 universities around the world. In addition, THE placed UVic at 175 on its January 2016 list of the world’s 200 most international universities.
In early 2013—as UVic’s 50th anniversary approached—THE also ranked UVic number 20 globally and first in Canada among universities less than 50 years old.
The THE global ranking is the only system that includes a section dedicated to the teaching and learning environment, including the first-ever global survey of institutions' teaching reputation.
For more information visit the Times Higher Education website.
Research strength highlighted in global ranking
The combined efforts of our campus researchers have put UVic in fourth-place among all Canadian universities in Canada in two key research indicators—citation rate and top-cited publications—according to newly released data from U-Multirank, a global university ranking consortium funded by the European Union. UVic also placed second in Canada for international joint publications. UVic is the only Canadian university to receive top marks in this area without the advantage of a medical school and affiliated research hospital, which tend to increase research intensity. More at U-Multirank.
Shanghai Jiao Tong /ARWU
The 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities, created by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, also ranks UVic as one of Canada's leaders in research intensity and an area-specific leader in physics, science and mathematics.
Among universities ranked by ARWU—whose methodology favours older and larger institutions—UVic appears in the 201-300 band of institutions. Within Canada, only six large medical/doctoral universities are ranked higher.
In the broad field of science, UVic is tied with McGill for third place in Canada, behind only the University of Toronto and UBC.
UVic is also consistently ranked among the top Canadian comprehensive universities byMaclean’s magazine.
In a strong showing across the board, UVic racked up top-three finishes in eight of the 14 key performance indicators used by Maclean's for its 2016 rankings.
Maclean's comprehensive category comprises the 15 Canadian universities that combine a significant amount of research activity with a wide range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, including professional degrees.
UVic has been named a Canadian Re$earch Infosource "Research University of the Year" for 12 of the past 13 years. This designation indicates that UVic "demonstrates superior achievement in earning research income and in publishing research in leading scientific journals."
In the most recent Re$earch Infosource decade-in-review summary of Canada's research universities, UVic outscored all other comprehensive universities in two out of three measures of research performance from 1999-2009.
Student life at the University of Victoria
Your student experience isn't just about what you study - it's about the community you learn, grow, play and cheer with. Our vibrant campus and close-knit community provides a wealth of opportunities to keep you connected, engaged and inspired.
The following resources are available to UVic students.
- Access UVic (disability advocacy centre)
- Anti-Violence Project (on-campus sexual assault centre)
- Native Student’s Union
- Office of the Ombudsperson
- Society for Students with a Disability
- Students of Colour Collective
- UVic Pride
- Women’s Centre
- Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities
- Vikes teams and schedules
- Computer store
- Career services job board
- Co-operative education opportunities
- Work study program
- Disability & accessibility resource guide
- On-campus resources
- The BC initiative for inclusive post-secondary education - STEPS Forward
- Residence life
- Residence meal plans
- Residence buildings
- Student housing
- Family housing
- Drop-in recreation
- Health and fitness programs
- Recreation classes
- Sports and recreation clubs
- Book a meeting or classroom
- Campus clubs
- Graduate Students' Society (GSS)
- Undergraduate course unions
- University of Victoria Students' Society (UVSS)
- Volunteering on campus
- Co-curricular and para-professional opportunities
- UVic rates as one of the world's best schools according to Times Higher Education's (THE) world university rankings.
- 3,775 international students from 118 different countries choose UVic each year for our many undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as our diverse athletic, social andcultural opportunities.
- UVic stands out for its approach to learning, tying it directly to real-life work through one of the largest co-operative education programs in Canada.
- The university is located a 20-minute drive from downtown Victoria, BC and within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Victoria is British Columbia's beautiful capital city at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. One of the best places to live, Victoria is home to a mix of arts, food, shopping and sports—a city of both cultural entertainment and natural spaces.