Humanities Program FAQ

The Humanities Diploma Program (HDP) is designed for people who do not fit the traditional student mold (18 to 24 years old, coming directly from high school) and yet wish to attend the University for various personal (and sometimes professional) reasons. Perhaps in educating yourself for a career it was not possible to focus on other areas of interest, or finances made it impossible to go to university right after high school, or you may never have completed high school and now want to return to school. The people in the program have a broad range of backgrounds and careers including medical professionals, housewives/husbands, secretaries, businesspeople, lawyers, social workers and many others. Most are working full-time; about 1/3 are retired. The prerequisites are that you have some life experience, an interest studying some area or areas of the Humanities, and a desire to deepen your ability to read, think, and write about what it means to be human.

NOTE: English is the primary language of instruction at UVic and all applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate competence in English prior to admission to the University. Further information can be found here.

With the permission of the faculty coordinator, you may transfer up to six credits from previous university or college work towards the diploma (as long as you have not used that credit towards a degree). Conversely, you may transfer credits earned within the diploma to a degree program.

Most people attend the program part-time and you may take up to six years to complete the 18 units required for the diploma. The number of courses you take per term, and therefore how quickly you go through the program, depends on how much time you are willing or able to devote to study. We recommend that you start with one course per term, especially if you have not attended university previously.

During the winter session, you will spend three hours a week in class for each course. In addition, you will need to spend another three to six hours per week outside of class reading and completing assignments. When HDP students first begin the program, they often feel unsure about what is required and tend to work very hard in their first few courses. Experience will help you to better know how much time you require.

Generally you will choose from the courses listed in the University calendar under the Humanities Departments. The faculty coordinator will help you decide which course(s) to take. Students often find that they have a clearer sense of the areas they wish to pursue after taking Humanities 100, the one required course that we recommend you begin with.

Many diploma students take courses from the faculties of Humanities, Fine Arts, Science and Social Sciences, but at least half of your courses (9.0 units) should be completed within the Humanities departments.

Yes, except for the one required course—Humanities 100—which is reserved for students in the program. We encourage everyone to begin the program with Humanities 100 not only because it is designed to prepare you if you are anxious, but also because it is a real pleasure to learn with other adults who, like you, have life experience outside of school.

Most HDP students do very well in the courses they take. While the ability to recall material quickly does decrease with age, the ability to draw on many sources to be able to understand new material increases with age. Once you have gained some confidence, you will probably find, as many of our students do, that being in classes with the traditional students is enjoyable and that you are able to keep up.

This depends on your interests. Some larger departments, such as English, offer several evening courses while smaller departments may not offer any courses in the evenings. HDP students also take advantage of late afternoon courses, and some have been able to arrange time off during the day. The university recognizes that working students need to be able to get into the courses scheduled at times they can manage: because of this, HDP students are included in the earliest allowable registration dates.

The Humanities Diploma has been designed for people who want to pursue credit study for personal satisfaction rather than to learn skills related to a specific occupation. Most people take it purely for the joy of learning. However, studying the Humanities does deepen your reading, problem solving and thinking skills and several people in the program have found that having or working towards the diploma has helped their career plans. For example, it helped one student get into the RCMP, a lifelong dream. Another student mentioned that she was taking the HDP in a job interview: the interviewers were impressed and she got the job. With more emphasis in the business world on the importance of hiring people who can respond to change, and who know how to learn, there is more recognition that people who have studied the humanities have these broader skills.

It is still possible to attend university and complete the courses without a computer as long as you can type your assignments. However, you must register for courses using My page. If you do not have a computer at home, you are entitled to use the computer labs at UVic and to have your own email address--resources we encourage you to use.

It is a good idea to begin by contacting us to discuss how your interests and the program match. If it is difficult to call during regular working hours, please leave a message on voice mail and your call will be returned at a time convenient for you. Once you have decided to apply, follow the application procedures outlined on the program page. Applications are accepted until Sept. 30 of each year (and beyond if there is space in the program).

Subject to sufficient student enrollment from January to April, on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 pm you will take Humanities 100, which is taught by the Faculty Coordinator and is the one required course in the program.

In April/May you will decide what to take next year. Registration for the winter session begins in late June for diploma students. Be prepared to take advantage of your early registration date as courses fill up quickly.

This is a usual (and comfortable) timeline for many people but it can be bent to meet your needs. Some people apply to the program early and decide to start taking credit courses in the fall before they take Humanities 100.

This is not an extra fee: UVic requires that every newly admitted student confirm the offer of admission by paying a deposit of $200. This $200 is deducted from the tuition you owe for the first course you take.

You should not pay the $200 unless you are sure you will take a course during the session in which you are admitted, as it is not refundable if you do not take a course.

Note: you will not be able to create a NetLink ID or register for courses until your acceptance deposit has been processed.

Yes, you have the same access to the library as all students at UVic. The library has both online and on-site tutorials that will help you familiarize yourself with the facility. Check the library website or visit in person for the full range of services.

Once you are admitted and have registered in a course, you will want to get your student card – ONECard. The UVic ONECard is the single official identification card for the UVic community. Learn how to get your ONECard.

Yes. Here are some possible funding sources for part-time students:

PACE Bursaries

Write for details and an application form to: PACE Bursary Committee Douglas College PO Box 2503 Station C New Westminister, B.C. V3L 5B2

Continuing Studies bursaries

Each term, the Division of Continuing Studies offers small bursaries to assist learners in furthering their education. Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need and a demonstrated interest in lifelong learning, and may be used towards the program fees for the HDP. For more information on bursaries, including how to apply, see here.

Federal financial assistance for part-time students

The Canada Student Loan Program has now increased the accumulated loan limit to part-time students to $4000 and a new program, Special Opportunity Grants for High-need Part-time Students, has been introduced. Under this latter program, students can receive up to $1200 per year towards educational cost; this money does not have to be repaid. High-need students with costs higher than $1200 may qualify for both the grant and the loan. If you are attending full-time (3 courses or 4.5 units of credit or more per term), you may be eligible for student loans. There is also some help available from the federal government for part-time students. For more information, please contact the UVic Student Financial Aid office.

You also want to try searching, a website that allows you to search an extensive database of scholarships, bursaries, fellowships and grants.


Your program application fee is payable to UVic but is paid at Continuing Studies.

Tuition and student fees for the courses you are taking are paid through Accounting Services:

  • by Sept. 30 for first term courses
  • by Jan. 31 for second term courses 
  • by May 31 for courses starting in April, May or June
  • by July 31 for courses starting in July or August

Note that you will not be billed until your fees are late. You can find out how much you owe through UVic's My page, or by contacting Accounting Services

Accounting does not accept credit card payments, but you can drop a cheque (payable to the University of Victoria) in the mailbox at their office anytime, or mail a cheque to:

Accounting Services 
University of Victoria

Box 3040, UVic
Victoria, BC  V8W 3N7

You can also pay by Interac/debit card in-person at their office on the 2nd floor of University Centre between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Please be sure to put your student number on all cheques.

T2202a forms are available through UVic's My page. Click on "My online tools" and under "Student Services", click download tax slips, then click on the finances tab, then click on "Slips for Income Tax Return". Please ensure you print the print version for CRA and do not use the viewable version as it is not the official form.   

Please contact Tuition Fees at with any questions.

Essentially, the Humanities Diploma program staff are your advisors, so you do not need to consult with Advising.

The Faculty Coordinator will help you choose courses and will approve any transfer credit. When you’re ready to graduate, we’ll write to Advising to notify them of your program.

If you’re planning to transfer to a degree program when you have finished your diploma, you should consult Advising.

You will need to familiarize yourself with the requirements for the degree by reading the UVic calendar. Most degrees require a certain number of credits in a major and a minor area of interest, as well as electives. In addition, there may be regulations such as no more than five 100-level courses can be applied to a degree.

When you are nearing completion of your diploma (or sooner if you already have some university credit), you should go to the Advising Centre for Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences (University Centre A203) to discuss a plan to work towards a degree. Usually all the courses you’re taking for the diploma are transferable to a degree, but this does depend on the degree you choose as well as a number of other factors.

All credit students need to be familiar with the regulations in the first 35 or so pages of the UVic calendar.

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