The University of Victoria (UVic or Victoria) is a public research university located in Saanich and Oak Bay within Greater Victoria, 5.71 km northeast of downtown Victoria, British Columbia. It was founded as Victoria College in 1903 and affiliated with McGill University, which 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 about 20,000 students. UVic's campus is known for its innovative architecture, beautiful gardens and mild climate.
Academically, the University of Victoria is noted for its programs in Earth and Ocean Sciences, Fine and Performing Arts, Engineering, and Law along with a strong focus on co-operative education. It is the nation's lead institution in the VENUS and NEPTUNE deep-water seafloor observatory projects.
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 and basketball.
Victoria ranks well in global rankings. In 2014-2015, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked UVic 173 in the world, and at seventh place in Canada. It ranked first in Canada in the Times Higher Education’s ranking of schools under 50 years old. UVic was the top-ranked university in Canada without an autonomous medical school in the THE rankings. 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.