Vancouver Island University Profile | Maclean's

Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University | Nanaimo, B.C. | Founded 1969


Vancouver Island University Students

Vancouver Island University’s main campus is located on the lower slopes of Mount Benson overlooking Nanaimo, B.C., on the east coast of Vancouver Island. There are also regional campuses in Duncan, Powell River and Parksville. “VIU exists to serve our students and the communities that look to VIU for relevant, responsive and innovative educational programs and services,” says president Ralph Nilson. VIU offers undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences. It is also home to trades and master’s programs, continuing education studies and an extensive number of traditional and non-traditional programs, including natural resource protection, tourism management and jazz studies. For those interested in coastal and marine research, there’s the Deep Bay Marine Field Station with state-of-the-art labs and a seawater tank near an estuarine ecosystem. Although most students hail from within the province, the university has a large international education program that attracts 1,800 students from about 80 countries to the undergraduate, graduate and ESL programs. Must-see features on the campus include four botanical gardens, as well as the Fossil—a 70-million-year-old rock that was discovered by construction workers in 1996.

READ: The inside scoop on the island school

Standout Programs

Criminology: The program incorporates the Inside Out project, which brings students together with inmates at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre to learn together.

Geography: This program includes applied community engagement projects. VIU students have worked with local Lyackson First Nation on environmental assessment programs, completing detailed development concept plans.

Graphic Design: Students work on projects such as redesigning overly packaged products or helping community and non-profit organizations with rebranding.

Cool Courses

Music Producers—The Soundmakers of Generations: Open to all students, this course is an exploration of the influence of visionary music producers through popular music and the role they have played in shaping the way we hear pop music today, societally and culturally.

Diplomacy and Power at the United Nations: This experiential learning course integrates the study of multilateral diplomacy with practical skills used in inter-state negotiations. Students practise the craft of negotiating through the simulation of United Nations parliamentary diplomacy.

Minimum entering grades Tuition Number of students Residence spaces
Arts and Science: High school diploma; minimum grade of C in English 12
Engineering: High school diploma; minimum grade of C+ in English 12
$5,045 Undergraduates: 7,148
Graduates: 731
536 (510 reserved for first years)

More Schools: Thompson Rivers UniversityCapilano UniversityCamosun CollegeUniversity of the Fraser ValleyUniversity of Victoria


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