Vancouver Island University

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

(Courtesy of Vancouver Island University)

VIU offers a range of degree, diploma and certificate programs and is profiled in both the Maclean’s Universities Guidebook and the Maclean’s Colleges Guide. To learn more about the school’s diploma programs, see the Colleges Guide profile.

Vancouver Island University offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, education and sciences, as well as trades and graduate programs, professional development and training, and academic preparation. Offerings include traditional and non-traditional programs, such as 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. The Health and Science Centre houses research and teaching labs for chemistry, environmental research, nursing and other health programs. The main campus is on the lower slopes of Mount Benson, overlooking Vancouver Island’s east coast. A new green energy system uses water trapped in an abandoned mine to heat and cool campus buildings. There are also regional campuses and centres in the Cowichan Valley, Powell River and Parksville.

“VIU defines success by how wide we are able to open our doors, how well we support students once they are here and how well they succeed when they leave us,” says president Deborah Saucier. One of VIU’s core values is removing barriers for those who want access to post-secondary education. The university offers initiatives such as a tuition-waiver program for former youth in care, upgrading courses, student success coaching and a bridging program for Indigenous students. VIU recently introduced additional student financial aid. A new online hub, Vancouver Island Work-Integrated Learning, posts local and rural job opportunities for students.

READ: An insider’s guide to the best live music venue, place to study and more on campus

Standout Programs
Computer Science: This program prepares students for jobs in information technology, covering the theoretical, ethical and legal aspects of computers. There is a co-op option.
Kinesiology: Students receive a broad foundation through lectures, labs, activity classes, online learning and applied research.
Social Work: Students develop the necessary professional skills to work with vulnerable individuals, families and communities. A specialization in child welfare is offered.

Cool Courses
Elder Teachings Across Disciplines: Topics include rites of passage, the role of storytelling, cultural beliefs, parenting and holistic healing.
Health of the Human Spirit: Investigate human spirituality and the relationships between spiritual well-being, personal wellness and public health.

Tuition (includes compulsory ancillary fees)
Minimum Entering Grades
Arts: 60% · Science: 60% · Commerce: 60% · Engineering: 71.4%
Student Body
Undergraduates: Full-time: 4,729 · Part-time: 2,461
Graduates: Full-time: 667 · Part-time: 499
International Students: First-year: 18.5% · Graduate: 58.6%
Male-Female Ratio: 38 to 62
Housing Facts
Residence offerings reduced because of COVID-19
Residence Spaces: 386 (536 last year with approx. 500 reserved for first-year students)
Residence Costs: Single room without meals: $7,200 · Apartment-style: $7,700

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