Thompson Rivers University

Thompson Rivers University | Kamloops, B.C. | Founded 1970

This profile appears in the 2020 Maclean’s University Guidebook. As part of a partnership with Maclean’s, Thompson Rivers University has created and supplied additional photos and material as indicated below. Thompson Rivers University did not have editorial input into the wording of the profile itself.

Photo courtesy of Thompson Rivers University

TRU 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.

Thompson Rivers University’s evolution has been remarkable. Founded in 1970 as Cariboo College, it didn’t have its own campus in its first year of operation. Today, it’s a full-fledged university offering 140 on-campus programs—and another 60 programs through its Open Learning division—ranging from apprenticeships and certificates to bachelor’s, law and master’s degrees. A laddering system allows for transition from certificate and diploma programs to degrees. More than 15,000 students study on campus and more than 16,000 study online—nearly 2,000 students do both.

“At TRU we believe education comes through many paths. From our unique mix of programs, available on campus and online, whether academics or trades, students will find a university like no other,” says president Brett Fairbairn. Students benefit from small class sizes and can participate in research projects even before they reach higher-level classes.

TRU’s main campus is flanked by 40 km of pine-shaded hiking trails and is a short drive from ski hills and lakes. The Old Main building is a hub of student services, including a student employment centre, lounge, wellness centre, fine arts gallery and theatre. The $30-million Industrial Training and Technology Centre opened in 2018 and the $37-million Nursing and Population Health building is scheduled to open in September. A second, close-knit campus is located in Williams Lake, B.C. The campuses welcome a diverse student population that is 13 per cent Indigenous and 26 per cent international.

READ: An insider’s guide to the best hangover breakfast, place to study and more on campus

Cool Courses
• Wilderness Travel: This course in the Adventure Studies program is an introduction to organizing wilderness trips. It includes proper clothing and equipment, navigation, environmental concerns, travel techniques, route plans and trip planning.

Economics of Climate Change: Students investigate climatic change resulting from global warming and the policy actions being taken. This course covers the science and economics of climate change and the economics of stabilization including efficiency, externalities, public goods and environmental policy instruments. 

$5,521 (includes compulsory ancillary fees)
Minimum Entering Grades
High school diploma; some programs require specific courses and higher grades
Student Body
Undergraduates: Full-time: 9,036 · Part-time: 8,866
Graduates: Full-time: 445 · Part-time: 253
International students: First-year: 34.2% ·
Graduate: 52.3%
Male-Female Ratio: 47 to 53
Housing facts
Residence Spaces: 1,122
(approx. 570 reserved for first-year students)
Residence Costs: Apartment-style: $5,180 to $8,750

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