Vancouver Island University

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

Vancouver Island University Students

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 degree programs, see the Universities Guidebook profile.

Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) main campus is on the lower slopes of Mount Benson overlooking Nanaimo, on the east coast of Vancouver Island. This campus is home to the school’s residences, including dormitories, townhouses and apartments. The university has additional campuses in Powell River, Parksville and Duncan. Although most students come from B.C., VIU has a large international education program.

The university boasts small class sizes and offers undergraduate degrees in the arts and sciences. It is home to trades and master’s programs, continuing education, and programs such as natural resource protection, tourism management and jazz studies.

Researchers have used VIU’s proximity to wilderness to study the connections between humans and nature in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. The school’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station in Bowser has state-of-the-art labs and a seawater tank. 

VIU aims to remove barriers for people who want a post-secondary education. The university offers a tuition-waiver program for former youth in care, student success coaching and a bridging program for Indigenous students, who make up about 11 per cent of the school’s population. The school also has a collaborative partnership with Indigenous communities called EleV, which aims to better support Indigenous learners in their post-secondary educational journeys and afterward. 

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


Size of school Tuition (degree) Tuition (diploma) Tuition (certificate) Tuition (post-grad) Residence offerings
Mid-sized (2,000 full-time students to fewer than 10,000 full-time students) $5,542-$6,483 $5,542-$6,483 $5,542-$6,483 $13,249-$17,800 Yes

Cool options

  • Baking and Pastry Arts Management Diploma: This new two-year program is designed for students who want to start their own businesses or participate in the commercial baking industry. Students master baking skills while learning business planning and financial management.
  • Professional Indigenous Lands Management Certificate Program: This program explores topics that focus on Indigenous communities and Indigenous lands, including land management, community planning and resource management.

Popular Programs

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Master of Business Administration

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