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 boasts small class sizes (no more than 34 students per class) and 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 2,000 students from about 90 countries to the undergraduate, graduate and ESL programs. One of VIU’s core values is removing barriers for those who want to access post-secondary education—the university offers initiatives such as a tuition waiver program for former youth in care, upgrading courses through adult basic education, student success coaching, and a bridging program for Indigenous students.

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 collaboratively.
• Social Work: After completing two years of a post-secondary degree, students can enter this fully online program with third- and fourth-year practicums based in students’ home communities.
• Natural Resource Protection: Students take courses on law enforcement and legislation applicable to fish and wildlife management and conservation; includes a practicum with an enforcement or resource management agency.

Cool Courses
• Indigenous Philosophy: Comparative Perspectives: Contrasts Indigenous philosophy with Western European philosophy. Co-taught by a VIU Elder and a philosophy professor.
• Green Chemistry: Students learn how to approach the study of chemistry in an environmentally sustainable manner.

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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