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 diploma programs, see the Colleges Guide profile.

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 and centres in the Cowichan Valley, 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 Ralph Nilson, who is wrapping up 12 years as president (Deborah Saucier will succeed him).

VIU boasts small class sizes and offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, education and sciences. It is also home to trades and graduate programs, continuing education studies, academic preparation, 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. Last year, the Health and Science Centre opened, housing research and teaching labs for chemistry, environmental research, nursing and other health 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: An insider’s guide to the best live music venue, place to study and more on campus

Standout Programs
 First Nations Studies: This program features elders-in-residence and classes that recognize and implement traditional First Nations knowledge and approaches to education.
• Tourism Management: Students have the opportunity for unique co-op placements in the busy Vancouver Island tourism sector.
• Chemistry: VIU has joined the Green Chemistry commitment; this program introduces green chemistry concepts to students with the aim of increasing the number of chemists and scientists using sustainable methods.

Cool Courses
• Therapeutic Applications of Wilderness: During an 11-day canoeing and backpacking trip, students learn how to use expeditionary wilderness travel therapeutically to support social, emotional and behavioural growth.
• Community-based Applied Interdisciplinary Research: Students work in teams to design and carry out research projects that address real-world problems.

Minimum Entering Grades
Arts: 60% · Science: 60% · Commerce: 60% ·
Engineering: 69%
Student Body
Undergraduates: Full-time: 5,128 · Part-time: 2,364
Graduates: Full-time: 558 · Part-time: 352
International Students: First-year: 18.3% ·
Graduate: 56.6%
Male-Female Ratio: 40 to 60
Residence Spaces
536 (500 reserved for first-year students)
Residence Costs
Double room with meals: $4,625 to $8,225 · Single room with meals: $7,825 to $11,325 · Double room without meals: $3,400 · Single room without meals: $5,900 to $6,500 · Apartment-style: $3,400 to $6,500

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