Thompson Rivers University

Founded 1970 | Kamloops, BC

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 2024 Colleges Guide profile.

This profile appears in the 2023 Maclean’s University Guidebook. As part of a partnership with Maclean’s, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has supplied additional photos and videos as indicated below. TRU did not have editorial input into the wording of the profile itself.

Content provided by Thompson Rivers University (TRU)

Thompson Rivers University offers 140 on-campus programs and another 60 programs online. They range from apprenticeships and certificates to bachelor’s, law and master’s degrees. A laddering system allows students to move from certificate and diploma programs to degrees. A second campus is located in Williams Lake, B.C. The campuses welcome a diverse student population that is nine per cent Indigenous and 20 per cent international. More than 14,000 students study on campus, and almost 15,000 study online—about 1,900 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 some undergraduates can even participate in research 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 and theatre. Recent developments include the Industrial Training and Technology Centre, the Chappell Family Building for Nursing and Population Health, and the Early Childhood Education Centre, which opened in 2022 and includes a non-profit daycare. Meanwhile, business students get practical investment experience at the Raymond James Trading Lab, which opened in 2021, equipped with state-of-the-art trading stations.

Campus Buzz

TRU athletes can train at the new Sports Legacy Fund High Performance Training Centre that opened last year. 

Standout Programs

• Software Engineering: Students gain a solid foundation in engineering principles and software systems development while building the skills to tackle real-world problems through co-op placements and hands-on project-based learning.

• Communication and Digital Journalism: This versatile program covers everything from media relations, public and strategic communication to multimedia storytelling, visual communication and digital design; includes co-op options.

• Natural Resource Science: Students study biology, chemistry, ecology, scientific methodology and resource specific management in such areas as forestry, fishery and recreation. Co-op and study abroad options available.

Tuition (includes compulsory ancillary fees)


Minimum Entering Grades

High school diploma; some programs require specific courses and higher grades.

Student Body

Undergraduates: Full-time: 8,593 | Part-time: 7,374

Graduates: Full-time: 908 | Part-time: 180

International Students: First-year: 32.5% | Graduate: 67.2%

Residence Offerings

Residence Spaces: 1,236 (570 reserved for first-year students)

Residence Costs: Apartment-style: $5,790 to $9,710

Cool Courses

• Coastal Sail Cruising: Develop sailing skills while learning about other aspects of coastal adventure tourism.

• Truth and Rebuilding Canadian Indigenous Legal Relations: Topics include Indigenous laws, colonial foundations of the legal system, and conflict resolution.

Student Life on Campus

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Content provided by Thompson Rivers University (TRU)