Vancouver Island University

Founded 1973 | Nanaimo, BC

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 offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, education and sciences, as well as trades and graduate programs, professional development and training, and academic preparation. 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. The Health and Science Centre houses research and teaching labs for chemistry, environmental research, nursing and other health programs. A new campus daycare under construction will support students in early childhood education, social work, child and youth care and other programs, while providing an Indigenous-focused childcare education model. The main campus is located on a mountain slope overlooking the Salish Sea on Vancouver Island’s east coast. There are also regional campuses in the Cowichan Valley and Powell River, and a learning centre in Parksville.

“At VIU, faculty and staff support students to tackle real-world problems through a hands-on approach to learning,” says president Deborah Saucier. “This leads to students building deeper connections with their learning and empowers them to help create brighter futures for themselves and their communities.” Last year, more than 215 projects led by faculty and students involved community partners. VIU works to improve access to post-secondary education through initiatives such as a tuition-waiver program for former youth in care, upgrading courses, student success coaching and a bridging program for Indigenous students. The Career Studio helps students search for jobs and prep for interviews. 

Campus Buzz

The Wellness Lounge, staffed by student volunteers, offers peer support, free hot chocolate and tea, and therapy dogs.

Standout Programs

• Marketing: Prepare for in-demand careers through core courses in marketing basics, buyer behaviour, customer analytics and strategic marketing, as well as specifically customized upper-level courses.

• Kinesiology: This program prepares students to work in a range of areas, from education and coaching to fitness and wellness, through lectures, labs, activity classes and applied research.

• Hospitality Management: This program delivers academic and practical training in a diverse, international curriculum. Students develop skills and industry connections through co-op and internships.

Tuition (includes compulsory ancillary fees)


Minimum Entering Grades

Arts: 60% | Science: 60% | Commerce: 60% | Engineering: 69%

Student Body

Undergraduates: Full-time: 4,545 | Part-time: 2,449

Graduates: Full-time: 662 | Part-time: 385

International Students: First-year: 11.6% | Graduate: 61.8%

Housing Facts

Residence Spaces: 524 (approx. 450 reserved for first-year students)

Residence Costs: Double room: $5,130 | Single room: $8,330 | Double room with meals: $8,630 to $11,130 | Single room with meals: $11,830 to $14,330 | Apartment-style: $4,700 to $8,660

Cool Courses

• Archaeology in Pop Culture: Explore past and present representations in film, newspapers, websites, video games and more.

• Physical Activity and Local Food Production: Gain insight into the physical skills and knowledge required to engage in small-scale food production.

Student Life on Campus

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