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

Standout Programs

• Digital Media Studies: The program prepares students to work with new technologies by blending theory and critical thinking with technical and creative skills.

• Tourism Management: The program draws on the region as a major tourism hub to give students opportunities to gain experience and build industry connections; features community-based projects and co-op.

• Child and Youth Care: Emphasizing field experience, this program features two 300-hour practicums during which students can work with families in the community.

Tuition (includes compulsory ancillary fees)


Minimum Entering Grades

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

Student Body

Undergraduates: Full-time: 4,396 | Part-time: 2,498

Graduates: Full-time: 620 | Part-time: 303

International Students: First-year: 12.2% | Graduate: 52.4%

Male-Female Ratio: 38 to 62

Housing Facts

Residence Spaces: 542 (500 reserved for first-year students)

Residence Costs: Double room: $4,800 | Single room: $7,800

Double room with meals: $7,800 to $9,300

Single room with meals: $10,800 to $12,300

Apartment-style: $4,800 to $8,100

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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