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. Offerings include traditional and non-traditional programs, such as 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. The Health and Science Centre houses research and teaching labs for chemistry, environmental research, nursing and other health programs. The main campus is on the lower slopes of Mount Benson, overlooking Vancouver Island’s east coast. There are also regional campuses in the Cowichan Valley and Powell River and a centre in Parksville.

“VIU defines success by how wide we are able to open our doors, how well we support students once they are here and how well they succeed when they leave us,” says president Deborah Saucier. 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. An online hub, Vancouver Island Work-Integrated Learning, posts local and rural job opportunities for students. The Wellness Lounge, staffed by student volunteers, offers peer support, hot chocolate and therapy dogs.

Standout Programs

• Indigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies: This program, taught in collaboration with local First Nations, provides a multidisciplinary exploration of contemporary Indigenous issues and features experiential learning in the classroom and on the land.

• Marketing: Courses in buyer behaviour, customer analytics, international business and strategic marketing prepare students for diverse in-demand careers.

• Aquaculture: This minor program gives students academic skills and practical field experience through seminars, labs and research facilities.

Tuition (includes compulsory ancillary fees)


Minimum Entering Grades

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

Student Body

Undergraduates: Full-time: 4,655 · Part-time: 2,364

Graduates: Full-time: 552 · Part-time: 458

International Students: First-year: 9.1%

Graduate: 43.9%

Male-Female Ratio: 37 to 63

Housing Facts

Residence Spaces: 426 (approx. 350 reserved for first-year students)

Residence Costs: Single room: $7,700

Double room with meals: $9,600

Single room with meals: $12,900 to $13,100

Apartment-style: $4,400 to $7,900

Cool Courses

• The Wine Industry: Topics in this introductory course include managing a winery or vineyard and types of wines and grapes. Visit a vineyard or winery.

• Indigenous Self-Determination: Students explore Indigenous experiences and perspectives on self-governance.

Student Life on Campus

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