Vancouver Island University Nanaimo Campus

Admission Requirements

All programs at VIU have admission requirements, which represent the minimum standing you must have completed in order to qualify for entry.  Different types of programs have different requirements.  Admission requirements are in place to ensure that students will have a reasonable opportunity to succeed in their studies.

VIU has an entry level for everyone.  If you do not meet the admission requirements for the program you have chosen, we can help you upgrade your qualifications so that you will be able to qualify for admission to that program in the future.

Canadian citizens and those with permanent residence status in Canada are eligible for admission to University Academic programs if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • graduation from a B.C. secondary school, or equivalent, with a minimum “C” grade in either English 12 or English 12 First Peoples;
  • previous degree from a recognized university;
  • visiting student from a college or university (a “Letter of Permission” from the home institution is required);
  • a transfer student from a college or university (at least 24 transferable university-level credits completed);
  • mature student— 21 years of age (or will turn 21 during their first semester) and has a minimum “C” grade in either English 12 or English 12 First Peoples.

Canadian citizens and those with permanent residence status in Canada are eligible for admission to Trades and Applied Technology programs if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • Graduation from BC secondary school, or equivalent from another education system,


  • Mature Student Category: 19 years of age (or will turn 19 during the first two months of the program).

AND the following:

  • Minimum 17 years of age, unless stated otherwise.
  • Resume and/or letter of intent and/or references may be required.
  • An interview may be necessary.
  • Math and/or Reading and/or trades aptitude test may be required.
  • Physically fit and able to adapt to working conditions.
  • Good hand/eye coordination.
  • Good health, free of vision, hearing or respiratory ailments.
  • Valid driver's license for vehicle and equipment operation is required.

Students who do not meet any of the admission categories in General Admission Requirements for University Academic Programs may be admitted as an “Unclassified Student” to register into University-level classes for which they meet the prerequisites. Unclassified students will register after University Program students, so course availability may be limited. Canadian citizens and those with permanent residence status in Canada are eligible for admission as an Unclassified Student if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • graduation from BC secondary school, or equivalent from another education system;
  • mature student category: 19 years of age (or will turn 19 during their first semester).


Anyone who has submitted a complete Application for Admission and the non-refundable Application Fee is considered an applicant.


Applicants notified that they have met all the requirements of the program for which they have applied, and there is available space, are considered to be accepted.

Note: Acceptance is not normally transferable from year to year. Applications are considered for the current school year only. An accepted applicant who is unable to enrol may re-apply for admission; however, the new application will be reviewed again for the next academic year, and a subsequent offer of admission is not guaranteed.  See also: Deferring Admission, below.

Conditionally Accepted

Applicants who have not yet met all requirements of the program for which they have applied may be conditionally accepted.  Acceptance is offered with conditions attached. These conditions must be satisfied to gain full acceptance. Normally this status is available to students who are still completing prerequisite courses at the time of application.

Not Accepted

Applicants notified that they do not meet the requirements of the University or program, or that they have not been offered admission due to enrolment limitations are considered to be not accepted. The applicant may wish to apply for another program. Please consult an Educational Advisor.

Wait List

Some students not accepted due to enrolment limitations may be placed on a wait list. If space becomes available, students are given further instructions on how to proceed.

Deferring Admission

Students admitted into the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Education (Year 1 entry), Bachelor of Science, or Exploratory University Studies programs may request to defer their admission for one year. Requests to defer admission are sent to

Many programs and courses at VIU, including all first-year English courses, have an admission requirement or prerequisite of English 12, with a minimum grade of "C".
Acceptable alternatives to English 12 include BC Secondary School First Peoples' English 12, VIU's ENGL 067ENGL 068, or ESLA 050 (Academic Preparation 5, also known as AP5).

Students who do not formally meet this English 12 requirement, but who believe they have obtained the necessary level of competency, may write an assessment test. There are currently four acceptable tests to show equivalency to English 12:

  • If selecting the ACCUPLACER, a combined average of 85 or above in the Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills sections (with individual scores of 65 or above) and at least 5 on the Writeplacer section is considered by VIU to be equivalent to English 12 with a grade of "C”.
  • If selecting the Language Proficiency Index (LPI), the combination of an Essay Level of 4 or better, plus a minimum total of 20/40 on the Sentence Structure, English Usage, and Reading Comprehension sections is considered by VIU to be equivalent to English 12 with a grade of "C+”.
  • If selecting the Pearson Test of English (PTE), a score of 59 overall and no component score less than 56 is considered by VIU to be equivalent to English 12 with a grade of "C+”.
  • If selecting the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), a score of 81 is considered by VIU to be equivalent to English 12 with a grade of "C+”.

Students admitted to Vancouver Island University as ‘Mature Students’ must still meet individual course prerequisites. Check the Course Descriptions section of this Calendar, or consult an Educational Advisor to find out if you first need to complete prerequisites. Prerequisite courses are obtained through VIU's Adult Basic Education program.

Some degree programs have specific admission requirements to enter the third year, e.g., Education, Criminology, Child & Youth Care, Tourism Management. For details, please see Program Area.

Applicants admitted under this category will be eligible for up to 60 transfer credits towards a VIU degree. Such applicants are cautioned to pay careful attention to course prerequisites and be aware that, in most cases, submission of a secondary school transcript is also necessary to confirm that such requirements have been satisfied.

University Credit Courses: Applicants still attending secondary school will be considered eligible to register in up to two University credit courses per semester, to a maximum of 4 courses in total. Interested applicants must submit the following documents:

  • a letter from the secondary school principal, giving the applicant permission to take VIU courses;
  • a copy of the applicant’s most recent grades accompanying the application, and;
  • a written statement from each instructor, allowing the applicant to register for a course on a credit or audit basis.

For a Special Admission to be considered, all documentation must be received by the Registration Centre not later than two working days before the first day of classes. If a student wants to be considered for Special Admission for two consecutive years before completing high school, all documentation must be re–submitted for the second year requested. Compliance with the above requirements does not guarantee acceptance into a course, as post–secondary students are given priority when a course is fully–subscribed.

Applicants should be aware that, unless otherwise noted, English is the language of instruction at Vancouver Island University. Domestic students with English-as-a-Second-Language are urged to contact the Advising Centre for information on how to upgrade their English language skills if required.

High school mathematics courses are key courses that are often used to determine if a student meets program admission requirements or course registration pre-requisites.

Our course and program information sections contain the most up-to-date information on the acceptability of these new courses.

Concerning BC Secondary School (BCSS) mathematics courses, VIU states course and program requirements in the form of the recommended course. This is our opinion of the best course to take to prepare for a particular course or program.

Starting September 2010, the BC Ministry of Education implemented a new BC Secondary School mathematics curriculum for high school grades 10 to 12. In some cases, Vancouver Island University also offers mathematics courses within our Faculty of Academic and Career Preparation (Adult Basic Education - ABE) and our Faculty of Science which are considered equivalent to BC Secondary School (BCSS) mathematics courses. For more information on equivalencies between BCSS, VIU ABE and VIU Faculty of Science mathematics courses, please refer to the British Columbia Secondary School and VIU Math Course Equivalencies chart.

British Columbia Secondary School Courses

VIU Adult Basic Education Courses

VIU Faculty of Science and Technology Courses

Pre 2010 Curriculum

Post 2010 Curriculum

Principles of Mathematics 12

Pre-Calculus 12

MATH 067 or (MATH 065 + MATH 066) or MATH 066

(MATH 151 + MATH 152) or MATH 152

Applications of Mathematics 12

Foundations of Mathematics 12



Essentials of Mathematics 12

Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 12



Principles of Mathematics 11

Pre-Calculus 11

MATH 047 or (MATH 045 + MATH 046) or MATH 046


Applications of Mathematics 11

Foundations of Mathematics 11

MATH 041


Essentials of Mathematics 11

Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 11



Unless otherwise specified, we allow for substitutions according to the following chart:

Required Course

Alternate Acceptable Courses

Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 10

Foundations of Mathematics and Pre-calculus 10

Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 11

Foundations of Mathematics 11 or Pre-calculus 11

Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 12

Foundations of Mathematics 11 or Pre-calculus 11

Foundations of Mathematics and Pre-calculus 10

No BCSS substitution available

Foundations of Mathematics 11

Pre-calculus 11

Foundations of Mathematics 12

Pre-calculus 12

Pre-calculus 11

No BCSS substitution available

Pre-calculus 12

No BCSS substitution available

BC Provincial Exams are not required for admission to Vancouver Island University. Except for mandatory exams required by the BC Ministry of Education, Vancouver Island University does not require prospective students to write provincial exams.

VIU recognizes the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement Program (APP). Under certain conditions, students presenting higher level credentials will receive university level credit, as follows:

  • Applicants who submit IB courses at the upper level with grades of 5 or better, and/or APP courses with grades of 4 or better, will be eligible for introductory-level University course credit. Courses with grades lower than noted will not qualify for credit or advanced standing. See Advanced Placement Program courses.
  • A maximum of 30 credits will be awarded for IB/APP courses.
  • Where appropriate, specific course equivalency will be granted; unassigned credit will be given where specific equivalency is not suitable.
  • IB/APP credits will be noted as such on the student's permanent record (transcript); however, no grades will be recorded, and there will be no GPA implications.
  • Students are not precluded from enrolling in courses for which credit has been granted; however, credit may be applied only once towards a degree, diploma, or certificate.

Co-operative Education is a model of education designed to develop skills and knowledge and to improve self-understanding by integrating classroom study with planned and supervised professional, paid work experience.

Co-operative Education is based on the principle that well-educated individuals develop most effectively through an educational pattern, which incorporates work experience.
Vancouver Island University currently offers nine programs, which incorporate the Co-operative Education model.

Admission and graduation requirements for Co-operative Education programs are determined by individual academic departments. Please consult with the Co-op office or program areas for further information.

For further information, please contact the Centre for Experiential Learning.