VIU Nanaimo campus

5 Questions about university transfers

April 23, 2023
Author: Christine Johnson

...and how to streamline the process

The path to education is not always direct and there are lots of reasons why transferring may be an option for you. Regardless of whether you planned to transfer universities from the beginning, or as a result of a life change (such as moving or a new job opportunity), it’s helpful to know your options so you can plan the best path forward based on your goals.

Students regularly reach out to VIU’s Advising Team wanting to know what they can do to help create a clear path towards becoming a transfer student. Going through the BC transfer guide and submitting your transfer request can be scary, but it doesn't have to be. Here are the top 5 questions we get every year (and tips to help streamline the process):

1. do transfer credits work at VIU?

Once you submit all of your documents (such as your transcript, course outlines, etc.), our Admissions team will assess your courses to determine which ones can be counted towards a specific VIU course. If one of your transfer courses doesn’t match up with a specific VIU course, you may have the opportunity to use it towards the elective credits needed for your program.

Below is a video overview of how this works:

Pro tip

"The transfer credit process can take up to six weeks, so students should apply as early as possible. We are always here to discuss your options after your transfer credits have been assessed and can help refer you to the right Degree Advisor as needed." 
- Jamie Wood, Academic Advisor

2. What if I already understand most of the material that will be covered in some of my courses?

If there’s a required course in your program that you understand really well due to your work experience or non-formal training, you may want to consider a Prior Learning Assessment (or PLA). This is an assessment process for students that evaluates your knowledge and skills at an individual level.

Here are some examples of evidence of what might count towards a PLA request: 

  • Responses to an oral exam
  • Skill demonstrations
  • Non-credited certificates
  • Work experience
  • Special awards

Pro tip

"Let’s say, for example, that you’ve been working at a daycare for several years and now you’re interested in taking the Early Childhood Education Program. Given your work history, you likely have a lot of knowledge that may be covered in some of the first-year classes. In this case, you could connect with your program chair to determine if it would make sense for you to ask if a PLA is applicable."

- Shawn O'Toole, Academic Advisor

3. How does a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) work?

You work with a faculty member to demonstrate that you’ve covered almost all of the material through your life experience (that could include volunteer work, previous courses or training from a previous job). Every PLA request is handled individually and our Academic Advising team can help guide you through the process and plan next steps.

There is a fee tied to every PLA request. Costs will vary depending on what course is being challenged. Connect with one of our Academic Advisors to set up a call and go over the specific details of how this would apply to you specifically.

4. Do my course credits ever expire?


Credits never expire and they will always be on your student record. However, the likelihood that they will transfer into a program may change over time. We work with students to recognize the course work they’ve completed and our Advising team will help guide you through the specifics of how it all works.

Pro tip

"A lot of things will depend on your goals. The best way to know where you stand is to submit all of your transcripts to our Registration Office and have your credits assessed. They’ll look at the course outlines and possibly assign transfer credits based on your student transcript and other supporting documents (such as a course outline). As a VIU student, you may be able to use transfer credits for up to 50% of your program."

- Michael Kuntz, Academic Advisor 

5. Who can help me figure out what my next steps are? 

The best thing you can do to succeed in university is to get help when you are struggling. You have a community to support you and we’ve set up many services that are designed to help you succeed in your studies, career aspirations and life goals. If you’re interested in transferring to VIU our Academic Advisors are here to help you every step of the way. You can reach them directly via email or join a zoom drop-in session video chat

Pro tip

"It’s really important for new students to prepare for university by familiarizing themselves with the many resources and supports available to them. We have lots of information to help you transition to university life at VIU."

- Michelle Steel, Academic Advisor 

Top resources for transferring to VIU

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