Nanaimo Campus

General Regulations

VIU’s policies on admissions and standards are listed below. Further information about VIU’s regulations and procedures is available from the Office of the Registrar.

The academic year consists of the Fall and Spring semesters, and the Summer Session. Each is approximately 15 weeks. Some university courses span both semesters. Trades and Applied Technology programs and Academic and Career Preparation programs, as well as Professional Development and Training courses operate with terms of different lengths throughout the year. An Intersession of varying length is scheduled for some programs during the months of April through August—see Dates and Deadlines.

Absence Due to Illness

Students who are absent because of illness or accident should contact their instructors as soon as possible and report to their instructors again on return to classes.

Extended absence from courses or program due to illness or accident should be discussed with each instructor or program coordinator involved. Students are responsible for contacting their instructors, either directly or through the assistance of staff in the office of the appropriate Dean, as soon as an extended absence becomes apparent. Students should note that in instances where course requirements will be impossible to complete due to the extended absence, a medical certificate may be required.

Absence Due to Illness or Death in Immediate Family

Students who are absent because of illness, accident or death in the immediate family (parent, spouse—including common law—child, brother, sister, parent-in-law, grandparent, foster child, and any other relative permanently residing in the student’s household or with whom the student permanently resides) should contact their instructors as soon as possible and report to their instructors again on return to classes.

For extended absence from courses or program due to illness or accident in the immediate family, students should follow the procedure described under “Absence Due to Illness” above.

Absence Due to Other Reasons

Religious Ceremonies

Students who are absent from courses in order to attend religious ceremonies should inform their instructors prior to each absence. Religious ceremonies at Vancouver Island University include traditional First Nations ceremonies. Students are responsible for the subject material missed during their absences. For further information, students should contact the Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Advisor.

Sports Events

Students who are absent from courses in order to participate in sports events in which they represent Vancouver Island University must inform the instructors in writing, prior to each event. Students are responsible for the subject material missed during their absences.

Students who are absent from courses due to participation in other sports events will be considered to be absent without permission.

Field Trips

See “Field Trips”.

Academic Concern and Mandatory Academic Pause

Formerly, "Probation Policy"

Academic Concern is a supportive measure taken to identify students who are at risk academically and offer appropriate assistance designed to help them discover and overcome the obstacles that are hindering their success.

In May each year, students in academic programs who have completed a minimum of nine credits during the immediately preceding period of May 1 to April 30 will have their records reviewed.  Those who have earned a grade point average (GPA) of less than 2.0 (“C”) on all courses completed in this period will be placed on Academic Concern when they register next.

Students who have been noted with Academic Concern will have their records reviewed each year in May, until such time as they have completed at least nine credits. Once at least nine credits have been completed while noted with Academic Concern, a grade point average will be calculated on these courses, and a minimum GPA of 2.0 (“C”) will be required to have Academic Concern status cleared. If a student’s GPA on these courses is below 2.0, they will be required to take a Mandatory Academic Pause and will be required to discontinue study in University degree, diploma, or academic certificate programs for a period of one year.

Students noted with Academic Concern will be contacted by an Educational Advisor and offered support services designed to help them achieve greater success in their future studies.

Students required to take a Mandatory Academic Pause may take upgrading Adult Basic Education courses and may also apply for admission to vocational programs.

Academic Misconduct

See “Student Academic Integrity”.

Access to Information/Protection of Privacy

Vancouver Island University gathers personal information from students under the authority of the University Act (1996). These records are used for the purposes of admission, registration and other fundamental activities related to being a member of the VIU community and attending a public post-secondary institution in British Columbia. In signing an application for admission, all applicants are advised that the information placed into the student record will be protected under the BC Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy Act (1992).


Students may appeal decisions on admission, final grades, transfer credit, program professional suitability, or the interpretation of any policies on the above. The first step is an informal appeal to the individual who made the decision or interpretation. If a satisfactory resolution is not possible at this level, the program Dean must be consulted. If again no resolution is possible, a formal appeal may be initiated.

Final Grade Appeal: a formal appeal of grades must begin within 10 business days of the assignment of grades. Forms to request a grade appeal are available online, at the Registration Centre and/or Dean’s offices.

For information on appeals, please check Policies and Procedures, (policy 96.02).


Students are expected to attend scheduled lectures, laboratories, field trips, seminars, examinations, practica and work experience. The University reserves the right to cancel registration in any course or program because of lack of attendance (where attendance is deemed by the University to be important).

Vancouver Island University reserves the right to cancel any student’s registration in a course if the student does not attend the first scheduled session of a course and does not notify the instructor in advance.

Audit Option

Students may take some University-level courses on an audit basis. Audit students attend classes and complete reading assignments, but do not have to participate in examinations; however, students may ask an instructor for evaluation on assignments or tests. Audit students will receive “AUD” on their transcript. No grade will be given and no credit will be earned; therefore, an audited course will not be used to calculate a student’s GPA. Having begun a course, students have twelve weeks within which to change standing from audit to credit, or credit to audit. Students must receive permission of the instructor(s) to make the change and must have a Student Registration Change form, available from the Registration Centre, signed by the instructor(s).

Cancellation of Registration

The University reserves the right to cancel immediately the registration of a student who has paid tuition with an NSF cheque, invalid credit card, and/or who has failed to pay full fees when due. 

Challenge Credit

See “Recognition of Prior Learning”.

Changes to Program Requirements

Students will normally be able to complete a program according to the requirements in place at the time they begin the program. Students who face a change in the requirements after they have begun a program will be given a reasonable amount of time to complete the program by substituting new courses. Students in this situation are urged to consult their program Chair or an Advisor.


If students have complaints about a course or service, usually the best method of handling the problem is to deal directly with the faculty or staff member. If this does not resolve the problem, or does not seem feasible, students should discuss the problem with the appropriate Chair/Coordinator, or Dean (See Appeals).

Confidentiality of Student Records

Vancouver Island University treats all student records with confidentiality, in accordance with the Freedom of Information/Protection of Privacy Act. Fraudulent student records and subpoenaed records may not have the protection of this policy. For further information regarding confidentiality of student records, please check with the Office of the Registrar.

Convocation (see also “Graduation”, below)

The university celebrates our graduating students with ceremonial conferral of degrees, diplomas, and certificates at formal convocation ceremonies in June each year. For further information, visit VIU Convocation.

Course Load – Academic Programs

Undergraduate Programs

A full course load is normally 5 courses per semester, or 15 semester credits. No students may register in more than 18 credits per semester. Exceptions to this rule require the written permission of the Dean of the discipline in which the student proposes to take most of the courses. Exempt from this rule are students in programs that require 18 or more semester credits.

A full-time undergraduate student is one who is enrolled in one of the following:

  • a minimum of nine credits in a Fall or Spring semester;
  • a minimum of six credits in any Summer Session term; or,
  • a field school or practicum placement of at least six credits.

Unless otherwise stated within the programs section of this Calendar, the following definitions apply.

  • First-year Standing—student has completed fewer than 24 credits.
  • Second-year Standing—student has completed between 24 and 53 credits.
  • Third-year Standing—student has completed between 54 and 83 credits.
  • Fourth-year Standing—student has completed at least 84 credits.
  • Fifth-year Standing—student is enrolled in a program with a required fifth year and has completed all requirements of years one through four, or has been permitted to continue onto fifth year courses with identified deficiencies to be completed prior to graduation.

Graduate Programs

A full course load for a graduate program is a minimum of nine credits per semester. Graduate programs often involve one or more semesters of thesis preparation, final project, field research, or cooperative/practicum work placement, each of which is considered to comprise a full course load.

A full-time graduate student is one who is enrolled in at least 60 percent of the full course load requirement, as outlined in the Calendar, for the semester in which he or she is enrolled.

A student wishing to study part-time in a graduate program which is normally offered on a full-time basis must be granted permission by the Dean of the Faculty to pursue program completion on a part-time basis.

Course Prerequisites

Most credit courses have prerequisites (courses or other requirements), which must be successfully completed prior to taking the next course. Prerequisites are designed to ensure that all students in a class have the preparation necessary to give them a reasonable chance to succeed. All students, including those who are admitted to the University as Mature Students, are required to meet individual course prerequisites.

Credit Limit (Introductory Courses)

Departments may impose restrictions on credit limits. Such limits are noted under individual courses in the Course Descriptions.

Credit Option

Students may elect an option of “Credit” instead of a grade for certain courses. At the beginning of each semester, instructors will advise if the credit option is available. The instructor will also indicate what students must do to achieve “credit” standing. Students who elect the credit option and fail to complete the requirements of the course will be given an “F.” To then get credit or a grade, students will have to repeat the course. A maximum of four courses may be taken on a credit option basis toward a VIU diploma. Students must inform the instructor of their intention to take the credit option, no later than eight (8) weeks after classes commence.


The University measures the workload of students by assigning semester hours of credit. In general, one credit is defined as the equivalent of one hour a week of classroom instruction (labs, seminars, etc., are not included). Most University courses carry three (3) semester hours of credit. The credit value of a full-time program, which extends over one semester, is normally 15 credits or more.

Accumulation of Credit

In the case of a course for which credit has been received and which is repeated, the credits will be shown in the student’s record in each instance, but will count only once toward the degree or diploma, unless the course is designated as one that may be repeated for additional credit.

Dean's Honour List

Students with outstanding scholastic records are given special recognition when their names are added to the Dean's Honour List. The Dean's list is produced at the end of the Spring semester. To qualify, a student requires a GPA of 3.67 ("A-") or higher, and a minimum of 12 credits accumulated over the previous Summer, Fall and Spring semesters.

Undergraduate Degree English Requirements

All students in undergraduate degree programs at VIU are required to complete 6 credits of first–year English composition and literature courses.

Undergraduate Degree English Requirement (Effective September 2020)

Any two of the following courses: 
ENGL 115* - (University Writing and Research), or ENGL 117* -  (University Writing and Research: Indigenous Focus), or INTR** course equivalent
ENGL 125 - (Literature and Culture), or ENGL 127 - (Literature and Culture: Indigenous Focus), or INTR** course equivalent
ENGL 135 - (Literature and Criticism)



LBST 111 - (Love and Friendship) and,
LBST 112 - (Knowledge, Good, and Evil)



Only for programs that require ENGL 204 (Business and Technical Writing):
ENGL 115 - (University Writing and Research), or ENGL 117 -  (University Writing and Research: Indigenous Focus), or INTR** course equivalent, and,
ENGL 204 - (Business and Technical Writing) (effective September 2012) or,
ENGL 225 - (Business and Technical Writing) (prior to September 2012)


* In some Bachelor of Arts, Majors and Minors, students with a minimum "B+" in ENGL 115 or ENGL 117 are granted an exemption and are not required to complete any further credit towards the English requirement.

** Students who have completed an INTR course that includes ENGL 115 or ENGL 125 will receive course exemption for ENGL 115 or ENGL 125.

Note 1: Students who have already completed ENGL 111, 112, or 116 can still use these courses to meet the Undergraduate Degree English Requirements. See Undergraduate Degree English Requirement – Prior to September 2009.

Note 2: In addition to undergraduate degrees, other programs may require these requirements to be met. 


See “Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Advisor”.

Examination Schedules

Semester-end examination schedules noting dates, times and locations will be posted online one month before commencement of exams. All exams must be written at the scheduled times. Time conflicts in exam schedules should be reported immediately to the Registration CentreNo travel plans should be made during the exam dates listed in Dates and Deadlines.

Procedure for Rescheduling Final Exams

In the event an exam is cancelled as a result of an emergency closure (i.e. snow), the exam will be rescheduled at the first available opportunity. This may be within the published exam period, or if necessary, on the first Saturday or Sunday immediately following the original exam date.

The Vancouver Island University website, local media, and email will be used to communicate exam rescheduling information to faculty and students. For details, please refer to the Rescheduling Exams After an Emergency Campus Closure Procedure.

No exam worth more than 10% of the final mark of a course shall be scheduled during the last 5 teaching days of the semester. Such exams must be scheduled during the final exam period.

Take-home exams worth more than 10% of the final mark shall not have a due date during the last 5 teaching days in the semester, or during the non-instructional days prior to the start of the exam period.


In cases where a student’s academic background suggests a required course need not be taken, the department may grant an exemption instead of transfer credit.

Field Trips

Some programs include field trips, and student participation is often required. Instructors will attempt to inform students of any and all academic consequences that will result should students decide not to participate in field trips. Students are responsible for informing all their other instructors of the time(s) and date(s) of the field trip one week prior to the field trip. By participating in the field trip, students accept all consequences. VIU does not provide insurance coverage for students on field trips and is not liable for student illness or injuries during a field trip or other VIU-related travel (see Insurance Coverage, and Reporting of Injuries, below).

Full-time Student – Definition

See last paragraph of “Course Load – University Programs”.

Grade Scale: University, Academic, Adult Basic Education Programs

Students are assigned a letter grade for each course taken, and each letter grade carries a grade point value. Vocational programs use the same letter grades, but they do not necessarily adhere to the percentage equivalencies. See also Grades and Transcripts, below.

Grade Scale Table (Effective September 1, 2010)


Percentage (%)

Grade Value

Point Description





Excellent (First Class Standing)


















Failing work
Unsatisfactory performance or failure to meet course requirements.




Unofficial Withdrawal
Course not completed due to unofficial withdrawal. Calculated as a "0" in the GPA.




Course passed
Requirements completed, but not calculated in GPA.




If course requirements are not completed after 180 days from the course end date, the “INC” grade will automatically become an “F” grade.




Continuing Status
In good standing. Course is delivered over 2 terms, separated by a break. Final mark to be issued at end of 2nd term.








In Progress
In good standing. Student must re-enrol within one year.




No Grade Submitted yet;  neither Pass nor Fail.

Note: Effective September 1, 2010 VIU converted to a 4.33 grade scale.

Grade Scale Table (Prior to September 1, 2010)


Grade Value

Point Description




First class




Second class







Minimum Pass



Objectives of the course have not been attained. Enrolment in a sequential course not permitted in certain courses.



Course passed
Requirements completed, but not calculated in GPA.



If course requirements are not completed after 180 days from the course end date, the “INC” grade will automatically become an “F” grade.



Continuing Status
In good standing. Course is delivered over 2 terms, separated by a break. Final mark to be issued at end of 2nd term.






In Progress
In good standing. Student must re-enrol within one year.



No Grade Submitted yet;  neither Pass nor Fail.

In Progress (INP) grade

The “INP” grade can be used for all Academic and Career Preparation courses and by other program areas for practicum, internship, work-study and co-op courses. It will be used in cases where a student has been unable to complete course requirements in the allotted time and further course work in the form of a re-enrolment in the course is required. The student will be required to re-enrol in the course within one year (course start date within one year). If the student has not re-enrolled within one year, the “INP” grade will be changed to an “F.” Withdrawal from the course will be considered non-enrolment. Once the student has completed the additional enrolment, the final grade will be assigned to the last enrolment and the original “INP” grade will remain. An “Assignment of In Progress (“INP”) Grade” form must be used to assign the “INP” grade. The “INP” grade will not be available for entry using VIU’s web-based grade entry program.

Grade Point Average

Grade point average, or GPA, is the sum total of course grade points, divided by the number of credits taken. The GPA is calculated on all courses attempted for credit.

  • Grade Point = credit value multiplied by numerical value of grade earned.
  • Grade Point Average = total grade points earned divided by total credits attempted.

Grades and Transcripts


To a large extent, students’ grades in particular courses will be determined by examinations, essays, projects, and reports assigned during the term. Semester-end exams may also be scheduled. Students who need special assistance to participate in some or all parts of each course should contact Accessibility Services.

At the end of each semester, grades are available online at the “Access Your Student Record” web page. Students who wish to appeal a grade have 10 business days from assignment of grades to initiate the appeal. A copy of the grade appeal procedure is available from the Registration Centre.

Students will receive an “F” for any course not completed, or from which they have not officially withdrawn.


An official transcript is a complete record of academic performance that is certified by the Registrar.

The notation of degree completion on the transcript is not added until after the Convocation ceremony. To protect privacy, student records are issued only at the formal request of students.

Order transcripts from the Registration Centre for either same–day or seven–day service. See transcript fees.

Note: Transcripts will not be issued for students who have outstanding financial obligations to VIU.

Graduation (see also, "Convocation", above)

Application for Graduation

Each candidate for a degree, diploma, or certificate must make a formal application for graduation available through the online student record.  Students who have received permission to complete a course or courses elsewhere to be applied towards their program requirements must have all such course work completed, and a final transcript from the other institution must be received by VIU’s Registration Centre before their application for graduation can be processed. Because of the delay in obtaining official transcripts, students completing their program requirements at another institution may not be eligible to graduate when intended.

Minimum Degree Requirements for Bachelor's Degree Graduation

Each candidate for a first Bachelor’s degree is required to meet the following conditions.

  1. To have satisfied VIU’s first year Degree English Requirement.
  2. To present credit in a minimum of 120 credits of university-level courses numbered 100 and above, of which at least 42 credits must be numbered at the 300/400 level, and at least 60 credits must normally be VIU courses to meet the residency requirement.
  3. To meet the specific degree and program requirements as approved by Senate and published in the online calendar.

Note: It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all requirements for the degree, including Faculty and departmental specifications, are met. Advisors are available to provide information, guidance and assistance in checking that all degree requirements are met. VIU’s Goal Planning System (degree audit tool) is available within each student’s online student record to help them with these efforts. Degree Advisors are available to provide information, guidance and assistance in checking that all degree requirements are met. Students should see the appropriate advisor early in their program of studies.

Changes to Conferred Degrees 

Students who have graduated and received a Bachelor’s degree may not return to the program to add additional majors or minors, or to upgrade a minor to a major. Students may pursue a second Bachelor’s degree if they meet the criteria listed under that section, listed below.

Standing at Graduation

Graduating Average

The graduating average of a student in a Bachelor’s degree program is determined as the weighted average of the grade values assigned to courses:

  • numbered 300 and above; and,
  • attempted and/or completed at Vancouver Island University (or in a partnership program and considered to be "resident credit"); and,
  • acceptable within the degree program and applied toward the degree requirements.

If such a course has been repeated, the highest grade obtained will be included in the calculation. A course that has been used in the calculation of the student’s graduating average for one degree cannot be used for credit towards another degree.

Unless otherwise specified, students must have a graduating average of at least 2.0 (“C”) in order to graduate.

With Distinction

The notation “With Distinction” shall be used on the degree parchment, the convocation program, and transcript for those students whose graduating averages are equal to or higher than the minimum distinction GPA calculated as:

  • the 90th percentile of the pooled graduating GPA from all the graduates in the same degree program since September 2010 or the previous five years, whichever is most recent; or,
  • in cases where the degree program has fewer than ten graduates since September 2010, the minimum distinction GPA is 3.67 (“A-”).

Some degree programs choose not to grant “With Distinction” status to its graduates.

A Second Bachelor’s Degree

Under the following conditions, a student who has a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution (including VIU) may be allowed to pursue undergraduate studies leading to a second Bachelor’s degree.

  1. The student must be admissible to the program of the second degree.
  2. The principal area of study or academic emphasis of the second degree must be in a discipline that is different and distinct from that of the first degree.
  3. The student must complete at least 60 credits beyond those credits required for the first degree, in either two Minors, one Major, or one Honours, and at least 42 of these 60 credits must be at the 300 or 400 level.
  4. The student must meet all program and graduation requirements for the second degree beyond those required for the first degree.
  5. The student must consult with the relevant Degree Advisor to discuss their plan to satisfy the degree requirements, including the options (Honours/Majors/Minors) they intend to pursue, in accordance with the regulations stated above.

Concurrent Bachelor’s Degrees

In certain cases it is possible to complete the requirements of two Vancouver Island University degrees concurrently, subject in all cases to the conditions mentioned above.

Students who have completed, or plan to complete more than the minimum upper-level requirements for their first degree, with the intention of applying the additional course work towards the requirements of a second degree, should discuss their plans with Degree Advisors from both programs well in advance to ensure all parties are in agreement. Such students must seek permission of the Dean of their Faculty by January 31 in the final year of their first degree.

Degree Completion Advising

Vancouver Island University has Degree Advisors available to help students with course choices in their disciplines, and to ensure that they meet all graduation requirements. Students should make an appointment to see their appropriate Degree Advisor early in their program of studies. For a list of Degree Advisors, visit VIU Advising.

Insurance Coverage

Medical Coverage

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have personal medical insurance under the BC Medical Services Plan, or other personal medical coverage recognized in BC. This may be either under their parents’ policy or their own coverage.

Students traveling out of the country on field trips or other University activities are urged to purchase temporary extended hospital and medical coverage through Pacific Blue Cross, or other suitable agency. The address for Pacific Blue Cross is 4250 Canada Way, Burnaby—mailing address: PO Box 7000, Vancouver, BC V6B 4E1. Call toll-free 1.888.275.4672; website: Pacific Blue Cross.

Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Coverage

Students may be eligible for WCB coverage in the following cases.

  • Students attending the classroom/lab/shop instruction for the technical training component of an Apprenticeship program. The following is a list of some programs which may include apprentice students (some programs may include both apprentice and non-apprentice students; however, only the apprentice students will be eligible for WCB coverage):  Automotive Mechanics Apprenticeship; Carpentry Apprenticeship; Heavy Duty Apprenticeship; Welding Apprenticeship.
  • Students on an approved practicum, job shadowing or work experience activities are eligible for WCB coverage when at their host employer’s place of business. The activity must be supervised, unpaid, and take place at the host employer’s place of business. Practicum placements, which take place outside of British Columbia, are not eligible for WCB coverage. If unsure, please contact VIU’s Health and Safety Services, at 250.740.6282.
  • Students on VIU’s payroll, e.g., Work Opportunity students, are automatically covered by WCB.

Note: WCB coverage does not automatically extend to any students on field trips, students in off-campus activities, such as the Carpentry program house building project, students conducting class-related activities at the VIU Forestry Woodlot, or students not identified in one of the categories indicated above.

Reporting of Injuries/Incidents

All injuries must be reported to Vancouver Island University, usually through a First Aid Attendant or to Security, whether or not the student is covered by WCB. In an emergency on Nanaimo or Cowichan campus, please call 250.740.6600 or 6600 from an internal phone; give the operator your location and the nature of the injury. For Parksville-Qualicum Centre or tiwšɛmawtxʷ Campus (Powell River), use the local campus emergency number. For injuries occurring off campus on an approved Vancouver Island University activity (e.g., a field trip), any incident or injury must be reported by calling 250.740.6600 (collect).

First aid and transport to medical aid are provided free of charge; however, students who are not covered by WCB may be responsible for any additional medical expenses (other than first aid) resulting from the injury (e.g., hospital charges).

Leave of Absence (Academic Studies)

Undergraduate students who withdraw from the University for any reason may apply for Academic Leave of Absence for the remainder of the current academic year and the following year. Such leave allows students to be considered “continuing students” for the purpose of registration priorities for academic studies. Requests for leave of absence are not automatic and are granted at the discretion of the appropriate Dean. Additional requirements for re-admission may be a condition of the leave.

For further information, please contact the Registration Centre at 250.740.6400.

Graduate students who find it necessary to interrupt their program of study may request a leave of absence before the term begins.  Leaves of absence are available for a variety of reasons or circumstances after completion of a minimum of one term. A leave may be granted for a period of four, eight, or twelve months. During an approve leave all supervisory processes are suspended and students will have limited access to the university’s facilities.  Approval of a leave request is not automatic and Graduate students considering a leave of absence should discuss their options with their supervisor as early as possible. See Request for Leave From Graduate Studies Procedure (96.07.001) for more information.

“Permission of Instructor” as a Course Prerequisite

Some course prerequisites include the option of obtaining “Permission of Instructor.” In these cases, students who enrol but who are lacking the stated prerequisite must discuss their backgrounds with the instructor, as soon as possible, and no later than the end of the second week of classes, in order to obtain instructor’s permission. The instructor may choose to deny permission and request the student’s name be removed from the class list.

If “Permission of Instructor” is not noted in the Program Calendar course description as an option for the prerequisite, the prerequisite may only be waived with the written permission of the department Coordinator/Chair. A copy of this permission must be sent to the Associate Registrar, Admissions and Registration. Students with special or unique backgrounds who wish to pursue the option to have the prerequisite waived by the department Coordinator/Chair should do so at least two weeks prior to the start of classes.

Probation Policy

See Academic Concern and Mandatory Academic Pause.

Recognition of Prior Learning (see also, Transfer Credit, below)

Vancouver Island University is committed to broadening access for all students and to meeting the needs of adult learners through the recognition of prior learning.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) involves faculty evaluating the knowledge and/or skills an individual may have gained through non-formal education/training or experience and the granting of appropriate credit by Vancouver Island University. Skills, knowledge and competencies that have been acquired through work experience, unrecognized education or training, self-study, volunteer activities, hobbies, and other life experiences can be assessed for credit.

Faculty in programs that choose to participate in PLA will determine the assessment process most appropriate for their program, discipline and courses. The processes include, but are not limited to, challenge exam, portfolio, portfolio-assisted assessment, skill demonstration, oral exam, audition, work sample, and assessment of credential(s) earned.

Requests for PLA will be processed as either a comprehensive assessment or as a course challenge. Requests for Prior Learning Assessment will normally be processed as a course challenge when:

  • the student wishes to challenge the courses on an individual basis
  • the credit request is for less than nine credits, or
  • the credit request is for nine credits or more but spans two or more departments or disciplines with no more than six credits in any one discipline or department.

Requests for Prior Learning Assessment will normally be processed as a comprehensive assessment when the credit request is for nine credits or more in one department or discipline.

A course challenge or comprehensive assessment can be requested by an applicant to Vancouver Island University, prior to enrolment as a student, or by enrolled students. PLA can be initiated at any time of the year with the approval of the department conducting the assessment. PLA candidates are registered as such and are charged an assessment fee.

Credit will be granted when the faculty assessor determines that the knowledge and/or skills acquired through prior learning are:

  • at the post-secondary level
  • current
  • consistent with the required objectives and outcomes of Vancouver Island University programs and courses, and
  • demonstrated at the appropriate level of achievement

Credit received through PLA will be so identified on the student’s transcript and is resident credit at Vancouver Island University.

Normally, students will not be allowed to request credit through course challenge or a comprehensive assessment for a course:

  • they have previously failed at the University
  • the equivalent of which appears on their transcript, or
  • they have unsuccessfully challenged, previously

For further information on PLA, please visit VIU Advising (see Prior Learning Assessment).

Repeating a Course or Program

A Course

Any university course may be repeated. Both course grades will be included on students’ official transcripts and, if it is an upper-level course, the highest grade will be included in the graduation GPA calculation. Students enrolled in university programs and intending to transfer to another institution should check with that institution to find out what their policy on this topic is.

Students are not permitted to register in the same course more than three times. Permission of the Dean is required for any exceptions. The University reserves the right to withdraw students found to be in violation of this regulation.

A Program

In limited-entry Career or Technology programs, students who have failed the previous year in the program may be asked to wait one year before being re-admitted to the program. Re-admission to a program is not guaranteed, and conditions for re-admission may be imposed.

Residency Requirement (Policy 97.04)

Undergraduate Degrees

Fifty percent of all credits used towards a VIU undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses.

At least fifty percent of all upper–level credits used towards an undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses.

At least fifty percent of all upper–level courses used towards each major, minor or concentration of an undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses.

Graduate Degrees

  • Fifty percent of all credits used towards a VIU graduate degree must be completed with VIU courses.

Certificates and Diplomas

  • Fifty percent of all credits used towards VIU certificates and diplomas must be completed with VIU courses.

Student Academic Integrity (policy 96.01)


Vancouver Island University (VIU) supports and encourages integrity and ethical conduct in all areas of academic work, research, and scholarship. VIU upholds the International Center for Academic Integrity definition of academic integrity as “a commitment to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.” VIU believes that these values are foundational to the academy and that they will encourage ethical action even in the face of adversity.

VIU trusts that its students and employees intrinsically embody these values, and that they view academic integrity as something we should all strive to exemplify in the interest of good academic practice. The guiding principle informing this policy is commitment to supporting student learning and success.

Standards of Academic Integrity

Students and employees are expected to uphold these fundamental values and adhere to the standards of academic integrity. Standards of academic integrity include, but are not limited to:

  • independently producing work submitted under one’s own name;
  • properly and appropriately referencing all work;
  • identifying all collaborators in work;
  • completing examinations without offering or receiving assistance, excepting those students requiring assistance due to a documented disability;
  • respecting the integrity of examination materials and/or the examination process; and
  • respecting the integrity of technological systems, software copyrights, and file privacy of others.

Poor Academic Practice

It is recognized that minor contraventions of these standards of academic integrity arising from a genuine and reasonable lack of understanding may be considered “poor academic practice,” and may be addressed informally at the departmental or instructional level.

Academic Misconduct

Violations of these standards, beyond poor academic practice, constitute academic misconduct.

Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:

  1. Plagiarism
    Plagiarism is the intentional unacknowledged use of someone else’s words, ideas, images, data, or other created works.
  2. Fabrication
    Fabrication is the intentional use of false information or the falsification of research or other findings with the intent to deceive.
  3. Cheating
    Cheating involves fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or the unauthorized use of information, materials, devices, sources, or practices, in the context of the academic assignment in question.
  4. Facilitation of Academic Misconduct
    Facilitation of Academic Misconduct is helping or attempting to help another to commit act(s) of academic misconduct as outlined above.

Corrective Action and Discipline

  • Corrective action or discipline are designed to address academic misconduct that goes beyond poor academic practice.
  • Acts of academic misconduct are subject to a range of disciplinary action – including failure for a course assignment or a course, or possible suspension by the President.
  • A student is not permitted to withdraw from a course or the university to avoid incurring a penalty for academic misconduct.
  • Please refer to the Academic Integrity Procedure for handling contraventions of this policy.Every reasonable effort should be made to deal with student conduct concerns at the instructional and departmental level. Formal discipline is designed for serious intentional academic misconduct.

Please refer to the Student Academic Integrity Procedure (96.01.001) for information on handling breaches of this policy.

Student Conduct Code (policy 32.05)

Please refer to the Student Conduct Code policy, available on VIU Policies and Procedures, for information on handling breaches of this policy.

Student Work – Correction and Return

Faculty members have the responsibility to ensure that all assignments submitted to them by students are handled in a professional manner. Instructors should attempt to return to students all work, other than final exams, that will count toward the final grade. Students have the right to examine any marked work, including final exams, which counts toward a final grade in a course. It is the student’s responsibility to retain all returned work required if he/she wishes to appeal a final grade.

Instructors are to give corrective comments on all assigned work submitted and, if requested to do so by the student, on final examinations.

Where appropriate and practical, instructors should attempt to mark each student’s work without first identifying the student.

Laboratory Work

In any course that includes laboratory work, students will be required to make satisfactory standing in both parts of the course. Results in laboratory work will be announced by the department concerned, prior to the final examinations, and students who have not obtained a grade of at least “D” will not be permitted to write the examination, or to receive any credit for the course. If satisfactory standing is obtained in the laboratory work only, and the course is repeated, exemption from the laboratory work may be granted with the consent of the department. The same rules may, at the discretion of the departments concerned, apply to non-science courses with laboratory work.

Duplicate Essays

Submitting an essay or assignment for two courses is unacceptable except: (1) in the case of concurrent courses, when both instructors have been informed of the student's intention to submit a duplicate essay or assignment and have given their written permission to the student, or (2) if the essay has already been graded, when the second instructor has been informed and has given permission.

Please refer to Student Academic Integrity Procedure (96.01.001).

English Deficiency

Vancouver Island University supports the achievement of high standards of literacy by providing a full range of English courses—Adult Basic Education, English-as-a-Second-Language and university English courses. VIU has a policy of “Writing across the Curriculum” which ensures that written work in all courses will be expected to be of high standard. In addition, students are offered the services of a Writing Centre, an ESL writing advisor, and the services of the Access Counselor for students with special needs.

For further information, please contact the appropriate Dean of Instruction, or the Registrar.

Term Assignments and Debarment from Examinations

In some courses, students may be assigned a final grade of “F” or be debarred from writing final examinations if the required term work has not been completed. Instructors in such courses shall advise students of the standard required in term assignments, and of the circumstances under which they would be assigned a final grade of “F” or be debarred from examinations.

Transfer Credit

Vancouver Island University recognizes the academic knowledge and achievement of students who have undertaken post-secondary studies at other colleges, institutes, or universities.

Students enrolled in a University program may receive transfer credit for up to 50 percent of their program. Transfer credit is assigned based on a review of an official transcript accompanied, where requested, by course outlines and other supporting documentation.

The Admissions office works with faculty to assess transfer credit for courses taken in an academic program at other institutions. Credit may be granted for specific VIU courses or, where direct course-by-course equivalencies cannot be determined, “unassigned credit” may be granted. Unassigned credit may be used to satisfy elective requirements of a program. Students are encouraged to use the online BC Transfer Guide to investigate course transferability from other BC universities and colleges.

The University makes no guarantee that other institutions will accept the credit assessed at VIU.

In cases where a student’s academic background suggests a required course need not be taken, the department may grant an exemption, instead of advance credit.

For more information about transfer credit policies and procedures, please contact the Admissions office at 250.740.6400.