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Exchange Program .... for students coming to VIU

Vancouver Island University's (VIU) exchange program enables students from our partner institutions to study at VIU for one or two semesters.  Exchange students must apply through their home university's exchange office. If your university does not have an exchange agreement with VIU, you may be able to apply as a fee paying student.

Incoming Exchange Student VIU Fact Sheet

On this page:


You are eligible to be an exchange student at VIU if you are enrolled at one of VIU’s exchange partners and nominated by your home university. You can study for one semester or a full academic year and receive credit at your home university for coursework completed at VIU. Exchange programs are run on a reciprocal basis, so you pay your tuition and student activity fees to your home university instead of to VIU.

Application Procedure

APPLICATION FORM: Fill out the on-line International Application for Admission form or on the Chrome or Mozilla browser at:

IMPORTANT! When filling out the form ....

  • As an exchange student coming for one or two semesters from a partner insitituion, you will not have to pay the application fees or tuition fees, but the on-line form may not transmit without indicating some sort of payment.  If that happens, under "Method of Payment" tick either Cheque/Money Order or Electronic Transfer.

Once VIU has received your application and admitted you, the Admissions department will send your acceptance letter to the international office at your home university. 

OTHER DOCUMENTS: These can be sent by email to Jennifer Sills at

  • Official transcript (if your transcript is not in English, it will need to be translated into English)
  • List of courses that you are currently taking, if they are not listed on your transcript. 
  • If you select a course that has a prerequisite, provide the names and course descriptions (in English) of the course(s) you have taken at your home institution that you feel are equivalent. 
  • For students coming from countries where the language of instruction is not in English: minimum TOEFL 550, TOEFL Computer Based Test (CBT) 213, iBT 80 (with no score under 19), IELTS 6.0 (with no score under 5.5), CAEL 60, Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (minimum “B”), or Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (minimum “B”).

Application Deadlines

For entry in September, the Registration Centre begins accepting applications on November 15 of the previous year. The application deadline is March 31 for most programs, unless otherwise indicated in the Program Outline, or the Program Availability List. Applications received after March 31 will be considered for Unclassified students.

Study Permit (visa)

You do not require a Study Permit if you plan to study at VIU for 1 semester but you must have a Study Permit if you will study for 2 semesters.  Do not delay in applying for your study permit. Pay careful attention to all the requirements, especially the proof of financial ability. Starting in the spring of 2011, students from 14 designated countries may be eligible to submit their Study Permit application on-line (includes Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, UK and USA). Only students with a study permit are allowed to work, and then only on campus.

For information and forms:


Most students want to stay in the residence at VIU. Unfortunately there can be long waitlists to get into the residence, especially for the Fall semester. If you apply to stay in residence, also think about your second choice for accommodation in case you are not successful.

Student Residence Apply to the residence directly following the instructions on the website. You will be notified by email in June if you get a room. After you receive the notification, you need to send in a deposit to confirm that you will take the room. If the residence doesn't receive your deposit on time, they will offer your room to the next person on the list. The confirmation is sent by email so make sure that you can receive emails with attachments!

Homestay: Homestay allows you to live with a Canadian family and provides you with 3 meals a day (though you may be required to make your own breakfast and lunch from food that is provided). The cost is $780 per month. Most students in homestay commute to school by bus. Apply for homestay at least 6 weeks before your arrival in Canada. A complete application requires you to submit a Profile Form along with a placement fee of $200 and deposit of $780 (this will be returned to you when you leave the homestay if you have left with proper notice and not damaged the place).

Peerstay: Same information as above but you are responsible for purchasing your own food and preparing your meals. Peerstay fees are $450 per month. Use the same application form.

Off-campus Housing: There are a few options ....

  • Off-campus housing options - Go to the link .... the Painted Turtle Guesthouse is great for short-term accommodation and about 3 km from VIU.  You could always book into it for a couple of weeks while you look around, extend if you like it, or stay there all semester. Great West Student Residences is a beautiful new facility right beside VIU. It's a bit more expensive but worth the extra cost!
  • This is VIU's off-campus housing list - scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "view ads". We always recommend that you look at the places before booking or sending funds.
  • Smaller selection of places, but worth checking out. Again, look at the place before you book or send funds.

Course Selection (academic students)

Course Calendar:

  • - Lists all the departments and links to the courses offered in those departments. Most of the courses listed in the course calendar are NOT offered every semester.  The Timetable lists the courses that will be offered.


  • The Timetable lists the courses that will be offered in the upcoming year (this is updated in late April or May for the new academic year):
  • Select the Term (semester you will study here), Campus (Nanaimo), Program Area (Degree or Diploma), then either a Subject Area (eg. Biology) or the Course ID (eg. BIOL 2 will list all second year biology courses).
  • Click on Generate Timetable.  You will get a description of the course, prerequisites, days/times it is offered, and whether there are reserved seats. Once registration begins in June, you can also find out how many free seats there are in the classes and the length of the waitlist, if there is one.

What courses/programs can I take?

  • You must enroll in 3 courses (9 credits) but can take up to 5 courses (15 credits) per semester. If you enroll in more than 15 credits/semester, you will have to pay tuition fees for those credits.
  • You must show that you have the necessary pre-requisites for any courses you want to take (see below).
  • Some departments reserve all the seats in their courses for full-time program majors but they may allow other students to take courses if there is room: for example, Education, Early Childhood Education, Hospitality, Tourism, Hospitality, Art & Design, Theatre, Music, and Health programs. We may not know until shortly before the semester begins whether there will be available seats in these programs.
  • If English is not the language of instruction in your home country, you will only be permitted to take first year English courses (ENGL 115, 125 and 135.
  • If seats are reserved for students in a particular program, you will see this under Location in the Timetable.  Here is an example (I can use IE reserves for exchange students):
  • Free Seats

    Maximum Size

    Current Size

    Reserves (look under Location)

    This means …




    There are no reserves so students are registered into the class if space is available.

    3 waiting



    34(R) BBA=34

    All seats in the class are reserved for Bachelor of Business Admin majors. Students without this designation will get put on the waitlist. Waitlists are generally lifted a few weeks before classes begin and students on the waitlist put into available seats.

    12 waiting



    20(R) IE=5, BBA=11

    3 of 20 reserved seats available

    20 of the 34 seats are reserved: 5 for students listed as IE (international), 11 for BBA students. There are 31 students enrolled, 12 on a waitlist and 3 reserved seats available. If you were to register and one of the available reserved seats was an IE reserve, the system would put you into the class automatically (happens overnight).  If the only reserved seats left were for BBA students, you would be left on the waitlist.

NOTE: VIU currently has a high enrolment rate and many courses fill up quickly once registration begins in May. You may not get into the courses you want so we recommend that you have alternate courses approved by your university.


  • Follow the instructions given in the Web Registration Index or Web Registration Tutorial.
  • You need your student number in order to access your Student Record.  I will send this to you by email. 
  • Once you have worked out your courses and program schedule, print it off (ctrl-P) for your records and tell me that you are enrolled.
  • There are a set number of seats in each class so you may not be able to get into all the courses you want to take at VIU. Have a few additional courses approved and on your list.
  • Registration for exchange students will start in late June (not confirmed yet).  Have your course selection to me before that time, much earlier if you need to take courses with pre-requisites since it will take a while for me to get permissions.

Courses with Prerequisites:

  • Prerequisites are listed below the course description.  You MUST show that you have met the prerequisites for any course you want to take or you will be withdrawn from the course before the start of semester.
  • If you select a course that has a prerequisite, email me the names and course descriptions (in English) of the course(s) you have taken at your home institution that you feel are equivalent.   
  • Once I have that information from you, I will meet with the Chair of the department or instructor of the course to get permission for you to be in that course.
  • Instructors go on vacation from June 15 to August 15, so I may not be able to get permission for you to be in classes between those dates.
  • Note: English and literature courses taken at institutions where instruction is not in English do not count towards prerequisites for the English courses.

Textbooks: You should budget a minimum of $800 for a semester (5 courses). Some texts can be purchased 'used' and are less expensive.

Medical Insurance

It is compulsory for all students to have adequate medical insurance while they are in Canada. Students will be enrolled into Allianz Global Assistance's Basic insurance, provided through Island Savings (ISIS).

All students will be enrolled automatically for their first semester of study at VIU. Students staying for two semesters will have to renew their insurance before the start of their second semester of study.

Cost: $280 per semester

Information on VIU's medical insurance is posted on this webpage:

The Allianz Global Assistance Comprehensive Plan for a 31 day policy is $50/month. This plan is for students who do not have Greenshield through the university and do not qualify for BC medical.

Allianz Global Assistance student insurance is at:

Travelling to Nanaimo

Have a look at the following link for information on how to get to Nanaimo.

Important Dates 2016

For a complete list of dates for 2015 to 2016: Important Dates (eg first day or classes, holidays etc.)

Spring Semester 2016

  • Mar 25, 28 (Easter weekend, VIU closed)
  • Apr 4 (last day of class)
  • Apr 5, 6 (study days)
  • Apr 7 - 18 (exam period

Living Costs (per semester)


  • Placement fee (non-refundable)= $200 (Applicable to Homestay and Peerstay students)
  • Deposit (refundable) = $780 (Applicable to Homestay and Peerstay students)
  • Homestay = $780/month and $27/night (includes food for three meals a day)
  • Peerstay = $480/month and $15/night (student purchases and prepares own food)
  • Student residence: application fee, $500 room deposit, $250 security deposit plus room approximately $1950 - 3300/semester or $5500/year, depending on unit
  • Food (if not in homestay): Depends on what and how much you eat, budget between $1200 and $2000 per semester
  • Books (approximate): $800 or more for academic programs; $300 for ESL
  • Semester bus pass: $176; monthly pass $55
  • Medical Insurance: Mandatory medical coverage through VI, will be about $40 - $50 per month
  • Students who come for 2 semesters (in academic programs) are required to purchase the supplemental insurance plan provided by the Student Union: $280/year
  • Activities, personal shopping: varies