VIU refines program portfolio

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April 3, 2024 - 5:15pm

Integrated Engineering Technologist, Online Learning and Teaching and the Geographic Information Systems programs will no longer be offered after 2024.

Four programs at Vancouver Island University (VIU) will no longer accept new students after this year as the university works to align program offerings more closely with regional needs and demand and to support fiscal responsibility.

Like many post-secondary institutions, VIU has seen declining student enrolments combined with the increased costs of delivering student services for fewer students. This has resulted in the university being in a deficit situation. Public universities in BC are required by the provincial government to have balanced budgets.

In October 2023, VIU released a Deficit Mitigation Plan that charts a path to returning to balanced budgets by the 2026-27 academic year. One aspect of that plan is for the university to refine its current program portfolio.

At a regular meeting of VIU’s Board of Governors on Thursday, March 28, plans for four program phase outs were approved. The programs approved for discontinuation include:

  • Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Applications
  • Integrated Engineering Technologist (Engineering Transfer Diploma will continue)
  • Master in GIS Applications
  • Online Learning and Teaching Graduate Diploma

All students currently enrolled in the above programs will be supported to graduate from the programs. However, the programs will no longer accept new students.

“These are difficult but necessary decisions that reflect a move towards VIU’s financial sustainability and ability to continue to offer programs that meet the demand and interests of our students and the regional workforce,” said Dr. Michael Quinn, Provost and Vice President Academic. “We recognize these programs have supported many students in achieving their education and career goals and we acknowledge the passion and advocacy shown by our faculty and students in relation to the discontinuation of these programs.”

With forecasted budget deficits until 2026-27 and lower enrolment than previous years, as a public university, VIU is in the position of making difficult decisions to be fiscally responsible with the funding it receives from taxpayers and student tuition fees.

Unlike undergraduate programs which receive funding from the province, VIU’s graduate programs receive no provincial funding and as a result, are required to recover the costs of delivering these programs. The GIS programs are forecast to run a deficit.

The Integrated Engineering Technologist program has experienced very low enrolment over the first three years of delivery and there are three students are currently enrolled in the second year of the program. The Engineering Transfer Diploma program will continue to be offered at VIU and is not being considered for phase out.  

Intake into the Online Teaching and Learning Graduate Diploma had already been suspended for the next academic year due to low enrolments. Students will continue to have opportunities for graduate studies in Educational Leadership.

VIU is committed to the success of all of its students and to continuing to provide them high-quality education and learning experiences. Student support and experiential opportunities remain a top priority while VIU works to return to balanced budgets.

For more information, visit the Program Changes at VIU webpage.


Media Contact:

Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Manager, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

The VIU community acknowledges and thanks the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nation on whose traditional lands we teach, learn, research, live and share knowledge.

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