VIU Engineering Diploma and Certificate Program

Frequently Asked Questions

As students move on to their next stage in their educational careers, they often have questions. We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions received by students over the last few years. These are not meant to be exhaustive and you should feel free to contact the Engineering Advisor if your question is not answered on this page (or even if it is!)

Admission Questions

Q: I am wanting to apply for the Fundamentals of Engineering Certificate but have taken some of the curriculum courses previously. Do I still need to use my Grade 12 marks for entry?

A: Currently, we evaluate entry into the program based on your Physics 12, Chemistry 12, English 12, and Math 12 (or equivalent high school) courses. In other words, if you have completed PHYS 121 we cannot take your grade in that class as a replacement for your Physics 12 high school grade for the purposes of admission into the program. These restrictions are due to transfer requirements of receiving schools (i.e. UBC and UVic) and need to be strictly applied.

Q: Can I transfer courses into the Fundamentals of Engineering Certificate program?

A: Up to one class (typically ENGL 115) of the first year curriculum is allowed to be transferred into the program to reduce your workload in first year. Students who wish to transfer more than one course into the program are encouraged to simply take the remaining classes of the certificate (provided you have the prerequisites) while in your current degree. You can apply for the certificate upon graduation if you have completed all its required classes.

Q: What is the minimum GPA required for entry into the Fundamentals of Engineering certificate?

A: The certificate program accepts up to 42 students for its reserve seats and an additional eight (8) students under open admission. Students admitted under open admission are provided reserved seats in some (but not all) curriculum courses. Enrolment in any course is not guaranteed and is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Each year, the GPA entry to the program will fluctuate depending on the number of applications and their incoming grades. For 2015/16, the GPA cut-off is:

  • Reserved seats : 3.50
  • Open seats : 3.33

Q: What happens if I met the minimum requirements, but a seat is not offered to me?

A: Students who have the minimum pre-requisites from the program entry but do not make the GPA cut off for either the reserved or open admission categories will be placed on a waiting list and provided a seat if they become available.

General Questions

Q: I would like to go into civil engineering, but I do not see it on your website. Are there any courses I can take at VIU that can be applied to a civil engineering degree?

A: VIU offers the first year common core for both UVic and UBC, and is applicable to each institution's Civil Engineering Program. After successfully completing your first year of studies at VIU, you will apply either UBC or UVic and state your program preference (i.e. Civil engineering). Acceptance is based on your average grade in 1st year.

Q: Do students who start at UBC or UVic have an advantage getting into second year?

A: The direct answer is no. Both UBC and UVic adhere to a province-wide policy that states transfer students should not be disadvantaged compared with those already at the institution. All students who achieve the minimum qualifications for second year are put into the same pool and compete based on GPA..

Students who complete the entire first year engineering curriculum at VIU in one year are guaranteed admission to 2nd year Engineering at UBC (with a minimum GPA of 2.8). Entry into specific programs (e.g. Civil, Chemical, etc...) is competitive, but all students are placed in the same pool for selection purposes.

Students who do not complete the entire first year engineering curriculum in one year, or transfer credits in from other institutions towards their studies will be accepted to UBC as University Transfer students. In this case, the entry requirement is higher (currently a GPA of 3.2) and is no different than a student transferring into engineering from another faculty at UBC (e.g. science).

UVic allows students to complete the entire first year engineering curriculum at VIU over two years. Entry into specific programs (e.g. Civil,, Electrical, etc...) in 2nd year is competitive, with all students are placed in the same pool for selection purposes.

Q: When I complete the Fundamentals of Engineering certificate, am I only able to transfer to UBC or UVic? Can I transfer to SFU?

A: Provided that you fulfill the specific entry requirements for UBC and UVic, either school will accept the Fundamentals of Engineering certificate curriculum as equivalent to their first year of engineering. Currently, only a portion of the curriculum is transferrable to SFU (through the BC Transfer Guide) including:

  • VIU MATH 100/101 : SFU MATH 151/152
  • VIU ENGL 204 : SFU ENSC 105
  • VIU MATH 141 : SFU MATH 232
  • VIU PHYS 121/122 : SFU PHYS 120/121
  • VIU CHEM 121 : SFU CHEM 150

The above is approximately 2/3rds of the first year curriculum at SFU.

Q: And am I able to transfer to the University of Alberta?

A: Transferring to universities outside of British Columbia takes place on an individual basis as there is no national course transfer policy in place. We have had students successfully transfer to a number of extra-provincial schools (e.g. the University of Toronto, McGill University etc... ) with most if not all of their courses being accepted for transfer; however, we are only able to provide transfer paths to those schools with whom which we have specific transfer agreements in place (e.g. UVic and UBC).

Q: Why should I go to VIU for first year instead of directly to UBC or UVic?

A: VIU offers students the benefits of:

  • Small class sizes: Our first year classes are typically around 50 students, and for engineering classes this number drops to closer to 25). Compare this number to first year classes at UBC or UVic that can number to several hundred.

  • Cost: Tuition costs at VIU are about 75% of that at either UBC or UVic. In addition, you likely can live at home during your studies which could save an additional $5,000 to $10,000 per year.

  • Attention: VIU is primarily a teaching institution. Your classroom professors will mark all your assignments, projects, and labs and are available for individual consultation outside of their teaching duties.

  • Facilities: Due to the small class size, students have easier access to project equipment and facilities including a machine shop. First year students have participated in the construction of a nanotube research facility, wireless projects, and robotics.

  • Scholarships/Bursaries: Several scholarships/bursaries have been set-up specifically for students entering their first year of studies within engineering at VIU. The opportunities to be awarded these scholarships/bursaries are much greater than at either UBC or UVic due to the smaller number of students that are able to compete.

Q: Can I stay at VIU for my first two years of engineering studies?

A: VIU only offers the 1st year of transfer courses for UBC and UVic.  Students will need to transfer to these institutions in their second year to complete their degrees.

Q: What are my options if things do not go well for me in my courses?

A: You have many options.

  • If you still wish to proceed into engineering you may simply need to extend the time needed to complete your courses. We recommend that you focus on your Math and Physics courses (and, of course, Engineering) as these are pre-requisites for many of your other classes.

If you are finding that you are not interested in any of the Engineering specialties, you may want to consider a related field (e.g. Wood Products processing at UBC, for example, which, although it is not an Engineering discipline, is very similar in its requirements and has a lower GPA entry.

Updated as of 22-Apr/2015