Photograph of a chemistry instructor in the chemistry lab. Links to Chemistry faculty bios at

Physics, Engineering, and Astronomy

VIU Physics Engineering Astronomy Technology

  • First-Year Engineering Transfer student, Shereen Lee, receives an NSERC Student Ambassador grant to promote sustainable engineering solutions to local high school students

  • VIU Engineering students compete in a soapbox derby at the Nanaimo campus

  • An award in memory and recognition of Dr. Donald Noakes, past Dean of Science and Technology, is available to students entering 2nd year of either the Engineering Transfer or Integrated Engineering Technologist program at VIU

The choices available to you when coming out of high school can seem daunting. Yet the opportunities are very exciting!  With small classes sizes, professional faculty, and access to dedicated lab facilities, the Physics, Engineering, and Astronomy department at Vancouver Island University offers a variety of programs and courses that have been developed with you (the student) as our focus.

Engineering Transfer Program

Engineers are problem solvers. Whether it is allowing you to carry movies and videos with you at all times, guiding airplanes and hikers to their destinations (GPS navigation systems), or providing clean water to remote communities around the world, engineers are problem solvers who search for more efficient, easier to use, and less expensive solutions to today's challenges.

The Engineering Transfer program consists of two credentials - the Engineering Transfer Diploma and the Engineering Transfer Certificate -- which provide pathways for students into engineering studies at:

  • University of Victoria,
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver or Okanagan),
  • Thompson Rivers University,
  • Simon Fraser University (ENSC, MSE, or SEE),
  • University of Northern British Columbia, and
  • University of Alberta

Both credentials contain the core courses required from each of these institutions including physics, chemistry, engineering design, computer programming, mathematics, and communication skills.

Learn more about the Engineering Transfer Diploma program

Learn more about the Engineering Transfer Certificate program

Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma Program

The Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma emphasizes the design process in civil, mechanical, and structural technologies. Students develop and apply a strong foundation in physics, mathematics, computer programming, computer aided drawing, as well as project management principles to engineering designs and prototype manufacture.  Graduates of this program find employment with a wide range of employers including engineering consulting firms, fabrication facilities, heavy industry, and municipal engineering departments.

Learn more about the Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma program

Test Your Engineering Skills

Each year, students in their first year of Engineering complete a cornerstone design project as part of their ENGR 121 course. The local engineering community, as well as students and staff of the university are invited to give feedback and check out the displays!

Physics (BSc) Transfer Program

The primary reason for becoming a physicist is curiosity. Whether it is the strange world of sub-atomic particles, the operation of a laser, the motion of the planets, or even the formation of a rainbow, physicists want to understand how the universe really works.

A physics degree will provide even more than this. With training in quantitative thinking, problem solving, modeling, and experimental techniques, a physics background provides entry into a wide variety of fields. Indeed, physicists are at the forefront in many of the hottest science and technology fields such as superconductivity, nanotechnology, fuel cells, and medical imaging.

VIU offers the first year of a four-year B.Sc. program in Physics. Students can transfer to the University of British Columbia(UBC) or the University of Victoria (UVic) after the first year.

Learn more about the Physics (BSc) Transfer Program

Extreme Science Show

The Extreme science show features explosions, implosions, flying arrows, fire, lightning and illusions. The show was started as a fund raising tool for LED Africa and brings "big" science to almost 1200 elementary school children in the local school district each year.

Interest in Astronomy?

Astronomy is often considered the "oldest science” and for good reason - humans have desired to understand the scope and nature of the heavens ever since we first gazed upon them.  Recent technological and theoretical advances have enabled modern astronomers to explore and understand our universe to a degree not possible even a decade ago.  Current areas of active research in astronomy include topics such as the direct imaging of black holes, the search for extrasolar planets and Earth-like worlds, the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the Big Bang.  Students interested in pursuing undergraduate studies in astronomy can complete many of the required prerequisites at VIU before transfer to the University of British Columbia (UBC) or the University of Victoria (UVic) or similar institutions after their first year.  

VIU currently offers the following selection of introductory astronomy courses:

  • ASTR 111 and ASTR 112 - together comprising an introductory and quantitative survey of astronomy
  • ASTR 311 - examines topics in modern astronomy and cosmology
  • ASTR 312 - explores the history and development of astronomy..

Learn more about our Astronomy courses

Interest in International Studies / Global Citizenship?

SCIE 350 is a course which considers specific examples where science and technology have been applied and adapted to assist the developing world. Topics will be chosen from the areas of renewable energy and appropriate technology as well as a wide range of subjects presented by guest lecturers. The course is especially suitable for those students who wish to be involved in international development either as a career or as a volunteer.

Learn more about SCIE 350

ENGR 291 is an opportunity to apply engineering practice in a field-based setting.  Students participate in an international field school, which typically include site visits, observations, in-field data collection, prototype construction and analysis, and seminars.

Learn more about ENGR 291

VIU Engineering Students Tackle New Challenges in Overseas Study Program

Engineering solutions and relationships more than 10,000 kilometres from Nanaimo