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

Program Advice and FAQ

As students move on to their next stage in their educational careers, they often have questions.  To help guide your program decision making, we have provided some resources on this page.

Click below to access the current list of our formal transfer agreements, as well as program planning guides for our programs.  A FAQ is also included that captures some of the common admission and general program questions we have been asked over the years.

If you do not find what you are looking for to help your program decisions, you should always feel free to contact:

"My engineering education challenged me to reach for the stars. And one day I found myself standing on the moon..."

Gene Cernan, Commander, Apollo XVII

In a nutshell, engineers are problem solvers. Whether it is allowing you to carry music and videos with you at all times, guiding airplanes and hikers to their destinations, or providing clean water to rural villages in sub-Sahara Africa, engineers are problem solvers who search for more efficient, easier to use, and less expensive solutions to today's challenges.

The first engineers were from Egypt nearly 6000 years ago -- Imhotep (the builder of tombs) and Khufu-onekh (who built the Great Pyramid which still stands today).  These origins eventually gave rise to engineering schools which first appeared Syracruse (around 400 BC) and dedicated to solving solving military problems.  The term 'Engineer' itself derives from the Latin word 'ingenium' which meant 'catapult' or 'siege engine'.  Over the last two thousands years, the engineering field has grown considerably.  You can now find engineers trying to make energy use more efficient, constructing bridges and airports, or even landing on the moon.

Career Paths

A few engineering disciplines are listed below. By no means is this list exhaustive especially when it comes to the list of career paths! 

Electrical Engineering

Related to any project involving electrical devices, systems, and the use of electricity. EEs work on power plants, computers, and other electrical devices. Career paths include: BC Hydro and Research in Motion

Computer Engineering

Deal with all aspects of computer systems including design, construction and operation. May specialize in digital systems, operating systems, or networks. Career Paths include: Apple and Spectrum Signal Processing

Mechanical Engineering

Use mechanics or energy principles to design machines such as engines and motors. Typically work in areas such as robotics, automotives, or manufacturing. Career paths include: Honda Motors and Weyerhaeuser

Chemical Engineering

Take raw materials and turn them into products we use everyday. Crucial in producing pharmaceuticals. Many work within the petroleum and plastics industries. Career paths include: Ballard Power and Petro-Canada

Civil Engineering

One of the largest branches and oldest of engineering. Has its origins in the practice of individuals distinguishing themselves from the military engineers by using the term civil(ian) engineers.  Work on high-rise buildings, dams, water treatment centers, and urban transit systems. Career paths include: TransLink and City of Nanaimo

Environmental Engineering

 Assist with the development of water distribution systems, recycling methods, and pollution prevention and control systems. Career paths include: BC Ministry of the Environment and Metro Vancouver

In the broadest sense, an engineering technologist is a technology specialist. That is, one who specializes in technology.  In Canada, the engineering field is divided between three equally important and respected groups of professionals: Engineers, Engineering Technologists and Engineering Technicians.   While engineers are mostly theoretical professionals and engineering technicians are practical specialists, an engineering technologist, having theoretical knowledge and practical skills, closes the gap between these two groups.

Career Paths

A few of the engineering technologist disciplines from which the Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma could lead are listed below: 

Civil Technologist (NOC 2231)

Work in fields such as structural engineering, municipal engineering, construction design and supervision, highways and transportation engineering, water resources engineering, geotechnical engineering and environmental protection.  They are employed by consulting engineering and construction companies, public works, transportation and other government departments and in many other industries.

Drafting Technologist (NOC 2253)

Use computer-aided design (CAD) to prepare engineering designs, drawings and related technical information to support engineers, architects and industrial designers.  You may work for architectural, engineering, power or construction companies, government, or for many other types of companies. 

Mechanical Technologist (NOC 2232)

Design, develop, maintain and test machines, components, tools, heating and ventilating systems, power generation and power conversion plants, manufacturing plants and equipment.  They are employed by consulting engineering, manufacturing and processing companies, institutions and government departments.

VIU has a number of formal agreements in place to facilitate transfer from its Engineering Transfer Diploma and Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma to:

Students are also able to transfer to other post-secondary institutions to complete their studies.  These transfers are guided by the BC Transfer Guide

Planning Guides

For students interested in pursuing the Engineering Transfer program, you will have the option of exiting with either the Engineering Transfer Certificate (typically after one year) or the Engineering Transfer Diploma (usually two years). 

To help you evaluate which of these pathways are best for you, two planning documents have been created:

Complementary Studies / Science Electives

Students completing the Engineering Transfer Diploma are required to take both complementary studies electives and science electives.  These electives are required by both the University of Victoria and accreditation bodies, and are intended to broaden your education.  We have compiled a list of courses offered at VIU that transfer (as per the BC TransferGuide) to the University of Victoria, and are authorized as complementary or science credit within their engineering programs.

List of Complementary Studies and Science Electives

Admission Questions

I am interested in taking the engineering transfer certificate, how do I apply?

All students wishing to take the engineering transfer program (either the certificate or the diploma) must apply through the Engineering Transfer Diploma.  Upon acceptance into the program, you will be asked if you wish to graduate in one year, or complete the diploma over two years.  If you indicate one year, two additional courses will be added to your time table (one in the Fall and one in the Spring).  After one year of study, you are able to apply to graduate with the Engineering Transfer Certificate.

I am not sure if I would like to take the engineering transfer program or the integrated engineering technologist diploma.  What do I do?   

The first year of both the Engineering Transfer Diploma and the Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma are identical, and you can start your studies in either path.  You are able to transfer after first year if you decide to change (provided you meet the academic requirements).  For example, if you started in the Engineering Transfer Diploma, but decide to switch to the Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma, you will need to speak to the IETD advisor by the end of the Spring term.  Registration can subsequently change your academic program provided you meet the requirements.  

I am wanting to apply for either the Engineering Transfer Program or Integrated Engineering Technologist Diploma, but have taken some of the curriculum courses previously. Do I still need to use my Grade 12 marks for entry?

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.

Can I transfer courses into the engineering transfer program?

Typically up to one or two classes (typically ENGL 115) of the first year curriculum is allowed to be transferred into the program to reduce your workload in first year.  In order to transfer to UBC, students will still be required to take no less than eleven courses during the academic term.  Students who wish to transfer more than two courses into the program are encouraged to simply take the remaining classes of the certificate or diploma (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.

What is the minimum GPA required for entry into the engineering transfer program and the integrated engineering technologist diploma?

Each year, the GPA entry to the program will fluctuate depending on the number of applications and their incoming grades. For 2018/19, the GPA cut-off was 3.0.

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

Students who have the minimum pre-requisites from the program entry but do not make the GPA cut off will be placed on a waiting list and provided a seat if they become available.

General Questions

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?

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 the Engineering Transfer Program at VIU, you will apply either UBC or UVic and state your program preference (i.e. Civil engineering).  Note that UBC requires that you complete the Engineering Transfer Certificate within one academic year; UVic requires either the Engineering Transfer Certificate or Diploma, and completion over two years.  Acceptance is based on your presenting GPA on curriculum courses.

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

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 for seats within specific disciplines.  Please see the Program Planning document for information on institutional transfer pathway information.

When I complete with the engineering transfer certificate, am I only able to transfer to UBC or UVic? Can I transfer to SFU?

The Engineering Transfer Certificate adheres to the Common First-Year Engineering Curriculum, providing you transfer pathways into UBC (Okanagan and Vancouver campus), UVic, and TRU.  VIU has also signed formal transfer agreements within SFU (School of Engineering Science) and the University of Alberta, providing a similar transfer pathway into those institutions.  For SFU (School of Mechatronics Systems and School of Sustainable Energy Engineering) and UNBC, the majority of courses will transfer.

Am I able to transfer to the University of Alberta?

As of 2020, VIU and the University of Alberta have a formal transfer agreement providing guaranteed entry into 2nd year Engineering at the UofA provided you have completed with the Engineering Transfer Certificate in one year.   Outside of Alberta, 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.

Why should I start my engineering studies at VIU instead of  going directly to UBC or UVic?

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.

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

The Engineering Transfer Diploma provides up to twenty transferrable courses towards engineering studies at UVic, but only the first-year of studies for UBC (with completion of the Engineering Transfer Certificate).   Students will need to transfer into second-year at both institutions to complete their degrees.  For UVic, and with completion of the diploma, students transfer with up to eight second year courses reducing your workloads in subsequent study terms.

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

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.