It's your VIU degree, with jet fuel.
Exchange is your opportunity to have an adventure, earn valuable transfer credit towards your degree, connect with the global campus community and gain a whole new perspective on your education and career.
Study in English at one of our partner universities around the world for 1 or 2 semesters
and enjoy support from VIU to make it happen.
Receive a $2,200 Exchange Award to fuel your adventure. Additional funding is available.
To be considered for an exchange program you must:
- Be a full-time VIU undergraduate student, enrolled in 3 – 5 courses per semester
- Have completed 30 credit hours (credits) before the application deadline (at least 12 credits have been completed at VIU)
- Achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a scale of 4.33) in the past two full-time semesters (B average)
- Be planning to transfer credits back to complete a VIU degree or diploma.
The eligibility requirements are firm, however under particular circumstances, exceptions to the above may be considered. Contact Education Abroad for more information.
Explore our list of VIU Exchange Partners.
Sometimes students want to study at an overseas university that VIU does not have an exchange agreement with. In this case, students may be able to study abroad as a "Visiting Student" and pay tuition at the overseas institution, rather than to VIU (international fees apply). Note: Studying as a visiting student will affect your eligibility for student loans.
Most courses taken abroad transfer back as "unassigned" credit. These credits may be used to fulfill general elective requirements. If a course taken abroad is similar to a course offered at VIU, it may be awarded assigned credit upon approval by the appropriate VIU Program Chair or Advisor.
Exchange participants are subject to the Exchange Program Fee, which is equivalent to VIU Tuition Fees for 5 courses plus student/activity fees for each semester abroad.
Students are responsible for all other costs of the exchange, which may include but are not limited to the following:
- Passport & visa related expenses
- Travel medical insurance
- Basic medial insurance (BC MSP or equivalent)
- Return international transportation & related insurance
- Local transportation
- Cell phone
- Books & supplies
For a full list of funding opportunities, see our funding page.
Students participating on a VIU exchange program for one or two semesters will receive the Exchange Award of $2,200, upon completion of their pre-departure checklist.
International Education Stipend
The International Education Department at VIU encourages education abroad by providing eligible VIU Students with an International Education Award of $350 - $1000. Conditions apply.
StudentAid BC - Students on StudentAid BC funding may be able to continue their funding to include education abroad. Please contact the Financial Aid office for more information.
What is an exchange?
If you participate in an exchange, you switch places with a student at another university (host university) while earning VIU credit. VIU has over 30 Exchange Partners.
When is the best time to go on exchange?
Most undergraduate students go on exchange the year before their final year. Talk to your advisor about going on exchange to determine when would be best for you, with regard to your program requirements.
When do I apply for an exchange?
There are two deadlines per year (October 6 & February 6) and you may apply to go abroad on exchange up to 2 semesters in advance.
How do I choose a host university?
Consider things such as academic programs, culture, climate, costs of living, and language when selecting a host university. Check out the university websites and social media tools, talk to professors, friends who have visited the area, and your academic advisor. Review a few schools that you are interested in, and then narrow your choices down to three.
Will going on exchange defer my graduation?
If planned carefully and in consultation with an academic advisor, most exchanges do not defer graduation. However, if you choose to go on exchange in the final semester of your program, delayed receipt of your transcript from the Host University and subsequent delays in the processing of transfer credits could delay graduation.
How do I get credit for the courses I take while on exchange?
To ensure you get the credits earned at the host school transferred back to VIU, speak to your advisor. Accepted students must complete a Letter of Permission with their academic advisor or program chair, which will outline the planned courses abroad and the corresponding approved transfer credit at VIU.
I have had a change in my plans and need to cancel my plans to go on exchange. How can I cancel my exchange?
Any requests to withdraw must be made in writing to the VIU Education Abroad office. We will work with you to cancel your nomination to the host university and remove you from the Exchange Course at VIU. It is recommended that you speak to your advisor about a change in plans to ensure you are still on track with degree requirements.
How much does it cost to go exchange? Is financial support available?
When going on exchange you can expect to incur additional costs such as airline tickets, accommodations and other living expenses – but don’t let this stop you from gaining an international experience! Funding is available!
How many courses can I take on exchange?
You are required to take the equivalent of a full-time course load at your host university. Tuition fee payments to VIU are based on five courses.
Do the grades from my exchange studies count towards my GPA at VIU?
No, the grades you receive at your host university do not count towards your VIU GPA but you will receive an official transcript from the host university showing the grades you received. You may be asked for the transcript with GPA in future if you apply to graduate school.
Where can I get information about travel health?
Credits earned while studying abroad in the VIU Exchange Program may be used towards your VIU degree requirements.
Students may wish to discuss their degree plans and interest in the Exchange Program with their degree advisor / program chair before applying to study abroad on Exchange.
- Find your Degree Advisors on the Advising Centre page
- Find your Program Chair through the Program Chair Directory
Please be advised that VIU has an Undergraduate Degree Residency Requirement:
- At least fifty percent of all credits used towards a VIU undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses.
- At least fifty percent of all upper-level courses used towards an undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses.
- At least fifty percent of all upper-level courses used towards each major, minor or concentration of an undergraduate degree must be completed with VIU courses.
Vancouver Island University cannot guarantee this credit will be accepted at another institution. The credits may transfer back as “unassigned” or “assigned/direct equivalent” credit:
Unassigned example: HISTORY UNASSIGNED 3RD YEAR 3.00
Assigned/Direct equivalent example: MARK 260 BUYER BEHAVIOUR 3.00
Prior to departure, accepted Exchange students are responsible for researching their courses and planning their studies and transfer credit with their Program degree advisor / program chair. A Letter of Permission (LOP) will be developed between the student & degree advisor / program chair. The LOP outlines how the planned courses will transfer back to VIU. Planned courses may change and it is the student's responsibility to contact their degree advisor / program chair to update their plan and agreement while abroad.
Students are advised to save their course outlines in the event more information is needed in the transfer credit assessment upon return to VIU.
We welcome inquiries and submissions for the semester exchange program all year, and review applications once per semester.
Application Deadlines: October 6 & February 6 Annually (apply for up to 2 semesters in advance)
Please complete and submit the Application Form along with the following:
- An up-to-date resume
- University transcripts (unofficial copies are acceptable)
Complete the application form and submit by email to EducationAbroad@viu.ca.
Tips for completing a fillable PDF form:
- If needed, download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC: click here.
- Save the document to your computer.
- Complete the form. Save changes.
Students will be selected based on the following criteria: eligibility, preparedness, linkage to identified goals, experience, leadership experience. Short-listed applicants will be invited for a 30 minute interview. Successful applicants must participate in pre-departure orientation sessions and complete a series of checklist items prior to going abroad.