How do I apply to the program?

You can apply to the program by clicking Here.


When can I apply to the program?

Submissions are open by the end of October each year and the last day to apply is the last business day in February of each year.


How much are the fees for the program?

Please see the fees webpage .


How do I choose my supervisor for my thesis or major project?

We do not assign a supervisor at the point of application. Instead, wait until second term of first year when you draft your research proposal - we then choose the supervisor based on the student's research interest.  That is, you are not forced to work on a supervisor's research interest, but instead are free to explore your own interests and we'll support you in your research/investigations.


When will I find out if I have been accepted to the program?

The first offers will be sent out late March or early April. If you are wait-listed, please let us know if you are still interested right away so you can be considered if a spot opens up - you could potentially get a place in the program up until the first day of classes.


Does the program pay all tuition costs?

No, but there are competitive Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant positions that pay $2,000 for 100 hours of work a semester. In addition, please take a look at the scholarships and awards page:


Are particular undergraduate degrees favoured over others during the selection process?

Prospective students can have a degree in any discipline and apply to the program.  We do not have any kind of quota system - instead, we consider your GPA, statement of intent, references, and resume and weigh those against all other candidates. A planning degree is considered to be an applied degree (one that is intended to result in an outcome, like a career in planning) versus a graduate degree that is intended to lead to further PhD research.  That is, there is not the same pressure on students to prove that you can do research at an undergraduate level to be considered for the program.


How many applications do you get?

In 2018 there were 150 applications and the number of applications increases each year.


How many people do you accept into the program each year?

We accept 20 students per cohort each fall.

How important is my Statement of Interest?

At the outset, we do not hold you to your Statement of Interest: should you choose to do something else by the time you are required to declare your proposal topic, we do not force you to stick to what you said you would study in your application. However, a well-developed Statement of Interest is an important part of the application process.  It gives a good indication of thoughtfulness, ability to write, and interest in planning as a area of study/profession. 


Do I have to have 3 Letters of Reference?

Yes. The Program requires that a referee complete the Assessment Criteria Form. The referee may also provide a Letter of Recommendation. You must provide these from three referees. Preferably these will be from two academic and one professional referee. However, if you have been out of university for more than 5 years or have limited professional experience, another combination of academic and professional referees may be provided.


Do you have a quota system for international and domestic students?

No. We choose the very best applicants, regardless of their nationality.


How do I decide on a thesis or major project topic?

During your first term in the Program, you will explore many potential topics. By the start of second term, you should have an idea in mind before as you start your Research Methods class. The Program may also have some opportunities for you to work on your thesis/major project with a faculty member or community organization.


Can I do the program part-time?

No, it is meant to be a two-year full-time program.


Is the program accredited?

The program is fully accredited with the Canadian Institute of Planners Professional Standards Board! All students will be registered as "student members" with the Planning Institute of BC and the Canadian Institute of Planners, with costs covered by the MCP Program and PIBC. As with all planning schools in Canada, students can pursue full membership following graduation from their accredited program.

I’ve applied to more than one school, and I’ve received another offer. But, I really want to go to VIU. What do I do?

Contact the director to explain your situation.

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