Information For International Students

International students (non-Canadian residents) should apply for entry to the blended delivery of the Master of GIS Applications (MGISA).  This is a university-accredited program which has been approved by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education.

See a general overview of our GIS programs for international students.

The Vancouver Island University MGISA program offers international students

  • Small class sizes with highly personalized instruction.
  • Focused special projects with practical applications.
  • Practical project experience under sponsorship in the workplace.
  • An intensive classroom program in a relatively short period of time.
  • An opportunity to study in one of Canada's most vibrant and livable west coast cities, noted for its temperate climate and friendly people.

Program Structure

International students wishing to study in Canada will register for blended delivery of MGISA, which encompasses 2 stages over a 2 year period.

Stage 1 (30 credits)

Stage 1 involves the same courses as the current Advanced Diploma, in an 8-month format where students interact with instructors and colleagues in a classroom setting and engage in a work-study practicum.  The delivery schedule is roughly defined below. See individual courses descriptions.  All courses shaded with blue below are held face-to-face at the Nanaimo campus.  The practicum course, Geog 591 (shaded green) is completed with an external sponsor and may take place on- or off-campus.

MGISA Stage 1

International students will need a co-op work permit in place before they begin the practicum. Students can request a co-op work permit at the airport upon entry to Canada by showing the officer a copy of their VIU acceptance letter.  For students who don’t get a Co-op work permit at the airport, VIU International Education staff can assist with the application process for this permit when students arrive in September, and permits must be in place before the practicum begins in February.  Co-op work permit processing times are lengthy so do not delay in applying once you arrive in Canada.

Stage 2 (30 credits)

Stage 2 includes a small number of courses in the Fall semester, and a large research project which takes place between January and August.  The Fall courses are a blend of both face-to-face (blue) and fully online (green).  The Spring and Summer in stage 2 is spent in Geog 599, which is a self-directed research project, however students are required to meet regularly with their faculty supervisor and committee members and must present their completed project in-person.  The delivery schedule is roughly as defined below. See individual courses described in detail.  All face-to-face courses, regular meetings and presentations related to the research project are held at the Nanaimo campus.

MGISA Stage 2

Admissions and English Language Requirements

Please see Admissions for International Students for general information about admissions and English language requirements for International Students. Students must hold a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or institute.

Applicants must provide evidence of having completed in introductory GIS course, preferably within the last five years. The course should be equivalent to VIU's GEOG 328.

International students must apply by following the international student application procedure and submitting an international application form (either online or hard copy). The application fee for International Students is $150 CAD. For further information please contact International admissions at: Please note that student visa processing times vary greatly by country (it sometimes takes many months), so it is wise to prepare your application up to a year in advance of the date you want to start attending.