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Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Aquaculture

Bachelor (ISCED 2011 level 6)


Duration 8 semesters
Cost Canadian students: 7,339.51 per year; International students: 19,880.76 per year

Fisheries and Aquaculture has long been an area of specialization at Vancouver Island University. VIU has an international reputation in fisheries and aquaculture applied research, technology transfer, training, and education. VIU boasts an extensive array of facilities and equipment: three cool-water hatchery complexes; a warm-water hatchery; salt-water system; fish disease laboratory; lake study field station; oyster farm; sturgeon, trout, and wild and cultured salmon research programs. The proximity of VIU to fresh-water lakes and streams, as well as to the ocean and estuaries, allows fieldwork in these habitats to be a central part of students’ education.

The new Centre for Shellfish Research (CSR), located beside the Department of Fisheries & Aquaculture, was created to facilitate the emergence of the B.C. shellfish aquaculture industry as a sustainable economic engine for healthy, vibrant coastal communities. CSR faculty teach upper-level courses in fisheries and aquaculture, and there are many opportunities for students to participate in CSR research projects.

Furthermore, the federal government’s Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo provides access to numerous acclaimed fisheries scientists and one of Canada’s best libraries in this field. Fisheries (sports and commercial), and aquaculture are immensely important throughout the world and are key to the economy (and employment) in British Columbia.

The B.Sc. in Fisheries & Aquaculture has been designed to offer students a great deal of flexibility, and there are several routes through this program. Students may begin in year one and complete the program at the end of year four, or they may enter at year two or three from Vancouver Island University or from other institutions. They may also complete the two-year Fisheries & Aquaculture Technology diploma program and then proceed to the B.Sc. with up to two years (60 credits) of advance credit. Some students elect this pathway after completing the Technology program and then working in industry for a few years.

Structural components
Summer schools
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project

Learning outcomes

The Bachelor of Science in Fisheries & Aquaculture is an applied technology degree program. In association with the two-year Fisheries & Aquaculture diploma program and the Bachelor of Science, Major in Biology degree program, the B.Sc. in Fisheries & Aquaculture degree provides a mix of a broad science background and applied, hands-on, technical skills. Graduates will be well schooled in scientific principles, have an understanding of the philosophical and ethical underpinnings of science, and will be trained in the practical skills required to enter employment in industry or government.


Admission to the Bachelor of Science in Fisheries & Aquaculture takes place at the first, second or third-year level.

Admission to third year requires completion of a minimum of 54 credits of university study, see Program Outline. In addition, admission to the B.Sc. program (including the practicum courses, FISH 371/372) will require an interview with the faculty that can be arranged during the second year. The interview will determine the student’s understanding of the current fisheries and aquaculture industry. This interview is necessary, as these two courses involve considerable work with institutions or companies outside VIU. Advanced standing may be granted for previous course work.

Courses in first year have prerequisites. To satisfy all first-year course prerequisites, students must complete the following B.C. Secondary School courses, or equivalent:

  • English 12 with a minimum grade of “C.”
  • Biology 11, Chemistry 12, and Principles of Physics 11, all with a minimum grade of “C+”.
  • One of Principles of Mathematics 12 or Pre-calculus 12 with a minimum grade of “B”.
  • Biology 12 and Physics 12 are recommended but not required.
  • Some seats are available for students who have completed Chemistry 11 with a “C+” but have not completed Chemistry 12.

Students who are lacking any or all of the above-noted prerequisites for first-year courses should speak with a VIU Advisor about upgrading courses.

Note: Enrolment in this program is limited. Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program.

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management