[2023] Ultimate Guide to The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)

December 20, 2022   |   6 Min. Read

British Columbia Institute of Technology, or with its widely known name “BCIT”, is a public post-secondary institute particularly recognized for its advanced technical education. It is one of the most popular institutions not only for undergraduate students but also a top choice for graduates and business professionals in Vancouver, B.C.

BCIT Campus exterior
Source: BCIT.ca

Is BCIT a College or a University?

As one of the most frequently asked questions, you may be curious about whether the British Colombia Institute of Technology is a College or a University. According to BCIT, it is different than a college or university, it offers practical, flexible, applied education with instructors who have direct, hands-on experience in their field. However, students would consider it as a college, as most programs are certificates and diplomas.

Does BCIT Offer a Degree program?

The British Colombia Institute of Technology offers over 300 programs and 1000 part-time courses. Although most programs are diplomas and certificates, BCIT do offer some bachelor’s degrees, and even master’s degrees.

Where is BCIT Located?

BCIT Burnaby Campus is the main campus located in central metro Vancouver, and it is near the natural grounds of Deer Lake and Burnaby Lake. The campus is split up into 4 quarters (NW, NE, SW, and SE).

BCIT Downtown Campus is home to Business and Digital Media programs, and is located on Seymour St, downtown Vancouver. The campus features the Technology Education and Collaboration (TEC) hub, as well as a large-scale IT learning space.

Other BCIT Campuses:

  • BCIT Richmond – Home to aerospace engineering programs
  • BCIT North Vancouver – Home to marine industry studies
  • BCIT Delta – Home to heavy-duty trades programs
  • BCIT Downtown Vancouver – Home to technology education and IT programs
  • BCIT East Vancouver – Home to digital media programs

Why Choose BCIT? What is BCIT Known For?

Being one of the most prestigious polytechnic institutions in Canada, a degree/diploma from BCIT prepares you for the workforce with applied education. Based on the BCIT webpage, 97% of both degree graduates and apprenticeship completers get hired every year. If you are for some hands-on/technical skills and easy to get hired, you may consider studying at BCIT.

Some of the BCIT graduates suggest that because the institution has combined theory and practical projects together, and provided lots of internships and co-op opportunities that get well-prepared for you to join the workforce right after graduating.

Apart from that, because the class sizes at BCIT are relatively small compared to other colleges, students can interact with their professors and instructors more frequently to build networks and gain deeper industry knowledge and experiences in class.

How Many Students at BCIT?

Around 50,000 students are enrolled across all BCIT campuses out of which 5,700 are international students from 120 countries, making it a very multicultural institute to study in Canada.

Is BCIT Good For International Students?

Based on the number above, The British Columbia Institute of Technology has a large population of international students. Here are some resources for international students that can easily adapt to the new environment in Canada:

  • International Student Centre: The centre facilitates all the events and orientation programs for international students. This includes supporting students during their travel to Canada, their arrival, and any concerns that students may have.
  • Peer Mentoring: This program connects new international students with continuing students during their first two months at BCIT. Mentors and mentees are usually from different nationalities and programs to maximize the benefits of their time together.

What are Some Good Programs at BCIT?

As BCIT is well-known for its applied education, programs in trades and technical fields are the top choices for students:

  • Computer Systems Technology (CST) – Diploma
  • Architectural and Building Technology – Diploma
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Category ‘M’ (Maintenance) – Diploma
  • Architectural and Structural CADD and Graphics Technician – Certificate
  • Software Systems Developer (Web Programmer Option) – Certificate

Recent graduates at BCIT mentioned that the school has brought in a lot of practical skills, which almost 80% of course materials can apply directly to the workplace.

Because of that, BCIT has over 90% of graduates who can secure a job in the field that they have studied.

What’s BCIT Tuition Fee?

Students who wish to enroll in BCIT’s program will need to pay the application fees (non-refundable). It costs $90.00 for domestic students and $154.00 for international students.

The British Columbia Institute of Technology does not have a pay-per-credit system, rather their tuition is based on a “per term/level” system. For this reason, students would need to study the whole program at different levels with fixed courses and requirements.

For domestic students:

 For International students:

*Please note that the tuition for all new students is due 60 days before the start of the classes

When do Classes/Terms Start at BCIT

The British Colombia Institute of Technology has different class/term schedules for different types of programs, but most students would be prefer to choose a full-time program here.

There are two main terms at BCIT:

  • Fall term (15 weeks): Starts on September
  • Winter term (20 weeks): Starts on January

When to Apply for BCIT?

Unlike other colleges and universities, the British Colombia Institute of Technology has different start dates depending on which program you choose, and most of the application dates for different programs are ongoing throughout the year. However, most programs at BCIT are competitive, and it always has a very long waitlist to get enroll. Therefore, we suggest you apply for it as early as possible!

For a full-time program, the application deadline will be on October 1 or until the program fills.

Does BCIT has University Transfer/Pathway Program

Unfortunately, the British Columbia Institute of Technology does not have any University Transfer /Pathway programs for you to transfer to other universities in Canada.

However, if you’d like to transfer to another institution, you can plan your courses carefully to get accepted. We suggest checking with your advisor and reviewing the BC Transfer Guide carefully if you are interested in other universities in Canada.

Does BCIT have Dorms? Where do BCIT students Live?

British Columbia Institute of Technology has on-campus dorms located within its Burnaby main campus. You can secure a long-stay accommodation if you are a full-time student.

On-campus Housing

On-campus housing walk-through video

For long-stay housing, you can request gender-inclusive, all-male, or all-female suites. You also have the option to book short-stay accommodations if you are a full-time student whose program is 12 weeks or shorter.

The British Columbia Institute of Technology housing units come fully furnished with a kitchen. However, it only provides housing for students who are studying at the main Burnaby Campus, which creates significant problems for students who study at other campus locations.

Off-campus Housing

As indicated on BCIT’s list of off-campus housing providers, GEC Living Off-Campus Residences are one of the trusted providers to BCIT. All GEC Living housing options are fully furnished with utilities included. All GEC apartments come with a fully equipped kitchen, in-suite laundry (washer and drier), heating systems, and free unlimited Wi-Fi.

You can stay at the following GEC Residences that are close to your campus:

  • GEC Burnaby Heights to Burnaby (Main Campus) – 20 mins by bus
  • GEC Pearson to Richmond (Aerospace Campus) – 15 mins by bus
  • GEC Marine Gateway to Richmond (Aerospace Campus) – 20 mins by bus
  • GEC Viva to Downtown Vancouver Campus – 15-minute walk
  • GEC Viva to North Vancouver (Marine) Campus – 35 mins by Seabus
  • GEC Viva to East Vancouver Campus – 25 mins by bus

What’s the Cost of Living for on or off-campus student residences at BCIT

For on-campus housing:

  • All types of units: $3,681.55 per term (January – May), which is $736.31 per month

For off-campus housing at GEC Living:

  • Shared bedroom – starting from $1,200 per month per bed
  • Private bedroom – starting from  $1,600 per month per bed

Like other colleges and universities in Vancouver, BCIT offers limited student residences, and you may have to looking for other housing options. We have some tips for renting in Vancouver and recommend some top rental platforms for you in order to avoid scams and fraud from landlords. So that you can find your place in a wiser and safer way, and make your apartment hunting journey easier!

If you are looking for other institutions in Vancouver, we have put together a list of universities and colleges in Vancouver that you may be interest in for further educational options.