If you’re young and heading to Vancouver, British Columbia, you will be happy to know that the city and the surrounding area have a great variety of respectable colleges and universities. Part of what makes living in a big city interesting is its diverse and dynamic population, and having a large student population definitely contributes something to that diversity. So whether you’re a student yourself, or you just like living around young people with intelligence and ambition, you’ll be sure to find plenty of stimulation in Vancouver.

Once a remote outpost on the distant West Coast of Canada, Vancouver has grown to be one of the most desirable and livable cities in the world. Today there are nearly 2.5 million people living in the Greater Vancouver Area, comprising an incredible mix of backgrounds and ethnicities. The city’s position on the Pacific Rim has made it a popular locale for Asian investors, and the presence of Chinese influence is undeniable throughout Vancouver. But Indians, Middle Easterners, Europeans and Americans also play an important role in the urban milieu.

Vancouver’s identity as a West Coast city also sets it apart from the lifestyle and mindset of the prairies and Canada’s eastern metropolitan areas, namely Toronto and Montreal. Think of California as opposed to Chicago or New York. Casual, laid back and progressive, but also vibrant and exciting, all characteristics that most young people will find appealing. And then, of course, there’s the weather. No, Vancouver isn’t exactly the place for year-round shorts and flip-flops. But you’ll find it’s a refreshing ray of sunshine compared to those interminable winters of central Canada.

Vancouver has six major universities with dozens of public and private colleges in and around the greater metropolitan area. A degree from an accredited Canadian university can open doors almost anywhere, as they are some of the most well respected in the world. And if you’re coming from elsewhere, enrollment in a Canadian institution will also confer temporary residency and the possibility for permanent residence in the country. So regardless of your longterm goals and academic interests, you can be certain to land a golden opportunity through one of Vancouver’s colleges or universities.

For further reading, you might be interested on our articles on Higher Education in Montreal, Universities in Toronto and Moving to Canada as a Student.

What are the Universities in Vancouver?

University of British Columbia

Internationally recognized as a top-tier university, U of BC usually ranks second or third in Canada, alongside the University of Toronto and McGill University in Montreal. It is generally considered one of the top 20 public universities in the world. More than 60,000 students now attend the school, which was established in 1908. The school excels in all areas of academics, including the arts and sciences, business, and sustainable architecture.

Simon Fraser University

Established in 1965, Simon Fraser was quick to become a top ranked institution in Canada with more than 100,000 alumni. The university is strong in business, communication, arts and environmental science. The school has three campuses in and around Vancouver with a total enrollment of more than 30,000 students.

Capilano University

Based in North Vancouver, this smaller school graduated from college to university in 2008. Today it has about 8,500 enrolled students. Special academic programs include global stewardship and British Columbian studies. The main campus is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.

Emily Carr University of Art and Design

British Columbia’s first university to specialize in the visual and performing arts, Emily Carr opened in 1925. But it did not adopt its current name until 1978.  Today the small, public school has fewer than 2,000 students.

University of the Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley opened in 1974 as a small vocational college. In 1988 it became a degree-granting university, and today the school has about 15,000 enrolled students. Liberal arts and applied technical studies make up the largest departments.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

This polytechnic university offers undergraduate and vocational education, providing bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeships, and citations in a great range of programs. KPU focuses on technical subjects and vocational training in areas like engineering, accountancy, business administration, nursing, medicine, architecture, and criminology. The university has five campuses throughout British Columbia and about 20,000 students.

New York Institute of Technology

This private, research-based university, based in Manhattan, has a campus in downtown Vancouver, in the heart of the financial district. Many of the academic programs operate in conjunction with local financial and commercial institutions.

Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, this private, Christian university emphasizes the liberal arts. The small school has only about 4,000 students, and may be the most expensive university in all of Canada.

University Canada West

This private, for-profit university opened in 2005. UCW offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration.

This list covers the most important in Vancouver, but there are several more universities in nearby areas such as Victoria and Vancouver Island, as well as northern British Columbia.

Public Colleges in Vancouver and British Columbia

Here’s a directory of public colleges in the Vancouver area and throughout the province. These schools provide a popular option for students looking for something in between secondary school and university.

Camosun College

Located across the water in Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Camosun is a community college with an enrollment of nearly 20,000. The school specializes in professional and industry specific training programs.

Coast Mountain College

With five campuses throughout the northwest region of the province, CMTN has a strong relationship with the indigenous communities of British Columbia. The school offers certificates and degrees in First Nations Fine Arts, the only program of its kind in North America.

College of New Caledonia

Based in Prince George, CNC has five campuses serving the population of B.C.’s central interior. The school puts a priority on small class sizes and offers a diverse host of academic programs, encompassing business, medicine, architecture, vocational training and more.

College of the Rockies

Located in the southeast corner of the province, with six regional campuses, this college serves about 2,000 students in the rural area. In addition to a full range of academic programs and four-year business degrees, they also offer special courses like Mountain Adventure Skills Training.

Douglas College

With campuses in New Westminster and Coquitlam, and about 25,ooo students, Douglas is British Columbia’s largest degree-granting college, offering bachelor’s degrees in 13 different fields of arts and sciences. The school also has more than 4,00o international students from 92 different countries.

Langara College

Located in Vancouver with an enrollment of roughly 22,000, Langara has a great variety of academic programs, including university level courses, continuing education and career studies. Degrees are available in the arts, humanities, science and technology, health, and business.

North Island College

This community college has four campuses serving the Vancouver Island area, and an enrollment of about 4,000 students. Courses are available in a great range of subject matter.

Northern Lights College

Five campuses serve several hundred full-time students in the northernmost communities of British Columbia. Academic programs emphasize technical training and vocational skills.

Okanagan College

Based in Kelowna, in British Columbia’s southern interior, Okanagan has a total of four campuses and about 8,000 students. A variety of programs cover university arts and science, business, trades, health, technologies, adult education and continuing studies.

Selkirk College

A community college with three campuses in southeast British Columbia, Selkirk offers an array of academic programs and vocational training to about 2,000 full-time students.

Vancouver Community College

With three campuses in the city, including one downtown, and over 140 certificate and diploma programs, VCC is both the largest and the oldest community college in the province. The school has about 2,000 international students, out of a total enrollment of 26,000. The school offers vocational programs leading to one-year certificates, two-year diplomas, and four-year bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, and community services.

Private Colleges in Vancouver

There are about 30 more private colleges, both religious and secular, in the Greater Vancouver Area, as well as almost 20 more throughout the Province of British Columbia.

Enjoy your stay in British Columbia, and never stop learning! Also, if you’re relocating to Vancouver or any other city in Canada for any length of time, reach out to ARIANNE Relocation Specialists. We’ve been helping families and professionals move to Canada for more than 20 years, and we have a range of products and services to help your move go more smoothly and successfully.

PHOTO CREDIT: University of British Columbia, Barber Library and Ladner Clock Tower (Wikipedia)