Education Opportunities

Vancouver Island University

Vancouver Island University (VIU) offers diverse, comprehensive range of post-secondary programming that includes access to programs through web-based and on-line instruction, as well as certificates, diplomas, degrees and masters program all designed to meet the diverse needs of the region. 

A student walks down the stairs at Vancouver Island University

The programs provide training in academic, vocational, and technical fields and range from basic literacy to university degrees. Bachelor Degrees are offered in virtually every discipline and Master’s degrees are offered in Business Administration, Education in Educational Leadership, Education in Special Education and Arts in Sustainable Leisure Management.    VIU has a main campus in Nanaimo and three other satellite campuses in Cowichan, Parksville/Qualicum and Powell River.

Discovery Community College

Discovery Community College is a professional private college located in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, with satellite campuses in Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Cumberland and Qualicum. Discovery is registered with and fully accredited by the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of British Columbia, formally PPSEC, since 1996.  Since its inception in 1989, Discovery has provided programs that meet the needs of the current labour market.

Undergraduate Programs Offered: Certificate and Diploma Programs offered in Residential/Home Care Attendant, Community Support Worker, Dental Assistant, Medical and Dental Office Series, Practical Nurse Access, Business Management Series, Medical and Dental Office Series, Construction-Forming and Framing, Construction Interior Finishing & Renovations, Carpentry Level II.

Sprott-Shaw College

Sprott-Shaw College was established in 1903, with a new state-of-the-art campus opened in 1998 located in the heart of Nanaimo.  Known as a premiere Canadian career college in Nanaimo and British Columbia, Sprott-Shaw provides a friendly rewarding learning environment, in one convenient location, with all the services and amenities you would expect from larger college campuses.

Undergraduate Programs Offered:  Degree Programs include Business Administration, Pre-Master of Business Administration, and Adv. Diploma in Business Administration.  Diploma & Certificate Programs include studies in Business, Health Sciences & Social Development, Trades & Applied Technology, International Studies and Accelerated Programs in Business Management and E-Commerce.


Tamagawa Nanaimo is the non-profit satellite facility of Tamagawa Gakuen, a highly esteemed and private K-12 Academy and University located in Tokyo, Japan.  Modeled on the original Tamagawa philosophy of “Zenjin” (“whole-person”) education, Tamagawa Nanaimo is a privately-owned campus that supports all educational endeavors and pursuits, whether from the local populace or international communities, Tamagawa’s doors are always open.  Located on a stunning 84 acres in south Nanaimo, it is also a retreat centre for seminars, private events, team projects and group retreats.

Academy of Learning

The Academy of Learning, a Career and Business College offers career training that prepares students for the workplace immediately. Their presence is global and they have programs that allow students the flexibility to educate themselves in their own time according to their convenience. The Academy of Learning is associated with several prestigious universities and institutions to bring the finest quality education to its students.


Vancouver Island University has 156 faculty members who hold PhD’s in a variety of disciplines, providing a pool of expertise for the community.  Below is a list of Research Centres, Institutes, labs and Facilities available through VIU.

Research Centers and Institutes



Another large research facility that adds to Nanaimo’s education infrastructure is the Pacific Biological Station.  The Pacific Biological Station is the principal research centre for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with expertise in fisheries management, population, disease, marine mammals, and aquaculture.  The station employs approximately 180 people, including nearly 50 PhD’s.  The station provides a nucleus of expertise that benefits fisheries-related private sector activities. 

Public Schools

Nanaimo’s public schools are administered by the District 68 School Board which serves Nanaimo and Ladysmith.  There are currently 28 elementary schools (kindergarten to grade 7) and six secondary schools (Grades 8 to 12), one Distributed Learning school “Island ConnectED” (K-12), and Secondary Learning Alternatives School. The school district is one of the largest employers in the region employing 2,200 staff. The School Board’s annual consolidated operating budget is $166 million.  In addition to the provincial government curriculum, the District has a number of special programs, including an outstanding music program, work experience and career preparation, a modern languages program which includes French and Japanese and computer lab facilities.

Private Schools

Nanaimo is also home to three private schools offering elementary and high school programs. For further information, please contact the schools directly.

Nanaimo Christian School  (250) 754-4512

Aspengrove School  (250) 390-2201

Nanaimo Montessori School  (250) 753-0649

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Last updated: February 23, 2024

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