Columbia College (British Columbia)

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Columbia College
MottoSpring Into Your Future
TypePrivate University Transfer College
PrincipalRobin Hemmingsen
Location, ,
49°16′18″N 123°5′43″W / 49.27167°N 123.09528°W / 49.27167; -123.09528Coordinates: 49°16′18″N 123°5′43″W / 49.27167°N 123.09528°W / 49.27167; -123.09528
Colours     blue
MascotTrevor the Bear
Columbia College logo.jpg

Columbia College is a privately owned two-year university transfer college located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The College is owned and administered by the Columbia College Society, a non-profit academic society comprised by all Columbia College employees.

Over the years, Columbia College has consistently been one of the top three providers of international students to the University of British Columbia. Columbia College also sends large numbers of students to Simon Fraser University, Vancouver’s other major university.

Columbia College offers first and second-year university level courses that can lead to a Columbia College Associate Degree and are fully transferable to local universities. Columbia College also offers High School programs, including a British Columbia Ministry of Education Certified Senior Secondary Program and an English for Academic Purposes Program that is accredited by Languages Canada.


Columbia College is BC’s oldest university transfer educational institution. It's mission is to foster student success, build a desire for lifelong learning, and provide pathways to higher education. Columbia College nurtures community engagement and prepares international students for life in Canada. Through teaching excellence and a commitment to student support, the Columbia College community values an inclusive and mutually respectful learning environment.[1]


Founded in 1936, Columbia College first offered high school completion programs to hundreds of students. In 1965 the College added university transfer courses to its offerings, and in the 1970s introduced an English as a Second Language Program to meet the needs of the increasing number of international students.

In 1985 Columbia College moved from downtown Vancouver to Burnaby, to a location near Metrotown Centre. Over the next twelve years the College’s programs expanded significantly; in particular, the College broadened its offerings in the areas of business and engineering. During this period Columbia College established its reputation as Canada’s premier university-preparatory school for international students.

In 1997 Columbia College returned to a downtown Vancouver location to share a new facility with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). In this building (the BCIT Downtown Campus) the College was able to provide improved science laboratories and classrooms, and expanded library facilities, as well as a refurbished Tutorial Centre.

With the introduction of our associate degree program in 2004, enrollment further increased and the requirements of our student population changed. As well as continuing to support our students to transfer to universities across North America, our support services have constantly developed to meet the changing needs of international students in Canada today. The College now employs a Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) to support our students with immigration issues and questions.

In 2011, Columbia College celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding. This year also saw Columbia College start to recruit significant numbers of students from around the globe. While Columbia continued to recruit students in its traditional areas in East Asia, the College now saw an influx of students from South Asia, the Middle East, and West Africa, creating a truly international student body.

In April 2013 Columbia College moved from its downtown location to a brand new five-storey building just east of Vancouver’s downtown core on 438 Terminal Avenue. The new building, known as the Main Campus, provides improved facilities to students and staff, including science laboratories (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Physics), library, and student lounges. Tenants on the ground floor, including Subway, Bibi’s Kitchen, and Taco del Mar, provide food services to students. Underground parking is available and there is easy access to SkyTrain at the nearby Main Street-Science World station.

Since 2016, Columbia College has offered refugee bursaries. In 2018, Columbia College added an additional five bursaries to internal refugee applicants. Students who are refugees have the opportunity to complete their high school education in Canada or to pursue an associate degree at no cost to them.

In September 2017 Columbia College opened its doors to an additional campus. Known as the North Campus, the building is located at 333 Terminal Ave just across the Main Campus. Columbia College’s English for Academic Purposes and High School programs are offered at the North Campus. Students enjoy this newly-renovated and well-equipped facility while retaining access to all the facilities at the Main Campus.

Columbia College is registered as a society under the Societies Act of BC and as a charity with the Canadian Revenue Agency. The College currently has an enrollment of about 2,100 students drawn from 61 countries around the world. As the international education sector in Canada continues to grow, Columbia College remains committed to welcoming international students from across the globe to Vancouver. The College will continue to develop programs and services that meet the needs of international students to offer them the best introduction to Canada possible. Columbia College will also continue to provide excellent preparation for university entrance in the years to come.


Columbia College offers:

University Transfer Program[edit]

The University Transfer Programs offered by Columbia College allow students to take their first and second year university-level studies in the more personal atmosphere of a smaller college before transferring to second or third year at a university.

Transfer credit is pre-arranged for university courses completed at Columbia College with local universities such as the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria. It is customary for other universities in BC and the United States to recognize the transfer credits listed by the British Columbia Commission on Admissions and Transfer, BCCAT (see

Associate Degrees Program[edit]

An Associate Degree is equivalent to the first two years of a four-year university degree. With an Associate Degree, students can enter into the third year of a university’s Bachelor Degree program.

Business Administration Computer Science
Economics General Science
General Arts Mathematics
Mass Communication
Political Science

Associate of Arts Degree[edit]

Students in this program complete 20 courses at the first and second year levels, including:

  • Two courses in first year English (one Composition course and one Literature course).
  • Three courses in Mathematics/Science including at least one course in Mathematics, Computer Science or Statistics and one course in a laboratory Science.
  • Twelve courses, including at least six at the second year level (in at least two different subject areas) in Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. This must include two courses in Social Sciences, two courses in Humanities other than English, and eight additional courses in Arts.
  • Three courses in Arts, Mathematics, Science or other areas.

Associate of Science Degree[edit]

Students in this program complete 20 courses at the first and second year levels, including:

  • Two courses in first year English (one Composition course and one Literature course).
  • Two courses in Mathematics including at least one course in Calculus.
  • Twelve courses, including at least six at the second year level (in at least two different subject areas) in Science including at least one course in a Laboratory Science.
  • Two courses in Arts other than English.
  • Two courses in Arts, Science or other areas.

See the Columbia College calendar for full details of Associate Degree Program requirements for each concentration.

Grade 10 – 12 University Foundation Program[edit]

University Foundation Programs are available to high school level students who wish to enroll in university but lack the prerequisites to do so. There are five distinct foundation options, and, while only completion of the Senior Secondary Program will allow a student to be eligible for direct entry to university, completion of any of the options listed below will allow a student to enter the University Transfer Program at Columbia College, provided the minimum grade requirements are achieved.

There are four programs available[edit]

  • Senior Secondary (Grade 10, 11, 12)
  • Accelerated Secondary (Grade 11 & 12)
  • Adult Secondary (Grade 11 & 12)
  • University Preparatory

English for Academic Purposes Program[edit]

The English for Academic Purposes Program provides English instruction for two types of students:

  • Students who have been accepted into an Academic Program but whose English skills are deemed insufficient
  • Students wanting an academic environment in which to learn English

There are four levels in which students may be placed based on their performance on assessment or placement tests. Students may begin their program at the beginning of any semester or any mid-semester entry point.


Columbia College plans student life events and activities in order to engage the community and enhance their student life experience at the College.

Athletics clubs[edit]

  • CC Basketball
  • CC Dragonboat
  • CC Tennis
  • CC Soccer
  • CC Badminton
  • CC Martial Arts
  • CC Ice Skating
  • CC Swimming
  • CC Table Tennis
  • CC Cricket
  • CC Volleyball

Interest clubs[edit]

  • CCSA (Columbia College Student Association)
  • CC Anime
  • CC Bowling
  • CC Clean Club
  • CC Entrepreneur
  • CC Gay-Straight Alliance
  • CC Indian Cultural Club
  • CC Journalism
  • CC Knitting
  • CC North Campus Student Council
  • CC Students for the Planet
  • CC TED Talks

Student Services[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Legacy of Quality Education". Retrieved 2019-02-05.

External links[edit]