Admissions Appeal Attendance Bursary Exchange Program Code of Conduct Code of Conduct - Academic Course Exemption Dismissal Dispute Resolution Grading Harassment Health and Safety Human Rights Language Proficiency Assessment Prior Learning Assessment Program Enrollment Status Recycling & Refuse Materials Registration Statement of Student Rights Statutory Holidays Sexual Misconduct Student Support Services Transfer Credit and Articulation Tuition Fee Payment Tuition Refund Withdrawal
programs certificate individual course workshop student policies student information TUITION REFUND POLICY REGISTER



All persons with a high school diploma or Mature Student status (19 years or over and completion of English 12 or completion of BC Provincial English 12 exam with a minimum 60% or ‘C’ grade), are eligible for admission to the Vancouver Island School of Art. The school does not discriminate on the basis of age, race or gender.

Non-native speakers:
Please refer to the Language Proficiency Assessment Policy.

Follow the links below for Program specific entry requirements:


Students with concerns regarding grades, course standing, program status, attendance or related academic decisions should start the process by approaching the instructor or the initiator of the decision, preferably in person. If student is addressing their concerns via email, they should cc the Director on this email. This must be done within one week of the student receiving the assessment. All efforts must be made to resolve the issue without a formal appeal.

If it is necessary to proceed with a formal appeal, the student will speak with the Office Administrator and arrange a meeting with the Director. At this point the student should put their appeal request in writing and present this to the Director who will listen to the student’s appeal and the instructor’s response to the student.

At this point, the Director will arrange to speak to the Instructor and if necessary, a meeting between the Director, instructor and student will be arranged and a general discussion will occur to come to a fair agreement.

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A student must attend at least nine out of twelve classes of a 12-week course (four out of six classes of a 6-week course) in order to receive a passing grade and credit for the course. More than three unexcused absences will result in a fail grade.

If a student misses more than two consecutive classes without prior permission from the instructor, credit for the course could be jeopardized. In particular, this applies to students funded by student loans. Students funded by any outside lending agency are advised to be familiar with the attendance requirements outlined in their loan application and acceptance documents; and be aware that VISA will report absences as required.

If a student arrives late on more than two occasions without prior notice to the instructor, each subsequent late arrival will be considered as a one half-day absence.

Full attendance is required for short courses, weeklong and weekend workshops.

Students notify the office by phone or by email if they are going to be absent from a class. This information is passed onto the instructor.

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Bursary Exchange Program

In our continual effort to reach out to the community and make art courses available to those who might not necessarily be able to afford them, we have developed the Bursary Exchange program. Students participating in this program work at the School in exchange for art courses and expand their employment experience.

To qualify, interested students must have completed a minimum of two courses at the Vancouver Island School of Art before applying. Application forms must be submitted to the office three weeks before the start date of the semester.

The School facilitates up to four Bursary Exchange students at one time. Accepted students are required to sign a contract, agreeing to work the same number of hours as class time they are enrolled in; hour for hour, in lieu of payment and in exchange for tuition fees payable. Time sheets must be completed on a regular basis.

Bursary Exchange students’ work includes classroom preparation, daily tidying and upkeep of the classrooms and hallways, assisting with office jobs, maintaining our reading and slide library, organizing events and exhibitions for the school, distributing posters and brochures and other school related jobs as required.

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Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct confirms the rights of all Vancouver Island School of Art community members and provides a guideline on the behavior that is expected from everyone in order to contribute to a safe and respectful learning and working environment. The code of conduct applies to anyone on school property, or where any school activities are taking place. The Code of Conduct is expected to be followed in addition to all other student and administrative policies. Breach of these policies or the Code of Conduct, may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, suspension or expulsion from the school.

  1. Treat all members of the School Community with respect and courtesy, keeping in agreement with the Respectful and Fair Treatment of Students policy. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Refraining from any acts of bullying, harassment or intimidation
    • Acting against any person who intervenes, prevents or reports a violation of this policy or any other safety concern
  2. Respect all school property and services or property belonging to any member of the Vancouver Island School of Art Community. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Refraining from intentional damage of student or school property, theft or possession of stolen property
    • Cleaning up and disposing of garbage and art materials appropriately in accordance to school procedure
  3. Contribute to a productive learning environment and refrain from any disorderly and/or disruptive behavior that interferes with the learning of other students or the normal operations of the school.
    This includes but is not limited to:
    • Limiting the use of electronic devices during classes and/or workshops and ensuring any use of these devises are not distracting to others
    • Limiting personal conversations during classes to appropriate times only and at an appropriate a volume
    • Attending class in a coherent and rational state that is conductive to leaning and free from the effects of drugs or alcohol
    • The eating of meals during class (small snacks are acceptable)
  4. Contribute to the safety and wellbeing of all community members This includes but is not limited to:
    • Contributing to a scent-free environment
    • Knowing and following the Health and Safety Policy

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Code of Conduct - Academic Conduct

The Academic Conduct Policy’s objective is to confirm the expectation of academic integrity of all Vancouver Island School of Art community members. It provides a guideline on what is considered academic misconduct and provides suggestions on how to respond to ensure that cases of misconduct are consistent with the procedures outlined in this policy.

Academic Integrity

Academic Misconduct
Examples of academic misconduct include but are not limited to: Procedures for Cases of Academic Misconduct

Sanctions for Academic Misconduct are decided on a case by case basis and are to be determined by the Instructor and/or Executive Director. They may include:

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Course Exemption Policy

Students requesting an exemption from a required course must provide the request in writing along with the course description from the school calendar or website, the duration of the course (total hours) as well as a transcript indicating the grade received for the course. While courses taken outside VISA will be considered for exemption for the Certificate program, we cannot provide transfer of credit hours to the program because of the short duration of the Certificate program. Students who receive an exemption for a required course will still have to complete the required 504 hours. An exempted course will be replaced with an elective of equal hourly credits.

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The Vancouver Island School of Art (VISA) expects all members of our community to conduct themselves with respect for the rights of others. A student may be suspended or dismissed should he or she violate the Code of Conduct below.

Code of Conduct (as pertains to Dismissal)

While on VISA's premises or in the course of activities or events hosted by VISA students:

Students who violate the Code of Conduct will be subject to the procedures and discipline outlined below, which may include immediate dismissal from the institution.

  1. All concerns relating to student misconduct shall be directed to the Executive Director. Concerns may be brought by staff, students or the public.
  2. The Executive Director will arrange to meet with the student to discuss the concern(s)within 5 school days of receiving the complaint. If the alleged conduct is of such a serious nature that an immediate dismissal may be warranted, the Executive Director will meet with the student as soon as is reasonably possible.
Every reasonable effort will be made to resolve student conduct concerns at the instructional and administrative level, in the form of a one-on-one discussion or a group meeting with student and individuals involved.

When, in the judgment of a faculty member or the Executive Director, a student’s behavior constitutes conduct of a nature that warrants dismissal and cannot be resolved as above, the Executive Director shall notify the student in writing and instruct the student to cease attendance in courses and/or workshops.

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Dispute Resolution

  1. This policy governs complaints from students respecting Vancouver Island School of Art and any aspect of its operations.

  2. A student who makes or is otherwise involved in a complaint will not be subject to any form of retaliation by the institution at any time.

  3. The process by which the student complaint will be handled is as follows:

    • The student must provide the written complaint to the Office Manager who is responsible for making determinations in respect of complaints. If the Office Manager is absent or is named in a complaint, the student must provide the complaint to the Executive Director Wendy Welch. If the Executive Director is named in a complaint, then the student must provide complaint to the VISA Board of Directors (Board Chair Lindsay Shojania.
    • If possible, the complaint will be resolved through a written response to the student from the Executive Director or Board Chair.
    • If a written response regarding a student complaint does not resolve the issue, a meeting will be set up between the Executive Director or the Board Chair and the student making the complaint.
    • Written reasons for the determination will be provided to the student within 30 days after the date on which the complaint was made.

  4. The written reasons will advise a student, that if the student is dissatisfied with the determination, and has been misled by the institution regarding any significant aspect of that program, the student may file a complaint with the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB). Complaints must be filed with PTIB within one year of the date a student completes, is dismissed from, or withdraws from the program.

  5. The student making the complaint may be represented by an agent or a lawyer.

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The Vancouver Island School of Art provides students in the Certificate of Visual Arts program with fair and responsible assessments and evaluation based on individual artistic development.

At the start of each course, students will receive a course outline from the instructor, stating weekly assignments, and related concepts and resources as necessary.

Grading Policy

Passing Grades Grade Point Value Percentage
for Instructor Use Only*
90 - 100
85 - 89
80 - 84
Exceptional, outstanding and excellent performance. Normally achieved by a minority of students. These grades indicate a student who is self-initiating, exceeds expectation and has an insightful grasp of the subject matter.
77 - 79
73 - 76
70 - 72
Very good, good and solid performance. Normally achieved by the largest number of students. These grades indicate a good grasp of the subject matter or excellent grasp in one area balanced with satisfactory grasp in the other area.
65 - 69
60 - 64
Satisfactory, or minimally satisfactory. These grades indicate a satisfactory performance and knowledge of the subject matter. 
D 1 50 - 59 Marginal Performance. A student receiving this grade demonstrated a superficial grasp of the subject matter. 
Failing Grades Grade Point Value Percentage
for Instructor Use Only*
F 0 0 - 49 Unsatisfactory performance. Did not attend required classes or complete assignments. 
W     Withdrawn

Grades consist of the following components (percentage of grade):
80% - Projects*
15% - Participation (discussion, critiques)
  5% - Attendance

*Projects can consist of class or homework studio assignments, sketchbook, written assignments and oral presentations. It is up to the individual instructor to decide how they will allocate the grades in this category. Information about the particular breakdown of the ‘projects’ component should be included on all course outlines.

Following is a sample breakdown of the Projects category (80% of total grade):
45% studio assignments
15% written assignment
10% sketchbook
10% oral presentation

Instructors will issue letter grades and provide a breakdown of the grade based on 80% for class assignments, 15% participation and 5% attendance.

Grades are issued for students in the Certificate program.

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Harassment Policy

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on one’s sex and will not be tolerated. This type of harassment may be blatant but is often subtle. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or written communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

The School will not tolerate discrimination. If substantiated, an allegation of discrimination may lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the School.

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Human Rights

The Vancouver Island School of Art states unequivocally that all members of our community are expected to treat one another with respect and with equality, without regard to one’s race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital statue, age, ethnic or national origin, religion or creed, or physical or mental disability. The policy touches all of us and calls upon us to be fair in all settings, academic and non-academic.

The School will not tolerate discrimination. If substantiated, an allegation of discrimination may lead to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the School.

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Language Proficiency Assessment

Applicants whose first language is not English, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, must present one of the English Language Proficiency tests listed below.

Students applying to the Certificate Program, must provide a copy of the test results with their application.

Examples of accepted English Language Proficiency tests and scores:

  1. TOEFL
    • Internet-Based Test
    • minimum of 84 out of 120 total points including a minimum score in each of the four skills; Speaking 20/30, Reading 20/30, Writing 18/30, and Listening 20/30.
  2. IELTS Academic Module
    • International English Language Testing System
    • minimum level 6.5 with no band less than 6.0
  3. CAEL
    • Canadian Academic English Language assessment test
    • minimum level of 70 overall
  4. PTE Academic
    • Pearson Test of English Academic
    • minimum score of 56
  5. CAE
    • Cambridge English Advanced
    • minimum scale score of 176 with no individual score less than 169
  6. CPE
    • Cambridge Proficiency Examination
    • minimum scale score of 176 with no individual score less than 169
  7. MELAB
    • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery
    • minimum level of 81
    • Academic Test Canadian English Proficiency Index Program
    • minimum Academic Level 4L

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Prior Learning Assessment

Course exemptions may be awarded as a result of an assessment of prior learning gained from the following types of experiential learning:

  1. work experience
  2. informal education and training
  3. self-study
  4. volunteer activities
  5. other life experiences

To be considered for Prior Learning Assessment, students must submit a written letter and a CV that clearly indicates previous experience they have in their field, as well as images (slides or JPGS of their work).

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Program Enrollment Status

There is an application process required for enrollment in the Certificate of Visual Arts program. Application forms, enrollment requirements and details can be found on our website. There is no application process for students taking Individual Courses and Workshops.

In order to be enrolled in the Certificate program, students must sign an enrollment agreement form and register for the minimum number of weekly hours required for the program (6 hours/week).

If a student is unable to meet the requirement, they must inform the Director in writing, explaining the reasons. Upon approval by the Director, the student may maintain their status by registering for the required amount of hours in the following semester.

For specific program enrollment requirements and details for part-time and full-time, students should refer to the Certificate Program page on the website.

Students must obtain a passing grade in all courses in order to maintain their enrollment status in the program. If a student misses more than three classes per course without a justifiable reason (such as a letter from a physician), they are subject to receiving a “fail” in the course.

If a student receives a fail grade on a course and if they wish to maintain their enrollment status in the Program, they must make an appointment to meet with the Director. It is expected that arrangements would be made for the student to repeat the course or an equivalent course. If no action is taken when a student receives a fail grade, their status in the program will be forfeited and they will be considered, thereafter, an Individual Course and Workshop student.

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Registration Policy

Students may register for courses or workshops in person, by phone or by email, as well as on the website.

Students must register before the start date of the course or workshop. Payment is required at the time of registration to guarantee placement.

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Statutory Holidays

Twelve Week Courses
If a class falls on a Statutory Holiday (Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Easter), the class will not take place on that day. Instructors are not required to make-up a class in lieu of a Stat Holiday.

Weekend or Weeklong Workshops
If a Stat Holiday falls on a day in a weekend or weeklong workshop, this will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Please refer to workshop description in brochure.

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Student Support Services

The Vancouver School of Art is committed to supporting all students in their art endeavours and the fulfillment of their goals.

Every effort will be made to accommodate students’ schedules and time limitations; our aim is to provide students the opportunity to reach their artistic objectives on a part-time as well as full-time basis. Our Program configurations and requirements reflect this purpose.

Student support services at the Vancouver Island School of Art are as follows:

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Transfer Credit and Articulation Policy

Due to the short duration of the Certificate program, VISA cannot provide transfer of credit hours, but courses taken prior to applying for the Certificate program will be considered for exemption. Students who receive an exemption for a required course will still have to complete the required 504 hours. An exempted course will be replaced with an elective of equal hourly credits. Please refer to the Course Exemption Policy for more detail.

Articulation Agreements

VISA's Certificate of Visual Arts is transferable to the second year of the:

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Tuition Fee Payment

Student funded tuition:
Tuition is due and payable in full at the time of registration and no later than one week prior to the start of classes. This is to ensure student placement in selected courses. Payment can be made by PAYPAL, VISA, MasterCard, debit, cheque or cash. An administration fee of $20 will be charged on all NSF cheques.

Government Student Loan funded tuition:
The fee payment deadline is no later than one week prior to the start of classes. To meet this deadline, it is recommended that Student Loan application forms be completed and mailed to SABC by June 30. If fee payment or written confirmation of loan approval by SABC is not received by the deadline, students will then be responsible to pay 50% of their fees to secure their registration in courses. The remaining 50% is due by September 30.

Other sources of outside funding:
Students applying for Indian and Northern Affairs funding, RESP’s, or funding from other outside sources should submit their applications prior to June 30. Written confirmation of approval from the funding agency must be received two weeks prior to the start of classes, and must also state the expected date that fees will be forthcoming to the school.

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Students who wish to withdraw from the Certificate of Visual Arts Program or Individual Courses and Workshops, will be asked to provide their withdrawal notice in writing to the Office Administrator.

Depending on the circumstances and the details given in the student’s written notice, the student may be contacted by the Director, office administrator or instructor involved within five business days to discuss the reasons for withdrawal Any issues arising from this discussion will be documented and addressed as necessary. The School will make every effort to accommodate the student with options or alternatives to meet their needs. Any fee adjustments or refunds will be forthcoming as applicable to the individual situation and according to the School’s Refund Policy.

If written notice is received by the school on or before the eighth class of a twelve-class semester (or the fourth class of a six-class semester), the student will not receive an academic penalty. Student records will show the withdrawal status as follows:

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