Full-time Diploma 5500dipma


Note: The January 2016 intake is now closed for new applications. Applications for direct entry and re-admission may be submitted. The September 2016 intake is currently accepting applications.

Become a software developer

BCIT’s Computer Systems Technology (CST) two-year diploma program combines computer systems theory with hands-on practical experience in software development. You’ll learn about software engineering and programming from subject matter experts, and gain experience working on real projects, from concept to deployment. In second year, specialty options add depth and further hone your skills.

The CST diploma is a widely-recognized credential that is highly regarded by employers. Graduates emerge with the well-rounded skills essential for a career analyzing, designing, and developing software solutions.

Start Here
Apply to Enter into CST
Acquire fundamental software development skills in a
Common First Year
Advance to Second Year
(a combination of common courses
and option-specific courses
) and
Choose a Specialty Option

Enter Workforce


  • Common first year sets the foundation – here are the core skills you’ll need as a professional software developer
  • Work on two industry projects so you’re ready to work in the real-world
  • Optional co-op component for broader applied experience (competitive entry)
  • Program options in second year allow you to further your skills in specialty areas

Who should apply for Computer Systems Technology?

The CST diploma program is right for you if:

  • You’re interested in software development
  • You enjoy problem-solving, often in teams
  • You’re enthusiastic about using technology, computers, and software systems to make things better
  • You’re ready to apply yourself to prepare for a career in the evolving and rapidly expanding Computing and IT sector

What grads can do

As a CST graduate, you’ll be able to:

  • Participate in all aspects of software development and maintenance
  • Work effectively on teams to construct large and small applications and products
  • Design and code using widely-used programming languages and scripting tools, such as JavaScript, Java, C#, C++, and C
  • Develop and maintain complex software systems that integrate scale-able components
  • Design and construct industry standard user interfaces for use on desktop, web, and mobile devices
  • Apply logical, critical, and creative thinking as needed to synthesize solutions
  • Work productively and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment
  • Communicate clearly and professionally in any business environment
  • Independently learn and adopt new tools, technologies and methods as needed to remain up-to-date and effective

Program Entry

Application processing

This program is open to applications:

  • November 1st* to March 1st* for the Fall (September) intake
  • March 15th* to August 28th* for the Winter (January) intake

*or next business day

Entrance requirements

Competitive Entry: Two-step process

Preference will be given to applicants with:

  • Academic grades above the minimum

Step 1: Meet the following entrance requirements

  • English: two years of education in English in an English-speaking country with one of the following:
  • Math: one of the following:
    • Principles of Mathematics 12 (67%) or
    • Applications of Mathematics 12 (73%) or
    • Pre-Calculus 12 (67%) or
    • Note: Foundations of Mathematics 12 is not acceptable

Read more about how to meet BCIT’s entrance requirements

Step 2: Department assessment

All applications will be reviewed by the program area at the application deadline. Admission is competitive and will be offered to the most qualified applicants. Applicants on the waitlist may consider entering an equivalent part-time studies option. Please contact the Computing department for more details.

Advanced Placement

You may be eligible to apply to an advanced level of the program through 1. re-admission or 2. direct entry. The following applies to all advanced placement applicants:

  • Complete applications: you must show proof of completing all requirements (proof of registration is acceptable for advanced placement applicants) to be considered.
  • Competitive entry: if the number of applications exceeds available seats, BCIT will accept those deemed to have the best opportunity for success.
  • Acceptance based on seat availability: confirmation may not be available until approximately one week before the term begins.
  1. Re-admission: Have you completed part of this program at BCIT and want to apply to an advanced level?

    Applications are accepted throughout the year. You must submit the Course-by-Course Self-Assessment form [PDF] with your application.

  2. Direct Entry: Are you new to this program but have completed an equivalent part of it at BCIT or elsewhere and want to apply to an advanced level?

    BCIT accepts complete applications starting*:

    • February 1st for the Winter (January) intake – Levels 2 or 3
    • November 1st for the Fall (September) intake – Levels 2 or 3

    You must submit the Course-by-Course Self-Assessment form [PDF] and proof of meeting the entrance requirements with your online application. View the Direct Entry sheet [PDF] for details.

    *Applicants submitting overseas documents should apply early - assessment may take up to three or four months.

Apply to program

Note: The January 2016 intake is now closed for new applications. Applications for direct entry and re-admission may be submitted. The September 2016 intake is currently accepting applications.

Apply directly to the Computer Systems Technology Diploma program. This program shares a common first year of core subjects. In the second year, students choose a specialization.

BCIT accepts only complete applications. In order to apply:

  • Include proof of meeting all entrance requirements prior to submission
  • Convert all transcripts and supporting documents to PDF files
  • Have a credit card ready to pay the application fee
Apply Now

You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.

Scheduled intakes

September and January each year.

Technology entry

The Technology Entry (TE) program is a full-time, day school program which provides academic upgrading to students wishing to enrol in Computing, Engineering, Electronic and Health Sciences programs at BCIT.

The TE program provides courses in chemistry, communication, mathematics and physics that meet program prerequisites for selected programs at BCIT. The program also includes an introductory course in computer applications and a learning skills course. The program is supportive to those who require English-language training.


Within 2 business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal e-mail and your myBCIT e-mail address. All correspondence about your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at my.bcit.ca. We'll send you an email when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these emails, or regularly check your account online.

You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within 4 weeks.

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees

Please see the Fees, Payments and Refunds section of the website for information on full-time tuition fees.

Books and supplies

Books are expected to cost $500 to $800 per term. (General estimated cost, subject to change).

Although a substantial amount of teaching and instruction occurs in labs using BCIT computers, students in CST must also have their own Windows-compatible laptop for use in the program. Information on the required specifications will be provided to accepted applicants. Costs for such a computer will vary depending on configuration chosen, but will likely range from approximately $1000 to $2000.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may be available for this program. For more information, please contact Student Financial Aid and Awards.


Program matrix

First Year - Level 1 Credits
  BUSA 2720 Business in a Networked Economy 4.0
  COMM 1116 Business Communications 1 4.0
  COMP 1100 CST Program Fundamentals 1.0
  COMP 1111 Essential Skills for Computing 4.0
  COMP 1113 Applied Mathematics 4.0
  COMP 1510 Programming Methods 7.0
  COMP 1536 Introduction to Web Development 4.0
First Year - Level 2 Credits
  COMM 2216 Business Communications 2 4.0
  COMP 2121 Discrete Mathematics 4.0
  COMP 2510 Procedural Programming in C 5.0
  COMP 2526 Object-Oriented Programming with Java 4.0
  COMP 2714 Relational Database Systems 5.0
  COMP 2721 Computer Organization/Architecture 4.0
  COMP 2910 Projects* ** 6.0

Note: At the end of the first year, students apply to a specialty option.

Second Year - Level 3 Credits
  COMP 3512 Object Oriented Programming in C++ 6.0
  COMP 3711 Object Oriented Analysis and Design 4.0
  COMP 3721 Introduction to Data Communications 4.0
  COMP 3760 Algorithm Analysis and Design 4.0
  COMP 3900 Computer Projects Practicum 1 5.0
   Client/Server Option:
  COMP 3717 Mobile Application Development with Android 4.0
  COMP 3940 Client/Server Computing 1 5.0
   Combined (Web and Mobile) Option:
  COMP 3717 Mobile Application Development with Android 4.0
  COMP 3975 Server-side Web Scripting with PHP 5.0
   Database Option:
  COMP 3920 Database Systems 1 5.0
  COMP 4925 Selected Topics in Database Systems 5.0
   Data Communications and Internetworking Option:
  COMP 3717 Mobile Application Development with Android 4.0
  COMP 3980 Data Communications/Internetworking 1 5.0
   Digital Processing Option:
  COMP 3770 Programming Windows 4.0
  COMP 3931 Digital Image, Video and Audio Fundamentals 5.0
   Information Systems Option:
  COMP 3717 Mobile Application Development with Android 4.0
  COMP 3910 Information Technology Management 5.0
   Technical Programming Option:
  COMP 3717 Mobile Application Development with Android 4.0
  COMP 3951 Technical Programming 1 5.0
Second Year - Level 4 Credits
  BLAW 3600 Computers and the Law 4.0
  COMP 4100 Career Preparation* ** 2.0
  COMP 4735 Operating Systems 5.0
  COMP 4900 Computer Projects Practicum 2* 5.0
   Client/Server Option:
  COMP 4560 Computer Graphics for Computer Systems Technology 4.0
  COMP 4711 Introduction to Internet Software Development 3.0
  COMP 4941 Client/Server Computing 2 5.0
  COMP 4945 Special Topics in Client/Server 5.0
   Combined (Web and Mobile) Option:
  COMP 4560 Computer Graphics for Computer Systems Technology 4.0
  COMP 4711 Introduction to Internet Software Development 3.0
  COMP 4976 Web Application with ASP.NET 5.0
  COMP 4977 iOS Application Development for iPhone and iPad 5.0
   Database Option:
  COMP 3717 Mobile Application Development with Android 4.0
  COMP 4560 Computer Graphics for Computer Systems Technology 4.0
  COMP 4711 Introduction to Internet Software Development 3.0
  COMP 4921 Database Systems 2 5.0
   Data Communications and Internetworking Option:
  COMP 4560 Computer Graphics for Computer Systems Technology 4.0
  COMP 4711 Introduction to Internet Software Development 3.0
  COMP 4981 Data Communications/Internetworking 2 5.0
  COMP 4985 Selected Topics in Data Communications/Internetworking 5.0
   Digital Processing Option:
  COMP 4560 Computer Graphics for Computer Systems Technology 4.0
  COMP 4711 Introduction to Internet Software Development 3.0
  COMP 4932 Advanced Topics in Digital Processing 5.0
  COMP 4995 Gaming Systems 5.0
   Information Systems Option:
  COMP 4870 Intranet Planning and Development 7.0
  COMP 4911 Managing IS Development 5.0
  COMP 4915 Special Topics in MIS 5.0
   Technical Programming Option:
  COMP 4560 Computer Graphics for Computer Systems Technology 4.0
  COMP 4711 Introduction to Internet Software Development 3.0
  COMP 4952 Technical Programming 2 5.0
  COMP 4956 System Programming 5.0
Co-op Work Term Courses (Optional)
To be completed after Level 2 and prior to Level 4, commencing in January or May
  COMP 2990 Cooperative Education Workterm 1 16.0
  COMP 3990 Cooperative Education Workterm 2 16.0

All courses are 15 weeks in duration except where otherwise noted.

* denotes a five-week course, delivered from late April through to the end of May.

** COMP 2910 and COMP 4100 are optional for students who successfully complete one term of co-op education.

Total Credits: 125.0

Transfer credit

Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.

Program Details

The CST Diploma is a two-year full-time program.

Common First-Year

The first year of the diploma introduces the core skills and theory used in all areas of software development, providing the foundation for the second year specialty options.

Web development, programming, scripting, and computer architecture are all introduced. First year culminates in students applying their skills and creativity to build an application of their own design.

Second-Year (with Specialization Options)

In the second year, students take mostly common computing courses (about 70%), but also select an option to deepen their expertise in specific computing areas (see options below).  Admission to the options is competitive – all students who successfully complete first year will be placed in an option, but choice of options may depend on first year grades. Students also hone critical breadth skills in communication, business, and math.

Note: availability of options is subject to change

Client Server

The Client/Server option offers specialized courses in the areas of client/server computing, distributed computing, and mobile computing. Topics include architecture, modeling and structural issues, inter-process communications, and strategies to ensure performance, reliability, scalability, availability, interoperability, and security in such systems.  Students develop client/server based systems and solutions using state-of-the-art tools and technology including TCP/IP sockets/datagrams/multicast-sockets, multithreading, multiprocessing, and thread/process synchronization involving desktop as well as mobile platforms. 


The Database option focuses on the design and development of database-driven transaction processing and business intelligence applications, covering both database concepts and practical implementation. Included are topics on advanced queries, logical and physical database design, access methods and query optimization, transaction and concurrency control, database administration, trigger, function and stored procedure programming, dimensional modelling and analytical processing, and web-based application development with C# and Java. Practical platforms include database systems, tools, and technologies from Microsoft and Oracle.

Data Communications and Internetworking

The Data Communications and Internetworking option specializes in network architecture and design, software development, and network security skills. Courses in the option place a heavy emphasis on the practical aspects of software development, design, and implementation. Topics covered include protocol design and implementation; low-level systems programming on the Linux and Windows platforms; software development using the TCP/IP protocol suite; wireless protocol design; and the design and implementation of device-level communications applications. Devices used include Embedded Linux boards, Android devices, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID), Wireless modems, and GPS devices. Practical work is focused around the analysis, application design, and implementation of the TCP/IP protocol suite. The environment is very team-oriented and "real world".

Digital Processing

The Digital Processing option focuses on the development of digital image, video, and audio systems especially as it relates to gaming. Emphasis is placed on development of tools for new media applications. Topics include image processing, fundamentals of audio and video streams, 3D gaming environments using DirectX, and performance improvement with concurrent programming and MMX/SSE. Various techniques are studied for making filters (Finite Impulse Filters, Infinite Impulse Filters, Gausian smoothing, First-Order and 2nd-order edge-detection), morphing and warping techniques, compression (JPEG, MPEG, Wavelets), mirrors, and picking in 3D worlds. Advanced projects are usually drawn from IEEE papers such as template matching, face recognition, image stitching, and others. Team projects in game development on phones/tablets and the PC are encouraged.

Information Systems

The Information Systems option specializes in developing web-based and mobile applications required by medium and large businesses. Students develop large applications with state-of-the-art tools and application servers, and learn to administer Linux and Windows Servers. Topics include system architecture, performance, scalability, and security in distributed systems. Technologies covered include both Enterprise Java (including Java Server Faces, Java Persistence Architecture, Enterprise Java Beans) and Microsoft's .NET (including ASP.NET, C#, Web services).

Technical Programming

The Technical Programming option covers advanced techniques in design and software development. Topics include design principles of human-computer interaction, code techniques used for desktop, web and distributed applications (client-server and three-tier architectures), concurrent programming (multi-threading, synchronization and interprocess-communication), and project management. Students gain programming skills at the low-level of the Win32 API and Windows operating system kernel, and at the high-level in the area of human-computer interaction and web development.

Web and Mobile (Combined)

The Combined Web and Mobile option is aimed at students who want to specialize in developing software applications for Apple iOS devices, as well as mobile websites. After learning how to script and write code in the first year of CST, students in this option develop hands-on skills in PHP, ASP.NET, Java, C# and Objective-C. Working in teams they apply industry standards, design patterns and use Agile development with Scrum. Graduates of the CST Combined Web and Mobile option will able to develop and use client-side and server-side code with multiple programming languages to create mobile/responsive websites, plus web and mobile applications for the iPhone.

Industry Sponsored Student Projects

During the second year, students work directly with external industry sponsors on computing or IT-related projects via the Industry Sponsored Student Project (ISSP), applying their newly-learned skills, and acquiring real-world experience. Students work in teams with an industry sponsor, proceeding through the development life-cycle to develop an IT or software solution. All students participate in two projects.

Program length

Two years, full-time beginning in September and January of each year. The September term is 15 weeks in length. The January term is also 15 weeks in length, followed by a five week projects term.

In order to be eligible for graduation, students must complete the diploma program requirements within three years of entering the program.


The Computer Systems Technology two-year diploma program has been accredited by the Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS). Consequently, a CST graduate may receive an ISP (Information Systems Professional) designation after five years of relevant work experience.

Continue your education

Degree Completion

Graduates of the Computer Systems Technology Diploma program may pursue a BCIT Bachelor of Technology in Computer Systems degree. The degree program is an extension of the diploma program, covering advanced technological and management skills, which can help position graduates for further progression in the IT workplace.

Co-operative education

The optional co-op education component of the CST program provides students with substantial benefits in their IT career preparation, given that employers are more eager to hire graduates who have had some co-op experience. Students opting for co-op education are required to meet year one performance qualification criteria. Students will require a minimum of two four-month co-op terms to graduate with a co-op designation on their CST diploma. These two co-op terms could be back to back, or in two separate terms, but they must happen before the final term of the program.

Graduating & Jobs

Sector Snapshot

Job opportunities

Computer Systems Technology Diploma graduates have a wide variety of career options in the IT industry. Many start their careers as an entry-level software developer, application programmer, software tester, or network or database administrator. Later they can progress to positions such as systems analyst, IT project managers, team leads, software architects, information security analyst, and senior consultant.

Some students take the IT entrepreneurial path by starting their own business. Companies founded by our grads include Burton Software, CAMS Software, Dynamic Owl Consulting, PlentyofFish, and Shyp

Our graduates work in companies including:
  • Active Network
  • AirG
  • Electronic Arts
  • Fortinet
  • Global Relay
  • Habañero
  • Hootsuite
  • IBM
  • ICBC
  • IUGO Mobile
  • Lululemon
  • MDA
  • Microsoft
  • Mobify
  • PMC Sierra
  • SAP
  • Sophos
  • Telus
  • Vision Critical

Graduate employment outcomes

The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2012-2014 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2011-2013 graduates and for Degree 2009-2011 graduates. The reports are organized into three-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.

To view these results, you may need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.

Furthering your education

Graduates of the Computer Systems Technology program can also pursue a Bachelor of Technology in Computer Systems at BCIT.

“If you want change, challenge and growth, IT is a great place to be.” Richard and Brian Taylor, CAMS Software

Faculty, Advisors & Staff

All general inquiries

Email: Program_Advising@bcit.ca


CST Program Assistant
email: cst_enquiries@bcit.ca
phone: 604-412-7433

Rob Neilson

Program Head, CST Diploma
email: Rob_Neilson@bcit.ca
phone: 604-432-8852

Bethany Edmunds
Program Head, CIT Diploma
email: Bethany_Edmunds@bcit.ca
phone: 604-432-8373

Steve Eccles
email: Steve_Eccles@bcit.ca
phone: 604-432-8920

Dean Hildebrand
Associate Dean
email: Dean_Hildebrand@bcit.ca
phone: 604-451-6867

Christen Yee
Operations Manager
email: Christen_Yee@bcit.ca
phone: 604-451-7190

Cynthia van Ginkel
Business Development Manager
email: Cynthia_van_Ginkel@bcit.ca
phone: 604-451-6834

Shebia Leung
Marketing Coordinator/Industry Liaison
email: Shebia_Leung@bcit.ca
phone: 604-453-4021

BCIT is well-respected by employers for its ties to industry. In Computing, this connection is formalized through a Program Advisory Committee (PAC) comprised of experts in a range of roles from a cross-section of companies. The department consults regularly to ensure program currency and relevance.

Full-time faculty

Abdulla, Aman, Option Head - Data Communications & Network Security
Borissova, Olga, Assistant Instructor
Chau, Richard, Instructor
Elmasry, Medhat, Instructor, Option Head - Web & Mobile (.NET)
Fabiszewski, Steve, Instructor
Ferguson, Arron, Instructor
Gutica, Mirela, Option Head - Technical Programming
Harrison, Jason, Instructor, Option Head - Web & Mobile (PhP)
Huang, ChiEn, Instructor
Hunter, Aaron, Instructor
Ishebabi, Harold, Instructor
Link, Bruce, Option Head - Information Systems
Lord, Trevor, Instructor
Noureddin, Borna, Instructor
Wong-Orr, Carly, Instructor
Parry, Jim, Instructor
Randhawa, Tejinder, Option Head - Client/Server
Richards, Dennis, Option Head - Digital Processing
Smith, D'Arcy, Instructor, Option Head - Web & Mobile (iOS)
Tang, Keith, Option Head - Database
Wei, Albert, Instructor
Yu, Benjamin, Instructor

Advisory committee

Ed Capko, (Chair), Microsoft Canada Co.
Beier Cai, HootSuite
Andre Brisson, Whitenoise Laboratories Inc.
Martin DesRosiers, Nucleus Networks
Nelson Gillette, Telus, Vancouver
Jose Gonzales, WorkSafe BC
Tom Handley, Fujitsu Consulting
Al-Karim Kara, Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia
Ritzwan Kheraj, National Research Council - IRAP Pacific
Lawell Kiing, SAP Business Objects
Gord Locke, Quartech Systems Ltd.
Derek Manky, Fortinet
Peter John McFarlane, Habanero Consulting Group
Tanya Miller, HootSuite
Noel Pullen, HootSuite
Donabel Santos, QueryWorks Solutions
Ted. S. Singh, Embedded Automation Inc.
Sarah Spratley, SAP Labs Canada
John Tolkamp, Ainsworth Engineering Canada LP
Dr. Carson Woo, Sauder School of Business
Kevin Cudihee, Program Head, Part-Time Studies, BCIT

Contact Us

Questions or comments?

Please ensure you have reviewed the detailed information on this site, using the navigation to the right, before submitting the form below.

As well, if you meet any of the following criteria, please follow the links for more information, instead of sending the form:

The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy.


Sign up to receive updates, invitations to events, and information about BCIT and your program.

We promise not to spam you, we won’t share your personal information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy.

How To Apply


Contact Us

Payment Changes At BCIT

We've changed the way we accept payments.

Find out more

Search Programs


"The trick in growing a company or moving forward is to identify trends that have staying power: in programming, everything is always about adaptability, change and survival.  Back at BCIT they really gave us the foundation and framework to constantly learn new things."
Markus Frind, Founder, Plenty Of Fish Media, and CST Diploma graduate, 1999


"Being a student at BCIT is very busy and hard, and the workload is compressed – there was a vast amount of work. But BCIT taught me, above anything else, time-management skills. [...] I got hired by SAP before even graduating.”

Chris Chapman, CST Diploma 2014


"I very vocally recommend BCIT because it worked for me, and I think it will work for others. Besides knowledge and skills, my BCIT education also gave me courage. I believe in what BCIT stands for – job-ready career-building skills, extensive networking, and lasting friendships. BCIT was the road that paved the way to where I am now." Donabel Santos, BCIT CST and BTech Grad, Business Intelligence Solutions Architect, SQL Server MVP, instructor, consultant and author