Frequently Asked Questions

General questions about civil technology alternate delivery courses and programs

Questions about DE registration and course materials

How do I "take" a DE course?

Questions relating to the day school program

Other questions

General questions about civil technology alternate delivery courses and programs

How can I get more information about the part-time studies (PTS) and distance education (DE) civil technology courses and programs?

Contact the department at Tel: 604-431-4969 or by e-mail to

Can I get a credential through part-time studies or distance education?

You can complete an Intermediate Certificate or Certificate through part-time studies, but there is no advanced placement into the full-time Civil Engineering (day school) program. Civil Technology credentials are no longer offered through DE.

With very few exceptions the courses available through PTS or DE are not equivalent to those offered in the day school program. The Certificate is the highest appropriate qualification offered via part-time studies and it is challenging enough to complete because the higher level courses often do not attract enough students to make them financially viable for us to run. If a diploma or degree in engineering is your goal, you will need to complete a full-time program.

Can I combine night school and distance education to get a Certificate?

Yes, some of the DE courses may be considered equivalent to PTS courses. Contact Ken Zeleschuk for details.

What do I need to take one of the PTS or DE courses?

The courses were developed assuming students would have completed Grade 12 in British Columbia or have equivalent education, especially with respect to mathematics, physics, and English. Prerequisites are provided in the course descriptions for PTS courses. If you are unsure whether you have the appropriate background for a specific course, please discuss this with our program coordinator, Ken Zeleschuk at 604-456-1066.

Are the DE courses online?

At the moment they are not. Our courses are print based but you can send in assignments and communicate with the department via e-mail.

In what order should I take courses?

Again that really depends upon where you are starting from. As a guideline, the level of the courses offered can be usually be determined by the first digit of the course number. Contact Ken Zeleschuk to discuss your past education and your goals.

Can I get credit for what I have learned while working?

Yes, you may be eligible to get course credit for what you have learned 'on the job' but you will need to supply convincing evidence of that. Please read the Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) information package.

Will other colleges/universities accept these courses for credit?

Some universities and colleges may accept our courses as equivalents to their courses on an individual basis. However, we do not have any arrangements for direct transfer of credit into another institution’s program.

What are the employment prospects after taking courses? Can I get a job after completing a PTS or DE course?

No one can answer that question - it is a totally individual situation. Over 80% of our students are currently employed so for most this is not a problem. We would suggest that any one who does not have a background in the industry try to get an entry level job before or while taking our courses. Employers will certainly look more favourably on someone who has some practical knowledge/experience of the industry, even at a lower level.

Are there any grants, loans or governmental assistance available to help with costs?

You may be able to get financial help but our department is not expert in this area. Regulations and requirements change and we cannot keep up to speed with them. Therefore, we suggest you contact Student Financial Aid and Awards department.

Questions about DE course registration and course materials

When can I register in a DE course?

Registration is year round for the civil technology DE courses, enroll any day of the year.

How do I register in a DE course?

Go to Admissions and Registrations and follow the given procedures or phone 604-434-1610 or toll-free at 1-866-434-1610 (Canada and United States only).

In the registration process, some courses show that they require departmental approval before registration is possible. What do I have to do?

If you find that the course you wish to take requires departmental approvals, contact Kristi Obradovic, program assistant at 1-800-663-3606 or 604-431-4969 or through the department's e-mail. She will ask you some questions and if appropriate, she will enable you to proceed.

How do I get my DE course materials?

When you register in a DE course you should then visit the BCIT Bookstore and purchase the relevant material. It will be shipped to you by courier.

Where can I find the costs of the courses?

Visit programs & courses, then use the search engine to find the course that you are considering. Follow the prompts from there to get a short course description and the course fee.

What happens if I do not complete the course in the 12 month period?

Contact Student Records and request a formal withdrawal otherwise the appropriate earned grade based on work submitted will be assigned.

I received a 12-month letter, now what?

You should contact the department immediately. Phone 1-800-663-3606 or 604-431-4969.

Can I withdraw from a course and get my money back?

For Course Fee refund, you will have 2 weeks from time of registration to withdraw from your course and receive a refund of 85% of your tuition fee.

Can I withdraw from a course in a way that does not affect my GPA?

Yes. If you notify Student Records in reasonable time a "W" can be entered for the course on your transcript.

How do I "take" a DE course?

I've received my course materials. Now what do I do?

Follow our recommended distance course study procedures:
  1. Scan through the materials to gain a broad overview of the material.
  2. Make a note of when each assignment is to be submitted. This information is included in the course Student Guide. You may want to mark these on a Post-it Note directly in your Course Manual.
  3. Read through each module. Work through any examples to help reinforce the concepts being taught.
  4. Complete the self-test questions at the end of each module without reference to the module material. Check your answers against those provided in the course Student Guide. Please do not submit these for marking.
  5. Submit your assignments according to the submission schedule.

What about assignments?

Assignments are included in the course Student Guide along with information on when and how each one should be completed.

Assignments may be submitted by mail, courier, fax, or e-mail. Instructions for each of these methods is included in the course Student Guide.

How and where do I write my final exam?

For most courses, students are required to write a final exam in order to obtain BCIT credit. Exams may be open-book, closed-book, or include both open-book and closed-book sections.

When you have completed your final assignment, you need to fill in the top half of the Request for Examination form found in your course Student Guide, have your proctor (see below) complete the bottom half, and send it in with your assignment. After your marked assignment has been returned to you, we will, if necessary, check that your chosen proctor meets our requirements and then courier your exam directly to the exam supervisor who will contact you to make arrangements for you to write the exam.

If you live in the Lower Mainland area of BC, you can write your exam at BCIT's Burnaby campus.

If you live in Canada but it is not convenient for you to come to BCIT, you can go to the BCIT Test Centre website and click on the invigilation network link to find an approved test centre close to you. Note that a fee may be required to write your exam at a time and location other than those set aside for distance education exams at BCIT's Test Centre.

If neither of the above options works for you, you will have to find your own exam supervisor or proctor. If there is an accredited post-secondary institution in your area, it is quite likely it will have a test centre with a qualified supervisor. An acceptable proctor:
  • is not related to you nor residing at the same address
  • is not a friend or neighbour or co-worker at the same job classification
  • is not a BCIT student
  • is a member of a profession bound by a code of ethics (P.Eng., P.Geo., BCLS, CLS, A.Sc.T., C.Tech., RPF, CA, MD, MAIBC, etc., or a professor/instructor/teacher at a university/college/high school)
We reserve the right to accept or reject any proposed proctor.

When you have completed your exam, the proctor or test centre must send it back to us by courier. You (the student) are responsible for paying the courier’s fee. No copies of the examination may be taken.

Will I be assigned a tutor?

We do not assign tutors to our courses. We have found that most students do not require tutoring since many use their workmates/supervisors as a source of "tutoring" or practical help. However, if you do have a problem, contact the department for assistance.

How long do I have to complete a course?

Currently you are allowed 12 months from the date of registration to complete. However, we recommend that you try to complete a course in about 3-4 months.

How long should it take to complete a course?

Again any answer to this is dependent on a combination of things. One credit of material should take you between 15-20 hours of study to complete but it does depend on your background, ability to study by DE, etc. We find on average it takes about 2-3 months to successfully complete a 2-credit course.

Why does it take 2-3 months to complete when I can study 15 hours in one week?

Logistics! Every course contains at least one assignment and a final exam. An assignment may take 2-3 weeks to be marked and returned to you, depending on whether you e-mail or snail mail the material to us and whether the marker is a BCIT instructor or an industry expert (sometimes they are out of town on business).

Questions relating to the day school program

If I get a Certificate by part-time studies, can I enroll into the second year (direct entry) of the Civil Engineering day school program?

Direct entry into second year of the Civil Engineering day school program is not possible; everyone needs to start at the beginning (first term, first year). If you wish to enter the regular (day school) program, you must first ensure that you meet the entrance requirements and then submit your application. If you are accepted, you may apply for credit for one or two courses you have completed through part-time studies or at another institution. Such applications for credit are reviewed on an individual basis.

I want to apply for the day school program, what do I need?

Visit the full-time Civil Engineering program webpages and review the "program entry" page for advice as to what skills you require to succeed in the Civil program. This site also details what you should do if you don’t have the required grades, courses etc., to enter day school. You should also discuss your situation with BCIT's program advising or the Civil Engineering day school student coordinator.

Other questions

Why do night school courses sometimes get cancelled?

Courses are cancelled when we do not have enough student enrolment to offset the expenses involved in the course. We do not wish to cancel courses but we have no choice if enrolment is low.

What are the differences among a technician, a technologist and a professional engineer?

Hmm, that sounds like the beginning of a joke. As a whole, the three parties work together as a team on projects involving planning, design and in the field. You can learn more about their roles in The Engineering Team in Canada, prepared and published by the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC).

Technologists and technicians may be certified by ASTTBC. Each classification requires a combination of academic training and suitable work experience.  A technologist normally has obtained a Diploma (approx. 140 credits in a BCIT program) and suitable work experience while a technician commonly has a Certificate (typically 75 credits in a BCIT program).

Professional engineers are registered with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC). A professional engineer has professional responsibility for projects and normally leads the team of engineers, technologists, technicians and draftspersons. To register with APEGBC an engineer needs to have completed an acceptable degree program and have obtained suitable experience. They are given the designation P.Eng. for use after their name.