Groundbreaking Diploma-to-Degree Partnership Launched by Vancouver Film School and Wilfrid Laurier University

September 12, 2016

Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Film School (VFS) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier) announce an exciting cross-institutional partnership that will enable students from both institutions to receive both a Diploma and Bachelor of Arts Honours degree within four years by taking courses at both institutions.

“The film and television industry is changing rapidly. So, too, must the education offerings in Canada. We are thrilled to jointly offer a Pathway that will help students to meet an increasing demand of balancing hands-on experience with in-depth knowledge,” explained James Griffin, President and Co-Founder of Vancouver Film School.

The VFS-Laurier Pathway is open to graduates from one-year VFS programs such as Film Production, Writing for Film and Television or Acting for Film and Television. Diploma graduates can proceed to the second year of Laurier’s Film Studies (BA Hons) program. In reciprocation, third-year students in the Laurier Film Studies program can attend VFS as part of an applied media exchange year, and be eligible for the School’s Excellence in Media scholarship.

“The technical skills learned in film production—from videography and editing to sound design and post-production—are valuable for many professional fields today,” said Philippa Gates, Professor and Film Studies Program Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University. “Laurier’s Film Studies Honours program foregrounds the theoretical, historical, and stylistic analysis of film while VFS’s programs provide the applied skills and hands-on experience to put that theory into practice. Together we will help make a student’s dream career, a reality.”

The agreement, made between private and public institutions respectively, is the first of its kind in Ontario. It marks the Vancouver Film School’s ambitious plans to develop cross-institutional agreements throughout Canada and the globe so as to offer a sought after combination of practical training with academic qualifications. Since 2015, the VFS has developed pathway agreements with BCIT and continues to foster partnerships with elite public institutions throughout the country in order to develop diverse educational opportunities for young people.

“Congratulations to Vancouver Film School and Wilfrid Laurier University on developing a new public-private educational transfer arrangement between the two institutions,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Advanced Education Minister for the government of British Columbia. “The ability to work together across jurisdictions will give students at both institutions more opportunities as they study towards a career in the television and film industry.”

About Vancouver Film School

Based on the certainty it was possible to learn film production skills much faster than taught by traditional university programs, Vancouver Film School opened in 1987 with 12 students as the world’s first full-time immersion film program dedicated to comprehensive skill development. Building on this model, VFS has introduced ‘first in the world’ production programs in classical animation, 3D animation, new media, sound design and camera based acting and now offers 13 one-year diploma programs in Film Production; 3D Animation & Visual Effects; Classical Animation; Animation & Concept Arts; Game Design; Programming for Games, Web & Mobile; Sound Design; Foundational Visual Art & Design; Writing for Film & TV; Makeup for Film & TV; Acting for Film & TV; and a four-month Acting Essentials course.

The school was recently ranked #1 Animation School in Canada and #2 in the world by Animation Career Review. Further, VFS was recently ranked #2 Game Design School in Canada and #3 in the Pacific Northwest according to the Princeton Review.
VFS alumni earned credits on approximately half of total world box-office (18 billion) in 2014 alone, and have credits on 28 of the 30 all-time highest grossing films.

VFS alumni earned credits on approximately half of total world box-office (18 billion) in 2014 alone, and have credits on 28 of the 30 all-time highest grossing films.

About Wilfrid Laurier University

Laurier is a leading comprehensive university known for academic excellence and a culture that inspires lives of leadership and purpose. Laurier has a deep commitment to both teaching and research, combined with a strong student focus and distinct sense of community. The university’s innovative approach to education purposefully integrates the academic experience with a rich variety of experiential learning opportunities. Laurier has more than 19,000 students at campuses in Waterloo and Brantford, and locations in Kitchener and Toronto.

Laurier’s Film Studies program is considered one of the top film studies programs in Canada. Films and visual media play a prominent role in our experience of the world today and the Film Studies Program at Laurier addresses that experience with an emphasis on international film history, film industries, the art of film, and individual films as texts. Our students benefit from our ongoing community engagement, including relationships with Kitchener-Waterloo’s Multicultural Cinema Club and the Grand River Film Festival.

Film Studies alumni have pursued successful careers in film, television, and web production; film archiving; education and teaching at the secondary and post-secondary levels; community relations and event planning; communications and marketing; and at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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VFS Contacts:

For media enquiries contact:
Zoe Grams,, +1 604 336 3822

For educational or sponsorship enquiries contact:
Anthony Grieco, Educational Administration, +1 604-631-3068

Laurier Contacts:

For media enquiries contact:
Kevin Crowley, Director: Communications and Public Affairs
519-884-0710 ext. 3070 or

For enquiries about the Film Studies Program contact:
Philippa Gates, Film Studies Program Coordinator,