Northern Advancement Program


The First Nations Centre, in keeping with its mandate to serve the native student population, offers a transition year of study in September of each year to students who would like to attend the University of Northern British Columbia. The program of study is important and relevant to students from both smaller rural communities and/or First Nations communities.

The University is situated in the territories of 78 Bands and 16 Tribal Councils as well as many urban First Nations organizations. The population of the region is about 300,000 of which First Nations people comprise approximately 10 percent.

The First Nations Centre does not limit its services to First Nations students. All programs and studies offered through the First Nations Centre are open to all UNBC students—native and non-native alike.

Students from smaller rural communities and First Nations students traditionally have had the most difficulty in adjusting to university in a larger centre because of cultural and sociological differences. The program is aimed at providing these students with assistance in making the transition to university. It will allow students to take full advantage of the educational opportunities offered, and prepare them for subsequent employment. The program will also ensure that a higher percentage of students will successfully complete their degrees as a result of their adjustment to, and enjoyment of, university life in a larger centre.

Program Description

The Northern Advancement program has been developed utilizing existing UNBC programs in the First Nations Centre in addition to the courses, ARTS 101-3 (Learning Strategies) and ARTS 102-3 (Research Writing). These new courses will provide a foundation for further study in a variety of fields at UNBC. The cornerstone of the Northern Advancement program is ARTS 101-3 and ARTS 102-3. The First Nations Centre programs have an emphasis on support services for students from smaller rural and First Nations communities.

ARTS 101-3 and ARTS 102-3 will provide an effective bridge for students entering UNBC. The transition and study skills component will begin two weeks prior to the start of classes and students will be required to attend a detailed orientation to the University that will include an off-campus two-day retreat. The courses will continue throughout the critical first year with students receiving instruction in developing skills in the following areas:
  • library skills
  • research skills
  • text reading skills
  • writing skills
  • study skills
  • public speaking
  • group development
  • stress management
  • note taking skills
  • assertiveness training
  • career planning and
  • test taking skills
In addition, since First Nations philosophy is one that is based on holistic learning, emphasis will be placed on developing support networks for personal growth as well as helping students in the program deal with personal issues that impede their academic success.

The delivery of ARTS 101-3 and ARTS 102-3 will be supported by the First Nations Centre. These include the assistance of First Nations community elders for cultural programming and personal guidance. In addition to elders, existing UNBC staff and faculty will be utilized to deliver specific components and courses of the program. A program co-ordinator from the First Nations Centre will coordinate the Northern Advancement Program, teach skill level sessions, and assist in community liaison and student recruitment.

Program Objectives

The program will provide a foundation for further study in a variety of fields at the University of Northern British Columbia. The cornerstone of the program is the emphasis on support services for First Nations students and students from smaller rural communities.

The objectives of this program are:
  • to provide an orientation to university facilities and admission procedures
  • to provide a supportive learning environment that facilitates the transition into university life
  • to provide cultural activities which build self-esteem and respect for First Nations traditions and cultural values
Admission Requirements

Students will be required to complete a regular UNBC Admission Application form and indicate the Northern Advancement program as their academic intention.

Applicants must meet regular UNBC admission standards.

Each mature student application will be reviewed on its own merits. Mature applicants must:
  • be permanent residents of British Columbia
  • have been out of secondary school for at least three years and
  • be at least 21 years of age on or before the first day of classes
Application Process

Students are encouraged to begin admission inquiries as soon as possible in the new calendar year.

The deadline for submission of applications, complete with all required documentation, for September registration is June 1. Complete files are given first preference for acceptance into the program. As spaces available in the program are limited, not all students who are eligible will be admitted.

To be considered for the Northern Advancement program, students must also submit the following with their application form:
  • one official transcript from high school and all post-secondary institutions attended (photocopies or facsimiles are not accepted as official);
  • a letter of intent outlining their career goals and the importance of the Northern Advancement program in achieving those goals;
  • a letter of support from a high school teacher and/or band administrator, education coordinator or sponsoring organization.
Once admitted to UNBC:
  • students are required to attend a two-week orientation session prior to the first day of classes which includes an off-campus two-day retreat with staff. Course timetables will be provided during orientation week.
Course Requirements

Normally this is a maximum five year UNBC credit program (some students may choose to complete the degree in four years). The program is designed to facilitate 25 students per year. Northern Advancement program students are advised to complete nine to twelve credit hours in each of their first and second semesters as follows:

Semester One

ARTS 101-3 Learning Strategies
FNST 100-3 The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada
Elective  (three credit hours)

Semester Two

ARTS 102-3 Research Writing
Electives  (six to nine credit hours)