Bridging programs offer Aboriginal Education students the chance to close the gap

Aboriginal University Bridging

  • Program Length 
    1 Year
  • Credential 
  • Location Offered 
    Cowichan, Nanaimo

Aboriginal students seeking to bridge the gap between post-secondary education and their educational aspirations can begin their journey at VIU.

The Aboriginal University Bridging Certificate is a customizable program for Indigenous students who want to upgrade their courses and acquire the necessary prerequisites to begin their desired post-secondary education programs. Select the Adult Basic Education courses you need to meet pre-requisite requirements, and consider the option of taking additional entry-level university courses.

You will find the support and encouragement of instructors who care about your success, Aboriginal Elders in Residence who can support and guide you on your path, and a network of staff and other students that provide a true sense of belonging.

The Aboriginal University Bridging Certificate Program

The First Nations Aboriginal University Bridging Program Certificate is a result of community consultations spanning across the Province of British Columbia. The initial phases of consultation date back to 2001 with Faculty and Administrators receiving feedback from communities as to the need for First Nations having access to meaningful and accessible prerequisite courses.

The concept of creating a supportive adult education Bridging Program incorporating face-to-face classroom learning, ongoing learner support, coaching and mentoring and, where possible, the use of technology to support learning, has been identified by communities spanning across the province. Communities have stated that learners need access to introductory, measurable and comprehensive adult education programming which directly aligns with the prerequisites for natural resource management, science, health, education and trades programs.

What is the program about?

  • Personal development
  • Accessing prerequisite courses
  • Returning to school
  • Working with others with common interests
  • Goal setting
  • Support for academic learning
  • Group work
  • Success
  • Building confidence

Program Curriculum

  • Adult Basic Education Prerequisites
    Students select Adult Basic Education courses to meet program entry pre-requisites, depending on their individual needs. Courses are available in English, Biology, Mathematics, Math for Trades, Computer Studies, Chemistry, and Introduction to Science.
  • Optional: Selected university-level courses
    Students may have an opportunity to take introductory university level courses, or orientation to trades programs.

The program is individually designed, based on the needs and goals of each student. The following are sample program streams, for students bridging into Forestry, Practical Nursing, and Trades programs.

Bridging into many other programs, and other courses are available.

Example #1: Bridging into Forestry


  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)
  • BIOL 047 - (Biology 11 - Advanced)
  • MATH 045 - (Principles of Math 11: Part I)
  • FRST 162 - (Fire Management)

Intersession Semester

Example #2: Bridging into Practical Nursing


  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)

Fall Semester

  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)
  • ENGL 037 - (English - Intermediate)
  • MATH 020 - (Math-Fundamental)
  • Selected UP course, for example: PNUR 171T - (Human Relationships I)

Spring Semester

  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)
  • ENGL 047 - (English-Advanced)
  • MATH 030 - (Math-Intermediate)
  • Selected UP course, for example: PNUR 172T - (Human Relationships II)

Intersession Semester

Example #3: Bridging into Trades


  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)

Fall Semester

  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)
  • MATH 030 - (Math-Intermediate)
  • ENGL 037 - (English - Intermediate)
  • Individualized Orientation to Trades

Spring Semester

  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio)
  • MATH 048 - (Mathematics for Trades)
  • ENGL 047 - (English-Advanced)
  • Individualized Orientation to Trades

Intersession Semester

  • Individually selected courses

Completion Requirements

To be awarded the Certificate, the student must successfully complete the following:

  • ILRP 100 - (Indigenous Learning and Recognition Portfolio), and
  • A minimum of 4 individually selected ABE courses;
  • Completion of a documented and agreed upon individually selected program.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The program is open to any Aboriginal student who is preparing for post-secondary education, and needs to upgrade through Adult Basic Education. Prerequisities must be met for courses selected, where applicable.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees - Two Semesters


Tuition (ABE courses x $0 + 10 academic credits x $156.80 per credit)


Student Activity fee (4% of tuition)


Student Services fee (10 credits x $6.93 per credit)


VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $20.90 per month)





The above table is based on two 3-credit courses and four ABE courses over two semesters. Students taking additional courses should adjust the fee total accordingly.

Approximate cost for books and supplies: $50 - $150 per semester. Costs vary depending on courses selected.

The Health and Dental Plan fee is in effect only for full-time students at the Nanaimo Campus.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus
Application Fee
Admissions Assistant

Name: Zoë Doiron
Phone: 250-746-3512

Coordinator Contact

Name: Nancy Hamilton
Phone: 250-746-3573

Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Sep 6, 2022
Accepting International Applications
Application Fee
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Donna Kist
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2526

Chair Contact

Name: Michael Calvert
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2256

Area Secretary Contact

Name: Brian Walker (Advisor)
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2193


Paper applications can be downloaded or printed at



For information on any previous versions please check our Program Archive Page.