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Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas Planning Advanced Certificate

Program calendar icon Program Length

  • 3 Semesters

Program credential icon Credential

  • Advanced Certificate

Program location icon Location Offered

  • Nanaimo

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas Planning Advanced Certificate Program

The Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) Planning Advanced Certificate addresses the need for a comprehensive and holistic program relating to the protection and conservation of the lands and waters across Canada, and contributes to the development of a network of IPCA certified professionals who will play a critical role in Canada’s achievement of the “30% by 2030” goal.

Students who graduate from this program will have an advanced knowledge of the meaning and purpose of IPCAs, will be able to distinguish between western land use planning and regulatory approaches and Indigenous practices and world views. Critical to this will be understanding of the concepts and values relating to reciprocity and responsibilities. Over six courses, students will: gain an understanding of the roles of IPCAS in biodiversity conservation, cultural regeneration, reconciliation, and community-based conservation economies; learn about the jurisdictional, legal, and policy contexts for IPCAs in BC, Canada, and internationally, and identify different governance arrangements and management models for IPCAs; and will investigate the use of new approaches and tools for achieving targets of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) for protected and conserved areas in Canada and the world that align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This Advanced Certificate will be of interest to individuals involved in land use planning, parks, environmental protection, and conservation or other areas relating to culture, lands, waters, air, and wildlife.

This Advanced Certificate may be taken:

  • As a stand-alone Advanced Certificate for those interested in expanding their knowledge of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas; or
  • As a credential taken concurrently with an undergraduate or graduate degree at Vancouver Island University.

IPCA 407 is normally offered as an intensive face to face course in a field setting proximate to an existing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area, although it could be offered in an online format if required. The other courses may be offered face to face, online, or in a blended format.

Students may take the program as an intensive summer experience or part time as the program is offered.

Students may choose to complete this as a credential concurrently within a VIU undergraduate degree program. Students would take the six required Advanced Certificate courses when they are offered: no substitutions of other undergraduate courses will be permitted for the Advanced Certificate. Students would qualify for the Advanced Certificate on completion of all six courses. The IPCA courses may be considered for use towards the elective requirements of the student’s primary credential: the recognition of these courses as part of the student’s degree program should be fully researched by the student and discussed with their Advisor and/or Program Chair.

Students are encouraged to contact the IPCA Planning Advanced Certificate Program Coordinator to inquire about enrolment possibilities or to discuss any individual issues relating to enrolment.


Course Title


IPCA 407 - (Field Studies in Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas)3
IPCA 417 - (Topics in Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas)3
IPCA 427 - (Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Land Relationships)3
IPCA 437 - (Creating Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas)3
IPCA 447 - (Law and Politics: Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas)3
IPCA 457 - (Eco, Cultural, and Socio-Economic Opportunities in IPCAs)3
Total credits18


Completion Requirements

Students must achieve a minimum of a “C” grade in any individual course to qualify for the completed certificate. Grades for individual courses are given in the manner described under VIU’s Grading Policy for undergraduate courses.

Completion of post-secondary diploma or completion of minimum of 54 academic credits including VIU’s Degree English Requirement.

Notes on Admission

  • Students who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements may not necessarily be admitted to the program. 
  • Students may complete this program as a stand-alone credential or concurrently with their VIU degree. In both instances, students must apply to be accepted to the Advanced Certificate Program.
  • Indigenous students can apply for reserve seats by submitting the Access Initiative for Indigenous Students form.

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 Amount
Tuition (18 credits x $416.16 per credit) 7,490.88
Field Component 2,080.80
Student Activity fee (18 credits x $9.98 per credit) 179.64
Student Services fee (18 credits x $7.35 per credit) 132.30
VIU Students' Union fee (10 months x $27.60 per month) 276.00
Health and Dental Plan fee ($265.00 per year) 265.00

The VIUSU Health and Dental Plan fee is assessed for all students enrolled in 6 credits or more per term, or in Trades/Vocational programs of 5 months or longer.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice and are expected to increase by 2% each year on April 1.

Domestic (Canadian)

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus Options
Next Intake(s):

One start date each Fall.

Application Fee:
Accepting Late Applications:
Admissions Assistant:
Name: Nicolas Ismirnioglou
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2531
Email: Nicolas.Ismirnioglou@viu.ca
Chair Contact:
Name: Pam Shaw
Phone: 250.753.3245 ext. 2620
Email: Pam.Shaw@viu.ca
Document Deadline:

July 31, 2024


IPCA 407 field school course delivered on Tla-o-qui-aht territory.

To reduce barriers for students, a grad application fee is automatically processed when each IPCA student is registered in their first term of courses.

Further information on this program can be found on the Department website.

Visit the Department Website

Previous versions of this program can be found in the Program Archive.