Aboriginal students at UBC

UBC’s Vancouver campus is located on traditional, ancestral, unceded land of the Musqueam people, and its Okanagan campus is located on the territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. For generations, these lands have been a place of teaching and learning for Aboriginal peoples – a tradition that continues to this day.


Life at UBC

Building a community is an integral part of the university experience. There are plenty of activities and programs tailored to Aboriginal students to help you connect and engage in fun and enriching experiences.

The University works to support Aboriginal student academic and personal success through Aboriginal-focused programs and services, including the Aboriginal Admission Policy, priority assignment placement in student housing, dedicated financial awards, and culturally relevant programs and services for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students.


Aboriginal faculty members
courses with Aboriginal content
Aboriginal students enrolled at UBC

Admissions for Aboriginal students

UBC invites all qualified Canadian Aboriginal students to apply to the University’s various faculties, schools, and degrees. If you meet the general admission and degree-specific requirements, and the competitive average required for your degree of choice, you will be directly admissible to that degree on UBC’s Okanagan or Vancouver campuses. Most Aboriginal students are admitted based on their competitive average. However, UBC offers a number of pathways to a post-secondary degree:

Aboriginal Admission Policy

This policy allows UBC to consider you for admission to a degree if you have satisfied the general admission and degree-specific requirements, but you have not met your degree’s competitive average. UBC may consider your history, cultural knowledge, work experience, educational goals, and other achievements in determining your admissibility.

Aboriginal Access Studies Program

Aboriginal Access Studies is an entrance program that prepares Aboriginal learners for degrees on UBC’s Okanagan campus. The program combines academic and non-academic activities to form a rich, full-time schedule in a supportive university setting and prepares you for degree studies by allowing your registration in university-level courses.

UBC-Langara Aboriginal Transfer Partnership

This Partnership is designed to provide the academic and personal preparation required for Aboriginal students to successfully transition from Langara College to UBC’s Vancouver campus. Students who complete the Partnership’s requirements will be guaranteed admission to a participating UBC degree.

Group of UBC aboriginal students socializing and studying

How to apply

When you apply, be sure to self-identify as an Aboriginal person of Canada. UBC will provide you with important information on Aboriginal programs, scholarships and bursaries, and student services specifically for Aboriginal students.

You must pay an application fee to submit your application. However, if finances are a barrier to submitting your application, please contact Chett Monague or Teneille Shea to discuss your options.

After you apply

Find out what your next steps should be, depending on where you are in the application process:

If you’ve self-identified as an Aboriginal person of Canada in your online application to UBC, your registration deposit will be automatically deferred. If you need to defer your housing deposit, please contact Natalie Tole at natalie.tole@ubc.ca.

Aboriginal academic programs

Aboriginal academic programs on the Vancouver campus address Aboriginal topics and many of these courses have significant Indigenous content or themes. These programs include the Indigenous Teacher Education program, First Nations and Indigenous Studies, Community and Aboriginal Forestry, and much more.

UBC Story: Cris Derksen

Q&A with Aboriginal cellist Cris Derksen

Edmonton, AB | Cree | Bachelor of Music, Cello Performance

Music alumna and Aboriginal cellist Cris Derksen went from student to world-travelling performer. She’s toured with Canadian Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, written music for the CBC, and been nominated for a Juno Award.

"I'm an Aboriginal classically trained electro­-cellist. Basically that means I'm pan-genres and fit into all the boxes of musical genres."

Read more

Awards for Aboriginal students

UBC Story: Duncan McCue

Duncan’s story

Ojibwa, Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation | Ontario, Canada | Law

UBC alumnus Duncan McCue shares the value of his degree and how he found his community.

"The Aboriginal students I met at UBC Law School continue to be some of my closest friends and have been invaluable contacts for reporting on First Nations issues."

Read more

Programs and services for Aboriginal students

UBC offers culturally appropriate services and resources to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students on both campuses.

Access academic advising, peer mentorship programs, network with other Aboriginal students, or relax between classes in dedicated Aboriginal spaces. The Aboriginal Programs and Services on UBC’s Okanagan campus and the Aboriginal Portal on UBC’s Vancouver campus are your resources for all of your academic and personal support needs.


Visit Aboriginal Programs and Services


Visit the Aboriginal Portal

On-campus Aboriginal-specific spaces

First Nations Longhouse

The Longhouse on UBC’s Vancouver campus is home to the First Nations House of Learning and is the go-to place for Indigenous students to access Aboriginal programs and services, socialize, study, and host events.


Visit the Longhouse

Indigenous Student Collegium on UBC's Vancouver campus

Indigenous Student Collegium

The Indigenous Student Collegium is a space in the First Nations Longhouse that supports Indigenous students in building and fostering community – a home away from home. Take a break between classes to socialize, make a meal, and relax.


Aboriginal Centre

The Aboriginal Centre on UBC’s Okanagan campus is your home away from home and your space to connect with your Aboriginal peers. Make yourself comfortable here, and access Aboriginal Programs and Services for academic and personal support.


Visit the Aboriginal Centre

X̱wi7x̱wa Library

The X̱wi7x̱wa Library is your centre for academic and community Indigenous scholarship on the Vancouver campus. Discover the library’s collections and services that reflect Aboriginal approaches to teaching, learning, and research.


Visit the library

Centre for Indigenous Media Arts

The Centre for Indigenous Media Arts seeks to devise new expressions of Indigenous culture for the 21st century by working collaboratively with local artists and communities.


Visit the centre

xʷc̓ic̓əsəm: Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden

Located at the UBC Farm, the xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden supports land-based teaching, research, and community engagement on food security and traditional plant knowledge.


Visit the garden


Indian Residential School Dialogue Centre, UBC

Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

This new centre will provide former students and survivors, the University community, and the public access to residential school records and information in an interactive environment that supports engagement with the history and legacy of Indian residential schools.


Visit the centre

anthropology, ubc vancouver

Museum of Anthropology

Looking for inspiration? Visit the Museum of Anthropology on the Vancouver campus to experience world arts and cultures with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia, Canada. Take part in public programs and events such as the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival or the First Peoples Festival, and enjoy spectacular artwork from renowned Aboriginal artists.

Preparing for life at UBC

UBC offers Aboriginal-specific orientations to help you prepare for the transition to university life.

Destination UBC and Indigenous Welcome

The Indigenous Welcome is part of the weekend-long Destination UBC informational event at UBC’s Okanagan campus. You’ll get your questions answered, connect with UBC’s Aboriginal community, and start preparing for life as a UBC student before classes begin. We’ll give you advice on transitioning to university life, and connect you with current students in your faculty or program who can dispense helpful insider tips.

Destination UBC Aboriginal Student Welcome

The weekend-long Destination UBC Aboriginal Student Welcome is your chance to visit UBC’s Vancouver campus in advance and connect with the Aboriginal community. We’ll give you advice on transitioning to university life, and connect you with current students in your faculty or program who can dispense helpful insider tips.

Aboriginal Student Orientation: Okanagan

The Aboriginal Student Orientation on the Okanagan campus welcomes all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students who are new to UBC and want to meet their peers while checking out the campus in an inclusive environment. Attend this free, informative event to acquaint yourself with the Okanagan campus and seek out your new community of like-minded students.

Aboriginal Student Orientation: Vancouver

The Aboriginal Student Orientation on the Vancouver campus introduces all First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students who are new to UBC to the First Nations House of Learning and to the Aboriginal campus community. Meet faculty, staff, Aboriginal student leaders, and current students as you get acquainted with UBC, its people, and its resources.

Getting involved

Connect with your peers and engage in fun and enriching experiences.
UBC Story: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

Elle-Máijá’s story

Blood Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy and Sámi | Alberta, Canada | First Nations Studies, minor in Women's and Gender Studies

Groundbreaking filmmaker, actor, and storyteller. Advocate of diverse First Nations representation. Lover of all things Vancouver.

"I became hooked on First Nations Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Both programs challenged me to think critically about systemic injustice."

Read more


Aboriginal students have priority access to housing on both UBC campuses, and all direct-entry first-year students are guaranteed housing. Student families on the Vancouver campus have access to child-friendly residences.


Housing on UBC’s Okanagan campus

Indigenous integrated learning communities


Housing on UBC’s Vancouver campus

Family housing on UBC’s Vancouver campus



Lots of students study and live at UBC with their families. The University offers a number of childcare facilities for infants and children up to five years of age, as well as occasional and out-of-school care.

As an Aboriginal student, you have first access to any childcare spaces that become available for students. There’s no penalty for applying early, so you’re encouraged to submit a childcare application during pregnancy even if you do not yet have an offer of admission from UBC.


Childcare on UBC’s Okanagan campus


Childcare on UBC’s Vancouver campus

Aboriginal student campus tours

Visit our Vancouver and Okanagan campuses to get a feel for what it’s like to live and learn at UBC, and hear more about services and resources for Aboriginal students.

UBC Aboriginal Student Book 2020

Browse UBC’s guide for Aboriginal students and learn more about building a community on campus, finding resources, and planning your future.

2020 UBC Aboriginal Handbook
Download the handbook.

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