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Applied Coastal Ecology (ACE)


Earn a Diploma in 2 years or a Post-Degree Diploma in 1 year 

The Applied Coastal Ecology (ACE) program readies students for careers in coastal natural resources management, ecosystem restoration, environmental monitoring, and many others. ACE balances foundational learning in areas such as biology, geography, chemistry and oceanography with applied courses in areas such as salmon, ground fish and shellfish management, stream habitat restoration, rainforest ecology, wildlife management, and more.

ACE students get important technology training in computer database management, GIS mapping, surveying, technical writing, and presentation. Students participate in real-world, community-based projects to gain employment-ready experience and ultimately gain a strong sense of how coastal ecosystems react to the stresses imposed on them by human activity, and how to apply procedures to mitigate impacts and restore healthy ecosystems.

Collaboration with the Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter

This project provides the public with an opportunity to watch the rehabilitation of injured eagles on their road to recovery. Watch the eagles as they play, exercise, and prepare for their reintroduction into the wild. The first phase of the project involved the help of the Intro to Computer Science 111 class and ACE students from the Prince Rupert campus. Students and instructors dug the 140 foot long, 2 foot deep trench required to lay the necessary cables to the eagle enclosure. Once this was completed, the second phase of the program saw the installation of a high-speed internet connection and a high definition PTZ camera, complete with pre-programmable tours (paths the camera will take) of the eagle enclosure. Enjoy our students’ hard work!

Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter Eagle Rehabilitation Live Cam

To learn more about the Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter or to donate, visit

University Transfer Agreements

Start here, finish anywhere!

ACE Diploma graduates are able to move onto University Degree completion at a number of institutions.  The majority of courses within the program transfer directly to colleges and universities in British Columbia.  The BC Transfer Guide is the main resource to look up the transfer of courses between institutions within the province.

The ACE program also has a number of specific transfer agreements with institutions including Royal Roads University and UBC that facilitate a seamless transfer between programs.  In addition to these specific agreements, more general agreements exists for degree completion within Canada and internationally.  Prospective and currents students should check out the Degree Partnership page for more specific details and consult with the ACE Program Coordinator in planning their program. 

Program Outline 

The ACE certificate requires the completion of 24 credits of ACE or UC courses of which 12 must be ACE.  

The ACE Diploma requires the completion of a total of 70 credits according to the categories shown below. The list of recommended courses outline a typical program for students, however additional courses may be available depending on scheduling and the student's area of specialization. Full-time students can complete this program in a minimum of 2 years but may take longer depending on how many prerequisites are required.  All course prerequisites are on a course by course basis. 

The ACE Post-Dregree requires the completion of a total of 30 credits according to the categories shown below. 

Due to course scheduling and the student’s area of interest, prospective students are advised to develop a personalized study program in consultation with the ACE Program Coordinator or an Educational Advisor.

ACE Program Questions? Email Us



18 Credits First Year Sciences 
(Min 6 credits lab biology) 

BIOL 102

Four of the following (12 credits 1st year):
CHEM 111
CHEM 122
GEOG 110 
GEOG 150
GEOL 157
PHYS 101
PHYS 102 
PHYS 121
PHYS 122
SUST 120

3 Credits Computer Science  CPSC 111
6 Credits First Year English

Any combination of the following: 
ENGL 101
ENGL 102
ENGL 151
ENGL 152 

15 Credits Second Year Courses 


Four of the following: 
BIOL 211
OCGY 208
OCGY 209
ENV 201 
BIOL 2XX (When available)
ANTH 2XX (When available) 
GEOG 2XX (When available) 
CHEM 2XX (When available) 

22 Credits ACE Courses 

Any of the following: 

ACE 101
ACE 121
ACE 134 
ACE 141
ACE 142
ACE 154
ACE 170
ACE 175
ACE 182
ACE 190 
ACE 195
ACE 196

Other ACE courses as available 

6 Credits of the Electives  

Any of the following: 
MATH 101
MATH 115
MATH 131
ECON 150
ECON 151

Others as available

ACE Post-Degree Diploma Requirements 

ACE Post-Degree Course Requirements

Recommended Courses

12 Credits NWCC 2nd year  Science and Geography Courses

OCGY 208, OCGY 209, BIOL 211, BIOL 201, 202, 203, 208ENV 201, BIOL 2XX, Geog 201, 202, 203, 207, 210, 215

3 Credits in GIS

GEOG 204

12 Credits ACE XXX

ACE 101
ACE 134
ACE 141
ACE 142
ACE 154
ACE 175
ACE 182
ACE 190
ACE 195
ACE 196
ACE 197

3 Credits ACE or other NWCC course

SUST 120
Please refer to the academic schedule or list above.

In order to meet the changing demands of the industry, the  ACE program periodically makes small course modifications and adjustments to the timing of course offerings.Please contact the ACE Program Coordinator to work out details and timing of your specific program of studies. 

Career Opportunities 

Students gain the knowledge and practical skills to acquire employment with a large variety of employers including, Environmental Organizations, Federal Government (i.e. Fisheries and Oceans Canada and others), Provincial Government, Environmental Consulting Firms, First Nations Governments, Government Funded Programs, Mariculture and Forestry Industries, Eco-tourism, and International Development projects.

2016 Student Summer Employment

ACE Oona River Field Trip

Example Jobs

  • DFO Stock Assessment Technician
  • Nisgaa Fisheries Management
  • Northcoast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society Creel Survey
  • Oona River Fish Hatchery
  • Archipelago Marine Research
  • Babine Lake Stock Assessment
  • Assistant Forester
  • SFU Fisheries Environmental Toxicology Lab

Program Graduates

The ACE program was first initiated in 1996, under the name Coastal Integrated Resources Management (CIRM). It was created in response to growing demands from employers for locally trained experts in the environmental field. In the fall of 2005, the program was expanded and renamed Applied Coastal Ecology to better reflect the new program model.

The ACE program has attracted students from as far away as Japan and Africa, as well as a host of Canadian cities and provinces spanning from coast to coast. A significant portion of of our enrolment comes from outside of Prince Rupert.

ACE graduates are generally well-known for their passion and commitment to the environment and the sustainable management of the great wealth of natural resources found in coastal ecosystems across the planet.

Employment & Career Prospects

Graduates have had exceptional professional and academic opportunities.

100% of graduates have found meaningful employment or have gone on to further their education following completion of the program
83% of graduates who found employment did so in a field related to their studies

We find our graduates engaged in employment across a wide range of related fields:

Consulting Firms

  • Archipelago Marine
  • J.O. Thomas and Associates
  • Oona River Resources Association
  • Triumph Timber
  • First Nations
  • Self-employed contracting

Consulting firms generally look for employees that have both the foundational academic training needed to solve problems, as well as the practical hands-on skills needed to carry out consulting contracts in both field and office settings. Many consulting firms have stated that they prefer to hire graduates who possess hands-on experience/skills as well as the necessary academic training The ACE program has deliberately included a well-integrated mix of both academic and hands-on courses which together create a balance and prepare graduates to be effective and efficient and hit the ground running.


  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Ministry of Air, Land and Water
  • First Nations governments
  • Local municipal governments
  • Teaching institutions

The ACE program utilizes various government agencies. Government representatives are used as guest lecturers and also serve as expert advisors on the program’s advisory committee. The committee has representation from several levels of government - from local to federal. This ensures the program’s curriculum remains up to date with governmental policies and procedures and makes ACE grads an attractive prospect to these agencies.

Private Industry

  • Technologists and biologists at mariculture operations ranging from Marine Harvest Canada to smaller-scale private operations
  • BC Hydro and any other organization that requires environmental monitoring as part of their business
  • Wildlife protection and fish-stream enhancement offices
  • Non-governmental environmental organizations such as World Wildlife Fund, T Buck Suzuki Foundation, and EcoTrust Canada
  • Guiding or working as wildlife interpreters for eco-tourism operations
  • Various forestry operations
  • Laboratory technicians
  • A variety of international placements.

The growth of coastal ecology related opportunities with private industry has experienced a significant increase in recent years. Graduates have done exceptionally well in these settings, and in some cases make up the bulk of the technical expertise for such employers.

Admission Requirements 

​Applied Coastal Ecology Certificate/Diploma Admission Requirements 

  1. Apply direct to Applied Coastal Ecology (ACE)
  2. Submit proof of English 12 or equivalent.
  3. Biology 11, Chemistry 11, Foundation of Math 11 or Equivalent are required to complete the program. Students can be admitted without all three however, students will be required to upgrade throughout the program. 

The ACE program has multiple entry and exit points depending on your prior studies.  Students with Biology 11, Chemistry 11, Foundation of Math 11, and English 12 or equivalents meet all of the course prerequisites and can complete the Diploma within 2 years. Course registration and program planning is on a course by course basis, depending on the student meeting the pre-requisites of each course. Students missing these courses can enter the program and upgrade in the Career and College Prep (CCP) program.  

Applied Coastal Ecology Post Degree Diploma Requirements 

1. B.Sc. degree in Environmental Science, Environmental Biology, or related field.  B.A. in Environmental Studies from an accredited Post-Secondary Institution.
2. Grade 12 English or equivalent.
3. 6 credits of University Biology. 

English proficiency is required for all students entering NWCC programs.  Please visit our English Language Alternatives page to see how this requirement can be met. 

Need help with the application process?  Contact an Educational Advisor.

Dates and Locations 

Intakes:  September and January.  

Campus location:  Prince Rupert.

Study on a full or part-time basis.  Field School courses are available in the spring and summer.  

Note: Speak with an Educational Advisor for assistance with course selection.

Program Fees 

ACE Diploma Program Fees

Students should note that the most common academic schedule is 35 credits per year to complete the diploma; which requires successful completion of 70 credits. The certificate may be completed in 24 credits, and those fees are not displayed.  Please contact the ACE Program Coordinator for details.

FEES Full-Time Domestic (35 Credits) Full-Time International (35 Credits) 
Tuition: $3,259.90 $13,854.58
*Student Union Fees: $124.56 $124.56
Mandatory Fees (includes 24 credits of required lab fees):


Health Insurance:  Not Applicable  $234.60
Tuition and Mandatory Fees Total: $4,006.62 $14,897.30
**Books: $800.00 $800.00
**Tools: $100.00 $100.00
**Field School Fees (Cost will vary depending)  $800.00 $800.00
Lab Fee per course with required lab (Lab fees are mandatory and cannot be waived. These non-refundable fees also apply to students with lab exemptions. Number of required labs may differ with course selection choice): $46.62 $46.62
Estimated Program Cost: $5,706.62 $16,597.30

Fees are effective as of August 7, 2018
*These fees are term based and may vary due to the length of the program.
**Please note that these are approximate costs and may vary depending on courses taken.

ACE Post-Degree Diploma Fees

Students can complete the Post-Degree Diploma in 1 year.

FEES Full-Time Domestic (30 Credits) Full-Time International (30 Credits) 
Tuition: $2,794.20 $11,875.35
*Student Union Fees: $83.04 $83.04
Mandatory Fees (includes 15 credits of required lab fees):


Health Insurance:  Not Applicable  $234.60
Tuition and Mandatory Fees Total: $3,323.94 $12,701.09
**Books: $800.00 $800.00
**Tools: $100.00 $100.00
**Field School Fees: $800.00 $800.00
Lab Fee per course with required lab (Lab fees are mandatory and cannot be waived. These non-refundable fees also apply to students with lab exemptions. Number of required labs may differ with course selection choice): $43.95 $43.95
Estimated Program Cost: $5,023.94 $14,401.09

Fees are effective as of August 7, 2018
*These fees are term based and may vary due to the length of the program.
**Please note that these are approximate costs and may vary depending on courses taken.