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Associate of Arts Degree - Sustainable Communities Specialization


Sustainable Community Development Program “From the Home to the Land”

Do you want to work at the intersection of nature and cities, indigenous wisdom and modern technology, permaculture, ecology and economy?

Can you imagine yourself working at the leading edge of the biggest social, cultural and economic shift since the Industrial Revolution, helping communities, companies and nations grapple with the opportunities and threats of a rapidly changing world?

With an SCD Associate Degree, you can begin working with communities immediately or continue on to a Bachelor of Arts program at Simon Fraser University (SFU) or Royal Roads University (RRU).

Program Outline 

The “Home to the Land” concept of learning describes the multi-disciplinary integrated approach to creating a sustainable community that provides economic opportunities and a healthy socially engaged community that limits its impact on the natural environment.

Utilizing the 3 foundational ethics of permaculture; people care, earth care, and fair share, students will develop leadership and organizational skills along with a deep insight into the relationships between family, community structure, First Nations perspectives, the political system, the role of resource extraction on community development, and different models for economic development.

Subject Course Title Credits
6 Credits in 1st year English     
ENGL 101 AND University Writing  3
ENGL 151  Technical Writing I 3

9 Credits in Science which include:
3 Credits in a Computer Science, Math, or Statistics:

CPSC 111 AND Introduction to Computer Science  3
3 Credits in a Laboratory Science:    
GEOG 160 OR Geology and Geomorphology  3
GEOG 204 OR  Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems 3
SUST 120 Introduction to Permaculture  3
3 Credits in Science with or without Lab:    
GEOG 110 OR People and the Environment  3
GEOG 210  Environments and Society  3

36 Credits in Arts which include:

6 Credits in Humanities     
GEOG 215  Geography of Food  3
FNST 101  Introduction to First Nations Studies  3
HIST 106 Canada Since Mid-Nineteenth Century  3
HIST 213  History of BC - People and Resources  3
WMST 102 OR Introduction to Women's Studies  3
SUST 207  Equality and Sustainability  3
6 Credits in Social Sciences     
FNST 200 OR Indigenous Research Pathways  3
FNST 210  Traditional Human, Health, and Well Being  3
GEOG 225  Geography of BC  3
GEOG 222  Economic Geography  3
POLI 102  Canadian Politics and Government  3
POLI 203  International Relations  3
POLI 213 International Political Economy  3
SOCI 101  Introduction to Sociology I  3
SOCI 102  Introduction to Sociology II  3
SOCI 205 OR Sociology of the Family Canada  3
SOCI 206 OR Sociology of the Family Global  3
SOCI 270 OR Rural Sociology  3
SOCI 261 Sociology of Community  3
SUST 201  Intro to Sustainable Community Development  3
SUST 250 AND Capstone Project   
Additional 9 Credits in Arts, Science, or Other Areas   Total Program Credits = 60
Career Opportunities 

Upon successful completion of the program students will be able to secure work in the following settings:

  • Local Government/Regional Districts
  • First Nation Communities
  • Consulting Firms
  • NGO’s – e.g. Community Futures, Northern Development Initiative, etc.
  • Community development organizations  – e.g. Kaien Island Anti-Poverty
  • Social Enterprises

The type of work graduates may be employed could include the following activities:

  • Upgrading the efficiency of energy use in buildings, products, and transportation systems
  • Adopting and implementing sustainable forestry, fisheries, soil, and watershed management practices
  • Expanded delivery and use of information technologies
  • Sustainable tourism activities centered around areas of environmental, cultural, and historic significance
  • Recycling and re-manufacturing of solid and hazardous waste into marketable products
  • Accelerated and expanded development of marine and freshwater aquaculture
  • Adding value to fish, agricultural, and forest products
  • Developing, manufacturing, and marketing products, services, and technologies that reduce environmental burdens

Laddering Opportunities 

Laddering towards the completion of a Bachelor’s degree can occur at Royal Roads University with a BA in Environmental Practice and with the SFU Centre for Sustainable Development undergraduate Certificate Program. 

The SFU certificate program exists within the traditional 4 year degree program of which there are a number of streams a student could follow for degree completion.  Choose one of those streams and take 3rd and 4th year Sustainable Community courses as your electives.

Admission Requirements 
  1. Apply direct to the University Credit Program.
  2. Submit proof of English 12 or equivalent.
  3. Once admitted, register in the courses required for this specialization.

Course prerequisites include:

  • Math 11

The prerequisites for individual courses are outlined in the course descriptions. Students missing prerequisites may enrol in Career & College Preparation (CCP) upgrading courses while completing the program.

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 locations:  Prince Rupert.

Study on a full or part-time basis.  Some courses are available online and by teleconference.

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

Program Fees