Aboriginal Culture and Language Support Diploma

Why consider the ACLS Diploma?

The Aboriginal Culture and Language Support diploma program is focused on providing the knowledge, skills, and perspectives required for employment as an Aboriginal support worker. As an ACLS worker, your unique understanding of and sensitivity to the values, beliefs, and needs of the students' Aboriginal community, as well as the needs of the education system, will make you a valuable asset to the schools in which you work.There are approximately 5,000 Aboriginal students in Kindergarten – grade 12 in the eastern Fraser Valley region, and all of them would benefit from the involvement of an ACLS graduate. British Columbia educators recognize the contribution that Aboriginal support workers make in assisting Aboriginal students to achieve greater academic success and respect traditional cultural teachings.

Who is the ACLS Diploma program for?

This two-year program is culturally relevant and responsive to the needs of the Aboriginal community. It is designed to meet the requirements of individuals currently employed or seeking employment in K-12 Aboriginal education, both in public and First Nation-operated band schools as Aboriginal support workers.

How can this diploma fit into my ongoing education?

The ACLS diploma program can ladder into the Developmental Standard Term Certificate (DSTC), a 90-credit teaching certificate designed by the local Halq’emeylem language authority (Sto:lo Shxwlélì) in partnership with SFU. It is approved by the BC College of Teachers (now the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministy of Education) as a certification requirement to teach this Aboriginal language in elementary schools.

Upon completion of the ACLS diploma, students are able to further their education in several ways. Those who have made the decision to ladder into the DSTC can continue their studies to complete a Bachelor of Education degree. As a second option, graduates may choose to pursue a degree in General Studies, Social Work, or Arts.

Why should I study for my ACLS diploma at UFV?

UFV is the only post-secondary institution in BC’s Lower Mainland to offer a diploma program specifically for Aboriginal support workers. Learn more about UFV.

What are the entrance requirements?

Please see the Academic Calendar for the current entrance requirements.

Program Outline

First Year - Semester I
Course #Title
HALQ 101 Halq'emeylem Language
 HSER 120  Intro to Interpersonal Communications
ENGL 105  Reading and Writing of Prose
HIST 103   Sto:lo History
FNST 101  First Nation Development


First Year - Semester II
Course #Title
HALQ 102 Halq'emeylem Language
HSER 200 Counselling Skills
MATH 105 Math for the Elementary Teacher
ENGL 170 Literature in Context - First Nations
EDUC 290 Intro to Aboriginal Culture and Language Education


Second Year - Semester III
Course #Title
HALQ 201 Halq'emeylem Language
FNST 275/  EDUC 275 Contemporary Issues and  Policies in Aboriginal Education
EDUC 291 Intermediate Studies in Aboriginal Culture and Language Studies
FNST 201 Sto:lo Communication and World View
Elective Lab science elective


Second Year - Semester IV
Course #Title
HALQ 202 Halq'emeylem Language
FNST 202 Sto:lo Social Structure
HSER 192 Supporting Learner Development
FNST 230 Aboriginal Culture and Language Practicum

Are there any special regulations?

A program GPA of 2.0 (C average) is required for practicum placement and graduation. All FNST courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Students who are not making satisfactory progress may be required to withdraw from the program. Unsatisfactory progress can include the following:

  • Being placed on academic warning for inappropriate classroom conduct
  • Failing two or more courses in one semester
  • Failing a required course twice
  • Failing a practicum based course: EDUC 290, EDUC 291, FNST 230
  • Failing to maintain a 2.0 program GPA

Acceptance into the program does not guarantee practicum placement. Placement into the practicum will be at the discretion of the instructor. A CGPA of 2.0 is required for practicum placement. Students will be individually assessed during the third semester as to their readiness for the practicum, in terms of skills, attitudes, and knowledge. The ability to pass a criminal-record check is a prerequisite for most placements and a professional appearance is necessary. Practicum students must adhere to host school’s dress code. Practica placement is not guaranteed in student’s home community. Transportation for all practica is the student’s responsibility.

  • Students currently working as an Aboriginal support worker with at least three years work experience in an educational setting may be able to challenge FNST 230. Challenge options are to be discussed, by appointment, with the Department Head.
  • Students who do not complete a prerequisite course may be allowed to register for a subsequent course at the discretion of the Department Head. UFV reserves the right to cancel any course for which there is insufficient registration.

A program GPA of 2.0 (C average) and successful completion of FNST 230 (practica) is required for graduation.

Who will be teaching me?

Instructors bring a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, including education and social work. First Nations courses may be taught by Social Work and Human Services faculty. Other instructors have implicit knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal world views. Halq'emeylem language courses are certified by Sto:lo Shxwlélì (the Halq'emeylem Language Authority) and are recognized by the BC College of Teachers.

How much will it cost? Can I afford it?

In addition to tuition, your costs include books, supplies, housing, meals, transportation, and personal expenses. On average, full-time ACLS students pay $4000 tuition each academic year. Books and supplies average $500/year. Prospective students are encouraged to make an appointment with Aboriginal Access Services staff to discuss funding options.It’s worth a visit to the UFV financial aid and awards office, which facilitates the disbursement each year of approximately $7 million in federal and provincial student loans, B.C. grants, bursaries, scholarships, and awards to UFV students. A helpful budget planning worksheet is available.

What sort of support will I get?

Plenty. For more information about support and student services at UFV, visit Student Services and learn about the broad range of services designed to help you learn about and adjust to the university environment.

You can also enjoy the services of S’olh Shxwlèlí — Aboriginal Access Services. Aboriginal students from Stó:lõ territory, as well as from other territories, are an important part of UFV’s student population. S’olh Shxwlèlí means “our places” in Halq’emeylem. Cultural activities, which are open to all students, include luncheons, circle meetings, Elder visits and gatherings, workshops, and many other events both on- and off-campus. 

I’m not sure that this program is for me. Can I speak with someone about my options?

Absolutely! We want to hear from you. If you’re unsure of your direction, contact the Advising Centre to book an advising appointment.

To arrange a tour, attend an info session, or find other useful resources, visit the Future Students webpage.

Sounds good. What should I do now?

Apply immediately through Aboriginal Access Services. Call 604-504-7441 (Abbotsford and area), 604-792-0025 (Chilliwack), or toll-free at 1-888-504-7441.

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