Access Studies Program

The Access Studies program provides a transformative experience for students that stays with them as they move into degree studies and beyond.
Aboriginal Students studying by a window

Find your path to University.


Program Overview

Aboriginal Access Studies is an entrance program that prepares and transitions Indigenous learners into degree programs at UBC. The program combines both academic and non-academic activities to form a rich, full-time schedule in a supportive university setting.

University courses and tutorials/ workshops

Students take up to three university level courses per term applicable to their intended degree program. These courses may be combined with non-credit, academic upgrading courses – such as Writing or Math – if required.

Students also attend mandatory tutorials and workshops to enhance their academic skills and knowledge. These activities prepare students for their transition into degree programs and are critical for success.

Indigenous Student Advisors provide individualized academic planning and help Access students choose courses based on their academic backgrounds and degree goals.

Degree transition

Students can apply to a post-secondary degree program after successfully completing a minimum of six courses (18 credits). Those who achieve a minimum of 60% in each of their courses and who meet program requirements are considered eligible to transfer into their desired UBC Okanagan campus undergraduate degree program. Courses taken in Aboriginal Access Studies will apply towards degree programs as either required or elective credits.


Application deadlines

Applications for Aboriginal Access Studies are open year-round. Students may start the program in either September or January.

Who can apply

The program welcomes a diverse range of Indigenous applicants who may not be prepared for direct admission to a degree program. Applicants may include:

  • Recent high school graduates
  • Mature students
  • Applicants whose grades do not reflect their academic potential
  • Applicants who would like additional supports as they transition into university

Student profiles

Aboriginal Access Studies student Kalie Anderson

Kalie Anderson

Nation: Métis
Hometown: High Prairie, AB

“I don’t think that I would have gone to university if it weren’t for the Aboriginal Access program.

“I was already apprehensive about going back to school, but the Access program made the transition really easy and achievable.”

learn more about kalie’s story

Aboriginal Access Studies student Sidney Paul

Sidney Paul

Nation: Secwepemc (Shuswap)
Hometown: Esketemc (Alkali Lake)

“I was not convinced on attending university. I didn’t think I had the grades, hadn’t a clue on how to apply, what programs to apply for, let alone what programs existed. The Access program provided me with an extra step to take in life; it provided an option.

I have become a young advocate in my small community. I have encouraged a number of young people coming out of high school to apply for post-secondary and to further their education.”

Course Fees

Students and applicants pay regular UBC tuition and student fees for each course they take.


Aboriginal Access Studies is a university entrance program that is intended to meet the full-time eligibility requirements for most government-funded sponsorship programs, including the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) and the University College Entrance Preparation Program (UCEPP). Aboriginal Access Studies is also intended to fulfill student loan requirements. However, students must consult with funding providers to determine eligibility.


The Indigenous Centre on UBC’s Okanagan campus is a home away from home that includes a study and social space, computer lab, kitchen, and meeting room.

The Indigenous Centre’s programming encompasses the academic, social, and cultural aspects of student life, and includes:

  • Indigenous Student Orientation
  • Academic planning specific to personal goals
  • Mandatory weekly workshops on academic, health/ well-being, and career topics
  • Individual support, referrals, and advocacy
  • Social, cultural, and physical events throughout the year
  • Social and cultural events throughout the year
  • A supportive team of Indigenous Peer Mentors and Tutors


On-campus housing is available, and living in residence provides an opportunity to meet new people, live in a study-oriented atmosphere, and get help for academic and personal challenges.

UBC’s Okanagan campus prioritizes housing for all self-identified Indigenous students who plan to start studies in September; housing applications need to be submitted before the housing deadline for students to receive priority.

learn more about on-campus housing

Indigenous Integrated Learning Community

There is also an Indigenous Integrated Learning Community, a unique opportunity to live in a close-knit community with peers – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students – who share interests in Indigenous history, identity, and culture.

view housing details

How to apply

Contact an Indigenous Student Advisor at the time of application. Advisors will help determine your goals and ensure your academic plan supports transition into your intended degree program.

Applicants will need to provide transcripts from high school, upgrading and/or other post-secondary programs. Transcripts are required for the academic planning process.

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