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.
ACE field studies
At Coast Mountain College we are always exploring new ways to move our courses into the field. Our rugged geography and variable climates enhance our classrooms. Learn about our collaborative field day on Digby Island, view samples of our project work and check out the Applied Coastal Ecology photo gallery.
Dates and locations
|September||Prince Rupert Campus|
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.
Admission to an intake does not guarantee completion in 2 years.
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. 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
ACE diploma requirements
|First Year Sciences|
|18 Credits First Year Sciences: 1||18|
|Introductory Biology I - Cells, Diversity & Physiology|
and Introductory Biology II - Genetics, Evolution & Ecology
4 of the following First Year Sciences: 2
|Fundamentals of Chemistry I|
|Principles of Chemistry II|
|People and the Environment|
|Physical Geog I: Biogeography, Meteorology and Climatology|
|Physical Geography II: Geology, Geomorphology and Soils|
or GEOL 157
|Intro to Northwest Geology|
|Introduction to Physics I|
|Introductory Physics II|
|Advanced Physics I|
|Advanced Physics II|
|3 Credits of Computer Science:||3|
|Introduction to Computer Science|
|6 Credits of the following First Year English:||6|
|Introduction to Literature|
|Technical Writing I|
|Technical Writing II|
|Second Year Courses|
|15 Credits of Second Year Courses:|
|GEOG 204||Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)||3|
|4 of the following:||12|
|Principles of Ecology|
|Intro Physical, Chemical and Geological Oceanography|
|Introduction to Biological Oceanogrphy|
|Environmental Work Placement|
|22 Credits of the following ACE Courses:||22|
|Applied Service Learning|
|Fisheries Management & Coastal Policy|
|Fishes of the Pacific Northwest Rearing|
|Monitoring & Measuring Aquatic and Inter|
|Coastal Forest Measurements|
|Wildlife Conservation & Monitoring Population Management|
|Stream Habitat Assessment & Restoration|
|Temperate Rainforest Ecology|
Other Ace courses as available
|ACE 197||Environmental Monitoring Techniques||3|
|6 Credits of the following Electives:||6|
|Calculus I: Differential Calculus|
|Introduction to Statistics|
Others as available
Min 6 credits lab biology
12 credits 1st year
English proficiency is required for all students entering CMTN 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.
Applied Coast Ecology Diploma
- Apply direct to Applied Coastal Ecology (ACE)
- Submit proof of English 12 or equivalent
- Life Sciences 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 Life Sciences 11, Chemistry 11, Foundation of Math 11, and English Studies 12, English First Peoples 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.
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.
|Full-time:||35 credits||35 credits|
|Student Union Fees:1||$125.22||$125.22|
|Mandatory Fees (includes 24 credits of required lab fees):||$634.50||$703.17|
|Health Insurance:||Not Applicable||$287.15|
|Tuition and Mandatory Fees Total:||$4,084.75||$15,246.79|
|Field School Fees (Cost will vary):2||$900.00||$900.00|
|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):||$47.55||$47.55|
|Estimated Program Cost:||$6,384.75||$17,546.79|
Fees are effective as of August 1, 2019 for the 2019/20 academic year.
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.
University transfer agreements
Start here, finish anywhere!
ACE Diploma graduates are able to move onto University Degree completion with a number of transfer pathways. The majority of courses within the program transfer directly to colleges and universities in British Columbia through the BC Transfer System. The ACE program also has a number of specific transfer agreements with institutions that facilitate a seamless transfer between programs.
Explore our pathways to degree completion:
BC Transfer System
The BC Transfer Guide is the main resource to look up the transfer of courses between institutions within the province.
Royal Roads Transfer Agreement
Transfer direct into the third-year of a Royal Road’s Bachelor of Science degree and graduate with a degree in Environmental Science or Environmental Management.
UBC Transfer Agreement
Transfer directly into the third-year of UBC’s Natural Resources Conservation Bachelor of Science (BSc) and major in Science and Management or Global Perspectives.
In addition to these pathways, more general agreements exist 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.
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.
- 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
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:
- 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.
- 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.