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Associate Degree in Arts | Sustainable Communities

Associate of Arts

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.

6 Credits in 1st Year English6
Introduction to Composition
Technical Writing I
9 Credits of Science which include:9
3 Credits of the following Computer Science, Math, or Statistics Courses:
Introduction to Computer Science
3 Credits in a Laboratory Science of the following:
Physical Geography II: Geology, Geomorphology and Soils
Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Permaculture Design
3 Credits in Science with or without Lab:
People and the Environment
Environments and Society
36 credits of Arts which include:36
6 credits in Humanities
Geography of Food
Introductory to First Nations Studies
Canada Since Mid-19th Century
History of British Columbia
Intro to Women's Studies
Equality and Sustainability
6 Credits in Social Sciences
Aboriginal Community Research
Aboriginal Health: Community Wellness & Healing
Regional Geography of B C
Economic Geography
Canadian Politics and Government
International Politics
International Political Economy
Introductory Sociology I
Introductory Sociology II
Sociology of the Family
The Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Rural Sociology
Sociology of Community
Intro Sustainable Community Development
Capstone Project
9 Credits of Additional Arts, Science, or Other Areas9
Total Credits60
  1. Apply direct to the University Credit Program
  2. Submit proof of English Studies 12 or First People's 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 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.

Admission to an intake does not guarantee completion in 2 years. 

Fees Domestic International
Full-time 30 Credits 30 Credits
Tuition $3,146.70 $13,373.40
Mandatory fees $240.00 $290.88

Lab fees (17.50 per credit)1

$52.50 $52.50
Student Union fees2 $109.28 $109.28
Health and Dental Insurance4,5 $285.00 $602.04
Total Tuition:


Books & supplies2 $2,000.00 $2,000.00
Field School fees3 $900.00 $900.00
Total: $6,733.48 $17,328.10

Tuition and fees effective August 1, 2024 for the 2024/25 Academic Year.

1Lab fees are mandatory. All associate degrees require a minimum of 3 credits in laboratory science, and students may take up to 42 lab credits.

2Costs are approximate and may vary depending on courses taken. Student union fees are term based.

3Field schools have additional costs between $100 - $1500 per field school, depending on the location and the activities. Field schools are not a mandatory component of all associate degrees, however, students are strongly encouraged to attend a field school during the spring/summer semester. Associate Degrees specializing in Environmental Geoscience are encouraged to attend a minimum of two field schools. Field schools are subject to different deposit requirements and refund rules.

4The Coast Mountain Students Union (CMSU) is pleased to announce that Extended Health and Dental Insurance has been approved by student referendum held in March 2021. Additional information will be provided by CMSU July 2021, including details of the coverage and directions for the opt out process for students with equivalent coverage. For any inquiries about the plan or referendum, please contact Golnoosh Namazi,

5Basic Health insurance is mandatory for all international students. Health insurance costs will be charged every term until students provide proof of MSP.

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

Further education 

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.