Aurora College

Aurora College | Fort Smith, N.W.T. | Founded 1968

Aurora College Maclean's Profile

Aurora College has three campuses. The largest and southernmost is Thebacha in Fort Smith, N.W.T., located near the Alberta border just outside Wood Buffalo National Park. Renovations are planned at the Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC), which is located at Aurora, the college’s northernmost campus, in Inuvik. The upgrades will add a warehouse, a loading bay, a marshalling space to support field research and a new workshop for researchers. The WARC is home to the Aurora Research Institute, which aims to respond to the territories’ socio-economic needs while integrating Indigenous knowledge. The Yellowknife North Slave campus, located in the N.W.T.’s capital city, is the site of the school’s nursing program, which has graduated more than 400 registered nurses.

A majority of Aurora’s students identify as Indigenous and come from northern communities. The school offers more than 35 certificate, diploma, degree, upgrading and apprenticeship programs designed to respond to the labour needs of the region. Areas of study include office and business administration, leadership, industrial training, mining, the environment and natural resources, and health and human services. Aurora College serves the North’s residents by operating 21 community learning centres. These centres primarily focus on academic upgrading and adult basic education to prepare residents in remote communities to enter the school’s certificate, diploma and degree programs.


Size of school Tuition (degree) Tuition (diploma) Tuition (certificate) Residence offerings
Small (fewer than 2,000 full-time students)  $3,600-$5,400 $3,600-$4,200 $3,600-$5,400 Yes

Cool Options

  • Country Food-Processing Methods: This two-week course teaches participants to preserve wild meat and fish, and to meet commercial standards.
  • Blended Delivery Personal Support Worker: To remain in their home communities, students can study online and attend in-person lab classes in communities outside Yellowknife.
  • Environment and Natural Resources Technology Diploma: By combining Western and traditional Indigenous knowledge, students prepare for careers in natural resources and environmental management.

Popular Programs

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Business Administration Diploma
  • Occupations and College Access
  • Personal Support Worker
  • Trades and Industrial Training

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