Aurora College

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

Aurora College Maclean's Profile

Aurora College has three campuses, the largest being Thebacha in Fort Smith, N.W.T. Located near the Alberta border just outside Wood Buffalo National Park, Thebacha is also the school’s southernmost campus.

The Aurora campus in Inuvik is the college’s northernmost campus. The Aurora Research Institute (ARI) is in this region, too. It aims to respond to the economic and social needs of the territories while integrating Indigenous knowledge. It focuses on applied research in agriculture, the environment,  health and information technology.

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 350 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 process country food, including the preservation of wild meat and fish, to meet commercial standards.
  • Early Learning and Child Care Diploma: Emphasis in this program is on the development of inclusive, play-based curriculum for children from birth to age 11 with a focus on adapting Indigenous languages, cultures and traditions across the entire curriculum and delivery model. Students observe the application of best practices and apply their knowledge in real-world settings through field placements, including a “Bushkids” camp.
  • 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
  • University and College Access
  • Trades and Industrial Training

Correction: The 2021 Colleges Guidebook includes Remote Nursing as a cool option. This program is no longer offered by the college, and has been replaced with Early Learning and Child Care here. 

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