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First Nations and Endangered Languages

This program is pending final approval by the Ministry of Advanced Education.

The First Nations and Endangered Languages Program offers a program of study that leads to a Bachelor of Arts.

The First Nations and Endangered Languages Program (FNEL) is part of UBC's commitment to community-based collaboration with First Nations and other Indigenous peoples, in recognition of the vital importance of their languages and of the cultural traditions they represent. FNEL is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program within the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies in the Faculty of Arts.

British Columbia has an extraordinarily rich linguistic heritage, being the ancestral home of more than half of the Aboriginal languages of Canada. The reality is that all of the 34 surviving First Nations languages of BC are critically endangered, many facing the loss of their last generation of fluent speakers within the next decade. The loss of any one of these languages, which have flourished for millennia being passed from generation to generation as rich and vibrant oral traditions, constitutes an irreplaceable loss of a living expression of intellect, of specific cultural understanding, of a vital link to the past, and potential keys to our collective well-being, health, and sustainability.

Through partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band, the Faculty of Arts' First Nations and Endangered Languages (FNEL) program offers university-level classes in the traditional language and cultural heritage of the Musqueam (Coast Salish) people, on whose ancestral territory UBC is situated. These classes are held at the Musqueam Indian Reserve, and are taught in collaboration with members of the Musqueam community. The program also offers courses in other First Nations and Indigenous languages, as well as courses in methodologies and technologies for endangered language documentation, conservation, and revitalization.

FNEL courses are broadly interdisciplinary in approach and hence are of relevance to students in a diversity of humanities and social sciences programs who are interested in the complex spectrum of human language diversity, and in the dynamics of change, loss, sustainability, and revitalization.

Students can pursue a Major or Minor in FNEL. Alongside classes in which students can learn First Nations languages at all levels, from introductory to advanced, FNEL courses explore the processes and protocols for the documentation, conservation, and revitalization of endangered languages, cultures, and Indigenous knowledge systems locally, regionally and internationally.

Students pursuing a Major may wish to consider a double Major or a Minor in related areas such as First Nations and Indigenous Studies, Anthropology, Anthropological Archaeology, Linguistics, English Language, English Literature, History, Political Science, or Canadian Studies, among other options.

Major in First Nations and Endangered Languages

This program is pending final approval by the Ministry of Advanced Education.

The Major requires the completion of at least 66 credits in FNEL and related areas, of which 30 credits must be at the 300/400 level.

FNEL Language Requirement

  • 12 credits of FNEL 100- and 200-level language courses1

1Students may choose to study a single FNEL language, or may study different FNEL languages for a total of 12 credits.

Lower-level Requirements

Students must complete the following 12 credits of 100- and 200-level FNEL and FNIS courses:

  • FNEL 180 (3)
  • FNEL 281 (3)
  • FNEL 282 (3)
  • FNIS 100 (3)

In addition, students must complete at least 12 credits from the Recommended Course List at the 100- and 200-level.

Upper-level Requirements

Students must complete at least 15 credits of upper level FNEL courses, as follows:

  • A minimum of 6 credits from FNEL 389 (3), FNEL 448 (3-12), FNEL 481 (3) or FNEL 482 (3)
  • A minimum of 9 credits from FNEL 300- and 400-level language courses, FNEL 380 (3), FNEL 381 (3), FNEL 382 (3), FNEL 480 (3) or FNEL 489 (3-12)

In addition, students must complete at least 15 credits from the Recommended Course List at the 300- and 400-level. These 15 credits must include courses from at least three different disciplinary fields.

Students should visit the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program website for the Recommended Course List and additional information.

Minor in First Nations and Endangered Languages

This program is pending final approval by the Ministry of Advanced Education.

The Minor requires the completion of at least 36 credits in FNEL and related areas, of which 18 credits must be at the 300/400 level.

FNEL Language Requirement

  • 6 credits from FNEL 100- and/or 200-level language courses1

1Students may choose to study a single FNEL language, or may study two different FNEL languages for a total of 6 credits.

Lower-level Requirements

Students must complete at least 6 credits of 100- and 200-level FNEL courses, as follows:

  • 6 credits from FNEL 180, 281 and 282

In addition, students must complete at least 6 credits from the Recommended Course List at the 100- and 200-level.

Upper-level Requirements

Students must complete at least 9 credits of upper level FNEL courses, as follows:

  • A minimum of 6 credits from FNEL 389 (3), FNEL 448 (3-12), FNEL 481 (3) or FNEL 482 (3)
  • A minimum of 3 credits from FNEL 300- and 400-level language courses, FNEL 380 (3), FNEL 381 (3), FNEL 382 (3), FNEL 480 (3) or FNEL 489 (3-12)

In addition, students must complete at least 9 credits from the Recommended Course List at the 300- and 400-level. These 9 credits must include courses from at least 2 different disciplinary fields.

Students should visit the First Nations and Endangered Languages Program website for the Recommended Course List and additional information.

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