SFU announces Graduate Certificate in Hul’q’umi’num’ linguistics

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The nine-month program will start in April 2017 in Duncan, BC. E-mail gerdts@sfu.ca for more information. Applications for admission are now being accepted. Go here for more information about the requirements and admissions procedure:


The Graduate Certificate in the Linguistics of a First Nations Language (Hul’q’umi’num’) program offers training for language researchers, educators, and material developers. Students gain expertise in communication skills, language documentation, and the analysis of Hul’q’umi’num’. The learning model features mentorship and participation in projects in addition to formal lectures and paper writing.

This graduate program has been developed as a next step for the SFU students who have completed the undergraduate Certificate of First Nations Language Proficiency. Thanks to funding and facilities from Cowichan Valley School District 79, Nanaimo Ladysmith School District 68, Vancouver Island University, Stzuminus Senior Secondary School, Simon Fraser University, and HLCC, we have taught fifteen SFU undergraduate courses over the last five years. These courses (from the 100 to 400 level) have aimed at improving fluency and literacy and gaining skills in linguistic methods and analysis. Fifteen students have now completed the undergraduate certificate, and over fifty other students have attended our courses.

We are very pleased to offer this opportunity for post-graduate education to our valued language specialists. There are two paths for admission to this program: (1) completion of a bachelor’s degree or (2) expert knowledge in the Hul’q’umi’num’ language. We are very grateful to SFU to opening up a way for our esteemed Hul’q’umi’num’ speakers to count their linguistic and cultural knowledge and experience as the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree so that they can enter directly into the graduate program. And we also welcome those with BA or BEd degrees with a specialty in linguistics or a related field such as First Nations Studies, Anthropology, or language and culture education to join our cohort and improve their Hul’q’umi’num’ language skills. 

This is likely to be a one-time program, at least as offered by SFU. We welcome all inquiries from those who want to participate in our courses.

Upon completion of the graduate certificate, there will be an opportunity to continue on toward a masters degree. It has been our dream for many years to provide a path  for some of our younger language specialists to gain MA degrees and to move on to PhD degrees. We thank SFU for approving this graduate certificate to help them make this a first step.