Adult Basic Education

Upgrade high school level courses in English, Kwak'wala, Nuu-chah-nulth, First Peoples studies, math and science to prepare for your chosen field. Classes are available online, and many have flexible meeting times during the day or evening. Individual support and self-paced learning plans are available to help you succeed.

 This program is currently not available to international applicants.
Where: College Wide, Online College Wide
Starts: Continuous entry start Sept through to Feb
Length: Varies
Delivery: Off-campus, Digital Unscheduled Class

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I’m taking upgrading classes in science and math to prepare for the Engineering Foundations certificate. It’s helpful to learn in an adult setting and the instructors, like Kathy Heywood, made the material really accessible.

Katie Tilley, NIC upgrading student

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Once you have submitted transcripts and/or completed an assessment, NIC educational advisors will recommend courses from the following list which are best suited to your current skill level personal goals.

Fundamental level courses provide you with the reading, study skills, writing and math they need to move on to other courses or for personal satisfaction.

Intermediate level courses provide the skills to meet the requirements of some employers and some vocational programs.

Advanced level courses provide the skills to start some vocational or technical training.

Provincial level courses provide the skills for Grade 12 equivalency and the Adult Graduation Diploma.


  • ENG-013 Fundamental English Level 1
  • ENG-014 Fundamental English Level 2
  • ENG-015 Fundamental English Level 3
  • ENG-025 Fundamental English Level 4
  • ENG-026 Fundamental English Level 5
  • ENG-027 Fundamental English Level 6
  • ENG-035 Intermediate English
  • ENG-052 Advanced English
  • ENG-096 First Peoples Literature and Composition
  • ENG-098 Technical and Academic Writing and Critical Analysis



  • BIO-060 Concepts in Biology I (Inhabiting the Human Body)
  • CHE-051 College Preparatory Chemistry I
  • CHE-060 College Preparatory Chemistry II
  • PHY-050 College Preparatory Physics I
  • PHY-060 College Preparatory Physics II

Other Subjects

  • FNS-060 First Nations Student Skills 1
  • FNS-061 First Nations Student Skills 2
  • FNS-096 BC First Peoples Studies
  • NCN-096 Introduction to Nuu-chah-nulth Language
  • NCN-097 Introductory Nuu-chah-nulth Language 2
  • KWA-096 Introduction to Kwak'wala
  • KWA-097 Introduction to Kwak'wala II
  • KWA-098 Kwak’wala Introduction to the U’mista Orthography

Admission Requirements

  1. Complete and submit the NIC Application for Admission form, writing Adult Basic Education as the program name.
  2. Submit any transcripts you may have.
  3. Meet with an educational advisor to discuss your upgrading goals. A skills assessment may be required and will be booked at this time.
  4. If you have a documented disability, please contact Access for Students with Disabilities for assistance with your assessment.

International Language Requirements

If you are applying as an international student, you must meet NIC international admission requirements.

Accessible Learning

Making education accessible for those with a documented disability is a key priority for NIC. We offer a wide range of services, supports and resources for students. For more information visit: Accessible Learning Services.

Nadine Simpson

Nadine Simpson


Adult Basic Education

BSc, Biology (Vancouver Island University, 2006)

BA, Anthropology (Vancouver Island University, 2006)

Subjects: Mathematics
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5083 | Location TTB - 122

Sara Child

Sara Child

Faculty, Researcher

Adult Basic Education, Humanities & Social Sciences

Master of Education Indigenous Language Revitalization (UVic, 2017)

Subjects: Early Childhood Education, English, Human Service Worker, Kwak'wala Language
Port Hardy Campus 250-949-7912 ext. 2841 | Location PH

Sandra Faust

Sandra Faust


Adult Basic Education

Bachelor of Arts, English (University of Victoria)

Subjects: English
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8709 | Location SOU - 118

Wilma Gus

Wilma Gus

Department Chair, Faculty

Adult Basic Education

Masters of Education in Curriculum and Development with Adult Education focus (University of Victoria, 2001)



Subjects: Mathematics
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8750 | Location CEN - 137

Laura Johnston

Laura Johnston


Aboriginal Education, English

Aboriginal Leadership Certificate (UBC 2016)

Masters of Arts in English Literature (UBC 2010)

PID (VCC 2004)

Bachelors of Arts in English Literature (Malaspina U-C 2003)

Subjects: Aboriginal Leadership, English
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000 ext. 4069 | Location VLG - N1
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9700 ext. 4021

Noreen McCaffrey

Noreen McCaffrey


Adult Basic Education

Subjects: English, English As a Second Language
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5059 | Location TTB - 127
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9700

Bill Morrison

Bill Morrison


Adult Basic Education, Mathematics-Science

MSc in Biology (Carleton University, 1986)
Ucluelet Centre 250-726-2697 | Location BCC
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8711 ext. 8788

Danita Schmidt

Danita Schmidt
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5060 | Location TTB - 117

Tony Trudel

Tony Trudel


Adult Basic Education, English As a Second Language

BC Teaching Certificate - Secondary Math (University of Victoria, 2009)

Subjects: English, English As a Second Language, Mathematics
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9770 ext. 7770 | Location CWG - 240C
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8711

Did you know ...

Your past grades don’t matter. What matters is where you’re headed. We’ll help you get started at a level that feels right, and you’ll move forward at your own pace with the support you need.

Different programs have different requirements. Depending on the program, you may need English or math or both. Speak with an educational advisor for more information.

You can finish your BC Adult Graduation diploma along the way. If you’re planning to take a college program, you can also take upgrading courses at the same time and graduate from college with your BC Adult Graduation diploma too. This may qualify you for a wider range of job opportunities. Ask an educational advisor for details.

How Does Upgrading Work?

NIC's educational advisors will work with you to recommend courses that are right for you. Advising sessions at the college are 30 minutes long. You can request a telephone appointment if that's easier than coming in person. Speak to an advisor to find out if you need to upgrade. Watch the program video to learn more.

  • Apply to the Adult Basic Education program.
  • Take an NIC assessment or provide NIC with your high school transcript.
  • Work with your advisor to develop your course plan.
  • Register and start classes.

Course Timetables / Study Options

You will find a wide variety of upgrading courses available at all NIC locations. There are scheduled courses that meet at the same time every week, or you can choose more flexible options like our continuous entry and online courses. The continuous entry and online courses are generally self-paced, but must be completed within four months of registering. Some courses allow you five months to complete, and they all include instructor support and follow-up.

Educational advisors at your nearest campus can provide you with a timetable of courses suited to your goals and your schedule. It is possible for you to build your timetable around jobs and child care. Contact an educational advisor to make your appointment today. 

Tuition & Costs Estimate

Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies, NIC appointed uniforms, or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit our tuition page.

Domestic Fees

per Course
NISU Fees $15

Tuition  is free for Adult Basic Education courses for domestic students.

Student Union (NISU) fees are charged and vary from $10 to $15 per course.

Book costs and Lab fees are dependent on the courses being taken.  Not all courses have Lab fees.