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SAPL Indigenous Pathways Program

Welcome to the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary, located in the heart of Southern Alberta, both acknowledges and pays tribute to the traditional territories of the peoples of Treaty 7, which include the Blackfoot Confederacy (comprised of the Siksika, the Piikani, and the Kainai First Nations), the Tsuut’ina First Nation, and the Stoney Nakoda (including Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Goodstoney First Nations). The City of Calgary is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta (Districts 5 and 6).

About the program

Indigenous worldviews play an invaluable role in design practices. As such, there is a strong demand for Indigenous designers in both academia and industry. In alignment with the University of Calgary's Indigenous Strategyii' taa' poh' to' p, the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape has created the SAPL Indigenous Pathways Program (IPP). 

The Indigenous Pathways Program is intended to support Indigenous Peoples who are interested in design and the built environment (whether that be cities, landscapes or buildings) and who want to pursue a Bachelor of Design in City Innovation (BDCI) at SAPL. We will aim to foster an Indigenous-centered community in which students are provided with the requisite supports that promote their skill development, well-being and success as design scholars.

As you explore the page, if you have any questions about any aspect of the program, please contact us. You can reach us by email at the link below. 


Instructor spotlight: Shyniaya Duffy


You’re not an expert in anyone’s life but your own.

Shyniaya Duffy

Hailing from Coral Harbour, Nunavut, as an Inuk, Shyniaya Duffy brings a unique background to the euro-centric field of architecture. Raised on Treaty 7 Territory, otherwise known as Alberta, she has actively worked towards reconnecting with her cultural heritage, navigating the complexities of being mixed, and finding her identity within both Indigenous and Western contexts.

In her current roles as a sessional instructor and the SAPL IPP program coordinator, she strives to incorporate Indigenous perspectives into her teaching. Dedicated to helping students and faculty understand how colonization has shaped the built environment, Shyniaya challenges them to think critically about the reflection of euro-centric views within design and the necessity of addressing this. 

Shyniaya Duffy holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies from Dalhousie University, as well as a Diploma in Engineering Design and Drafting Technology from Lethbridge College. Shyniaya has worked within the architectural profession throughout school and since graduating, most recently joining GGA Architecture as an Intern Architect, and SAPL as a sessional instructor. Additionally, she is a member of the RAIC Indigenous Task Force, the purpose of which is to foster and promote Indigenous Design and architecture within Canada.

This program is continuously being developed, with Shyniaya working with each student in the way that they need, to help guide them through design schools unique challenges and to foster academic growth. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact her.

Program benefits

Program Choice

We offer admittance directly into the Bachelor of Design in City Innovation program (BDCI).

Learn about the BDCI

Individualized Student Pathways

We will work with you to customize your first-year schedule based on your interests and what you need to succeed.

Individualized Student Pathways

Holistic Student Supports

We will work with you to mobilize a network of personal, financial, academic, and career supports that best suit your needs.

Holistic Student Supports

What do designers do?


Architects bring together stakeholders and experts from a wide array of fields towards the design of environments and objects at many scales. SAPL trains students to engage with the problems and opportunities of a quickly changing world.


Professional planners have a range of expertise including social services planning, housing, recreation, transportation, policy, regulatory compliance, project management, urban design, development approval, area structure planning, and community engagement.

Landscape Architect

They have a range of expertise in technology, construction, plants, public space and street design, recreational amenities, climate change adaptation, low impact development, project management, habitat and park design, industrial landscape restoration and reclamation, and urban design.

Urban Designer

An urban designer is responsible for how land is used within an urban area. They may focus on the development of new residential housing to accommodate for population growth, and they also have to determine needs such as transportation and other services.

City Administrator

They oversee the day-to-day operations and services of a city or town and are responsible for implementing the plans and policies of the city government. They spend time planning and implementing programs meant to benefit the members of the public.

Sustainability Specialist

They champion environmental best practices to help their team deliver a project that meets or exceeds green targets. They address issues such as waste-stream management, tracking and minimizing carbon emissions and other environmental impacts.

Community Development Officer

A community development officer is involved with urban planning, assessment of housing needs and revitalization projects within a city or community. This may include interfacing with zoning officers, building inspectors and land development managers. 

Computational Designer

They leverage parametric modeling and AI-driven tools to create innovative solutions, seamlessly blending art and technology. Using the power of deep learning models and robotics, they pioneer cutting-edge design approaches, shaping a future where creativity and computational prowess converge.

Public Policy Analyst

Policy analysts conduct research to identify emerging issues, develop policy and advocacy initiatives, and determine policy positions and solutions. Policy making in cities comprises looking at building regulations, environment, heritage conservation, sustainable development, and much more.

How to apply

Explore the BDCI Program

Learn more about the first-of-its-kind transdisciplinary BDCI. We offer guaranteed admission to the BDCI program to students that are in good standing and meet the requirements.

Explore BDCI

Check your admission requirements

We encourage you to apply if you have a strong interest in design, the built environment and have completed the course requirements, regardless of standing.

View course requirements

Apply to BDCI

Applications are considered on an rolling basis. Please contact the University of Calgary Indigenous Admissions team to guide you through the process. They can be reached by email through the link below.

Email the Indigenous student recruitment team 

Accept your admission offer

We’ll send you an admission package that contains all the details of your admission offer. You’ll need to accept your admission offer in your Student Centre and pay your admission deposit by the specified deadline.

Go to your Student Centre

Questions about the program? Contact: