CBU Inclusive

CBU Inclusive is a program for students who have an intellectual disability and do not meet the admission criteria set by the University for credit study.

Students will graduate with a certificate of completion in one of the following:

  • Arts and Social Sciences
  • Science
  • Education and Health
  • Business
  • Interdisciplinary Studies

Program Overview

CBU Inclusive students will choose courses in which they are interested, and which relate to individualized learning goals and potential employment paths.

CBU Inclusive students will receive support to engage in the participatory audit of regular classes, to participate in campus activities and to engage in social activities with their peers.

Support will be facilitated and provided by CBU Inclusive staff, peer mentors and student volunteers.

CBU Inclusive students may attend for approximately four years.

Maximum program enrolment in any year is five CBU Inclusive students.

Students attend for between 2 and 4 years

CBU Inclusive students who complete a minimum of 2 years participation and complete their program according to their personalized plans, will receive a certificate along with a detailed learning transcript.

Questions? Please contact Eleanor Muggah at inclusive@cbu.ca for more information.


  • Enhance knowledge, skills and awareness
  • Improve social and communication skills
  • Meet peers with similar interests
  • Develop friendships
  • Continue learning with peers in an academic setting
  • Engage in athletic, leisure and recreational activities with other young adults
  • Prepare for future employment possibilities
  • Work or volunteer at the University
  • Explore personal interests
  • Achieve personal goals
  • Experience personal growth

University of Alberta was the first to begin Inclusive Postsecondary Education programs for students with developmental disabilities in 1987. Alberta continues to be a leader in this area.

Programs in Alberta are delivered by postsecondary institutions in partnership with the Alberta Association for Community Living.

Axcess Acadia was the first IPSE option in Nova Scotia, followed by Mount Saint Vincent and now Cape Breton University.

In June of 2019, the Nova Scotia Inclusive Post-Secondary Education committee was formed.

Planning: The process of including students with intellectual disabilities begins when each student plans their program of study with the support of their family or other supporters, and our Coordinator. Each student selects courses based on their interests, career goals, past experiences or the areas they wish to explore.

Registration: After a student has selected their courses, the coordinator approaches each course instructor to explain the program and request permission for that student to audit the course. Once a program of courses is set, the students are assisted through the registration process as auditing students at Cape Breton University.

Academic Support: The Coordinator will assist with building a foundation with peer support for the student in each course.  In addition, a peer mentor may be provided to each student.

Ongoing Support: As the students attend classes the coordinator, peer mentors and volunteers of the program support the students by shaping course content and adapting assignments to meet their unique individual needs and abilities. Their programs are designed to mirror the academic experiences of other university students including classes, labs, library work, study groups, and field trips. Students may study in any faculty or school at Cape Breton University with the permission of the course instructor.

The program is designed to support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who otherwise would be excluded from post-secondary education. Prior academic achievement is not a prerequisite for inclusion in the program. However, the applicant’s level of commitment and interest in post-secondary study, and the support of family and friends are important factors. Students are not excluded due to the severity of their impairments. Resource limitations may restrict the intake of new students. Currently, we are seeking students with learning and life goals that best fit the programs and courses available at Cape Breton University. An application and interview with the applicant and their family/caregivers is required.

Step 1: Contact inclusive@cbu.ca to express your interest in the program.

Step 2: The Inclusive Program Coordinator will arrange an interview to discuss your interests, goals, and accommodations.

Step 3: The Inclusive Program Coordinator will provide an application fee waiver code. You enter this code when you apply for the program at: Apply Now – Cape Breton University : Cape Breton University (cbu.ca) . The Inclusive Program Coordinator can help with filling out the application form by request.

Step 4: Once you have received an acceptance letter to the program, you can start signing up for courses with the help of the Inclusive Program Coordinator!

Students pay the auditing fee for each course. Students are responsible for paying for their own transportation, student fees, books, supplies, and incidental expenses. Monetary support may be available for educational disability-related supports such as, tutoring, note taking, communication supports, assistive technology or specialized transportation.

Volunteers encourage and support students in the program as they participate in leisure activities, recreational activities, intramural sports, university clubs and relaxing time at lunch or between classes. The opportunity to develop friendships and acquaintances with their peers at the university is an important aspect of the program.