Master's Degree in Native Studies


The Department of Native Studies M.A. program offers opportunities for specialization in First Nations, Inuit and Métis histories, cultures, social and theoretical issues. Areas of study include, but are not limited to: Aboriginal land, resource and constitutional rights; governance; politics; economic and ecological development; identity; contemporary Aboriginal literatures; Indigenous film; languages; gender; justice issues; post-colonial historiography and criticism. The graduate program reflects Aboriginal perspectives in teaching and research.

The emphasis of the M.A. Program is on research and therefore a thesis is a degree requirement. In addition to the thesis, M.A. students must also complete a minimum of 18 credit hours of course work at the graduate level, of which 12 credit hours are mandatory and are listed below:

i)    NATV 7230 Methodology and Research Issues in Native Studies: A review of research methods, such as oral histories, and research issues, such as ethics and intellectual property rights, within the context of Native Studies.

ii)    NATV 7240 Issues in Colonization: An examination of the factors influencing colonization, assimilation and indigenization. Explores the colonization and decolonization processes, theories of colonization and ways of promoting indigenization without assimilation.

iii)    NATV 7250 Culture, Theory and Praxis: A study of selected material in Métis, First Nations, or Inuit studies, designed to meet the special needs of the graduate student interested in exploring interdisciplinary perspectives in Native Studies.

iv)    NATV 7280 Native Studies Colloquia: Theoretical, methodological, ethical and contextual issues in Native Studies are explored from the perspectives of formally and informally trained experts using colloquia format. Students are required to attend regularly and one presentation is required each time this course is taken. This course is taken more three times: Colloquia (1 credit hour), Seminar (1 credit hour) and Presentation (1 credit hour).
Of the 18 credit hours required to meet degree requirements, 6 credit hours are elective. The Department of Native Studies has several other courses to choose from and students should also be aware that graduate level courses from other departments are acceptable as their electives upon approval by the student's Advisor.

Upon completion of coursework, students will develop and deliver a thesis project of approximately three-four chapters and 80-100 pages in length (although some circumstances may vary). This thesis will be overseen by a thesis supervisor and two committee members, one of whom is internal to the department and the other which is usually external. A thesis is a formal comprehensive, written dissertation describing original research on a chosen subject. This work may include, but not be restricted to:
-    Investigation aimed at a discovery and/or interpretation of facts;
-    Challenge and/or possible revisions of accepted theories or laws; and
-    The ordering and synthesizing of existing findings to support a conclusion which could open up new research directions.

The approval from a University of Manitoba Research Ethics Board (REB) may be required prior to the student proceeding with the information gathering procedures for the thesis or practicum. The original letter of the approval from the REB should be kept by the student. A copy of the original should be submitted to FGS at the completion of the thesis/practicum. For further information on ethics, please click HERE.

Upon completion of the thesis, students are to submit their thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and have a formal defence of this thesis with the committee. The decision of the committee must be unanimous for students to complete the program.

A typical trajectory of a students progress therefore for the Masters in Arts is as follows:
1.    Student is accepted into program
2.    Student makes funding plan for graduate work
3.    Student chooses and/or is appointed an advisor
4.    Complete Advisor/Student Guidelines
5.    Complete Coursework
6.    Selection of Thesis Supervisory committee
7.    Development of thesis/practicum & proposal
8.    Proposal is approved by committee and/or supervisor
9.    If necessary, obtain approval as needed from Research Ethics Board (and other committees from outside agencies if access approval is required)
10.    Conduct research/study/work for thesis
11.    Completion of thesis
12.    Approval of thesis by Supervisor
13.    Distribution of thesis/practicum to Supervisory Committee 
14.    Oral examination within one month of distribution
15.    Further revisions (if applicable)
16.    Revisions approved by Advisor
17.    Submission of final thesis/practicum to FGS

A typical Masters program takes place over 2-3 years.


Students can apply for admission in September or January. 

Application deadlines are:
-    May 15 for September admission
-    January 15 for International students
-    January 15 for all students if you are applying for funding
-    September 15 for January admission (for Canadian students only)

The following documents are required as part of the application process:
1.  Native Studies Graduate Program application form (which includes a Statement of Intent)
2.  Faculty of Graduate Studies application
3.  International Students please check the following websites and

For more information, please click on "Native Studies" under the Faculty of Graduate Studies supplemental regulations page.