After FNIS . . .

Wondering what you could do with an undergraduate degree or graduate training in First Nations and Indigenous Studies?  Here are just a few of the many options! FNIS staff and faculty can offer more details about these and other possibilities.

  • Community-based researcher
  • University-based researcher
  • Community development worker
  • Inter-governmental officer
  • Community-industry liaison
  • Community-university liaison
  • Cultural resource manager
  • Rural development officer
  • Art conservator/technician
  • Arts advocate
  • Multiculturalism educator
  • Impact assessment officer
  • Youth worker
  • Archaeological fieldworker
  • Cultural artifact specialist
  • Documentary writer/director/producer
  • Fundraiser
  • Employment equity officer
  • Public administration
  • Community services analyst
  • Community program co-ordinator
  • Tourism consultant
  • Public policy analyst
  • Media consultant
  • Student/academic advisor
  • Museum curator
  • Administrative assistant (Indigenous Affairs)
  • Community services assistant
  • Indigenous education specialist
  • Community support worker
  • Arts and heritage advisor
  • Education resource specialist
  • Environmental assessment officer
  • Resource management specialist

Post-BA Opportunities

Our alumni have gone on to careers and post-BA opportunities in a variety of fields. The research skills taught and practiced in the practicum are valued by outside organizations, as well as the academic community. There are job opportunities with Indigenous organizations, government, and the private sector. Students with an undergraduate degree in First Nations and Indigenous Studies have also gone on to pursue studies in anthropology, education, interdisciplinary studies, and law programs – to name a few. This section will discuss a few of the programs that are available locally and globally, namely in Indigenous studies.

The following locations have available programs:

  • UBC
  • Canada
  • United States
  • Australia & New Zealand


Faculty of Education – MA and others

In the Faculty of Education, students complete a program designed to equip them for teaching, research, and administrative positions. The Faculty trains students for a diverse range of educational positions at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Faculty of Law – Indigenous Legal Studies Program

Students can complete a law degree (J.D.) with a focus on Indigenous legal issues. The program offers a student association and focused set of core courses on Indigenous law, as well as an opportunity to work at a legal clinic in the Downtown East Side.

School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) – MA & Ph.D.

SCARP is a renowned planning school that trains students to work in the field of planning whether urban, integrated, or environmentally-related. In fall of 2012, SCARP has introduced a unique 2-3 year Indigenous planning concentration. In addition to course work, students will complete a practicum with a First Nations community or organization, and potentially participate in a local internship.

iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies) MA & Ph.D.

UBC iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies) is an internationally ranked, multi-disciplinary school, offering one-of-a-kind graduate programs. The iSchool also contributes to the UBC’s Bachelor of Media Studies undergraduate program. The iSchool is one of a few schools in North America offering a stand-alone archival program, and is ranked first in Canada, and fourth in the world for graduate education in library and information management.


University of Lethbridge – MA in Native American Studies

An MA can be arranged provided the student finds a supervisor for their thesis project, for which the topic is self-designed. In addition to the central project, students enroll in 2-6 courses of related academic content during the 2-4 year program.

University of Alberta – MA & Ph.D. in Native Studies

The MA in Native Studies is a two-year program that requires students to take 18 credits in graduate courses/seminars and the equivalent of 18 credits for the thesis; for a total of 36 credits. The PhD program prepares students for conducting their own research, engage in scholarly activities and write a dissertation.

University of Manitoba – MA & Ph.D. in Native Studies

The two-year MA program emphasizes research skills demonstrated through a graduate thesis – along with a required 18 credit hours of course work. The four-year Ph.D. program offers specializations in various fields with the opportunity to conduct primary research as part of their project.

University of Northern British Columbia – MA in First Nations Studies 

The 30-month MA program provides students the opportunity to work with a community in an intern capacity and complete either a thesis or major project, in addition to regular course work and involvement in other interdisciplinary studies.

University of Saskatchewan – MA & Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies

The MA program requires 18 credit hours and a thesis project; a Ph.D. can be arranged. In the program, students learn about the priorities of the Saskatchewan community, in the context of the larger Canadian community. Note that the Department of Native Studies will not have graduate intake for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Trent University – MA & Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies

The two-year MA program grants students great flexibility to participate in a faculty-supported research project, conduct independent research, or write a thesis. The Ph.D. requires four-years to complete ten course credits, while conducting research for a dissertation. Students have the option to specialize in Canadian studies in conjunction with Indigenous studies.

University of Winnipeg – MAs in Indigenous Governance (MAIG) & Developmental Practice (MDP)

For MAIG, students enroll in 30 credit hours, including a thesis project; they study governance entrenched in Indigenous thought, policy change, and other related topics. The MDP is a unique two-year program in Canada designed to teach integrated approaches to global sustainable development challenges across the health and social sciences in an Indigenous context.

United States

SUNY at Buffalo – MA & Ph.D. in American Studies

The Department of American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that includes an American Indian or Canadian/First Nations focus. The MA requires a student to complete selected courses and either a thesis or final project involving fieldwork. The Ph.D. involves coursework, teaching, and the defense of a dissertation. The program works to train academics and historians in their preferred specialization.

University of Arizona – MA & Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies

The MA program offers concentrations in culture, law, literature, and education, any of which can be completed concurrently with a law degree. The 3-4 year Ph.D. program incorporates innovative research tools designed to assist sovereign tribes and educate the students who will work alongside them.

University of California, Davis – MA & Ph.D. in Native American Studies

The MA program can be completed in a few different ways with options regarding the final project and areas of concentration. The program prepares students for work in tribal administration, education, and community development. The Ph.D. program offers many interdisciplinary options, and trains students to be contributors to the field of scholarship.

University of Hawai’i at Hilo – MAs & Ph.D. in Literature and Education

Two areas of expertise are offered in the MA program: Hawaiian Language and Literature, and Indigenous Language and Cultural Education. The former is the first Indigenous language oriented graduate program in the US; the latter is for students who intend to enter the field of education or culture resource specialists. The Ph.D. program aims to train Indigenous scholars who can expand the field in exciting ways and take on roles of leadership within their community.

University of Minnesota – Interdisciplinary Graduate Opportunities

Students can pursue a graduate degree with interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary support and many research exchange opportunities. The American Indian Studies faculty members have long been active in advising, teaching, and mentoring graduate students across the disciplines, including American Studies, Anthropology, History, Linguistics, Political Science, Geography and English.

University of Oklahoma – MA in Native American Studies

Students in the MA in Native American Studies may take either the Thesis Option or the Comprehensive Exam, both requiring students to take a minimum of 33 hours. In addition, to the MA degree, students may pursue a joint MA/JD in Native American Studies and Law as well as a graduate certificate in American Indian Social Work.

Australia & New Zealand

University of Auckland – MA & Ph.D. in Maori Studies

The Department of Maori Studies offers a one-year MA program in which a thesis or research portfolio is completed under faculty supervision. The Ph.D. program requires students to produce an original thesis that demonstrates immersive knowledge in a specific field while utilizing advanced research techniques.

University of Canterbury – MA & Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies

Aotahi is a unique school within Canterbury that has different concentrations in the two-year MA program, which emphasize research in theory or language. After completion of the MA, a student may enter the three-year Ph.D. program where they conduct original research under faculty supervision.

University of Otago – MA & Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies

Full-time students can complete the MA program in one-year, during which they complete a research project, along with a research theory paper and enrollment in elective coursework. Graduates will learn advanced communication skills, knowledge of current issues, and have a multi-disciplinary and international perspective. Students who complete the program may have the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. in the field.

Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi – MA & Ph.D. in Indigenous or Maori Studies

The School of Indigenous Graduate Studies has been constructed with many options including two MA streams and four Ph.D. concentrations. The large faculty has various areas of expertise, which provides students the prospect of learning or researching a wide-range of topics.

University of Melbourne – Australian Indigenous Studies Certificate in Arts & Diploma in Arts

Australian Indigenous studies offers a Graduate Certificate in Arts (Australian Indigenous Studies) and the Graduate Diploma in Arts (Australian Indigenous Studies), as well as supervision for Research Higher Degree students.