Indigenous Studies - master

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Indigenous peoples share experiences across the globe. At the same time, Indigenous peoples are extremely diverse. Are you interested in studying relationships between Indigenous peoples and majority populations from local and global perspectives? The master’s programme in Indigenous Studies offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of indigenous issues, intending to equip the students with academic and practical skills, critical thinking and knowledge to fill an important role in an increasingly globalized world. The programme actively recruits students with indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds creating an exciting cross cultural teaching and learning environment.

Duration:2 Years
Location: Tromsø
Credits (ECTS):120
Qualification:Master of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies
Admission requirements:Bachelor's degree and statement of purpose
Application deadline:International applicants: 1 December. Nordic applicants: 15 April
Application code:International applicants: 2031. Nordic applicants: 5058

The Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, and the Faculty of Law, in cooperation with the Centre for Sami Studies, offer a two-year full-time master's programme in Indigenous Studies (MIS). The programme is multidisciplinary and based on research conducted at UiT The Arctic University of Norway regarding the Sami and other Indigenous peoples within the social sciences, humanities and law. The thematic focus of the master's programme is the emergence of the international indigenous movement, the historical experiences and contemporary context that Indigenous people experience across the globe.

During the two years of studies, students take courses totalling 120 credits (120 ECTS). Seven mandatory courses that are designed to give a broad base, from which the individual student may choose a relevant topic for the master's thesis. The thesis work is supervised by academic staff from the cooperating units at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and topics are chosen in cooperation with the appointed advisors. It is customary to conduct data collection for the master's thesis in the end of the second semester.

Students who have successfully completed the MIS programme, are expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes:


The students will have:

  • advanced knowledge of Indigenous issues, including similarities and differences based on the different cultural contexts;
  • advanced knowledge of the concepts of Indigenous peoples as used in areas of research and politics on global and local levels, and the scholarly and political debate on these issues;
  • thorough knowledge of different scholarly theories and methods in the field of Indigenous Studies, including the challenges posed by indigenous methodology;
  • competence to analyse relevant academic problems in the field of academic Indigenous research;
  • thorough knowledge of the history of the global Indigenous movement and the current situation of the Sami and other Indigenous peoples;
  • basic knowledge of research ethics and the responsibility of the researcher.


The students will be able to:

  • critically analyse the situation of indigenous peoples based on the interdisciplinary approach to Indigenous studies;
  • deal with challenges that culturally diverse societies and their institutions are facing;
  • analyse existing and relevant theories from the humanities and social sciences and use these theories independently;
  • find and use relevant research methods to produce the data for an independently designed project;
  • carry out an independent, limited research project under supervision;
  • compare the situation of indigenous peoples in different historical and contemporary contexts;
  • Make oral presentations at seminars and other official settings.

General competence

The students will be able to:

  • analyse professional and research ethical challenges related to Indigenous issues;
  • apply knowledge and skills on Indigenous issues in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects in similar areas;
  • use the terminology of Indigenous studies and communicate extensively on their academic work both to specialists and to the general public;
  • combine different scholarly approaches to produce new knowledge;
  • contribute to new thinking and innovation processes regarding Indigenous peoples and minorities.

Admission to the master's programme in Indigenous Studies requires a bachelor's degree (180 ECTS), or an equivalent qualification, with a minimum of 80 ECTS within social sciences, humanities, in education or in the social practice of law. An average grade equivalent to C or better within the Norwegian grading system is required for bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand; And an average grade equivalent to B or better within the Norwegian grading system is required for bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in all other countries. A special interest in Indigenous issues is a precondition.

All applicants are recommended, but not required, to upload a statement of purpose written in English (maximum of two pages) while completing the online application. The statement should include their expectations of the master's programme and their motivation to pursue a degree in Indigenous Studies. Documented experience from work related to Indigenous peoples and/ or studies will be an advantage. Please note that recommendation letters are not required.

The programme is English-taught, requiring applicants to document adequate proficiency in English.

The programme aims to recruit both Sami and Nordic students as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous students from other parts of the world. A mixed group of students will strengthen the comparative aspects of the programme, and will contribute to international network building. The admission of students from different countries and regions will be emphasized in order to ensure a varied student group. Ethnic background will also be relevant in this respect.

More information on admission requirements:

General admission requirements - Master's level

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

  • The application deadline for Norwegian and other Nordic applicants is April 15.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

  • The application deadline for applicants from outside the Nordic countries is December 1.
  • Online application, study code 2031.

Are you an international applicant?

Read more here.

The organisation of the teaching will depend on the character and the content of each course. The type of examination is specified in each module. More information about the teaching and examination can be found in the description of each individual course.

Seminars in methodology and thesis writing run parallel to the other courses throughout the studies. The course in methodology ties together the different courses and disciplinary approaches. This constitutes the basis both for the development of the students' individual research design and for the integration of Indigenous perspectives in research.

Every student will be assigned a thesis supervisor in the first year of the study. Supervision is given through seminars and individual tutorials.

The language of instruction and syllabi is English.

The master's programme in Indigenous Studies prepares students for exciting careers in the promotion and implementation of indigenous issues internationally; government and public sector; civil society organisations; project management; teaching and education; and further research and studies in indigenous issues.The programme’s interdisciplinary curriculum gives graduates an ample opportunity for career that best suits their interests and talents.
On successful completion of the degree programme, students may be qualified for admission to a PhD programme in a number of academic areas at UiT The Arctic University of Norway or elsewhere.

Students have the possibility to carry out their field/datagathering work abroad. The master's programme in Indigenous Studies has bilateral exchange agreements with universities abroad where the students may take modules that will subsequently be approved as part of the degree. In this degree programme, we recommend exchange studies abroad in the second or third semester. There are certain reservations concerning what modules the exchange university has to offer. Information about exchange programmes will be given by contacting the Centre for Sami Studies.


Rachel Issa Djesa

Rådgiver / Førsteamanuensis
Phone: +4777646907

Resources on Indigenous Peoples Rights and Advocacy

The Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples (2000-2015)