autumn 2021
IND-3904 Master's Thesis in Indigenous Studies - 60 ECTS

Last changed 03.12.2021

Type of course

The course is mandatory for and restricted to students admitted to Master in Indigenous Studies (MIS).

Obligatory prerequisites

IND-3025 Introduction to Indigenous Studies, IND-3026 Methodology and Methods in Indigenous Studies

Course content

The core of this course is the master's thesis. The students are expected to write a master's thesis between 25.000 and 30.000 words of length (approximately 60 - 80 pages).

The master's thesis provides an opportunity for in-depth studies of a chosen field. The topic of the thesis is chosen on the basis of the interests of the student and of issues relevant to indigenous studies. The thesis will manifest the student's ability to reflect and write independently on indigenous related issues, drawing broadly on the courses and seminars offered in the course of the MIS-programme.

The collection of data is included in the course and can be carried out through fieldwork, or through the collection of archive materials, secondary data or literature studies. Data collection related to the master's thesis is recommended done in the period between 15 May and 1 September.

After the main data collection period, the student shall present a report on the work so far. The report is expected to give an outline of the setting studied and a discussion of the methodological challenges met and some findings. This report is to be given as a presentation in class before the end of September. 

Throughout the course the students are to take part in seminars, presenting their own texts and giving feedback to each other's texts.

Objectives of the course

Students who have successfully completed the course should have achieved the following learning outcomes:


  • to develop and carry out a research project with a social scientific and/or humanistic approach;
  • to analyse academic problems on the basis of the history, traditions, distinctive character and place in society of indigenous studies.


  • to develop relevant and realistic research questions in research in general and on indigenous topics in particular;
  • to analyse the situation of indigenous peoples on the basis of the interdisciplinary approach of indigenous studies;
  • to deal with various sources of information and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments.

General competence:

  • to apply their knowledge of indigenous issues and skills in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects in similar areas;
  • to communicate extensive independent work and use the terminology of indigenous studies;
  • to communicate about indigenous issues and research findings both with specialists and the general public;
  • to contribute to new thinking and innovation processes regarding indigenous peoples and minorities;
  • to read and respond critically to academic texts in the making.

Language of instruction

All lectures, readings, course assignments and the final exam are in English.

Teaching methods

The course contains seminars and individual tutoring. Individual supervision is given in accordance with the contract signed between the student and the supervisor.

The learning outcomes can only be achieved through active student participation, and it is expected that the students are well prepared for each teaching unit and supervision session, in order to give constructive feedback.


The following coursework requirements must be completed and approved in order to take the final exam:

 Attendance at 75 % of all seminars and lectures offered in third and fourth semesters are mandatory. Individual leave of absence will be assessed upon application.

 A draft of one chapter containing material from the data gathering period, max. 3500 words, 10-15 pages (deadline beginning of October).

 An oral presentation about the data gathering period (deadline first week of the third semester (September)).

Before the end of the third semester (fall), students are expected to present a chapter of their thesis. In the fourth semester (spring), students are expected to present a written thesis chapter. Chapter seminars are offered to practice how to respond to and comment on an academic text presented by others (feedback and review process).

A draft of the thesis should be ready by 15 April to ensure time for language editing and proofreading. The thesis must be submitted by 15 May. The oral examination will be held within 6 weeks after submission of the thesis.

Retake is offered by the regular deadline the following semester, in cases of grade F. Deferred examination is offered in the beginning of the following semester if the student is unable to take the final exam due to illness or other exceptional circumstances. Registration deadline for retake is 15 January for the spring semester and 15 August for fall semester.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 60
  • Course code: IND-3904