Indigenous Studies - master

Varighet: 2 Years

Indigenous Studies - master

Varighet: 2 Years

Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April
International applicants: 1 December
How to apply?

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.

Spørsmål om studiet
Rachel Issa Djesa

Rådgiver / Førsteamanuensis

Else Grete Broderstad

Professor, urfolksstudier

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.

The Master's programme in Indigenous Studies introduces students to Indigenous Studies as a distinctly multidisciplinary field. The objectives of the programme include:

  • introducing students to the history and development of the global indigenous movement;
  • familiarizing students with different disciplinary perspectives on human and indigenous rights, colonialism, decolonisation, culture and ethnicity, marginalization, political recognition and empowerment, governance, resource management and environmental change;
  • equipping students with skills and knowledge to critically analyse relations between local, regional, national and global levels, including the role of pan-national organizations such as the UN and ILO; and
  • teaching students about interaction and unequal power relations between actors.

Career prospects

The Master’s programme prepares students for exciting careers in multiple academic, public and business environments. It provides an excellent foundation for pursuing a PhD in relevant fields, such as Political Science and Governance, Anthropology and Development Studies, Language and Cultural Studies, and Education, to name just few. As a graduate from the Master in Indigenous Studies, you would also gain general conceptual, critical and evaluative skills which are required in many senior jobs in the government and public sectors, civil society organizations, project management and education institutions. The skills to analyze public policy, plans and development projects make our graduate students highly qualified candidates for working both in the public and private sectors at all levels, providing institutions and organizations with knowledge, critical thinking and advice in a wide range of processes. The competence provides a good basis for teachers, journalists and museum workers.

The international nature of the programme connects our students in a global network that helps them develop a global outlook and competence to make high-level critical comparisons of indigenous realities on the ground. Your in-depth analyses of indigenous peoples own experiences locally, nationally and internationally could be of critical importance for indigenous and marginalized communities worldwide. This expertise makes you qualified for work both with international and local stakeholders by facilitating them to frame, voice and disseminate their interests and concerns, and co-design suitable courses of action.

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.

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. Research grants are offered to students for their field/data gathering work.

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.