Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas - master

STUDIESTED: Tromsø, Saskatoon

The GENI program provides the opportunity to gain an understanding of the various challenges and opportunities facing the circumpolar north. Students will learn how different strategies of governance, entrepreneurship, and resource management can strengthen the position of the communities and the peoples of the region.

The program is provided through collaboration between UiT - the Arctic University of Norway and the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and graduates receive a joint degree from both institutions.

The program is offered in a part-time schedule over the course of eight semesters (4 years) or full-time schedule over the course of four semesters (2 years).


Varighet:4 Years
Location: Tromsø Saskatoon Annet
Credits (ECTS):120
Qualification:Master in Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas
Admission requirements:Bachelor's degree in social sciences, law or education and a statement of intent
Application deadline:March 15th. Studies commence in August/September
Application code:See for application procedures
How to Apply

GENI provides interdisciplinary approaches to academic content and includes courses delivered by instructors from different departments and faculties at each partner institution. In addition, the program provides practical content, including technical courses.

The program affords all students a unique opportunity to conduct applied research with industry, government, and Indigenous peoples and institutions on issues concerning natural resource management, consultations and negotiations, and economic development or other governance issues in the circumpolar north.

The program is offered flexibly, in both a part-time schedule over eight semesters (4 years) and in a full-time schedule over four semesters (2 years). These two formats facilitate the involvement of students who have already begun their careers and wish to complement their education with a master’s degree, while also allowing more academically focused students to complete the program more quickly.

The program includes internet-based courses, two field schools, an applied research project, and a thesis. All core courses and the field schools are mandatory.

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
See Programme structure for Part-time study in the attached Study Plan below
Semester I (Fall)
Introduction to Graduate Academic Writing
(U of S, 5 ECTS)
(UiT, 5 ECTS)
(UiT, 10 ECTS)
Public Policy Analysis
(U of S, 7.5 ECTS)

Northern Public Policy Analysis
(U of S, 2.5 ECTS)

Students have their first field school in Canada
Semester II (Spring)
Professional Communication
(U of S, 5 ECTS)
Applied Research Project
(UiT, 5 ECTS)
Circumpolar Innovations and Entrepreneurship
(U of S, 10 ECTS)
Northern Resource Economics and Policy
(U of S, 10 ECTS)

Students have their second field school in Norway
Semester III (Fall)
Negotiations and Consultations in Northern and Indigenous Areas
(UiT, 10 ECTS)
(5 ECTS)

Students may take the elective in Semester IV instead
Thesis Seminar
(Part of IND-3901 GENI- Project Thesis)
Semester IV (Spring)
(UiT, 10 ECTS)
Thesis Seminar
(Part of IND-3901 GENI - Project Thesis)
(UiT, 35 ECTS)

The GENI program provides students with the opportunity to learn through high-level critical comparisons between northern and Indigenous regions. The primary goal of this program is to build the necessary capacity for relationships between academia, industry, governments, Indigenous peoples and northern communities to create thriving local economies, respecting Indigenous rights and protect sensitive northern environments.

Student acquired knowledge

By the end of the program, students will have:

  • advanced knowledge about actors, institutions and processes of vital importance for the development in the circumpolar North, and an understanding how different governance systems may hamper or promote social and economic innovations
  • a solid understanding of the economics underpinning the natural resource industry in Northern and Indigenous regions;
  • a solid understanding of domestic Indigenous rights in different countries, as well as international Indigenous rights;
  • substantial insight into the potential for political, entrepreneurial and social innovations in northern and remote regions, as well as the barriers to positive developments in the circumpolar world;
  • an appreciation for the value of applied research and its integration for effective decision-making, policy development, planning and implementation by Indigenous and northern communities, organizations, businesses and governments
  • a unique understanding of the interconnected nature of the issues and challenges in Indigenous and northern areas.


Student acquired skills

By the end of the program, students will be able to:

  • analyze academic problems on the basis of the history, traditions, distinctive character and place in society of the academic field;
  • critically examine of government policies, plans for business development, and community development related to the use of natural and human resources in the circumpolar North;
  • critically evaluate different approaches to communication of complex challenges to societies;
  • complete brief public policy proposals and applied research papers;
  • conduct an independent, limited research and development project under supervision in the academic field of this program in accordance with ethical guidelines for research and appropriate norms in society, including with Indigenous peoples;
  • evaluate the position of different actors and provide relevant advice to promote societal development;
  • participate effectively in a formal negotiations process.


Student acquired competence

By the end of the program, students will have the knowledge and skills that will provide them with the requisite competencies to pursue doctoral studies in the areas of public policy, Indigenous studies, and sustainable development. Students will also be qualified for professional positions at different levels of public management and in the private sector— managing and executing reviews, and planning development processes. Students will be able to:

  • analyze a given public policy or large development project, regarding its economic and political feasibility, including issues related to domestic government structures, northern climate constraints, and consultations requirements;
  • analyze and compare the development of industry and implementation of Indigenous self-determination in different geographic areas of the circumpolar North;
  • adapt innovative ideas regarding governance, entrepreneurship and community development in other regions to their own local setting;
  • provide a basic assessment of how a proposed development project might contravene or uphold Indigenous rights norms;
  • propose suitable ways to undertake meaningful dialogue with community members, government officials, and industry representatives in northern and Indigenous areas.

Applicants must meet the general admission requirements of both UiT and UofS.

The GENI program is interdisciplinary and is open to students with a wide variety of educational backgrounds.

  • Students must document at least a bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS), or an equivalent qualification, with a specialization of 80 ECTS, preferably within social sciences, law or education.
  • Applicants must enclose a statement of purpose (maximum of two pages). This statement must include the purpose for and interest in pursuing the master's degree program (i.e. relating prior academic achievements and professional experiences to the core concerns of the program). There is no need for recommendation letters.
  • Short-listed candidates will be contacted for a brief interview to clarify student and program expectations regarding work-load and progression.

Applicants with a Norwegian study background need an average minimum grade of C or better from the bachelor’s degree to be admitted to the master’s program.

Applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent issued in Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand need an average minimum grade of C or better or the corresponding numerical mark/percentage score in order to be considered for admission. The Canadian equivalent is 70%.

Applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent issued in countries other than the above mentioned must have an average grade of B or better, or the corresponding numerical mark/percentage score, in order to be considered for admission.

Working experience in the public and private sectors in the circumpolar north is welcomed but is not a requirement for admission. 

Application: Through the UofS's online application system.

If you have questions regarding admission, please refer to the contact information for the GENI program.

Core courses are all delivered online and in flexible formats to facilitate the involvement of students currently employed in the field as well as those who wish to continue to live and work in their northern communities.

The two field schools in the first two semesters create a platform for building a student cohort necessary for cooperation throughout the program and after graduation. The program also encourages active student participation in all core courses.

The delivery of course content depends on the character and the content of each course. Each course description specifies the means used to assess its stated learning outcomes. Examinations and course requirements may come in the following forms:

  • learning notes and online discussion pieces;
  • research papers and reports;
  • literature, book, and article reviews;
  • press releases;
  • briefing notes;
  • field school logs or reports;
  • simulated negotiation exercises;
  • student presentations with exam panel;
  • student presentations, e.g. posters, power points, and video clips.

The Applied Research Project is an example of “service learning” that allows students to put their research, writing and policy development skills into practice, for the mutual benefit of scholarship and local institutions.

With the assistance of an academic supervisor and a host supervisor, students conduct research relevant to the needs of the host, usually a governmental, business, Indigenous, or other community-based organization. The topic is usually suggested by the host, but focused in consultation with the student and the academic supervisor.

For students, the benefits of the project extend beyond the obvious sharpening of their analytical and communication skills. The students are able to get hands-on experience with an organization and establish useful contacts for future work. It also serves as the basis for later thesis work.

The research generally takes place during the spring/summer of the first year of the program, normally in the country of your home institution (other arrangements can be made on a case-by-case basis.) Students are usually required to spend between two days to two weeks on site doing primary research, including interviews.

The program prepares students for doctoral programs in public policy, indigenous studies, sustainable development, and other related fields. Graduates of the GENI program will be prepared for careers in various levels of government; at economic agencies; with industry and in private entrepreneurship; in consulting, and with non-governmental and community-service organizations.

International student mobility is a core element in the GENI program. Students will participate in two field schools in their first year of study.

The first field school take place in Saskatchewan, Canada in September. The second field school takes place in Northern Norway in March/April.

There is also opportunity to spend a full semester at the partner institution for the purpose of taking elective courses.

Exchange studies abroad will make you more attractive on the job marked. Studies abroad will increase your learning outcomes, improve your language skills, give you unique adventures and international experience.

Exchange possibilities: University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Jonathan Crossen

Jonathan Crossen

Førsteamanuensis / GENI fagleg koordinator
Telefon: +4777645751

Paulette van der Voet

Førstekonsulent GENI
Telefon: +4777623161

Bli student ved UiT!