Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas - master

Governance og entreprenørskap i nordlige og urfolksområder - fellesgrad

Varighet: 4 år

Foto: Ximonic (Simo Räsänen), Wikimedia Commons
Foto: Ximonic (Simo Räsänen), Wikimedia Commons

Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas - master

Governance og entreprenørskap i nordlige og urfolksområder - fellesgrad

Varighet: 4 År

Application deadline
March 15th for all students. Studies commence in August/September.
How to apply?

The Master's program in Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas (GENI) 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 (UiT) and the University of Saskatchewan (USask), Canada. Graduates receive a joint degree from both institutions.

The program is offered flexibly online, in both a part-time schedule over eight semesters (4 years) and a full-time schedule over four semesters (2 years).

Spørsmål om studiet

Jonathan Crossen
Jonathan Crossen


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Hildegunn Bruland

Seniorrådgiver lederstøtte

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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 skills-focused courses.

The program affords all students a unique opportunity to conduct applied research with industry, government, 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.

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.

Career prospects

The GENI program was consciously designed to provide you with the specialized knowledge and research skills in demand from organizations and companies in northern and Indigenous regions. After graduation, you will be well prepared to work in local, international and cross-cultural contexts.

Your knowledge of major institutions and processes active in the Circumpolar North will be a great asset to employers networking across regional and international borders. Your understanding of the northern natural resource industry and Indigenous rights will make you an ideal employee both as an industry professional, and a policy developer for governments and organizations concerned with regulating industry in the north.

The solid research skills acquired from the GENI program will make you particularly suitable for a research-driven career in government, non-governmental organizations, and private business, as well as academia. As a GENI graduate, you will be able to critically evaluate proposed government policies, business plans, and development proposals, taking both the natural and human resources of northern regions into account. This ability to analyze public policy and development projects is a necessity for employment at various levels of government and industry. Your experience bridging academic knowledge with applied purposes will also make you a strong candidate for positions as a liaison working on policy development, community planning, and information gathering. The GENI program also prepares you for work in consultations and negotiations, particularly between Indigenous peoples, industry and government.

The international nature of our joint program means that you develop a global outlook and an ability to make high-level critical comparisons between parts of the north. You will be able to make innovative yet suitable proposals for positive local policy changes, based on what is happening elsewhere. This expertise makes you qualified for work both with international organizations, and with local organizations open to new ideas from other northern regions.

Career enhancement for working professionals

The GENI program’s interdisciplinary nature and varied subject matter makes it particularly ideal for enhancing your existing career in health; natural resource management; business development; youth and social work; education; and Indigenous/national/provincial/municipal government. Our online program provides the flexibility necessary for you to study and work at the same time, enhancing your existing skills and experience with complementary knowledge from experts in Norway and Canada.

Academic careers

The program prepares students for doctoral programs in public policy, Indigenous studies, sustainable development, and other related fields.

Emnekode ects Emnenavn Semester
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
IND-3012 5 GENI - Research Methods and Indigenous Research Ethics x
STV-3040 10 Northern Governance x
IND-3013 5 GENI - Applied Research Project x
IND-3014 10 GENI - Negotiations and consultations in Northern and Indigenous Areas x
IND-3902 35 GENI - Thesis Seminar x x
JUR-3621 10 Indigenous Peoples rights to land, resources and livelihood x

In this joint programme, half of the courses are offered from UiT as indicated in the table above (fulltime). The other half is offered by Univerversity of Saskachewan.

For a complete overview of courses offered throughout the programme, and information about the part-time model, please see the Complete GENI program structure as well as the study plan below.

All applicants to the GENI program must meet the general admission requirements of both partner institutions:

If you have questions regarding admission, please contact us at

Basic academic requirements:
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 have a minimum grade average comparable to a Norwegian C (2,5) in the ECTS.

Applicants with degrees in fields other than social sciences, law or education are expected to demonstrate their knowledge of the circumpolar north and its Indigenous peoples in their statement of purpose (see below).

Be sure to review each university’s admission requirements, listed above, before applying.

Additional requirements:
Applicants must provide contact information for three referees. Ideally, two of these should be academic contacts from previous degrees.

Applicants must enclose a statement of purpose that should be no longer than 2 pages and should include the following:

  • What has motivated you to pursue an online master’s degree focused on northern and indigenous areas?
  • How have your personal background, education, and/or professional experience prepared you for the core themes and research methods you will encounter in the program?

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

Applicants must be able to provide at least unofficial transcripts for their previous degrees during the online application procedure.

Short-listed candidates will be contacted for a brief interview to clarify student and program expectations regarding work-load and progression.

Please note that accepted students must be able to provide official documentation for all previous degrees and courses which they include during the online application procedure.

Students recommended for acceptance by the GENI program will be obligated to submit official versions of transcripts, degree certificates and degree supplements for past education referenced in their application before they can begin the program. Please ensure that you can access such official documentation before including it in your application. Check with us in advance if you are unsure.


All applications are handled by USask's online application system.

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,most often 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 and two weeks on site doing primary research, including interviews.


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 takes place in Saskatchewan, Canada in September. The second field school takes place in northern Norway in March/April.They last for one week each.

There is also opportunity to spend a full semester at the partner institution for the purpose of immersing yourself in an international experience. Studies abroad will make you more attractive on the job market and increase your learning outcomes, improve your language skills and give you unique academic and personal adventures.

As a joint program the GENI has a bilateral agreement with USask where students may take modules that will subsequently be approved as part of the degree. It is also possible to take the elective course at other universities that have an exchange agreement with UiT. In this degree program, we recommend exchange studies abroad in the second or third semester in the full time mode/fourth or sixth semester in the part time mode. Prior to going abroad, the student should have a preliminary approval of the plans for the study abroad semester. A faculty member from the degree program will assist the student in choosing modules that will be approved as part of the degree. Final approval at UiT will be given upon documentation of passed exams in the recommended modules abroad.

Exchange possibilities: University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

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University of Saskatchewan Canada

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