Graduate: Master of Arts in Native Studies

The Faculty of Native Studies distinctively combines Aboriginal community knowledge and concerns with the scholarly standards and methods of a research-intensive university to offer multidisciplinary education in a rigorous, respectful academic environment attentive to local, national and international concerns. 

In this scholarly and methodological context, the MA in Native Studies emphasizes two areas of research strength in the Faculty: 

(1) environmental management and ecological relationships; and 

(2) Canadian state forms and Indigenous peoples’ approaches to social order, including governance. In these and related contexts, students will explore and critically examine the historical and contemporary circumstances and experiences of Native peoples and communities, and their relationships with Canada and other countries.

Application Requirements

  1. a four-year undergraduate degree with a cumulative average of a minimum of 3.0 GPA (on a four point letter grading scale) in the last *60 of the program with at least *30 of senior undergraduate courses in Native Studies or courses with significant Aboriginal content.
     
  2. a two-page statement of your proposed area of research (including your preferred supervisor in the Faculty of Native Studies, other potential committee members and any financial support you have or plan to apply for).

  3. an example of academic work appropriate to the application.
     
  4. three letters of reference sent directly to the Faculty of Native Studies.
     
  5. an up to date curriculum vitae.
     
  6. where applicable, a TOEFL score of at least 580 (237 computer-based).

Application Deadlines

Applications are due by February 1st if you intend to apply for University of Alberta funding. Applications will be accepted until the program is full.
 

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Program Structure

Students are required to take *18 in graduate courses/seminars and the equivalent of *12 for the thesis, for a total of *30. The *18 in course work must include:

  1. A minimum of *12 in Native Studies courses, of which *9 must normally be NS 520, 550, and one graduate-level methodology course;
     
  2. A maximum of *6 from outside the Faculty of Native Studies (with consent of the Faculty). Proficiency in a language other than English (including an Aboriginal language) is recommended in accordance with the thesis topic. Students must also complete and successfully defend a thesis.

Length of Program

Full-time MA students will normally be expected to complete the program in two years. Part-time students may be considered for admission.

Graduate Courses in Native Studies

  • NS 503 Directed Readings in Native Studies

  • NS 504 Directed Advanced Readings in Native Studies

  • NS 520 Theoretical Perspectives in Native Studies (This seminar introduces students to the history of and various theoretical concepts deemed important to the discipline of Native Studies.)

  • NS 550 Practicum in Native Studies (Students must complete 30 hours of work experience in an Aboriginal organization or community chosen in coordination with the Practicum Coordinator and the students’ thesis advisor. Attendance at a weekly seminar is required as well. The time for the seminar is set at the beginning of the semester in conjunction with student schedules.

  • NS 590 Community-Based Research (This seminar explores issues in the area of community-based research using case studies and teaches some relevant field research skills using hands-on exercises. Methodological concerns focus on the political, cultural, ethical and practical aspects of conducting community-based research in conjunction with Native groups and communities.)

  • NS 592 Archival and Historical Research Methods
  • Students will gain an in-depth understanding of archival research, along with an exposure to the use of computers to capture, compile, analyze and present archival information.

  • NS 593 Social Survey Design and Analysis for Aboriginal Communities (Students will learn research design and data collection strategies useful for small-scale quantitative research in Aboriginal communities. Survey research techniques, questionnaire construction and analysis will be emphasized.)

  • NS 599 Selected Research Topics in Native Studies