First Nations Studies (MA Program)

Margaret Anderson, Professor Emerita
Ross Hoffman, Professor Emerita
Antonia Mills, Professor Emerita

Blanca Schorcht, Associate Professor and Acting Chair
Margo Greenwood, Professor
Agnieszka (Agnes) Pawlowska-Mainville, Associate Professor
Daniel Sims, Associate Professor
Jessie King, Assistant Professor
Rheanna Robinson, Assistant Professor
Tina Fraser, Adjunct Professor
Earl Henderson, Adjunct Professor
Travis Holyk, Adjunct Professor
Tyler McCreary, Adjunct Professor
Deanna Nyce, Adjunct Professor
Judy / Edōsdi Thompson, Adjunct Professor
Tannis Reynolds, Lecturer

The UNBC MA program in First Nations Studies establishes the points of view of First Nations people and communities as the starting point for description and analysis, and contextualizes issues from this perspective. Courses orient students to question underlying assumptions of everyday study. A special emphasis is placed on creating opportunities for students to learn from and about the First Nations of the north. This program includes courses taught in First Nations communities, internships, and community-based research projects. Each student's program culminates in completion of either a thesis or major project.

In addition to the high priority given to the First Nations of northern British Columbia, offerings include topics relevant to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada and indigenous peoples of the world. The areas of study within the program are: First Nations Issues and Approaches, emphasizing the development of theory and method for the understanding of contemporary issues; Northern Nations, which facilitates with the development of skills, knowledge, and experience in the study of the languages and cultures of northern British Columbia; and Aboriginal Health and Healing. Relationships with faculty in other graduate programs at UNBC enrich the options for interdisciplinary work in areas such as Health Sciences, Education, Political Science, Gender Studies, English, History, Environmental Studies, and Geography.

View the Semester Dates web page for application deadlines. The First Nations Studies MA Program admits students for the September Semester only. Admission occurs on a two-year cycle. Refer to the "Application for Admission Deadline Dates."

For additional information about graduate admissions or to download application materials, go to the Office of Graduate Administration website at


 Students normally complete the 30 credit hours of the MA in First Nations Studies within 36 months of entry into the program. The first 20 months of the program are devoted to course work and the development of a research proposal for a thesis or a project. Students spend the last 16 months of the program to completing their theses or projects.

In the first year of the program, all students must take the following courses:

    • FNST 600-3 Foundations of First Nations Studies: Theory and Practice;
    • FNST 602-3 The Practice of Research;
    • FNST 605-3 The State of the Discipline; and
    • FNST 650-3 Special Topics.

In the second year of the program students must take FNST 795-3 Research Seminar which extends over the September and January semesters. Students must also register in either (FNST 799-15) Thesis or (FNST 797-15) MA Project.

The classroom segment of the FNST MA program is delivered to a cohort of students, face-to-face, in a block format. The program offers two-day sessions spanning one weekend once a month, from September to April. All the students in the cohort take the same required courses, and focus on their individual course work and their research on their own particular area of interest. In-person attendance is mandatory.

Students are expected to demonstrate a general knowledge of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. At a minimum, this knowledge must be comparable in scope and depth to the material covered in FNST 100-3 The Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

Language Requirement

There are no language requirements. However, students should be aware that command of one or more languages other than English may be necessary in order to pursue particular types of research.

Updated: July 8, 2022