Frequently Asked Questions (MA Program)

First Nations Studies (MA Program)

Why complete a Master’s degree in First Nations Studies?

The UNBC MA program in First Nations Studies is a unique program based on a cohort system. Courses are offered face –to-face on Fridays and weekends, once a month at the Prince George Campus with on-line meetings in between these classroom times.  Courses orient students to the points of view of First Nations people and communities as the starting point for description and analysis, theory and praxis, and contextualizes issues from this perspective. Our MA program proposes 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.

It is our belief that this cohort system helps us support our MA students better, keeps them on track, and promotes a closer collaboration between our students and our faculty. Finally, this cohort program allows students with jobs and families to complete an MA as well. 

How and when do I apply?

Normally, we take students in every two years and students must apply via UNBC Graduate Office by December 15.

Next intake September 2021

What are some of the courses taught in the MA program?

In the first year or so, students will develop their research ideas by doing course work and developing a research proposal.  The second year and a half is dedicated to completing a thesis or project. Some of the courses include theoretical positioning’s within the discipline, research methods and methodologies, as well as an in-depth examination of the discipline of First Nations/Indigenous Studies.
The required courses are that make up the MA in First Nations Studies are normally completed within 36 months of entry into the program. For full course requirements, please see the UNBC Course Calendar.

All the students in the cohort take the same required courses, focusing their individual course work and their research on their own particular area of interest. The FNST 650 Special Topics courses are developed relative to the research interests of the students within the cohort, the expertise of the faculty, and the parameters of the discipline. Students have the option to take other elective courses in addition to what the program requires. 

What if I do not have a BA in First Nations/Indigenous studies?

All students are welcome into our program. No matter what field of study you are coming from, our Master’s program is cross-disciplinary and can offer a transformative educational path, Nevertheless, 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. Students lacking such knowledge on entering the program may be required to make up the deficiency through suitable course work, normally during their first semester. Such course work does not count toward the course requirements for the program.

Is there a 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.

What about funding?

Our Master’s program is full-time and hence, there are numerous funding opportunities for our  students.  There are bursaries, scholarships and awards that are available from UNBC, but also from other institutions and through other opportunities.  Band or community funding may be available for First Nations and Metis students.  Some key opportunities to note are:

  1. UNBC Graduate Awards (Master's & PhD) - March 1st
    Requires an online awards application*.
  2. UNBC General Awards (open to both undergraduates and Master's/PhD) - March 1st
    Requires an online awards application*.
  3. UNBC Graduate Entrance Scholarships/Graduate Entrance Research Awards - December 15th for September & May start  /  May 1st for January start
    Requires a paper application.
  4. UNBC Award Forms:
  5. For the complete list of awards, scholarships and bursaries available to our students, please visit the UNBC guide here:

Other funding opportunities include: Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
Government of Canada Aboriginal Bursaries Research Tool:
Irving K. Barber award for Aboriginal Students:
Windspeaker Aboriginal Scholarship Guide:
Indigenous Education/Indspire Awards:

We also encourage students to sign up for our FNST List Serve to receive notifications on funding, conferences, grants and teaching (TA) or research (RA) opportunities.

How can I be kept in the loop?

We strongly encourage students to sign up for our FNST List Serve. The UNBC FNST list serve is designed to provide a venue for those interested in Indigenous issues.   This is a one-way broadcast from the UNBC First Nations Studies Department to registered members highlighting “Events, News, & Job Opportunities” at UNBC, in the Community/ies, and Elsewhere with no more than five e-mails per week.

To subscribe (or unsubscribe) please e-mail
To have your news/event/opportunity passed through our listserv, please send us your announcement with an appropriate title in the e-mail. Please note that for the purpose of our mandate and respect of other people’s time, we will be screening the amount/types of e-mails we send out.

Is there additional information I need to know?

1)    Funding/Registration

  • The MA in FNST program is full-time  
  • for any questions or issues with registration please forward all correspondence directly to: 
  • for any questions or issues related to funding or awards, please forward all correspondence directly to .  Also, make sure you check the UNBC website regularly for funding opportunities and awards. 

2)    Orientation
Orientation is set up by UNBC in general and you may join at your discretion, however, on the first weekend in PG, you will have an opportunity to meet the department, all your professors, and be provided with a brief “FNST-style” orientation.

3)    Housing
Most of our students have been booking hotel rooms, or sharing rooms, or staying with friends; some have stayed with their supervisors as well.  The residence is generally not an option as they are all booked up for full-time students living in PG but feel free to contact with any inquiries, just in case, as they do have occasionally make some exceptions for rooms.

Please keep in mind that we do have buses in PG with some running to UNBC, but that schedule may change on the weekends. There is paid parking on campus.  If you have never been to PG, the campus is rather far from downtown (hard to call it walking distance), so be mindful of that when booking your accommodation.  

Who can I contact for more information?

Dr. Daniel Sims, First Nations Studies Chair