MA First Nations Studies Program Information

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 online meetings in between 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 to apply

Normally, we take students in every two years and students must apply via UNBC Office of Graduate Programs by specified deadlines as outlined on the Graduate Admissions Intake and Deadline Link Graduate Application Intakes and Deadlines. We are currently accepting applications for September 2024.


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 positionings 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. 

Program requirements

All students are welcome into our program. No matter what field of study you are coming from, our Masters 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.

Language requirements

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.

Funding opportunities

Our Masters 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:

UNBC Graduate Awards (Masters and PhD) - March 1
* Online awards application required.

UNBC General Awards (Undergraduate, Masters, PhD) - March 1
* Online awards application required.

UNBC Graduate Entrance Scholarships/Graduate Entrance Research Awards - December 15 (September or May start) or May 1 (January start)
* Paper application required.

Additional funding opportunities

Student 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.

Accommodations and transportation

On-campus housing is generally not an option as it is usually booked by full-time students living in Prince George. Most of our students book hotel rooms, share rooms, stay with friends, or stay with their supervisor. Please email with any inquiries regarding on-campus housing. Exceptions for accommodations are made occasionally. 

Public transit is available to and from the UNBC campus. There is also paid parking on campus. Downtown Prince George is about 8 km away from the UNBC campus. Please be mindful of this when booking accommodations. 

FNST email listserv subscriptions

Students are encouraged to subscribe to our FNST email listserv to receive notifications on funding, conferences, grants, teaching assistant or research assistant opportunities. The UNBC FNST email listserv is designed for those interested in Indigenous issues. This is a one-way communication from the UNBC First Nations Studies department to our subscribers that highlights events, news, and job opportunities at UNBC, the communities, and elsewhere. We distribute five emails or less weekly.

To have your news, event, or opportunity sent out via our email listserv, please send an email to with the subject line and your announcement information. Please note that for the purpose of our mandate and out of respect for people’s time, we do screen the amount and types of emails we send out.

Contact information

For any questions or issues with registration, please email

For any questions or issues related to funding or awards, please email Check the UNBC Awards website regularly for funding opportunities and awards.