Indigenous Studies - master

Urfolksstudier - master

Duration: 2 years

Indigenous Studies - master

Urfolksstudier - master

Duration: 2 År

Application deadline

Nordic applicants: 15 April

EU/EEA + Swiss applicants: 1 March

Non-EU/EEA applicants: 15 November

How to apply?

Indigenous peoples share experiences across the globe. At the same time, Indigenous peoples are extremely diverse. Are you interested in studying relationships between Indigenous peoples and majority populations from local and global perspectives? The master’s programme in Indigenous Studies offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of indigenous issues, intending to equip the students with academic and practical skills, critical thinking and knowledge to fill an important role in an increasingly globalized world. The programme actively recruits students with indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds creating an exciting cross-cultural teaching and learning environment.

Questions about the study
Telephone: +47 77660793

Else Grete Broderstad

Professor, indigenous studies

  • Campus: Tromsø

Information about semester start

The Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, and the Faculty of Law, in cooperation with the Centre for Sami Studies, offer a two-year full-time master's programme in Indigenous Studies (MIS). The programme is multidisciplinary within social sciences, humanities and law, and based on research conducted at UiT The Arctic University of Norway regarding the Sami and other Indigenous peoples. The thematic focus of the master's programme is the emergence of the international indigenous movement, the historical experiences and contemporary context that Indigenous peoples experience across the globe.

During the two years of studies, students take courses totalling 120 ECTS. Seven mandatory courses are designed to give a broad base, from which the individual student may choose a relevant topic for the master's thesis. The thesis work is supervised by a faculty member from the Sami Centre and the cooperating units. Topics are chosen in cooperation with the appointed advisor. It is customary to conduct data collection for the master's thesis at the end of the second semester.

Students who have successfully completed the MIS programme, are expected to have achieved the following learning outcomes:


Advanced knowledge of:

  • Indigenous issues, including similarities and differences based on the different cultural contexts;
  • the concepts of Indigenous peoples as used in areas of research and politics on global and local levels, and the scholarly and political debate on these issues;
  • different scholarly theories and methods in the field of Indigenous Studies, including the challenges posed by indigenous methodology;
  • the history of the global Indigenous movement and the current situation of the Sami and other Indigenous peoples;
  • the existing state of knowledge related to Indigenous research ethics and the responsibility of the researcher.


Capacity to:

  • critically analyse the situation of Indigenous peoples based on the interdisciplinary approach to Indigenous studies;
  • deal with challenges that culturally diverse societies and their institutions are facing;
  • analyse existing and relevant theories from the humanities and social sciences and use these theories independently;
  • find and use relevant research methods to produce the data for an independently designed project;
  • carry out an independent, limited research project under supervision;
  • compare the situation of indigenous peoples in different historical and contemporary contexts;
  • Make oral presentations at seminars and other official settings.

General competence

Ability to:

  • analyse relevant academic problems in the field of academic Indigenous research;
  • analyse professional and research ethical challenges related to Indigenous issues;
  • apply knowledge and skills on Indigenous issues in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects in similar areas;
  • use the terminology of Indigenous studies and communicate extensively on their academic work both to specialists and to the general public;
  • combine different scholarly approaches to produce new knowledge;
  • contribute to new thinking and innovation processes regarding Indigenous peoples and minorities.

The Master's programme in Indigenous Studies introduces students to Indigenous Studies as a distinctly multidisciplinary field. The objectives of the programme include:

  • introducing students to the history and development of the global Indigenous movement;
  • familiarizing students with different disciplinary perspectives on human and indigenous rights, colonialism, decolonisation, culture and ethnicity, marginalization, political recognition and empowerment, governance, resource management and environmental change;
  • equipping students with skills and knowledge to critically analyse relations between local, regional, national and global levels, including the role of pan-national organizations such as the UN and ILO; and
  • teaching students about interaction and unequal power relations between actors.

Possible propects

Our graduates thrive in work fields that require understanding of global and local Indigenous issues, international experiences as well as analytical thinking, communication, and project implementation skills. The Master’s programme prepares students for exciting careers in multiple academic, public and business environments. Job opportunities include:

  • Research positions: conducting academic applied research into Indigenous issues;
  • Policy: preparing and coordinating policy, advising and planning (UN, etc.)
  • Implementation positions: serving as project manager or coordinator in local NGOs and other areas of the private sector
  • Communication and media positions related to Indigenous issues

Academic Careers

The Master's programme provides an excellent foundation for pursuing a PhD in relevant fields, such as Political Science and Governance, Anthropology, Environment and Development Studies, Language, Cultural and Religious Studies, and Education, to name just a few. Many of our graduates were successful in attaining competitive PhD positions and research fellowships.

Professional Careers

As a graduate from the Master in Indigenous Studies, you would gain general conceptual, critical and evaluative skills which are required in many senior jobs in the government and public sectors, civil society organizations, project management and education institutions. The skills to analyze public policy, plans and development projects make our graduates highly qualified candidates for working both in the public and private sectors at all levels, providing institutions and organizations with knowledge, critical thinking and advice in a wide range of processes.

The international nature of the programme connects our students in a global network that helps them develop a global outlook and competence to make high-level critical comparisons of Indigenous realities on the ground. As a graduate from the Master in Indigenous Studies your in-depth analyses of Indigenous peoples own experiences locally, nationally and internationally could be of critical importance for Indigenous and marginalized communities worldwide. This expertise makes you qualified for work both with international and local stakeholders, contributing to frame, voice and disseminate their interests and concerns, and co-design suitable courses of action.

Admission to the Master's programme in Indigenous Studies requires a bachelor's degree (180 ECTS), or an equivalent qualification, with a minimum of 80 ECTS within social sciences, humanities, education or the social practice of law. Applicants must have a minimum grade average comparable to a Norwegian C (2,5) in the ECTS scale.

Specific academic requirements:
A special interest in Indigenous issues is a precondition. Experience from work related to Indigenous peoples and/ or studies will be an advantage. Please note that recommendation letters are not required.

Applicants with education from non-Nordic countries must document English language proficiency. You will find more information of English language requirements on our admissions pages.

The programme aims to recruit both Sami and Nordic students as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous students from other parts of the world. A mixed group of students will strengthen the comparative aspects of the programme, and will contribute to international network building. The admission of students from different countries and regions will be emphasized in order to ensure a varied student group. Ethnic background will also be relevant in this respect.

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

Applicants from EU/EEA and Switzerland:

  • The application deadline for applicants from EU/EEA and Switzerland is 1st of March.
  • Online application, study code 7160

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

The organisation of teaching will depend on the character and the content of each course. More information about teaching and examination is specified in the description of each individual course.

Seminars in methodology and thesis writing run parallel to the other courses throughout the studies. The course in methodology ties together the different courses and disciplinary approaches. This constitutes the basis both for the development of the students' individual research design and for the integration of Indigenous perspectives in research.

Every student will be assigned a thesis supervisor in the first year of the study. Supervision is given through seminars and individual tutorials.

The language of instruction and syllabi is English.

Upon successful completion of the degree programme, students may be qualified for admission to a PhD programme in a number of academic areas at universities in Norway, Scandinavia and internationally.

Students can carry out fieldwork/data gathering abroad with basic financial support from the Centre for Sami Studies. If you are considering an exchange period, we recommend that the exchange is combined with fieldwork during the second and / or third semester (April-December) at a partner university.

The Master's programme in Indigenous Studies has bilateral exchange agreements with universities abroad where the students may take modules that will subsequently be approved as part of the degree. We recommend our students to use these agreements. There are certain reservations concerning what modules the partner university has to offer. UiT has several open agreements that also can be used by students in Indigenous Studies. Check student mobility at UiT. Information about exchange programmes will be given by contacting the Centre for Sami Studies.

Bilde av Broderstad, Else Grete
Broderstad, Else Grete

 Coordinator at the master programme in Indigenous Studies 

 Teach at the courses: introduction to indigenous studies; methodology and methods in indigenous studies; master thesis in indigenous studies; Indigenous peoples - politics, institutions and tools; negotiations and consultations in northern and indigenous areas; and Norwegian politics: institutions and processes. 
Supervise students at the master programmes: Indigenous Studies og Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas. 
Chair the research group Indigenous Peoples, Governance, Rights, Institutions and Democracy
Torjer Andreas Olsen
Olsen, Torjer Andreas

Teaches methodology and theoretical perspectives on the Master's degree program in indigenous studies. Supervision on the same program. In charge of thesis seminars.


Bilde av Sanchez Laws, Ana Luisa
Sanchez Laws, Ana Luisa

Professor in Interdisciplinary Methodologies and Methods at CPS/SKK/SESAM

My research focuses on questions of identity-(ies) and belonging. I am interested in understanding the historical, cultural, social and psychological boundaries of the self (as individuals or collectives).

One strand of my research focuses on the use of new technologies to address contested topics in museums and issues of identity, diversity and social inclusion (see Panamanian Museums and Historical Memory, Berghahn Books 2011). This research deals with the creation of digital artifacts to communicate cultural and natural heritage, with projects involving institutions such as the Panama Viejo Museum and Questacon Science Centre (see Museum Websites and Social Media, Berghahn Books, Oxford and New York, first ed. 2015, second ed. 2019).

This strand comes from my PhD at University of Bergen, Norway, where I studied the inclusion of diverse audiences in representations of identity and history in Panama. As part of this, I developed a digital game about Panamanian contemporary history, which was installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Panama, and at the Museum of Art and Design, Costa Rica. 

A second branch of my research concerns the role of new technologies such as virtual reality in topics related to peace and conflict transformation, body self-consciousness, and the relationship between self, presence, emotion and identity.

I have developed theoretical and practical work for this topic within the area of immersive journalism, with the book Conceptualizing Immersive Journalism, Routledge, 2018 and in a series of research articles. My latest book is an edited collection on this topic, Insights on Immersive Journalism, for Routledge Insigths on Journalism Series (2023).

With Kamilla Bergsnev, I am working on perception and learning. My contribution to this research area concerns the application of new technologies (for example, novel virtual reality-based systems and methods), for use in psychological research. This work includes articles on uses of subjective and physiological measures in VR, and on presence.  


Between 2015 and 2020, I was Associate Professor in Media and Design at Volda University College, Norway. I taught in the areas of media, design, research methods and web documentary. I supervised students at the Master of Media Practices program at Volda.

Between 2011 and 2015 I worked as Assistant Professor at University of Canberra, where I taught sustainable design and media production. I supervised and co-supervised master and PhD students in the areas of digital design and digital heritage.

Other work:

I have worked with media production (web and audiovisual) for more than 20 years. I’m also a video artist with work exhibited in Bremen, Bergen, San Diego, Barcelona, Florence, Paris, Madrid, Panama, San Jose, Buenos Aires, Baja California and Havana. My work Angie Contra el Mundo is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Panama.

My master's thesis was entitled Queer Cinema in Latin America, and concerned the representation of queerness in a series of films from the Latin American region, from the perspective of narratology. I argued in the thesis that the selected films could be seen as encoding queerness in a way that made it possible for these films to bypass existing censorship.

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