Why Native Studies?

Students in the common room


Why should I study Native Studies at the University of Alberta?

  • We're student-centred
  • We provide a common ground for all students-- regardless of ethnic background-- to learn, research, explore and critically examine the historical and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples and communities, and their relationships with Canada and other countries
  • We conduct internationally recognized interdisciplinary research
  • We have small class sizes
  • We often involve undergraduates in Faculty research projects
  • We are part of the larger University of Alberta community so students can benefit from the wide range of services, academic support, social and recreational opportunities, and community life that the University offers. As well, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students can benefit from a number of groups and services on campus specifically directed towards Indigenous students.

Can I get a degree in Native Studies?

Yes! You can receive a:

We also offer two undergraduate certificate programs:

Will a Native Studies degree get me a job?

The most recent employment survey of UAlberta graduates indicates that Native Studies students are in demand across the workforce. 100 per cent of those surveyed report finding employment within 3 years of graduating.

Alumni found employment as Federal, Provincial, Municipal, and Aboriginal Government employees or representatives; or as Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers in the oil & gas, forestry, and mining industries.

Others have pursued a Bachelor of Laws and entered the legal profession; positions in health & wellness; environmental management: consultants and project manager; positions in the rapidly expanding number of Aboriginal businesses; educational policy research and planning; and teaching.

How will I benefit from taking a course in Native Studies?

In Canada, First Nation, Métis and Inuit people number approximately 1 million representing 4 per cent of the population.

  • They account for close to 7 per cent of Albertans, and their numbers are rapidly growing.
  • 54 per cent live in urban areas and 48 per cent of that population is under 24.

Chances are your daily life intersects with the life of an Indigenous person.

Canadians' lives are also deeply intertwined with Indigenous interests such as oil and gas, natural resources extraction, land, water, health, history, treaties, identity and community wellbeing to name a few. Being aware of the ways in which we are all connected means you will be better equipped to understand the complexity of Canada and function as an enlightened citizen. You will also be more likely to succeed in whatever career you choose if you understand perspectives, values and needs of your Indigenous clients, customers, suppliers, patients or partners.

What introductory Native Studies courses should I take?

NS 110, NS 111 and NS 290 are prerequisites for most Native Studies courses. NS 152 is the introductory Cree language course needed if you are a Native Studies major. NS 200 is a survey course of topics in Native Studies aimed at students outside the Faculty (not available to NS majors). All of these courses offer students a window into the world of Native Studies.

What other courses in Native Studies are available at a higher level?

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of Native Studies we offer courses across a wide range of topics that include:

  • Oral traditions
  • the Métis
  • Urban Aboriginal Identities
  • Law
  • Treaty
  • Land Claims
  • Health
  • Native Art
  • Negotiation Strategies
  • Management Issues
  • Research Methods
  • Cree Language
  • and more.

Are there any Elders involved in Native Studies?

Elders are involved on a regular basis with the Faculty of Native Studies. Elders sit on our Faculty Council and participate in most activities organized throughout the academic year: including guest lectures, conferences, special events and gatherings such as our semi-annual Tea & Bannock.