First Nations and Indigenous Studies

at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

Gain an understanding of the histories, contemporary realities, and political concerns of Indigenous peoples in Canada and beyond. This interdisciplinary program reflects the belief that deep understanding and ethical engagement are central to the well-being of resurgent Indigenous communities and foundational to more respectful Indigenous-settler relations.

This program is also offered at UBC's Okanagan Campus
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Why this program?

  • Gain experience with Indigenous political theory and politics, aesthetics, literature, and contemporary social concerns, in the classroom and in community
  • Combine rigorous critical scholarship with ethical community engagement.
  • Complete a research practicum as part of your studies.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours No
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

First Nations and Indigenous Studies is an interdisciplinary program, open to all undergraduate students. You will enrol in a set of core courses that focus on topics and approaches central to First Nations communities, as well as select from a list of relevant courses in other departments.

Fourth-year First Nations and Indigenous Studies students complete a 6-credit research practicum in partnership with an Aboriginal organization. The practicum provides valuable experience in designing, negotiating, and implementing research projects that respond to community needs.

You can select Major or Minor concentrations, as well as Double Major or Major-Minor options that complement your other interests.

Campus features

The First Nations House of Learning is located in the First Nations, a unique building that reflects the architectural traditions of the Northwest Coast. The Longhouse allows Aboriginal students to study in an environment which reflects Aboriginal traditions and cultures. It houses the Xwi7xwa Library, the Native Indian Teacher Education Program (NITEP), and the UBC First Nations Student Association.

Life at UBC's Vancouver campus

First Nations and Indigenous Studies faculty are deeply committed to sharing their knowledge and experience with their students. Learn from faculty members who are dedicated to instilling in their students an appreciation of rigorous, ethical scholarship, and a willingness to apply their learning meaningfully well beyond graduation.

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Your future

As a student in the interdisciplinary FNIS program, you will gain a comprehensive education in Indigenous political theory and politics, aesthetics, literature, and contemporary social concerns, as well as in relevant topics from other departments. With this solid foundation, career opportunities include such varied vocations as cultural resource manager, youth worker, media consultant, student/academic advisor, museum curator, community support worker, and more. Graduates of the FNIS program have been successful in gaining admission to competitive graduate programs throughout North America and abroad.

Program graduates

  • Program assistant, Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies UBC
  • Academic project manager, St. John’s College UBC and UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services
  • Research assistant, Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre
  • Coordinator, Homeward Trust Edmonton
  • Aboriginal initiatives coordinator, CTLT, UBC

UBC stories

"Before UBC and the First Nations Studies program, I hadn’t even considered the possibility that I could pursue a career in filmmaking. After being introduced to the world of independent Indigenous cinema, I realized there was so much more out there for me. I could be a storyteller in ways I had never imagined."

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, First Nations Studies (minor in Women's and Gender Studies) Read the full story

Program requirements

English-language requirements

English is the language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students must demonstrate English-language competency prior to admission. There are numerous ways to meet the English Language Admission Standard.

General admission requirements

  • Completion of the IB Diploma with competitive scores, including at least three Higher Level courses and additional points for Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.
  • Completion of Standard Level or Higher Level English A at a minimum score of 3, where English is the primary language of instruction. (If you are an international student with a score of less than 3 in IB English A [SL or HL], or you are taking English B [SL or HL], you may be eligible for UBC Vantage One programs.)

Degree-specific requirements: Arts

  • No specific courses required beyond those needed for general admission

Related courses

The following subject categories are particularly relevant for this degree. Consider taking courses in these areas in your junior year and senior year.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics and Computation
  • Second Languages
  • Social Studies
  • Visual and Performing Arts
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