University of Victoria


NOTE: Syllabi for all IGOV courses can be found here

Indigenous Governance Core Courses (6 units required)

Please note: Enrolment in IGOV Core Courses is limited to students registered in the Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance (MAIG).

IGOV 520 (1.5): Indigenous Governance
A critical reading of important works in the field, an intellectual framework for understanding key questions and contemporary conflicts within Indigenous societies, and a critical perspective of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state.

IGOV 530 (1.5): Indigenous Research Methods
A perspective on the methods and approaches used in the study of indigenous issues, providing the basic tools and methods used for conducting applied research, as well as an exploration of the practical, ethical, and political issues involved in conducting research in Indigenous communities.

IGOV 540 (1.5): Indigenous Resurgence
An introduction to the values and principles that emerge from Indigenous cultures and an examination of the ways in which traditional worldviews and Indigenous social and political have changed in response to colonialism and capitalism.

IGOV 550 (1.5): Indigenous Peoples and Self Determination
A focused analysis of current processes to decolonize the relationships between Indigenous peoples and states (as well as other colonial entities), with particular emphasis on questions of land tenure, sovereignty, nationhood, self-determination, and treaty-making in a comparative context.

Elective Course Options (1.5 units required)

Students must take an additional 1.5 unit graduate level course selected from among IGOV electives or approved courses in related fields of study (to include Political Science, Law, Dispute Resolution, Contemporary Social and Political Thought, and History). Not all the MAIG elective courses will be offered in a particular year.

Students are permitted to select an elective relevant to their area of study in indigenous governance from the University of Victoria Calendar, with permission on a case-by-case basis, of the relevant Faculty, the student’s supervisor and the Graduate Advisor.

Indigenous Governance Electives

IGOV 560 (1.5): Indigenous Peoples and Globalization
An examination of how processes of globalization and neo-colonialism impact Indigenous peoples worldwide and strategies Indigenous peoples around the world are using to confront these economic, social, political and cultural pressures in order to regenerate their communities.

IGOV 570 (1.5): Indigenous Women and Resistance
An exploration of the strategies Indigenous women engage in resistance to colonialism with particular attention paid to women who root their resistance in traditional indigenous philosophies, governance practices and ways of being.

IGOV 590 (1.5 – 3.0): Directed Readings
Individually structured reading or research seminars under the direction of a participating faculty member, allowing students to pursue their interests in topics related to Indigenous Governance but not specifically covered in the seminars.
Note: May not be taken more than once for credit.

IGOV 595 (1.5): Special Topics in Indigenous Governance
Seminars focusing on issues of particular interest and relevance.
Note: May be taken more than once for credit in different topics.

Mentorship course (3.0 units required)

IGOV 575 (3.0): Mentorship
All students must register in a year-long Mentorship that will include regular meetings with a faculty member to help guide the student’s research and support professional development. Students will be expected to complete two research papers as part of the requirements of the Mentorship.

Community Governance Project (4.5 units required)

IGOV 598 (4.5): Community Governance Project
Projects are geared toward providing a practical learning experience and opportunity for students to face the real world challenges of governance in an Indigenous context. They also serve a crucial function for affiliated communities in providing access to the University’s resources and expertise through the students’ participation in projects to enhance the community’s governance capacity.

Community Governance Project interns will work on a designated research or policy development project for the summer semester in an Indigenous organization, under the direction of project management team that includes community leaders and IGOV faculty. Internships placement must be approved by the Director, and will typically involve ten hours of work per week in the community and the completion of a comprehensive report based on the internship experience. Before registering in a Community Governance Project, a student must have completed all core courses, the Mentorship course, and their elective. An oral examination is required upon completion of the internship and should encompass content from coursework, research papers completed in the Mentorship, and the Community Governance Project. For more information on the IGOV 598 procedures, please click here.


Our Programs

Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance (MAIG)

The Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance (MAIG) is an interdisciplinary program focused on traditional structures and ways of governance and encompassing the values, perspectives, concepts, and principles of Indigenous political cultures. Through teaching and research that respects both western and Indigenous traditions, methods, and forms of knowledge, students are provided with a strong foundation of basic and applied scholarly research with an emphasis on the nature and context of Indigenous governance and Indigenous-State relations in Canada and internationally.

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PhD Degree by Special Arrangement

The Faculty of Graduate Studies along with the Indigenous Governance Program (IGOV) offers the selected opportunities for students to pursue a PhD degree by Special Arrangement. The Special Arrangement degree program is available for Indigenous Governance students, as the program does not currently offer a regular Ph.D. degree program. For more information about this program.

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IGOV is a part of the Faculty of Human and Social Development (HSD).

For more information on the faculty, see:

To learn more about research in HSD, please click here.

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