Western University First Nations StudiesWestern Social Science


Program Overview

First Nations Studies is an interdisciplinary program of study examining topics relevant to Indigenous peoples' realities. The program allows students to either specifically focus on Indigenous issues or to combine their program with any other undergraduate program. This format allows students to customize their course selections and combine interdisciplinary program modules to match their interests and their learning goals. Students may select modules after completing their first year of study. You can mix and match modules from First Nations Studies with modules from other programs. This modular structure allows students to combine courses from various departments and faculties that match their academic goals and interests and also provides them the opportunity to achieve a broader knowledge base. The module selection is completed under the guidelines of the three year or four year degree that the student is enrolled in. For details please review the Degree Structure.

Admission to First Nations Studies Modules


Prior to enrolling in a First Nations Studies module you must complete:

  • 5.0 courses numbered 1000-1999 in at least four different subjects
  • &1.0 course(s) 1000-1999 from Category B (e.g. Arts & Humanities) or C (e.g. Science)
  • FNS 1020E with a minimum grade of 60%

Upon completion of the above, you can select a First Nations Studies module and enrol in courses required for the module. The modular degree structure allows you to enrol in courses in other programs, departments and faculties and to customize your studies to match your academic goals and interests. This structure also provides you with the opportunity to achieve a broader knowledge base.  

First Nations Studies Modules

At First Nations Studies, we offer three modules:

  •        • Minor: 4.0 - 5.0 specified course credits
  •        • Major: 6.0 - 7.0 specified course credits
  •        • Honors Specialization: 9.0 or more specified course credits

For details please review the First Nations Studies Modules.

Core Courses

In First Nations Studies, the introductory course is FNS 1020E: Introduction to First Nations Studies. This course is a prerequisite for completing a Minor, Major, or Honors degree in First Nations Studies. A minimum grade of 60% for this course is required prior to pursuing an undergraduate degree in First Nations Studies.

The core courses offered every year include FNS 2217: First Nations Traditional Cultures of Canada, FNS 2218: Contemporary First Nations Issues in Canada, FNS 2601: Indigenous Environments, FNS 3140: Indigenous Knowledge and Traditions and FNS 3722: First Nations Political and Legal Issues.

Language Courses

An Algonquin and an Iroquoian language course are offered each year. Both courses are conducted by fluent speakers. Students not only learn a native language but also explore the relationships of language to cultural concepts. Both language courses are full year courses. First Nations Studies 2112E - Iroquoian Language & Culture is a Mohawk language course, while First Nations Studies 2113 - Algonquin Language & Culture provides instruction in the Ojibway language.

Alternate-Year Courses

A number of courses are offered in alternate years. These courses generally address special topics of relevance to First Nations Studies and may include but are not limited to topics such as Aboriginal Landscapes in Ontario, Archeology of Ontario & the Great Lakes, Andean Prehistory, First Nations in the Media, First Nations Music, Justice and Law, etc.

Special Topics, Reading Courses & Supervised Readings/Research In First Nations Studies

A number of Special Topic courses are offered each year. These are senior level courses and students wishing to enrol in these courses require approval from the First Nations Studies Program Director. Topics selected for these specialized studies address issues of relevance to Indigenous peoples. The course may be composed of field work, a community project, curriculum design or directed research.