Indigenous Studies Ph.D.
Applications for September 2022 are OPEN.
Become part of an international movement to decolonize academic institutions and recognize the centrality of Indigenous Knowledges as foundations for contemporary Indigenous life.
The first Indigenous Studies Ph.D. program in Canada, this program ensures that the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of Indigenous Knowledges are articulated, discussed, documented, recognized and respected within the overall program field of Indigenous Knowledges: Peoples, Lands, Cultures.
Indigenous Peoples, particularly Elders and Knowledge Holders, are central to the program and curriculum. The program features three innovative components including a full year, land-based Indigenous Knowledge course; a three-month practicum field placement with an Indigenous community or organization; and the Bimaadiziwin/Atonhetseri:io – an exceptional opportunity to apprentice with an Elder or Knowledge Holder in the second year.
- Learn from faculty members (including Elders and Knowledge Holders) who have connections to Indigenous communities across the country and around the world.
- Conduct scholarly research, develop innovative theoretical approaches and methodologies and use associated research tools that are appropriate in an Indigenous research context.
- Full-time studies (A part-time option is available after the successful completion of the Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Proposal Defense)
- The Ph.D. program has one field: Indigenous Knowledges: Peoples, Lands, Cultures. Students are invited to indicate their area(s) of research emphasis within the one field when applying.
- Students can choose between two streams available in the dissertation format: Monograph Dissertation or Knowledge Basket Dissertation
- 4 to 5 years full-time to complete (based on full-time enrollment and engagement)
- Masters degree or equivalent in Indigenous Studies or other disciplinary-based graduate program (if Indigenous Studies courses were taken at an undergraduate level or student is Indigenous)
- Completion of an M.A. thesis is preferred (students with an MRP or M.A. project will be considered on a case-by-case basis, provided they have had engagement with theory and methodology for Indigenous Studies and can submit an additional example of writing at an advanced graduate level (such as a published article)
- Students will normally be expected to have attained an A- (80%, GPA 3.7)
Post-secondary transcripts and graduation certificates (where applicable) of all previous undergraduate and graduate work are required. This includes transcripts for courses taken on a Letter of Permission, for transfer credit, or on an exchange program. Transcripts must show all course work completed and grades received. If applicable, evidence of degree completion is required. Transcript must include a grading scale or transcript legend.
Please note: Transcripts are not required to be official and final when applying to the School of Graduate Studies. Official transcripts are only required to be submitted if an applicant receives an offer of admission.
Previous or current Trent University students do not need to submit a transcript for degree and course work completed at Trent University. Transcripts must be submitted for any course work completed at another institution – i.e.) study abroad, letter of permission, transfer credit.
Two Letters of Reference
Letters of reference are vital components of an application package. They should primary address your academic ability to carry out your proposed research project. Passion for a topic is appreciated, but does not guarantee successful completion of the program. Letters should provide honest and critical assessment of an applicant's abilities, particularly with respect to reading and writing at a Ph.D. level and any kind of engagement you have had with Indigenous Studies or Indigenous research contexts. Communication skills (oral and written) are vital for working with colleagues, engaging with scholarship, completing comprehensive exams, conducting research, and writing and defending a dissertation. Academic references are preferred; however, professional references will be accepted. Links for your referees to submit an online reference will be sent directly to the referees you have provided on your application. We recommend you contact your referees prior to submitting an application to confirm their availability and contact information. If your referee does not receive the link, you can suggest that your referee check their junk email folder and email setting. The email may have unintentionally been blocked by their email server.
Proof of English Language Proficiency
Proficiency in English usage, both written and oral, is essential to pursue graduate studies at Trent University. It Is required for applicants to demonstrate an adequate level of English proficiency, regardless of their citizenship status or country of origin. Applicants who completed two or more years of post-secondary education at a university in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the USA are exempt from this requirement. If you have completed two or more years of post-secondary education at a university where the primary language of instruction is English, the School of Graduate Studies is prepared to consider alternate proof of English language proficiency.
For detailed information about English Language Proficiency requirements, see International Applications.
Plan of Study template
Typically 1-2 pages, outlining applicant's objectives in the Ph.D. graduate program. Any specific research interests (if known), relevant experiences, and/or career aspirations can be included.
Plans of study are reviewed by the selection committee and are vital indicators of a students ability to carry out a Ph.D. research project. To be successful your plan of study should include:
- Your area of interest/focus for your dissertation
- Previous courses and/or research in this area
- Discussion of scholarship that has influenced your decision to focus in this area of research
- Previous courses or experience with Indigenous and/or allied settler methodologies
- Previous courses or work that prepared you for reading and writing at a Ph.D. level
If a potential supervisor has been discussed, please identify this in your plan of study.
A Writing Sample
All applicants must submit a writing sample. In most cases, an MA thesis or MRP chapter will suffice. Please note that applicants may be asked to produce an additional piece of writing for the selection committee. Preferred format is PDF submitted electronically. Hard copies will not be accepted.
Detailed Resume or Curriculum Vitae
Proof of Citizenship (ie. copy of passport or birth certificate) will be requested, only if an offer of admission is made.
Program contact information:
For any program specific inquiries or current application status, please contact the program directly: