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The Master of Indigenous Studies (MIndS) degree is founded in the proposition that Māori, Pacific Island and other Indigenous peoples have unique bodies of knowledge about customary, environmental and cultural practices. This degree requires at least twelve months of full-time, or the equivalent in part-time, study to complete. The normal admission requirement is a four-year degree, but applications will be received from alternatively qualified individuals who have at least three year's relevant experience.

Degree candidates enrol in one core and two elective papers, and submit a supervised research report at the end of the course. Graduates will have advanced communication and team work skills, know about current issues, have a multi-disciplinary and international perspective, be able to independently assess topical issues, and appreciate the key ethical considerations.

This degree prepares graduates for administrative and leadership roles with indigenous communities in New Zealand and abroad. It is also an entry qualification for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

The Master of Indigenous Studies (MIndS) is also available through Distance Learning.

Admission to the Programme

  • Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).
  • Every applicant must normally either have completed the requirements for an Honours degree or other bachelor's degree requiring at least four years of full-time study, or equivalent, or have completed the requirements for a bachelor's degree requiring three years of full-time study, have had at least three years' experience relevant to the programme, and provide evidence of ability to undertake advanced academic study.
  • In exceptional circumstances, an applicant who is not a graduate may be considered on the basis of alternative qualifications or satisfactory training and experience in management, administration, or leadership in indigenous communities. Such preparation must be equivalent to a degree, and the applicant must provide evidence of ability to undertake advanced level academic study. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) may require such an applicant to pass one or more prescribed papers either before admission to or concurrently with the programme.
  • In considering an applicant's qualifications, regard will be had to the detail of the course of study followed to gain the qualifications and the option for which a successful applicant might be permitted to enrol (see regulation 2 (a)), as well as the applicant’s performance in the programmes.

Structure of the Programme

The programme of study shall consist of either of the following options:

  1. research report option:


2. thesis option:

  • one core paper: INGS 501 Indigenous Theory and Method (20 points), and
  • a thesis (INGS 5) with a value of 100 points. In certain cases, at the discretion of the Dean of the School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, a thesis candidate may be required to take one or more prescribed papers in addition to the programme. Theses shall be limited to 32,000 words of text, exclusive of appendices, footnotes, tabular material, bibliography or equivalent.
  • The research project for INGS 590, or the thesis, should be started at the beginning of the programme and submitted no later than 28 February of the year following first enrolment (or the second year following first enrolment for a part-time candidate). Every component of the programme must be passed individually.
  • Before commencing the investigation to be described in the research report or thesis, a candidate shall obtain the approval of the Programme Co-ordinator and the supervisor(s) of the proposed topic.
  • A candidate may not present a research report or thesis which has previously been accepted for another degree.

Duration of the Programme

  • A full-time candidate should complete the requirements of the degree within twelve months.
  • No programme of study shall exceed five calendar years from the date of first admission.

Visit the Master of Indigenous Studies (MIndS) page on the University of Otago website for more details!




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