Program Overview

Are you interested in building policy capacity in your Northern or Indigenous community? 

The online Master of Governance and Entrepreneurship in Northern and Indigenous Areas (GENI) program is offered in collaboration with partners at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and with northern and Indigenous communities. Administered through the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School's University of Saskatchewan campus, this program builds human capacity for governance and policy in communities by putting local challenges into the regional context of the circumpolar north.

Designed for working professionals, this flexible online program provides you with the knowledge, tools, and skills to support and lead social, health, economic, and environmental opportunities within northern and Indigenous communities. Through your coursework, you will gain entrepreneurial competencies and real-world experience in governance, consultation, and public policy.

Connect with Us

Want to learn more about the GENI program? Chat with our admissions staff and ask any questions you have.

DID YOU KNOW: The GENI program is endorsed by UArctic, an international cooperative network with an interest in promoting education and research in the Arctic region.

Quick Facts

Looking for answers to some of your key questions? We have you covered.

Program Type Course and research-based program (hybrid)
Program Length 2 years (full-time) or 4 years (part-time)
Start Date August
Application Deadline March 15
Tuition Effective September 1, 2023, tuition for the GENI program at the University of Saskatchewan is approximately $28,662. It is charged on a per-credit unit basis, and students pay as they take courses.
JSGS Scholarship Funding JSGS offers a minimum of two entrance scholarships (ranging in value from $1,000 to $4,000) for GENI students with USask as their home campus, as well as a number of named scholarships. However, these scholarships are not sufficient to fund a student throughout their program, so students must be in a position to fully finance their studies.
GRE/GMAT Requirement No
English Language Requirements Yes, with exemptions based on previous educational institutions attended. For the GENI, special exemptions can be made for Norwegian applicants.
Location Online, with two brief in-person residencies (Northern Canada and Norway)
Potential Career Paths

Learning Approach

Flexibility and mobility are core components of the online GENI program. As part of your learning journey, you will have the opportunity to participate in two short-term field schools and applied research projects co-developed with community leaders.

Field Schools (Northern Canada and Norway)

The GENI Fall 2024 Field School will co-hosted with the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies of Memorial University in Happy Valley Goose Bay and region, September 23-27, 2024.

While in the GENI program, you will have an opportunity to participate in two short-term field schools with intensive teaching and site visits to communities, businesses and organizations. The goal is to connect you with people of the region so they can share insights on some of the challenges facing northern and Indigenous communities and so you can learn from their lived experiences. The field schools also provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Compare public policy, governance, and entrepreneurial models for social development;
  • Explore the economic concepts related to the management of renewable and non-renewable resources;
  • Examine competing theories in resource and environmental economics;
  • Experience how theory is applied across geographic regions; and
  • Learn from local experts.

These teachings will introduce you to pathways for diversifying economies and furthering the health and well-being of the people of the region to create more resilient communities.

"Part of what drew me to the GENI program was the emphasis placed on learning from the commonalities of circumpolar communities and the challenges that they all face, as well as the diverse solutions that are being tried to address some of those challenges. It has proven invaluable to look at the global context around some of the regional issues I see in my community and has given me a rich understanding of the shared difficulties and opportunities that arise in northern communities."

Anne-Marie Guedon, GENI'18 and A/Director Negotiations, Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs, Government of the Northwest Territories.

In September 2019, GENI students reflected on their field school experiences in the communities of La Ronge, Pinehouse, and Ile-a-la-Crosse. Their personal reflections were recorded in a series of short videos, and these have been shared with the hosting communities as a sign of gratitude, respect, and appreciation. With their support, the videos are being shared widely to show the resilience and strength of northern Saskatchewan.

The Role of Language
Community-Based Education
Innovation and Opportunity in the North

Applied Research Project

Working with community partners on Applied Research Projects (ARPs) is a core component of the GENI program and the NORD 870 course.

One of the ARP goals is to help you learn community-based project development and knowledge discovery. ARPs also provide you with an opportunity to develop your confidence while building capacity and skills in project management, interpersonal collaboration, leadership, critical analysis, and knowledge mobilization. You will also gain experience working with industry, government, indigenous organizations, institutions, communities, and other stakeholders while developing and fostering international professional networks.

During your ARP, you will work closely with and be guided by an academic supervisor from either the UiT The Arctic University of Norway or the University of Saskatchewan, a community-based supervisor, and community members. The community supervisor will assist you in navigating through the complexities of the region/corporation to meet the intents of the applied research project. As a group, you will identify research topics that are important and critical to the prosperity, governance and sustainable development of the community you serve. The projects are 100% community-driven to ensure they meet the needs of the community.

“The ARP was valuable for my community because the outcome was a strong lobbying tool in securing resources from the government to permanently upgrade Highway 123. The need was inarguable once objectively reviewed—the highway, as demonstrated through my research, had a negative impact on the well-being and prosperity of residents of Cumberland House.“

John Desjarlais, GENI student, General Manager of Great Plains Contracting and former CEO of Saskatchewan River Business Corporation.


Students enrolled in the GENI program are required to complete 11 core courses, 1 elective (48 credit units or 120 ECTS), and three zero credit courses.

Students must enrol in the following courses through the JSGS USask campus: 

Focuses on the analysis of the processes whereby public policies arise and are enacted in Canada. The course compares theories and models of policy making and decision-making to illustrate the special requirements of the Canadian environment and examines the roles of various participants in the policy process: legislators, political parties, interest groups, administrators and administrative structures, citizens, and the judiciary.

Focuses on the analysis of the processes whereby public policies arise and are enacted in the northern regions of Canada and the Circumpolar North. The course applies the theories and models of policy-making and decision-making within the unique northern environment and examines the role of its participants and interest groups.

This course introduces students to academic writing and the skills relevant to a research degree. Students will learn the form and function of key academic documents, such as a summary, research paper, and literature review, and about academic integrity and strategies for avoiding plagiarism.

This course will introduce government and other professional communication relevant to the North. You will learn the form and function of key documents, such as professional email and briefing notes, as well as principles of oral communications in a professional environment. You will learn to analyze various components of communication strategy, including purpose, audience, context and style and learn to develop, edit and revise your own work. You will apply the communication concepts and skills you have learned in this course to prepare both your internship proposals and your final research reports.

This course looks at the manner in which scientific and technological innovation, or the commercialization of technology-based products and services, is shaping the Circumpolar world.

Will explore the economic concepts related to the management of renewable and non-renewable resources in the northern world. Students will examine competing theories and learn to apply analytic models and policies that enhance their understanding of how resources are distributed and managed. This course will have a field school component that will involve international travel.

The goal of the Applied Research Project is for students to learn community-based project development and knowledge discovery. The project topic is in relation to issues identified as important to the prosperity of the community and significant to northern governance and sustainable development. It is anticipated that as graduate learners, students will develop confidence, capacity, and skills in project management, inter-professional collaboration, leadership, critical analyses and knowledge mobilization.

This seminar series provides an introduction to contemporary issues and research related to governance and entrepreneurship in northern and Indigenous areas. All graduate students in the GENI program are required to register and attend regular seminars provided by academics, experts and traditional knowledge holders. The seminar series hosts the Northern Saskatchewan Field School.

Students are required to write a research paper of 12,000 to 15,000 words (40-45 pages) related to Northern and Indigenous communities, often building on the research completed during the applied research project and throughout the program courses. The research paper is the final required component of the program.

This online ethics module is a course requirement in the IND-3012 course, but students must register for it separately during the registration period.

Students must enroll in the following required courses through the UiT Arctic University of Norway campus:

This course provides insights into quantitative and qualitative methodologies, emphasizing their theoretical and technical foundations. It fosters skills relevant to designing research, selecting appropriate methods, collecting and handling data, and writing up research. It also provides guidelines for identifying and addressing practical challenges associated with research in difficult and post-conflict settings. It introduces students to the ethical questions and requirements surrounding research related to Indigenous peoples. Students are required to successfully complete this course before undertaking IND-3013 Applied Research Project.

This course is an interactive examination of Indigenous consultations and Negotiations. Consultations and negotiations are central to managing relations among Indigenous governments and organizations, municipal, provincial, and federal/central governments, and industry. This course has three objectives: (1) Provide an overview of the state of the legal and political environment on consultation, including legal benchmarks arising from court decisions on the duty to consult and accommodate, (2) Examine seminal and current research on consultation and negotiations between among Northern actors, and (3) Provide applied learning experience through negotiation simulation exercises. (Note: The course number has not yet been confirmed.)

The GENI Thesis requires students to reflect and write independently on a theme from the program,  drawing broadly on the research, courses and seminars they completed. Students are expected to participate consistently in monthly thesis seminars, sharing their own work and commenting on the work of others.

This course offers the students an overview of legal protections for the rights of indigenous peoples to enjoy their culture, lands and livelihood. The teaching will be based on international legal instruments of relevance to indigenous peoples such as, among others, the 1989 ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 2007 United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. National law protecting indigenous livelihood in Norway will also have a wide place in the course.

This course will introduce students to theories of governance so they can apply them in the northern context, as well as give them knowledge about different historical experiences of colonization and state integration, and contemporary policies and management of selected circumpolar countries. The course consists of two main parts. The aim of the first, the theoretical and conceptual framework, is to give students the necessary tools to analyze different aspects of governance in northern areas. In the second part, the goal is to introduce students to different cases of governance, both to illustrate different aspects of governance and to understand the variety of challenges in Northern areas.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is not accepted for the GENI program.


The following list includes the online GENI required classes offered at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and the UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The intent of this schedule is to provide assistance to students in planning for upcoming semesters.

**Classes may change as circumstances require.

GENI Courses Fall  Winter  Spring 
JSGS 806 Public Policy Analysis X
NORD 806 Northern Public Policy Analysis X
NORD 830 Intro to Graduate Academic Writing X
NORD 835 Professional Communication X
NORD 847 Circumpolar Innovation and
NORD 857 Northern Resource Economics and
NORD 870 Applied Research Project X X
NORD 990 GENI Seminar Series X X
NORD 992 GENI Final project X X X
STV 3040 Northern Governance X
IND 3014 Negotiations and Consultations in
Indigenous and Northern Areas
IND 3012 Research Method and Indigenous
Research Ethics
JUR 3621 Indigenous Peoples' rights to land, resources, and livelihood X
IND 3901 Thesis Seminar X X


Students have to follow the approved tuition rate at their home institution but are required to also pay student fees at both institutions.

Effective September 1, 2023, tuition for the GENI program at the University of Saskatchewan is approximately $28,662. It is charged on a per-credit unit basis, and students pay as they take courses.

All GENI students are required to pay USask Off-Campus student fees. For 2022/23 the amount is $56.83 for each of the Fall and Winter terms and $17.50 for each of the Spring and Summer terms. For updated fees and amounts, please check the Graduate Studies Tuition and Fees page.

At UiT, student fees equal 625 NOK each semester (i.e. twice a year) to the Arctic Student Welfare Organization. Payments must be completed before you can register for classes. For updated fees and amounts, please check the UiT Student Cost site.

Please note: There is no international student tuition differential assessed for this program.


JSGS offers a minimum of two entrance scholarships (ranging in value from $1,000 to $4,000) for GENI students with USask as their home campus, as well as a number of named scholarships. However, these scholarships are not sufficient to fund a student throughout their program, so students must be in a position to fully finance their studies.

Scholarships will be awarded to students based on academic standing. To be eligible for a scholarship, students must plan to be enrolled in the school on a full-time basis. All students admitted will automatically be considered for funding at the time of admission, and a separate scholarship application is not required.

Note: the GENI program has additional student funding opportunities for cohorts admitted between 2022-2025 via the Circumpolar Comparative Case Studies project.

Admissions and Deadlines

Application Deadlines

The application deadline for the GENI program is March 15 for entry in the following academic year. The GENI program welcomes a new class each August.

Application Qualifications

Applications interested in the GENI program must possess a four-year undergraduate degree, or equivalent from a recognized college or university in academic fields of the social sciences, law or education, OR, a three-year first cycle undergraduate degree, in an academic discipline relevant to the proposed field of study, from an institution that meets the criteria set forth in the Bologna Declaration, will be accepted as the equivalent of an undergraduate honours degree. A cumulative weighted average of at least 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of full-time study (e.g. 60 credit units U of S equivalent) is also required.

Proof of English language proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English. Special exemptions can be made for Norwegian applicants.

The GENI Admission team will contact applicants that are shortlisted for an interview. 

Application Process and Required Documents

When applying to the JSGS University of Saskatchewan campus, please note that you must submit an application through the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  The online application takes about 30 minutes to complete. You may start an application, save it and return to it any time before the application deadline.


Once you have completed an online application, you will need to upload a series of documents. Please note that in most cases, you will need to allow one business day after paying your application fee before you are permitted to upload documents.

If your application fee has not been processed after 48 hours after being submitted, please contact or phone 1-306-966-5788 for assistance. Please ensure you are checking the status of the application fee before emailing or calling. To check the status, please log into your application profile.

Required Documentation Description
Transcripts Preliminary Statement of Marks
  • Once you have submitted your application for admission and paid the application fee, you will be required to upload unofficial PDF copies of your academic transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended. This requirement will appear as a Preliminary Statement of Marks or Additional Preliminary Statement under admission requirements on your Application Summary when you check your application status.
  • The uploaded transcript can be an unofficial copy of the transcript issued by the university or college and must include a grading key/legend.
  • All pages of a transcript must be uploaded as a single PDF document.
  • Uploaded transcripts will be considered unofficial or preliminary. Official copies of your transcripts will only be required once you have been offered admission. This requirement will appear as Post-secondary Transcript under admission requirements on your Application Summary when you check your application status.

Uploading documents

Post-secondary Transcripts

If you receive an Offer of Admission, you may be required to have your official language test scores sent electronically via email to or by mail to the address below. Please do not send official documents until we request them.

College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Room 116 Thorvaldson Building - 110 Science Place
Saskatoon, SK CANADA S7N 5C9

  • Transcripts usually indicate the institution’s name, grading scheme (typically on the back of the transcript), your name, course names, numbers, credits, and the grades you have received. Depending on the country or institution, some features may not be available.
  • Transcripts in languages other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
  • If you are a current University of Saskatchewan student completing your undergraduate program then a letter of completion of degree requirements will be required from your college.
Letter of Recommendation

When applying to the University of Saskatchewan campus, you will need to provide three referees and their contact information. Two of these referees must be academic, and one must be professional. If you have had a substantial study break, you can use all professional referees.

As an applicant, you are responsible for sending the reference letter links and updating the referee’s contact information. In the “Recommendation requests” section, you can check the status of letters of recommendation, send reminders to your references, or cancel requests and create new ones if you need to replace a referee with someone new. Your application will remain incomplete until all references have responded.

Proof of English language proficiency (if required)

For students who are required to provide proof of English proficiency:

  • It is your responsibility to have completed an official and approved test with the appropriate score before the application deadline.
  • Tests are valid for 24 months after the testing date and must be valid at the beginning of the student's first term of registration in the graduate program.
  • Applicants will be required to upload a PDF copy of any required language test score. Uploaded test scores will be considered unofficial or preliminary.

Applicants with Higher Education Entrance Qualification (GSK) from a Norwegian high school are exempt from the University of Saskatchewan’s English-language proficiency requirements.

If you receive an Offer of Admission, you may be required to have your official language test scores sent electronically via email to or by mail to the address below. Please do not send official documents until we request them.

College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Room 116 Thorvaldson Building - 110 Science Place
Saskatoon, SK CANADA S7N 5C9

Statement of Purpose Your Statement of Purpose should be approximately two pages in length, and should include the following:
  • What has motivated you to pursue an online master's degree focused on northern and Indigenous areas?
  • How has your personal background, education, and/or professional experience prepared you for the core themes and research methods you will encounter in the program?
  • A writing sample, such as a term paper or essay, to demonstrate your writing and analytical ability.
  • A scanned image of your valid passport.
  • All international students need to provide proof of Higher Education Entrance Qualification (such as High School Diploma or verification of the completion of upper secondary education.)

The GENI Admissions Committee will contact applicants that are shortlisted for an interview.

For questions about the application process or requirements for the GENI program, please contact:

Graduate Administrator |

Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Diefenbaker Building
101 Diefenbaker Place
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B8

Career Focus

Students will be qualified for professional positions at different levels of public management and in the private sector. Students will be able to:  

  • analyze a given public policy or large development project, regarding its economic and political feasibility, including issues related to domestic government structures, northern climate constraints, and consultations requirements;  
  • analyze and compare the development of industry and implementation of Indigenous self-determination in different geographic areas of the circumpolar North; 
  • adapt innovative ideas regarding governance, entrepreneurship, and community development in other regions to their own local setting; 
  • provide a basic assessment of how a proposed development project might contravene or uphold Indigenous rights norms; and
  • propose suitable ways to undertake meaningful dialogue with community members, government officials, and industry representatives in northern and Indigenous areas.

By the end of the program, students will also have the requisite competencies to pursue doctoral studies in the areas of public policy, Indigenous studies, and sustainable development.

What are GENI Alumni up to? Read how they are making an impact!



No. During the first year of the program, you will need to attend two separate week-long field schools (one in northern Norway and one in northern Canada).

Online MPA Fall 2024 JSGS 891 Residency Dates will be September 4-8, 2024 in Saskatoon at the JSGS USask Campus Location.

In order to be accepted into the GENI program, a preferred bachelor’s degree in social science, law or education. Degrees in natural science, business, engineering or related fields are in general not sufficient. However, a combination of education and experience might make you eligible without one of these degrees, please feel free to contact us with the specifics of your case.

Yes, you can request an exemption to the entry requirements to the GENI program. If you have completed a three-year bachelor’s degree combined with a one-year study credited training and education (3-year degree + 1-year degree completion), JSGS can make a case for an exemption on your behalf to the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies entry requirements. If you do not have additional credited education, it is recommended to consider completing the Indigenous Nation-Building Graduate Certificate to increase the potential opportunity for entry. Interested applicants needing an exemption should meet with the GENI Program Manager to assess whether a case for exemption can be made.

Applicants with Higher Education Entrance Qualification (GSK) from a Norwegian High School are exempt from the University of Saskatchewan’s English-language proficiency requirements. An applicant with a three-year degree from an eligible English-language institution may also be exempt (see USask requirements).

NORD 870 Applied Research Project provides the opportunity for students to complete a community-based project with a community partner and an academic supervisor. 

The research generally takes place in the country of your home institution, although other arrangements can be made on a case-by-case basis. 

The host may be a business, an organization, a governmental body, a northern community, or some other institution. The Applied Research Project is a consultation process, in which the student works on an issue that the host has identified as a priority.

Students are often entering the program with a community partner in mind, although some students work with the GENI program team to find a community partner. The NORD 870 Applied Research Project course accommodates both approaches.

The project thesis starts in the third year and continues through the fourth year. Students develop a topic in conjunction with their supervisors, often building on the research completed in their applied research project. The resulting paper is expected to be between 12,000-15,000 words (40-45 pages).


No. Your research may extend beyond these countries, but it should focus on Indigenous peoples and/or northern communities in the circumpolar/geographic north (eg. northern Europe, northern Asia, northern Canada, and Alaska).

Great question! Students are usually responsible for covering the costs of the field schools. However, the GENI program team has been successful in securing grants to cover local costs for the field schools for 2022-2026 and has identified additional scholarships to assist in covering airfare and travel.

The GENI courses are delivered via a blend of flexible delivery course formats, including online asynchronous courses, video conferencing (zoom) lectures, and hybrid. A detailed course schedule is provided to students.

Because of the time difference between students in Saskatchewan and Norway, there are limited options for scheduling seminars involving all students. Depending on where you live, video-conferencing seminars and other meetings usually take place either in the early morning (Saskatchewan/Central Standard Time) or in the late afternoon (Norway/Central European Time).

A relatively high-speed internet connection and quality microphones are important to facilitate video conferencing and course connectivity.

Past students following the standard course plan have found that they needed to spend an average of 20 hours per week on their studies, including class time.

GENI Student Stories