Program goals and delivery

Our graduate programs in Indigenous Policy and Administration (IPA) prepare students to be innovators and leaders in First Nation, Métis and Inuit governments and organizations, as well as in other governments and organizations that work with them. They do so by strengthening the knowledge and skills for meeting the challenges of governance, policy development and its implementation, with a particular emphasis on both managing sustainable development, and introducing new methods of community economic and social development.

The IPA courses are delivered through an intensive on-campus Summer Institute and online.

The Diploma in IPA will only be offered on a part-time basis, with students taking 1 or 2 of the 6 required courses per semester for three or six terms, including the Summer Institute held at Carleton University during the first two weeks of June (PADM 5711 and PADM 5713), and online.

IPA Learning Outcomes

While completing the IPA programs students will strengthen their competencies in Indigenous policy and administration.

  • Develop the knowledge needed for meeting the major challenges of nation-building and governance in diverse settings, and use it to analyze the specific circumstances of select First Nations, Métis and Inuit  governments, communities and organizations.
  • Acquire and apply new skills in financial management, organizational design, applied research and program evaluation, leadership and community development to select situations drawn from the needs and operations of First Nations, Métis and Inuit governments, communities and organizations.
  • Analyze the existing – and refine their own – empirically grounded understanding of the colonial, neo-colonial and democratic aspects of historical and contemporary policy and administration, as well as their own understanding of the constructive potentials that exist in present circumstances.
  • Explore and explain the challenges inherent in the epistemological and cosmological divergence among the varied traditions of Indigenous nations and peoples and modern globalized industrial societies.
  • Become more aware of and capable of critically assessing their own worldviews and attitudes towards different cultures, and demonstrate knowledge of various approaches to defining and analyzing sources of bias in Canadian academia, law, policy, politics and society.
  • Assess the potential benefits, costs, and ethical considerations of various approaches to community and economic development in First Nations, Métis and Inuit territories, and in both urban and rural settings.

Course Descriptions

Not all courses listed are offered in a given year. For an up-to-date statement of course offerings for the current session and to determine the term of offering, consult the class schedule at

PADM 5711
Indigenous-Canada Relations: Governance and Policy History
Introduction to pre-contact history of select Indigenous nations and peoples, overview of the contact period including treaty relationships, evolving jurisprudence, changing power dynamics, federal and provincial administrative practices, contemporary and traditional forms of First Nations, Métis and Inuit governance. Contrasting approaches to understanding foundational events.

PADM 5712
Issues in Contemporary Governance: First Nations, Métis and Inuit
Diverse approaches to understanding and responding to the main governance issues facing contemporary and traditional First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments and organizations in Ontario and in the rest of Canada.

PADM 5713
Leadership and Management in Indigenous Organizations and Governments
Leadership, organizational development and innovation in various cultural contexts relevant to Indigenous peoples, organizational design, recruitment and human resources management, decision-making, project planning and implementation, media and communications – includes a practicum.

PADM 5714
Financial Management in First Nations, Métis and Inuit Governments and Organizations
Legislation, regulations, and financial management practices that apply in First Nations, Métis, Inuit organizations and governments. Sources and measures to mitigate and eliminate historical disparity, including asset management, strategic investment, and capital aggregation.

PADM 5715
Policy Research and Evaluation for Indigenous Policy and Administration
Policy research and program evaluation; applied research ethics, cultural and community protocols, legal frameworks, formulation of research problems, research design, and techniques for collecting and managing community-based and other data; research methodologies of specific Indigenous nations and peoples, as well as scholarly debates about epistemology and practice.

PADM 5716
Economic and Community Development in Indigenous Territories
Community economic development theories; the ethics, benefits and costs of traditional, current and new approaches pertinent to building stable, sustainable economies in rural and urban Aboriginal settings.

PADM 5717
Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Law
Canadian law relating to Aboriginal peoples from colonial times to the present, including jurisprudence on Aboriginal and treaty rights, the duty to consult, fiduciary duties, the honour of the Crown, nation-to-nation relations, and other concepts; introduction to First Nations, Métis and Inuit legal traditions and international law.

PADM 5718
Indigenous People and Urban Policy and Administration
Policies and programs of and for people living in Canadian cities, with a focus on institutional and intergovernmental challenges and opportunities for change.

PADM 5719
Aboriginal Health and Social Policy
Development and delivery of health and social policies pertinent to Aboriginal people living in diverse circumstances in Canada; theories and practices.

PADM 5772
Policy Seminar (Indigenous Policy and Administration)
One or more selected policy areas or specialized aspects of Indigenous Policy and Administration. The policy field or topic will change each year.

Summer session: some of the courses listed in this Calendar are offered during the summer. Hours and scheduling for summer session courses will differ significantly from those reported in the fall/winter Calendar. To determine the scheduling and hours for summer session classes, consult the class schedule at