JSGS does not recommend graduate certificate programs to international students for the following reasons:

  • The certificates are only 3 courses (9 credit units) in length, and to be considered a full-time student, you must register in 6 credit units (2 courses) per term.
    • For example, if a graduate certificate student wants to maintain full-time status, the maximum time in the graduate certificate program would be 6 months if starting in January (encompasses winter and spring terms), or 8 months if starting in May (encompasses spring and fall terms) or September (encompasses fall and winter terms), and a student would need to take a fourth course and pay additional tuition to have full-time status in each term.
  • JSGS cannot guarantee that courses required for our graduate certificate programs will be available each term.
  • If a required course is unavailable, it can affect the opportunity for full-time studies.
ProgramExpected LengthProject and/or thesisCourse based
Graduate certificate in Indigenous Nation-Building6 months minimum (full-time)

Jointly offered by the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) and Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy (JSGS), the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nation-Building provides students with an in-depth understanding of the traditional and modern governance approaches Indigenous nations are taking as they assert self-determination and self-governance. The impact of Canadian settler colonialism on Indigenous nationhood and how Indigenous peoples have resisted will also be examined.

The program addresses three overarching questions:

  1. What is governance from an Indigenous perspective?
  2. Why is Canadian society-which includes both settler and Indigenous peoples—in this contemporary situation of settler-colonial inequity?
  3. How do students work with Indigenous communities to understand their particular nation and circumstance and assist with moving forward from this contemporary situation of settler-colonial inequity?

This certificate program will help you strengthen your knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of policy development and implementation, governance, and self-determination within Indigenous governments and communities. Specifically, you will be encouraged and trained to listen to and learn from a nation's culture, language, history, and the Old Ones, Elders, or Knowledge Keepers/Guardians who guide the community. You will also learn how to facilitate or help implement the specific concepts and approaches to self-determination informed by a nation.

The Indigenous Nation-Building certificate is designed to meet the needs of Indigenous leaders and practicing public administrators, policy analysts, and non-profit administrators who wish to enhance their conceptual and technical skills in the fields of public administration or public policy, as related to Indigenous peoples and communities. It also prepares graduate students to be managers, leaders and innovators in First Nations, Métis and Inuit governments and other organizations that work with Indigenous governments, with a particular focus on Saskatchewan Indigenous nations and communities. This includes those who wish to increase their skills in the increasingly competitive fields of Indigenous government, Indigenous governance, Indigenous nation-building, and policy and program development related to Indigenous peoples.

NOTICE: This certificate includes a combination of in-person and online courses, and will allow students the opportunity to work together on a community governance project. If you live outside Regina or Saskatoon, please contact us about options that may be available to you.

The Indigenous Nation-Building Certificate will be accepting students for a January 2023 start date.

Are you interested in learning more about the program? Please provide the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School with your name and contact information, and they will contact you directly once they have a few program information sessions scheduled.

Learning Objectives

The curriculum objectives are organized thematically into three groups: Decolonization, Indigenization, and Reconciliation


During the program, you will gain insight on:

  • How concepts and applications of governance differ between Indigenous nations and the Canadian state.
  • The colonial, neo-colonial, and decolonial aspects of contemporary Canadian policy and public administration.
  • The impact of colonization and patriarchy on Indigenous nationhood and membership.
  • How the Canadian state, past and present, attempts and succeeds at eroding Indigenous nationhood.

From the teachings, you will be able to analyze, through an investigation of the formation of the Canadian nation-state, the legitimacy of the Canadian state. You will also be able to demonstrate how Indigenous nations, past and present, resist Canadian settler colonialism through self-determination and the rebuilding of nationhood.


During the program, students will gain insight on:

  • The premise and implications of honourable Treaty governance and Treaty federalism in Canada.
  • Various forms of Indigenous leadership within different community structures while simultaneously recognizing the diversity of Indigenous nations.

From the teachings, you will be able to critically analyze and articulate how Indigenous nations define self-determination and whether these can or cannot exist alongside the Canadian state, making specific conceptualizations of knowledge (such as, but limited to, those nations in Saskatchewan: Dene, nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda, Métis, and Michif ). You will also be able to assess potential benefits, costs, and ethical considerations of various approaches to community and economic development in Indigenous communities, and develop the tools and techniques required to contribute to nation-building based on a particular nation or community's needs.


During the program, students will gain insight on:

  • How to bridge Indigenous knowledge with settler-based policy approaches, including public policy development, program evolution, and legislation, to support Indigenous nationhood.
  • The history of Indigenous Peoples' rights movements in Canada, as they pertain to the Treaties, the Constitution Act, 1982 s.35, and the ongoing and emerging rights discourses in the Canadian courts.

From the teachings, you will be able to draw parallels between Indigenous Peoples' rights in Canada and rights recognized in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). You will also be able to constructively and respectfully communicate complex issues around colonization and Indigenous governance with diverse audiences.


All students must complete the following two courses (3 credit units each):

  • JSGS 893 - Foundations in Indigenous Governance
  • JSGS 894 - Indigenous Nation-Building in Practice

All students must complete one elective (3 credit units) from the following:

  • JSGS 808 - Ethical Leadership and Democracy in the Public Services
  • JSGS 851 - Qualitative Methods
  • JSGS 863 - Indigenous Peoples and Public Policy
  • JSGS 896 - Indigenous Nation Building in Canada
  • INDG 810 - Aboriginal Self-Determination Through Mitho Pimachesowin

All students must also complete the following additional non-credit course:

  • JSGS 895 - Community Residency (approximately 2-4 days)

Course Delivery Modes and Schedules

This certificate includes a combination of online courses and a 3-day in-person residency, which provides students with the opportunity to work together on a community governance project. 

Click here for the course schedule and delivery modes for the above courses.

Laddering Option

Students who have successfully completed this program may have their course work count towards a full master's degree within JSGS. Please talk with an academic advisor for more details.


If you are offered admission into this program, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1,000 CAD is required to save your seat. The non-refundable deposit must be paid within 30 days of the offer of admission being made. If you enroll in the program consistent with the terms of the offer, the $1,000 deposit will be applied to your student account. If you do not enroll, the deposit is retained by JSGS.

Program Canadian students International students
JSGS Graduate Certificates (Indigenous Nation Building; Social Economy, Co-operatives, and Nonprofit Sector; Public Policy Analysis; Public Management; Economic Analysis for Public Policy; Science and Innovation Policy)  per course $1,598.01 CAD $2,492.89 CAD

Tuition is assessed at a rate of $1,598.01 per 3 credit unit course for domestic students.
*International students pay a rate of $2,492.89 per 3 credit unit course. 

Student fees

In addition to tuition above, students also pay fees for programs like health and dental insurance, a bus pass, and other campus services. The amount you need to pay depends on if you are taking classes full time or part time, and if you are on campus or not. The table below assumes you are on campus full-time.

Fall 2023 Winter 2024 Spring 2024 Summer 2024
Student fees $497.88 CAD $659.51 CAD $35.00 CAD $35.00 CAD

Tuition information is accurate for the current academic year and does not include student fees. For detailed tuition and fees information, visit the official tuition website.

Admission requirements

Graduate Certificate (G.Cert.)

  • Language Proficiency Requirements: Proof of English proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English. A minimum overall TOEFL score of 86 is required with a minimum score of 20 in each area, or a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in each area, or another approved test as outlined in the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Academic Policies.
  • a four-year honours degree, or equivalent, from a recognized college or university in an academic discipline relevant to the proposed field of study
  • a cumulative weighted average of at least a 70% (U of S grade system equivalent) in the last two years of study (i.e. 60 credit units)

Applicants who do not meet the standard admission requirements may wish to apply using the non-standard application process. Successful applicants likely will have:

  • Recognized completion of at least one year (18 CUs) of higher education
  • A break of at least five years from formal higher education
  • At least ten years of work experience and at least five years of management experience.

In addition to completing the usual application package (e.g., CV, letters of reference, letter of intent), applicants must submit a letter indicating that they wish to be considered under the non-standard application process and why they wish to be considered under this process. Applicants must also submit evidence that they possess the following skills and expertise:

  • Ability to undertake effective critical thinking (e.g., to critically examine arguments, to critically examine data and the conclusions drawn from it)
  • Ability to collect and analyze data (whether qualitative or quantitative), and to connect the results of the analysis to broader concepts and idea
  • Ability to communicate effectively in both an oral and a written form

To provide evidence that they possess the above skills, applicants should draw from recent work where they demonstrated competency in the three areas. The evidence should include concrete outputs (e.g., writing samples, reports), as well as explanations of their relevance and importance. The evidence package should be three to four pages in length.

Applicants must also provide a list of the positions they have held and indicate the extent to which they have acquired and relied on the three core competencies outlined in the MPA program - analysis and use of evidence, politics and democracy, and policy delivery.

Applicants applying under the non-standard application process would generally not be required to take additional undergraduate courses beyond those they have already taken. The reason is that there is no basic theory or knowledge that is required for public policy; instead, if applicants can demonstrate that they have the skills.

Application deadlines

Applications to Graduate Certificate program are accepted on an ongoing basis and are reviewed in the order in which they are completed. Therefore, it is to your advantage to submit a completed application as early as possible, as enrollment is limited. The admission process is competitive and late application submissions may be at a disadvantage.

Entry is possible in any semester (September/Fall, January/Winter, and May/Spring).

  • The latest application deadline for Fall Term entry is May 1.
  • The latest application deadline for Winter Term entry is October 1.
  • The latest application deadline for Spring Term entry is February 1.

To meet these deadlines, all components of your application must be received by the dates above. Applications that are incomplete will not be reviewed nor will they be deferred to future terms.

Application process

Submit an online application

Before beginning your online application, be sure that you have carefully reviewed all program information and admission requirements on this page.

During the application, you'll be asked for:

  • Personal information such as your name, address, etc.
  • Contact information of your three referees
    • For your letters of recommendation, two of your referees must be academic contacts, and the third may be academic or professional
  • Your complete academic history from all previous post-secondary institutions

The application takes about 30 minutes to complete. You may save your application and return to it later.

At the end of the application, you will need to pay a non-refundable $120 application fee. Your application will not be processed until payment is received.

Submit required documents

Once you've submitted your online application, you will have access to upload your required documents, and provide the contact information for your references. To do this, go to the "Supplemental Items & Documents" tab in your application, and upload the documents outlined below.

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 Preliminary Statement of Marks or Additional Prelim. 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 be required only for applicants 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 will then be required to have your official post-secondary transcripts sent (by mail in a sealed envelope directly from the institution) 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 back of 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.

Proof of English language proficiency may be required for international applicants and for applicants whose first language is not English.

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.

Uploading documents

If you receive an Offer of Admission you may be required to have your official language test scores sent 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


Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
Diefenbaker Building
141-101 Diefenbaker Place
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B8

Graduate Chair
Michelle Prytula

Graduate Administrator