Aboriginal Education

Our Department of Aboriginal Education offers people of Aboriginal descent, as well as people wishing to teach Aboriginal learners, with the opportunity to learn or increase their knowledge of a Native language, and to learn to become a teacher.

As part of the Faculty of Education, our undergraduate programs give you the knowledge, qualifications and cultural understanding to make a difference in your students' lives. We use a multidisciplinary approach to address the academic, cultural and traditional needs of Aboriginal students, educators and communities. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of:

  • Teaching practices as they relate to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students
  • Planning and teaching lessons that apply to different types of learners
  • Aboriginal culture and practices as they relate to education

As well, some programs give you the opportunity to learn:

  • Aboriginal languages to communicate with learners

There are two undergraduate degree programs to choose from, which lead to certification by the Ontario College of Teachers (OTC), and will allow you to teach in both Band-operated and provincial schools:

Honours Bachelor of Education (Aboriginal) Primary-Junior

This five-year degree program prepares you to teach at the Primary-Junior (P/J) level (from kindergarten to grade 6). During the first two years you will take courses on the following topics:

  • Indigenous Learning
  • English
  • General Sciences
  • Visual Arts
  • Cree
  • Ojibwe

In your final two years you will focus on educational theories and practices  and complete an Honours project that demonstrates your learning in an original and culturally appropriate way.

Native Teacher Education Program (NTEP)

The Native Teacher Education Program (NTEP) was created to increase the number of qualified Native teachers in Ontario. As a student, you will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Indigenous Learning, while concurrently working toward a Bachelor of Education degree. This is a five year degree leading to teaching certification at the Intermediate-Senior (I/S) level.

We also offer a Native Languages Certificate or Diploma program, leading to a restricted certificate with the Ontario College of Teachers, that allows you teach native languages:

Native Language Instructors' Program (NLIP)

This program has two components taught during summer sessions:

  • Native Language Instructors' Diploma Program
  • Native Language Teacher's Certification

Lakehead Advantage

Our location in Northwestern Ontario makes Lakehead University the ideal institution to study Aboriginal Education. In 2011, 9.8% of Thunder Bay's population identified as Aboriginal, 26.4% of whom were under the age of 14. As a student of Aboriginal Education you will be on the forefront of innovative programming to support Aboriginal communities and protect Aboriginal heritage, identity and languages. 

Our programs use holistic teaching techniques to help nurture your mind as well as your emotions, spirit and physical body. We believe that by embracing your learning needs and new experiences, you will be able to successfully share knowledge with others.

We maintain a number of partnerships with Aboriginal communities, schools and organizations that ensure you will receive a well-rounded education and many opportunities to apply your knowledge post-graduation. Many of our graduates have been employed by, for example, Matawa First Nations Management, the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, Fort William First Nation, Eabametoong First Nation and many more organizations, thanks to our partnerships.

Applying to Lakehead University is easy and we are here to help you along the way.

Step 1 – Determine your general admission requirements:

To determine your general admission requirements, select one of the definitions below:

Ontario High School Students
 General Admission Requirements:
  • Completion of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD);
  • A minimum of 6 Grade 12U or M courses, or equivalent, including program specific prerequisite courses;
  • A minimum 70%* overall final average**

*Higher averages may be required for admission to programs in which the demand for places by qualified applicants exceeds the supply of available spaces.
**Admission averages are calculated using the top 6 Grade 12 U or M courses.  

Other Canadian High School Students
 General Admission Requirements: 
  • Completion of Grade 12 and the Secondary School Diploma (see the Program Specific Prerequisites section for your particular provinces requirements);
  • Program specific prerequisite courses;
  • A minimum 70%* overall final average

*Higher averages may be required for admission to programs in which the demand for places by qualified applicants exceeds the supply of available spaces.

International HS/ College or University
 General Admission Requirements:
  • Successful graduation from an academic secondary school program or equivalent (For most countries, the same academic preparation as is required for university entrance in that country is required for consideration. Refer to Admission Requirements by Country.) 
  • Program specific prerequisite courses;
  • Equivalent of a minimum 70% overall final average (Canadian)

    Note: Meeting the minimum admission requirements is not a guarantee of admission.

Canadian College
 General Admission Requirements:

College transfer applicants who are applying to a program that does not have a college transfer pathway are eligible for admission consideration if they have:

  • Completed a minimum of 1 year of full-time academic studies at an accredited community college since leaving high school;
  • Completed the appropriate program-specific prerequisite courses; and
  • Achieved a minimum overall average of 70%. 
Canadian University
 General Admission Requirements:
  • Attended a university and successful completion of university level course work since leaving high school/college;
  • Program specific prerequisite courses;
  • A minimum overall average of C or 60%.
Canadian Bible College
 General Admission Requirements:
  • A minimum overall average of C / 60% or equivalent;
  • College must be accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE);
  • Successfully meets the minimum program specific preparatory course prerequisites at the Grade 12U or M level or equivalent;
  • If not eligible right out of high school, a minimum of two years of full time studies must be completed at the Bible College.

Step 2 – Determine your program-specific prerequisite requirements for your program(s) of choice:

To determine your program-specific prerequisite requirements, choose from the drop-down menus below:

Program Specific Requirements

Please Select Your Applicant Type

  • Indigenous Teacher Education Program
    Degree:
    Education
    Alberta/NWT/Nunavut:
    English Language Arts 30-1
    Program Specific Requirements for Ontario High School Students:
    English (ENG4U)
    Program Specific Requirements for Alberta/NWT/Nunavut High School Students:
    English Language Arts 30-1
    Program Specific Requirements for British Columbia/Yukon High School Students:
    English 12 or English 12 First Peoples
    Program Specific Requirements for International Students:
    English
    Program Specific Requirements for Manitoba High School Students:
    English Language Arts (Comprehensive Focus, Literary Focus, or Transactional Focus) 40S
    Program Specific Requirements for Mature/Transfer Students:
    English (ENG4U). Other secondary or post-secondary courses that are equivalent to the English prerequisite requirement are accepted. College transfer students entering via a transfer pathway are not required to satisfy the English prerequisite requirement.
    Program Specific Requirements for New Brunswick High School Students:
    English Language Arts 121 or 122
    Program Specific Requirements for Newfoundland/Labrador High School Students:
    English 3201
    Program Specific Requirements for Nova Scotia High School Students:
    English 12 or English 12 African Heritage
    Other Admission Requirements & Important Information:
    Proof of Aboriginal ancestry may be required.
    Program Specific Requirements for PEI High School Students:
    English 621A
    Program Specific Requirements for Quebec (CEGEP) Students:
    2 English (603 or 604)
    Program Specific Requirements for Quebec (Private) Students:
    English (ENG4U) or equivalent
    Program Specific Requirements for Saskatchewan High School Students:
    English Language Arts 30 A or English Language Arts 30 B


As a first year student your course requirements will be determined by your chosen program and, if applicable, your partnering discipline. For more information about your first year requirements, visit our Aboriginal Education Course Calendar.

For many of our programs you will be required to participate in hands-on student-teacher placements to observe effective teaching practices, apply instructional approaches in a classroom setting and experience mentoring from an associate teacher. You will experience 100 days of in-class placement over two years, providing you with exceptional insight into the discipline and on-the-job training. Visit our Teaching Practicum page for more information. 

With support from the Aboriginal Cultural and Support Services, we offer many holistic learning opportunities and services that will advance your knowledge of Aboriginal culture outside of the classroom, including:

  • Elder-in-Residence Program
  • Smudging
  • Seasonal Feasts
  • Medicine Garden
  • Drumming and Beading Circles

There are also financial service opportunities exclusive to Aboriginal students including scholarships, awards, bursaries and employment.


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