Director:  Assistant Dean Sara Faherty (

The Faculty of Law’s Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies

The Faculty of Law’s Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies is for students who have a vocational or intellectual interest in the intersection between law and the history, politics, thought, or practices of Aboriginal Law.  The program complements students’ legal training by providing an interdisciplinary framework within which concepts and methods from the study of law can be applied to a relevant topic in Indigenous Studies.  Students complete the Certificate in accordance with Law Faculty requirements and in conjunction with the Centre for Indigenous Studies through the Arts and Science division at the University of Toronto.


The Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies has four requirements. 

(1) Indigenous Peoples and the Constitution of Canada (formerly Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Law then Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law)

Students must participate in the Law Faculty’s core research course in Aboriginal Studies, Indigenous Peoples and the Constitution of Canadian (LAW370H1S).  This four hour credit course explores the constitutional context in which mainstream law confronts Indigenous issues and seeks an understanding of Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives and interests in relation to these issues.  All students completing the Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies will take this core course requirement.

(2)  Significant Writing on Aboriginal or Indigenous Law

Students earning the Certificate in Aboriginal Legal Studies must write a SUYRP on an Aboriginal or Indigenous Law topic in an upper level law course that permits SUYRP’s.  The faculty member teaching the course must be informed that that the SUYRP project is being used to fulfil this requirement and agree to supervise the SUYRP.  The SUYRP paper will be of publishable quality, and students will be encouraged to submit their papers to an appropriate publication.  Students can write their SUYRP either:

Option A:  In a course that is on the list of Eligible Courses (see requirement 4);


Option B:  In a course that is not on the list of Eligible Courses, provided the instructor in that course agrees to supervise the SUYRP and understands that it is in fulfillment of this Certificate.  Students who write a SUYRP on Aboriginal Law in a non-Eligible Course must enrol in Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Law, and need only complete one Eligible Course from the list.

(3) Public Presentation in the Centre for Indigenous Studies

Early in the term in which a student completes requirement (2), students must consult with the Program Director of the University of Toronto Centre for Indigenous Studies, and schedule a presentation of the paper written in completion of the significant writing requirement at a suitable public forum. 

(4) Additional Eligible Course(s).

The Manager, Indigenous Initiatives will advise the Associate Dean's office on how to maintain the Eligible Course List of Law and graduate level courses in consultation with other Faculties at the University of Toronto.  Together they will update the list yearly, and students who find an appropriate course can request that it be added to the list of eligible courses.  Ideally, students will take at least one of the listed courses during the second year, before or concurrently with Indigenous Peoples and Canadian Law.

Students must complete one or two courses from the list. Students pursuing Option A under requirement (2) must take two courses from this list.  Students pursuing Option B need only select one course from the list.  However, students completing a SUYRP in Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Law or one of the courses on the Eligible Course List must take a second course from the list. 

In summary, each student will complete three courses towards the certificate:  either the core course plus two eligible courses; or the core course, one eligible course, and a course in which the student writes a SUYRP on a topic in Aboriginal Law.

Eligible Courses

  • LAW 281 Issues in Aboriginal Law and Policy
  • LAW 274 Indigenous Legal Traditions and the Imperial Response
  • LAW 331 Y1Y Kawaskimhon Moot (NB, students may not do their significant writing in the Moot)
  • LAW 366 Comparative Indigenous Law
  • LAW 475 Discerning Law in the Fur Trade
  • LAW 476 Indigenous People and Canadian Courts: Advocacy, Evidentiary, and Ethical Issues
  • LAW 477 Aboriginal Peoples and Canadian Criminal Justice
  • LAW 576 Canadian Legal History:  Law and Indigenous Peoples in the New Dominion
  • LAW 710 Intensive:  Indigenous Law in Context (2-credit version)
  • CHL 5421 Aboriginal Health
  • ENG 6554 Race and Gender in Indigenous Law and Literature
  • HIS 1120 Topics in Aboriginal/Non-Aboriginal Relations in Canada
  • HIS 111 Indigenous Histories in North America
  • HIS 1104 Natives and Empires: Colonial History of the Americas, 1492–1800
  • HIS 1118 Canada By Treaty: Alliances, Title Transfers and Land Claims
  • JAR 6053 Aboriginal Religion in Comparative Experience
  • JPG 1419 Aboriginal/Canadian Relations in Environmental and Resource Management
  • NUR 1014 The Politics of Aboriginal Health
  • OSG Osgoode Intensive Program in  Aboriginal Lands, Resources, and Governments
  • POL 2062 Contemporary Indigenous Theory and Political Thought
  • POL 2361 Globalization and Indigenous Politics
  • SES 1930 Race, Indigenous Citizenship and Self-Determination: Decolonizing Perspectives
  • SES 2999 Aboriginal Peoples and Citizenship
  • SES 1925 Indigenous Knowledge and Decolonization: Pedagogical Implications
  • SWK 4629  Social Work Practice and Aboriginal Peoples

CHL= Collaborative Program in Health Care -  ENG= English - HIS=History - JAE Joint program in Religion - JPG=Joint Program in Geography - NUR=Nursing - POL=Political Science - SES=Sociology and Equity Studies - SWK = Social Work

Admission into the Certificate Program

Students apply to the Faculty of Law alone.  In their applications or before the completion of their first year, students should select the Aboriginal Law Studies as a certificate program option.  Students must contact the Assistant Dean, Office of the Associate Dean in order to formalize their admission to the certificate program. Any questions should be directed to the Assistant Dean at