Aboriginal studies

Discover Aboriginal Australia

Learn about the history, culture and social structure of Australia’s Indigenous people, in both a historical and contemporary framework.

Why study aboriginal studies?

Aboriginal studies at La Trobe takes an innovative approach to exploring Australia’s Indigenous people. It will help you develop an appreciation of Indigenous Australia by studying contemporary Indigenous identity, the development of Indigenous societies, Indigenous peoples’ relationship to Western law, and the process of reconciliation. You will be introduced to issues around Aboriginal rights and resistance by studying the past and current developments of self-determination, knowledge and position within Australian mainstream society. Through literature, media and Indigenous lecturers you will explore the past and present influences upon urban and remote Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal Studies is a multi-disciplinary study area and offers a breadth of subjects that complement each other, allowing you to develop your understanding of Indigenous topics and apply this to other areas. You can take subjects from a wide range of disciplines such as, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, English, social work, education, history, legal studies and linguistics. Aboriginal Studies has a strong emphasis on learning about Indigenous peoples from Indigenous knowledge, and our teaching encourages you to learn through independent research.

To view the variety of subjects available in this discipline see the 2018 Handbook.

Where can aboriginal studies take me?

Our Aboriginal studies major allows you to pursue post-graduate research and/or qualify in a rewarding career path. It aims to graduate both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal professionals by preparing you to engage intellectually with topics that promote strong cultural awareness, community development and social advocacy.

Graduates can expect to be employed in government agencies, public policy, Aboriginal organisations and welfare organisations, Indigenous research, legal studies, gender studies, Native Title, social work and teaching. Additionally, graduates can use Aboriginal studies in international research, international community development organisations, international human rights institutions and bodies, companies and welfare agencies.

Why La Trobe?

La Trobe Aboriginal studies is unique because it is taught across all of La Trobe’s campuses. You are encouraged to learn from case studies particular to community development, while understanding cultural identity and political history. Awareness and understanding of self-determination and governance is imperative when working in an Aboriginal community.

One of our most popular subjects is the annual ‘Encountering Aboriginal Victoria – Parallel Systems of Knowledge’. This is an intensive residential program taught at the Shepparton Campus, yet open to students from all campuses. Your education experience will allow you to openly discuss topics with leading Aboriginal Studies academics. You will learn first-hand about Aboriginal community policy development and delivery of community services through lectures, field trips and engagement with Aboriginal organisations, government agencies and individual community members. You will also have an ‘On Country’ experience, including travel to the Barmah Forest to hear from Aboriginal community representatives.

Further study options

If you are an undergraduate student with a strong academic record, Honours in Aboriginal studies gives you the opportunity to pursue a year-long program of study (two years part-time) combining coursework and research in a specialised area of knowledge. You can also undertake a combined Honours year and gain expertise in two areas of study for a broad-ranging qualification.

Complete the Honours program with a high overall grade to qualify for entry into the Masters by Research program or, in cases of high achievement, direct entry into the PhD program.

You can study this as part of a Bachelor of Arts. View all majors

Related study options

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