MPEd | Field of Educational Leadership, Focal Area: Aboriginal Education

The Master of Professional Education Program in the field of Aboriginal Educational Leadership is a course-based graduate program leading to an MPEd degree.  Students proceed through the program together as a cohort and complete seven designated courses and a capstone project over six terms (two years). Student choice is encouraged through a process that allows individual and groups to tailor course assignments, case studies and projects to meet their learning and professional goals.


For the program beginning in July 2018, all courses will be held onsite at Six Nations Polytechnic located in Ohshweken, Ontario, Six Nations of the Grand River. Priority will be given to applicants applying from Six Nations Polytechnic. 



In addition to offering the core components of the educational leadership stream, the Leadership in Aboriginal Education route considers Indigenous ways of leading, knowing, teaching and learning. A specific emphasis on organizational and pedagogical strategies to improve Aboriginal student success is included as part of a broader consideration of the social, political and economic context of education.

Graduates of the program will have an understanding of the historical and contemporary conditions of Aboriginal education in Canada, a comprehensive knowledge of current scholarship on Indigenous knowledge and research methodologies, and a thorough grounding in theories and practices of leadership.
This master’s program prepares educators for a range of leadership roles in provincially funded or First Nations schools and school systems, colleges and other adult learning settings, and related agencies and organizations.

Important Note

The successful completion of a Master of Professional degree does not lead to certification with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).

Student Profile
Juanita Muise – MPEd ‘17

Field of Educational Leadership, focused in Aboriginal Education

Juanita Muise – MPEd ‘17

As a teacher in a First Nations school, Juanita Muise wanted to learn more about the ways in which schools could integrate Indigenous perspectives into their curriculum and teachings.

Read More


The preparation of ethical, socially responsible leaders who are thoughtful practitioners and can demonstrate:

  • a capacity for care and compassion;
  • an open-mindedness and a willingness to learn about and integrate Indigenous knowledge into their professional practice;
  • a critical understanding of educational politics, policies and practices grounded in research and the knowledge of practice;
  • an ability to identify and solve complex problems using evidence;
  • an innovative and change-oriented approach to their work;
  • organizational and administrative competence.


This program of study is a course-based cohort model. For Aboriginal Leadership. approximately 20 students will be admitted.

This cohort structure will provide ongoing support within the course work, enabling students to develop a professional community of practice. To ensure the integrity of the cohort model, continuous enrollment is required, and will necessitate that students complete all the required courses within the timeframe stipulated.


Summer Term 1
ED 9450 Interdisciplinary Issues and Implications in Aboriginal Education

This course introduces students to the historical and contemporary realities of Aboriginal Education from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspectives. The impact of colonial frameworks of knowledge on Aboriginal education will be critically examined.  Using a decolonizing lens, students will investigate holistic, inclusive and respectful approaches to teaching and learning.

ED 9500 Power, Politics and Policy in Education: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

This is an introductory course to educational policy making and analysis. This course analyses the various factors that have influenced the evolution of school systems and recent changes in pedagogy, curriculum and school management. The development of scholarly research and writing skills will be emphasized.

Fall Term 2
ED 9456A Leadership and Social Contexts

A holistic examination of leadership for Indigenous student wellness and learning within family, school and community contexts.  Topics may include the impact of historical trauma; internalized oppression; decolonization; healing and community development; critical self-reflection in professional practice; forms of leadership; influencing change and social responsibilities of leaders in education.

Winter Term 3
ED 9451 Reading Research: Critical Approaches for Educators

An exploration of educational research with an emphasis on understanding, critically evaluating, and applying research in professional practice settings. Consideration will be given to the relationship between research and practice, methodological issues, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous world views and social theories that inform research design, interpretation and analysis.

Summer Term 4
ED 9452 Becoming Educational Leaders, July 2-9

Theories and models of leadership are considered, with an emphasis on emerging scholarship about Indigenous ways of leading. Topics will include education reform, school improvement, community involvement and action, as well as inclusive, distributed, activist and spiritual leadership. Leadership and its practical applications in varied education contexts will be considered.

ED 9453 Developing, Implementing and Evaluating Education Programs, July 16-23

Theories and approaches to program development, implementation and evaluation will be considered, with an emphasis on Indigenous educational contexts in Canada and internationally. Practical applications using real life case studies will provide a major focus for critically examining program planning, action and evaluative processes in Indigenous education settings.

Fall Term 5
ED 9454A Doing Educational Research

Discusses approaches to practitioner inquiry with an emphasis on applications in Indigenous education contexts. Working together as critical friends, students plan, develop and complete applied research proposals based on areas of professional interest and community need. Attention is given to research ethics.

Winter Term 6
ED 9455B Capstone/Culminating Project - 1 term

A culminating project that implements the applied research proposal developed in the course, Doing Educational Research. Candidates work together to frame, analyze, and develop responses to problems and challenges arising from their own contexts/professional interests. Results are prepared for dissemination to relevant audiences.

Faculty Research

Program Coordinator

Brent DebassigeView Profile


Erica NeeganagwedginView Profile



  • A four-year degree (20 full courses or equivalent) from an accredited university.
  • Minimum "B" standing (70%) or equivalent in the final two years of study.


  • Minimum one year full-time teaching experience, or experience within the field of education.

Notes & Exceptions:

  • Bachelor of Education and Additional Qualification course grades are not used in calculating admission averages.
  • Applicants with 3-year degrees will be considered on a case-by-case basis if seats are available in programs. Successful experience as an educator in a professional setting may be considered in the selection process.
  • Probationary Status: If an applicant does not meet all of the minimum admission requirements (e.g. average below 70% and/or has only a 3-year degree plus B.Ed.) the applicant may be offered admission as a Probationary Student with Conditions.
  • Conditions: Applicants will be required to maintain a 75% average in each of these courses to clear conditions.
  • The successful completion of an MPEd degree does not lead to certification with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT).


Program information is subject to change.

Tuition amounts are set each year by Senate and then published on the Office of the Registrar's Fees Schedules web page. Fees are assessed once each term (Fall, Winter, Summer).

For questions about fees, including how to pay fees and the methods of payment that are accepted, students should go to the  Student Financial Services pages of the Office of the Registrar's web site or contact Student Financial Services (Office of the Registrar) at 519-661-2100.

Please note: Fall term ancillary fees are proportionately higher for domestic students because part of this fee is the SOGS (Society of Graduate Students) Health & Dental Plan.  Health & Dental Plan fees provide coverage from September through August and are collected from graduate students in September. Students who are admitted and have their own coverage will be provided information on how to "opt out" of the SOGS Health Plan.

Application Fee $115.00 due at the time of application
Tuition Fee
Domestic: $11,512.00 per year ($2,878.00 per half course x 4 half courses per year)
International: $14,364.00 per year ($3,591.00 per half course x 4 half courses per year)
Ancillary Fees $400.92 per year
Textbook Fees Variable

Fees subject to change on an annual basis. Regestrar Fees pages are considered authoritative.


Prospective Indigenous students should inquire about funding opportunities within their own communities and ensure any applications for funding are submitted well in advance of starting this degree program.

The Faculty of Education recognizes the financial commitment required to pursue professional graduate studies.

As the majority of our programs are fully online, we offer students flexible learning that allows them to fund their education by remaining in their current employment.  Some employers offer subsidization or time release opportunities for the professional learning of their employees. As a result, internal funding is not available for these programs.

There are some internal university awards for which professional programs students may be eligible. Download this PDF file for a list of internal awards

There are also many external funding opportunities for competitive candidates in our professional programs. Download this PDF file for an additional list of over 30 external awards (see more information below). Also, visit online sites that contain numerous award opportunities. 

Please note that students must apply for these awards individually. Read the qualifications carefully, and contact the award provider for more criteria and award information. Some application support is available from the Research Office for research-based awards only.

Many private financial institutions offer financing options (with particular rates and payment plans) to full-time students. Please contact a representative of your preferred financial institution for more information.

Provincial governments offer a variety of loan programs to help students finance their studies. Ontario residents may be eligible to apply for OSAP.

The Government of Canada's CanLearn website provides a listing of contact information for the offices of all government student financial assistance programs. Please visit CanLearn to find your province or territory listing. The Government of Canada implemented the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) to encourage higher education and training. The LLP allows you to withdraw up to $10,000 a year from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance training or education for you or your spouse or common-law partner. For further information on this plan, visit the government's website at


Online and onsite courses are available via the Sakai OWL platform, although instructors of onsite courses use this tool to varying degrees as well. Access to a course in Sakai OWL is typically opened the first business day of each term. Please note that although your own access may be granted prior to the first business day, course content may not be posted until closer to the scheduled term start. Your Western University login and password is required to access the course (your Western email without the and its accompanying password). Access to Sakai OWL is found here:

For online courses, students are required to have access to the following:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Access to a computer that enables connection to outside websites (flexible firewall restrictions)
  • Multimedia playback capabilities (video/audio)
  • WebCam
  • Computer capable of running a recent version of Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox; and/or Cisco MOVI client for PC or Mac
  • Audio headset and microphone for computer