Aboriginal Studies

What is Aboriginal Studies about?

Aboriginal Studies provides an enriched understanding of this continent’s cultural, social and political heritage; expanding our perspectives beyond that of our recent colonial past and into a realm of rich social, aesthetic and linguistic diversity that all Australians can value.

In doing so, we build the capacity to not only see beyond the daily headlines, but also to interrogate the recurrent and emerging debates that impact on Aboriginal affairs in the broadest sense.

Our program facilitates an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and societies, past and present relationships between indigenous Australians and other peoples globally, and the development of intercultural competence.

An understanding of Aboriginal Australia is a prerequisite for an understanding of contemporary Australian society.


"Learn more about the political, social, economic and historical context of Aboriginality and Aboriginal peoples in colonial and contemporary Australian society."

— Dr Mitchell Rolls, Aboriginal Studies Coordinator

Header image: Oliver Strewe, Tourism Australia

History textbooks still imply that Australians are white

"Depictions of 'Australian-ness' in textbooks is not only relevant to experiences of national belonging. Research suggests that students who aren’t represented perform worse academically. My research shows that Australian history textbooks continue to portray Australians as white."

Read more about Robyn Moore's research

Why study Aboriginal Studies with us?

Explore a range of subjects which are connected by the process of Aboriginal dispossession, and the resistance and responses to dispossession and oppression on the part of Indigenous communities, with study materials generated by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.


Examine the political, social, economic, cultural and historical context of Aboriginality and Aboriginal peoples in colonial and contemporary Australian society, with a program that takes a unique multi-disciplinary approach.


Undertake a major (eight units) or minor (four units) in Aboriginal Studies on-campus in Hobart and Launceston, or anywhere online.


Begin with an overview of historical and contemporary Aboriginal Australia in your first year, and choose from more specialist areas from your second year.


Specialisations range from the Aboriginal experience in Tasmania to units which consider Indigenous societies in other parts of the world.

What careers relate to Aboriginal Studies?

A clear understanding of Indigenous culture and contemporary issues is a valuable asset in today’s Australia. In a rapidly changing cultural environment, contributions to Aboriginal community development and equity are being made from an increasingly wide range of professional areas. Indigenous people have also been increasingly participating in the private sector, with Indigenous arts and tourism particular areas of growth.

Employers depend on people who are effective communicators and decision-makers, with demonstrable skills in critical thinking, problem solving, research and investigation. These abilities are fundamental for graduates in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, which includes Aboriginal Studies.


  • Advocacy and counselling
  • Arts and heritage
  • Communications and public relations
  • Linguistics
  • Foreign relations and aid
  • Education
  • Healthcare and healthcare ethics
  • Historian
  • Interpreter or translator
  • Journalism and publishing
  • Law
  • Manager in private and public enterprises
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Parks and wildlife service
  • Police
  • Politics and public policy-making
  • Psychology
  • Public health and welfare
  • Researcher
  • Tourism and travel operator
  • Writer

Image: Quinkan Rock Art, Tourism Australia

How can I learn about Aboriginal Studies?

Many people who undertake a major or minor in Aboriginal Studies treat it as valuable adjunct to another major in their undergraduate degree. It is also a popular choice as a second major or minor in Social Science, Health and Nursing, Science, Law, Fine Arts, and Education degrees.

Both the major (eight units) and minor (four units) involve core and elective units in Aboriginal Studies which can be identified with HAB in the unit code. As a diverse discipline, the core units will provide a necessary grounding in essential issues, while the elective units will allow you to follow your particular interest in Aboriginal Studies.

Interested in studying with us? Explore our course and research opportunities below.

Each course and unit is linked to its own page with more detailed information and entry requirements on the Courses & Units website.

Your learning experience in Aboriginal Studies goes beyond the lecture and tutorials.

You will be taught by experts, and gain perspective from guest lecturers and forums; gain a competitive advantage with real-world experience prior to graduation; study abroad for a fortnight, a month, a semester or a year, as part of your degree; have options to complete your studies your way, whether on-campus, online, part-time or full-time;  pursue your passion or specialisation with a range of scholarships, bursaries and financial assistance programs, or meet your career goals with our pathway options.

The College of Arts, Law and Education, including the School of Humanities, offers a growing collection of units that are available to be completed either wholly or partially online to enable flexible study.

* The online availability for each unit is indicated on each individual unit page under ‘Availability’, then ‘Attendance options’ by the ‘Off-Campus’ icon .

Read more about Online Study options

As a student of Humanities both the University and the School provide access to a variety of scholarships and bursaries at a University, College of Arts, Law and Education and Discipline level. The main application period begins in August, and closes on the 31st October the year prior to study commencing.

Browse Scholarships

The College also offers a financial assistance program for students wishing to undertake Short Term Overseas Study Programs.

Short Term Overseas Study Program College assistance and mobility grants

Don't meet the traditional entry requirements? The School of Humanities offers an alternative entry pathway into our undergraduate programs. The Arts pathway is a great introduction into university study, and can assist you in gaining the qualifications and experience you need for your chosen career. This foundation year of study provides students with the skills and knowledge related to studying the arts and social sciences, with additional support and guidance to help you succeed.

If you would like to study a Bachelor of Arts, completing this year of foundation study in Bachelor of General Studies (Arts Pathway) X3A will assist you in achieving your goals.

Read more about Access, Participation and Partnerships at the University of Tasmania

An overseas study program gives you the opportunity to experience different cultures, study languages, undertake work placement or internships, make new friends and explore the world while receiving credit toward your degree. It provides a 'total immersion' experience in a variety of study areas and locations. You can choose a program length that suits you, from a 2-week fieldtrip, a short-term summer program to a full semester (or two).

Overseas Study opportunities at the College of Arts, Law and Education

Take your passion for ideas further than you ever imagined.

We offer a collegial, supportive environment, with experienced supervision, regular seminar series, research skills training, and many opportunities to work with peers and academics on your areas of interest. We supervise across a range of methodologies and conceptual/theoretical approaches, and encourage scholarship that draws on ideas from across diverse fields.

Choose a research topic that reflects your interests and identify a supervisor with the expertise to guide you in your research. Search for a discipline staff member via our staff profiles, or by their area or expertise through the University Research page.

The School of Humanities welcomes qualified applicants to undertake a research degree with us in any of our areas of research strengths and interests.

Masters by Research
Doctorates (PhD)

To find out about application procedures, entry requirements, and scholarships, please visit the Research Degrees web page.

Our research in Aboriginal Studies

The Global Cultures & Languages program research in Aboriginal Studies focuses on issues pertaining to race and representation, culture, cultural change, identity, identity politics, the relationship between ethnic and other minorities and/or Indigenous peoples and the broader communities and respective nation states, former missions, community engagement, and teaching Indigenous Studies.

We welcome proposals from qualified applicants to undertake research degrees at both the Masters and PhD levels, and are pleased to discuss proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries.

Dr Mitchell Rolls

Featured Researcher | Dr Mitchell Rolls

Mitchell is Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Aboriginal Studies in Global Cultures & Languages. He has particular research interests in the fields of postcolonialism, cultural anthropology and cultural studies. He has published widely on cultural identity, race and representation, cultural appropriation, and place-making in settler societies.


View Mitchell's full researcher profile Browse our academic staff profiles