Bachelor of Arts, Indigenous and American Indian Studies

The Indigenous Nations and American Indian Studies/Social Sciences program is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses such fields as history, language, psychology, social work, sociology, and American Indian studies. Our program utilizes a curriculum that fosters a comprehensive and critical approach to the study and practice of Tribal Nation sovereignty and self-determination.

The American Indian studies field emerged during the late 1960s and early 1970s in response to the need for an academically rigorous, critically engaged, and socially relevant academic discipline devoted to Tribal communities. Our program’s focus remains grounded to this mission as we prepare students for ethical advocacy and leadership roles in organizations, institutions, and communities to foster and protect sovereignty and self-determination.

Respectful coexistence is a basic tenet of sovereignty, and our program seeks to respect the cultural and philosophical diversity of Indigenous, Tribal Nations, and Alaska Native communities. To this end, we strive to promote the values embodied by CIRCLE: Communication, Integrity, Respect, Cooperation, Leadership, and Excellence. We believe these values foster academic success, lifelong learning and service, and capacity building for Tribal and Alaska communities.


Affirming sovereignty through action.

The focus of the Indigenous and American Indian Studies Program is to prepare Indigenous, American Indian, and Alaska Native students for advocacy and leadership positions that promote and protect the sovereignty and self-determination of First Nations People. The Indigenous and American Indian Studies Bachelor of Arts degree is designed to provide students with an integrated foundation of interdisciplinary knowledge and the practical skills needed to contribute to the development of Indigenous, American Indian, and Alaska Native communities and Nations.


  • Identify and describe Indigenous, American Indian, and Alaskan Native treaties, policies, histories, and sovereignty and self-determination
  • Demonstrate proficiency in effective oral, written, and visual communications
  • Recognize and apply Indigenous-based ethical concepts and practices
  • Demonstrate proficiency in critical and logical reasoning
  • Identify and analyze challenges to Native Peoples, and to promote relevant and community-based opportunities and solutions that contribute to the well-being of Indigenous Nations and American Indian and Alaskan Native communities
  • Demonstrate proficiency in and understanding of the history and practical applications of the Indigenous and American Indian Studies discipline.

Graduates from our program have used their studies to prepare themselves for occupations in Tribal and federal government, social work, law, education, archiving and information management, information technology, and advocacy positions. Many also have entered graduate or professional programs in American Indian Studies, geography, conflict resolution, law, environmental sciences, public health, education, or in other areas related to their concentration.

Admission Requirements

  • Completion of 45 hours of General Education Requirements
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50
  • Submission of IAIS application packet: A complete application packet includes:


  • Official academic transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Two essays
  • Completion of AIS 102 and AIS 110 (or their equivalent) with a “C” or higher

Graduation Requirements

Students are required to carry a minimum 2.00 GPA for continued study and graduation. Failure to maintain this minimum GPA may result in dismissal from the baccalaureate program in IAIS. To be eligible to graduate with a BA in Indigenous and American Indian Studies, students must have earned a “C” or higher in all of their upper-level AIS classes and have earned a minimum cumulative 2.00 GPA.

Once accepted into the IAIS program, students are assigned an advisor from the core AIS faculty. Students are expected to regularly meet with their advisor to discuss grades, progress toward degree, and educational/professional goals.

The Indigenous and American Indian Studies Bachelor of Arts degree is designed to provide students with an integrated foundation of interdisciplinary knowledge and practical skills relevant to sustainable and intelligent capacity-building within and for Tribal communities. The IAIS discipline emphasizes an introduction to the discipline, federal Indian policy, contemporary Indian problems, language study, and law and society.

Prior to admission into the program, students must complete AIS 102 and AIS 110 with a “C” or higher. After admission, all students must complete the following requirements:

  • IAIS Major Foundation classes (12 hours): see degree checklist for options
  • Internships (6 hours): AIS 397 and AIS 497. (Students must obtain permission from the AIS internship director prior to enrolling)
  • Senior Thesis (3 hours): AIS 499

Click here for the Degree Checklist  pdf icon

Bachelor of Arts, Indigenous and American Indian Studies

College of Natural and Social Sciences

Ms. Raylene Hayes

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