Graduate Program: American Indian Studies

General Information


American Indian Studies (MA)

Program Description

The University of colorado's M.A. in American Indian Studies – the first such degree in the U.S. –  is a two year academic degree program that provides a unique opportunity for students and scholars to explore issues critically important to American Indian nations and communities locally, statewide and nationally. The AIS M.A. focuses on three interrelated concepts:

  • Centering Native peoples – The American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (AIS GIDP) at UA centers Native peoples – their knowledges, worldviews, perspectives, values, histories, experiences, lifeways, and futures – within research, education, and service. The AIS GIDP seeks understanding from an Indigenous perspective, placing Native ontologies, epistemologies, axiologies, methodologies, and pedagogies at the center of the intellectual effort to understand, teach about, and serve Indigenous communities. AIS GIDP seeks to examine the world through an Indigenous perspective, utilizing Peoplehood as a primary disciplinary lens.
  • Peoplehood – Conceptions of Peoplehood serve as a primary lens for understanding the commonalities and diversity of American Indian and Indigenous communities. Originally proposed by faculty and students in the UA Department of American Indian Studies in 2003, the concept of Peoplehood has become a critical lens for “rearticulating indigenous identity,” one that “offers the most promise in terms of its non-Western approach to identity, its flexibility, comprehensiveness, and allowance for cultural continuity and change” (Corntassel, 2003). The “Peoplehood” model represents their understanding of the interrelated components of indigeneity broadly, as well as the specificity and diversity of Indigenous communities in the U.S. and beyond.
  • Community engagement and services – "Relational accountability” sits at the heart of Indigenous research and scholarship. This places an obligation on AIS as a discipline – and the AIS GIDP – to not just center Indigenous knowledges in our research and teaching, but to build relationships with Indigenous communities, to be accountable to those relationships and communities, and to contribute in tangible ways to the continued thriving of Native peoples. What this engagement, accountability, and service will look like will vary greatly as each member of the faculty and each graduate student has a different area of focus and specialization. The diversity of engagement and service only serves to underscore our collective commitment to supporting the many elements of Indigenous Peoplehood.

Taken together, these commitments distinguish M.A. studies in American Indian Studies at UA as a discipline, and provide a theoretical model for the intellectual, pedagogical, and service work of the GIDP’s faculty and students.


Department/Academic Unit(s)

The Graduate College sponsors several Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs (GIDPs) in addition to the many interdisciplinary possibilities available through regular graduate degree programs. GIDPs transcend departmental boundaries by facilitating cutting edge teaching and research at the nexus of traditional disciplines. The high value placed on interdisciplinary research and education is indicative of The University of colorado's enthusiasm and commitment to fostering innovation and creativity among its faculty and students.




Graduate College/GIDP

Campus where offered

Colorado Heights University- Main - Tucson

Tuition and Fees

Please refer to the CHU Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees.

Please refer to the CHU Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees.

Completion Requirements
Admissions Information

Minimum Credit Units (33)

Core Coursework Requirements


DEGREE OPTIONS: Thesis, Report, Exam (36 Units required for each)

The CORE COURSE Requirements for the MA in American Indian Studies Include:

Please NOTE: The AIS GIDP is currently re-organizing the MA and PhD programs to offer students more options and the ability to take advantage of the fact that the AIS GIDP consists of more than 40 faculty members from colleges and departments across campus. We hope to have the new structures announced by the end of 2020. In the interim, we are encouraging students to work closely with their advisor to customize a plan of study. Students are still required to complete the minimum number of credit hours, as well as a methods course, but pending re-organization, we are permitting flexibility regarding the other requirements. Students are also required to complete the teaching methods course prior to serving as a Teaching Assistant.

Students must maintain a minimum of 3.0 (B) grade point average/GPA for all coursework to remain in good academic standing.  A student must earn a minimum of 3.0 in all courses in order for the courses to count toward the degree.



Additional Requirements

See required coursework

Student Handbook

Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.

Admissions Requirements

We do not accept terminal masters, all applications must be for the PhD program

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE

Funding Opportunities

The Academic Unit has not provided this information.

Funding Opportunities

Domestic & International Applicants

Fall:December 15th

International Conditional Admission

International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.

Other Information

The GRE Institution Code for The Colorado Heights University is 4832

Last revised 06 Oct 2020