American Indian Studies Major

  • AIS graduates (left to right) Keegan Stanley, Jovana Baisden, and Kerry Evans with AIS adviser Elissa Washuta
    AIS graduates (left to right) Keegan Stanley, Jovana Baisden, and Kerry Evans with AIS adviser Elissa Washuta (second from left)

The American Indian Studies Department advances and promotes knowledge integral to Native peoples through research, teaching, and community service. It is the largest and most comprehensive program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. American Indian Studies approaches its teaching and research from a decolonized, community based, and global perspective. The AIS major is an open major: students with a cumulative UW GPA of at least 2.0 can declare the major at any time.

The American Indian Studies degree prepares students for a variety of careers, including community-based and university-based research; cultural resource management; education; writing; fundraising; tribal administration; academic advising and administration; museum curation; resource management; and many other careers. The degree also provides a foundation for graduate study in indigenous studies, law, museology, tribal administration, documentary filmmaking, education, history, and other areas of study. 

Declaring a Major

See Declaring a Major. Students may declare the American Indian Studies major after completing a 10 credits of AIS classes with a minimum of 2.0 University GPA. In order to declare the major, please email Kai Wise, adviser, at to schedule an appointment.

Bachelor of Arts Major in American Indian Studies

Suggested First and Second Year College Courses:

Completion of two courses from:

  • AIS 102 (5 credits) - Survey of American Indian Studies
  • AIS 201 (5 credits) - Introduction to American Indian Histories
  • AIS 202 (5 credits) - Introduction to Contemporary Experience in Indian America
  • AIS 203 (5 credits) - Introduction: Philosophical and Aesthetic Universes

Departmental Admission Requirements:

  1. Minimum of 2.0 University GPA
  2. Completion of 10 credits of American Indian Studies classes

Students may declare the major at any time in the quarter. Transfer students must be enrolled at the UW before applying.

Major Requirements:

In order to graduate with the Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies, students must complete 55 credits as follows (in addition to the general education requirements of the university and college):

  1. Introductory courses (10 credits): Two courses from AIS 102, AIS 201, AIS 202, and AIS 203. Other courses may be allowed, subject to adviser approval.
  2. Upper-level AIS courses (25 credits): AIS courses at the 300- or 400-level, or adviser-approved alternatives.
  3. Additional AIS courses (20 credits): Any AIS courses or adviser-approved alternatives.

The AIS degree requirements worksheet (PDF) may be helpful in planning a course of study.